Our Nuclear Safety Remains To Be Seen

As the first nuclear reactor in Japan resumes operation following the March 2011 accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, Woody reflects on the dangers of measuring safety and success merely on the absence of accidents.

The new regulations are a challenge to the operating companies, involving new analyses and, in many cases, costly retrofits. I have been involved in fire safety analyses and earthquake fault analyses at over 10 nuclear power units in Japan to support restart. We have found the operating staffs and headquarter personnel deeply concerned with safety and doing the right thing. They are doing an excellent job to correct the weak points of the plants, both in engineering and organizationally.

These same activities are being performed at nuclear plants all over the world under names such as “stress tests” or “FLEX” programs. But questions remain: “Are the nuclear plants safe? Will these programs protect us from the next unexpected event?” This remains to be seen.

You can read the full article at Nikkei Asian Review — Woody Epstein: The danger of ‘it can’t happen here’ or on PDF.

Four Years Later – Nuclear society is still isolated

Woody has published a new article at the Nikkei Asian Review on how the nuclear society is still isolated.

Four years have passed since Japan’s devastating earthquake, tsunami and nuclear accident of March 2011. Since the meltdowns at Fukushima Daiichi, Japan has essentially been without active nuclear power plants.

In April, a Japanese court dismissed a demand by local residents for an injunction to stop the restart of two Kyushu Electric Power reactors.

Restart of the plants is now the government’s and the industry sector’s primary concern. Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority has stated: “We will be tireless in our efforts to improve our regulatory measures so that Japan’s nuclear regulation standards will be among the world’s highest.”

You can read the full article at Nikkei Asian Review — Woody Epstein: Nuclear society is still isolated