September 27, 2016

Monthly Press Conference

Today, President Kenji Kudo held a monthly press conference in Aomori City and talked about "Status of response to the New Regulatory Requirements" and "Progress toward the establishment of the Spent Fuel Reprocessing Organization"

Status of response to the New Regulatory Requirements

With regard to the Reprocessing Plant, JNFL has generally finished providing explanation concerning design-basis standards, and continued to provide explanation concerning severe accidents, using a diagram summarizing key issues.  In the review meeting held on August 29, explanation was provided about changes made, including the change of inundation height, which became necessary because of making up for previous reflected conditions associated with severe accidents.

In the review meeting to be held on September 28, JNFL plans to explain, with regard to accident-specific responses, about facilities for preventing the spread of criticality accident, facilities for preventing the spread of organic solvent fires, the amount of radioactive materials to be discharged in severe accidents in general, and evaluation of habitability for control rooms / emergency response offices.

There are other matters that need to be explained, including damage response for the vitrification cell and other facilities that are unlikely to suffer damage, on the unlikely premise of potential damage, as well as severe accident procedures and their education / training.  JNFL is making concerted efforts to prepare such information, with the aim of completing the explanation by the end of October.

With regard to the MOX Fuel Fabrication Plant, JNFL has generally finished providing explanation concerning the basic approach to preventing damage from an external impact, such as newly-defined design-basis tornado, as well as damage from flooding.  Explanation on the approach to preventing the spread of design-basis accidents was already provided in the review meeting held on August 5.  Based on issues pointed out thus far, it appears necessary to change facility layout, etc.  Since this forms the basis of future explanation on facility standards and severe accident response, JNFL is currently exploring design changes accordingly. 

These matters will be examined further before providing more explanation about the design-basis standards and severe accident response in the next review meeting.

With regard to the Uranium Enrichment Plant, explanation on all the scheduled matters were completed in the review meeting held on July 29.  The Nuclear Regulation Authority conducted an on-site investigation on August 26. 

In the on-site investigation, the NRA carried out an on-site inspection of facilities required for preventing the spread of accidents, explained in past review meetings, including newly-installed fire alarms, remote-controlled fire extinguishing facilities and their locations, as well as portable monitors for swiftly detecting the leakage of uranium hexafluoride.

In the review meeting scheduled for September 29, JNFL plans to provide detailed explanation about all the matters pointed out, including severe accident countermeasures.

With regard to the site foundation and earthquake, JNFL reiterated, in the review meeting held on September 9, its evaluation finding that seismic faults on the site have no likelihood of becoming active in the future.  This was well received with a comment that JNFL made “generally appropriate considerations.”  The remaining tasks are the stability analysis of the base foundation and the monitoring of volcanic activities.

A review meeting on the waste management facility was held on August 23.  JNFL plans to offer comprehensive explanation, based on past comments, in October.

As explained thus far, there has been steady progress with reviews on each of the facilities.  JNFL will continue to make all-out efforts.

On September 21, JNFL provided a briefing on the status of our response to the New Regulatory Requirements, etc. to a group of Prefectural Assembly members.

The Prefectural Assembly is to convene its ad-hoc committee on nuclear power and energy issues on October 7.  JNFL will offer detailed explanation in the meeting.

Progress toward the establishment of the Spent Fuel Reprocessing Organization

The founding group for the Spent Fuel Reprocessing Organization filed an application for the Organization’s establishment on August 25, and received its approval on September 20.  It is of great significance that a decision has been made to set up the Organization’s office in Aomori City and its liaison office in Rokkasho Village in view of local communities’ understanding and cooperation for the Nuclear Fuel Cycle program.

It is an effective decision also for JNFL from the perspective of ensuring smooth communication with the Organization.

JNFL will continue to proceed with its business operations on the premise of safety, and strive for the establishment of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle program, while listening to feedbacks from local communities.