Top > Releases ・ Announcements > Fukushima Daiichi NPS Prompt Report > 2015 > Recent Topics:IAEA REPORT CONFIRMS PROGRESS AT FUKUSHIMA, "COMMENDS" TEPCO FOR ACHIEVEMENTS IN MULTIPLE AREAS

Fukushima Daiichi NPS Prompt Report 2015


IAEA team notes the long-term challenge and recommends variety of enhancements; also reviews "K Drainage" matter

TOKYO, May 14, 2015 -In a comprehensive 58-page report, the International Atomic Energy Agency acknowledged the substantial progress TEPCO has made at Fukushima as well as the complexities of the challenges that remain.

The report, the third in a series of IAEA "missions" to the Fukushima Daiichi plant since the March 2011 accident, reviewed a broad array of engineering, management, environmental, and communication activities at the stricken plant. It notes that the changes associated with shifting from running an operating power plant to managing a decades-long remediation are "profound," and although many challenges remain it reported significant progress, especially in the following areas:

•Completion of the removal of fuel from Unit 4.
•Improvement and expansion of the contaminated water treatment systems.
•The installation of new tanks and associated systems for contaminated water storage.
•The operation of the underground water bypass.
•Clean-up of the site resulting in a reduction in radiological dose rate.

"We appreciate the comprehensiveness of the report and its recognition of the considerable progress our workers and those of our contractors have made at Fukushima Daiichi," TEPCO President Naomi Hirose said upon receiving the report. "At the same time, we appreciate the many suggestions the report makes for further efforts and, in some places potentially different ways of approaching a problem. We will diligently pursue these recommendations and will continuously improve our efforts by utilizing the IAEA's knowledge."

D&D Company, Safety Culture

The IAEA review "acknowledges the progress made by TEPCO in addressing the profound challenges arising from the accident," and it said the creation of the Fukushima D&D Engineering Company to address those challenges "is welcomed."

It also addressed the inculcation of a safety culture, which has been a major focus of the company and its oversight group, the Nuclear Reform Monitoring Committee. "The IAEA team strongly encourages TEPCO in their progress to reinforce safety leadership and safety culture," the report says.

Recognizing the unusual nature of the activities required at Fukushima, the report noted that "the existing licensing process for normal situations is difficult to be applied," and it noted that in addition to regulatory safeguards "there is a robust internal process in place within TEPCO, for internal safety evaluation and approval of works." It cited the successful and safe removal of fuel from Unit 4 as an example of how that process has worked.

Waste Management

A major focus of the report is the management of the radioactive waste being generated by the cleanup, including the waste generated by the water treatment system. The filters and other devices used to extract radioactive substances from the water require long-term storage, and the report recommends optimization of the treatment process to minimize waste.

Meanwhile, solid waste -concrete, metal, felled trees and other objects -is expected to reach 500,000 cubic meters over the next 10 years. Taking the urgency of the last few years into account, when so much had to be done so quickly, "the work carried out has been broadly successful," the report says, helping to reduce the dose at the site boundary. But the time has now come "to take stock of all the activities performed and to learn the corresponding lessons."


The IAEA noted that "TEPCO has intensified its public communication efforts," and urged the company to continue those efforts and to "help lay audiences understand the relevance of [comprehensive] information by basing it on the health and safety aspects of both the workforce and the public, as well as protection of the environment." It also noted that "TEPCO has developed a multi-faceted communication strategy that aims to disseminate information by using understandable language and visual element such as infographics, photos and short videos," as well as social and other interactive media.

Water Management

The IAEA report acknowledged progress on many fronts in managing the challenge of groundwater and other water contamination on the site:

•Water Treatment: "The IAEA team reconfirms TEPCO's success in treating large volumes of highly radioactive water," it said, noting that more than 1 million cubic meters has been treated for removal of Cesium.
•Storage: The report "commends TEPCO" for its program to replace leak-prone flanged tanks with welded tanks, and for other improvements in the safe and secure storage of both treated and not-yet-treated water.
•Seaside Protection: Noting "the very complicated area of infrastructure" that sits between the turbine buildings and the sea, the report "commends TEPCO for its efforts to address contamination" and prevent contaminated water from reaching the ocean. It noted that, "significant efforts are underway" to improve prevention, but acknowledged that "this will be a very difficult area in which to control the migration of contamination."
•Groundwater Bypass: The report notes that through groundwater bypass, which diverts some groundwater by pumping it up, groundwater intrusion into the reactor buildings, where it would become contaminated, "has been reduced by about 25% or 100 cubic meters per day." It called the bypass system, and the "extensive communication and engagement" that helped make it possible, "an important milestone in gaining the public trust and should be helpful for implementing future strategies for managing contaminated water issues."
•Subdrain and "Ice" Wall: Among those future strategies are the subdrain system and "ice" wall, which the report notes "are expected to further reduce the groundwater ingress by about 150 cubic meters [subdrain only] and to near zero following installation of the land-side ice wall."

Still, the IAEA said there is room for improvement. It urged TEPCO "to continue on-going efforts to improve the utilization" of water treatment systems." It advised TEPCO "to take into consideration that testing and optimizing the operating conditions of complex multi-stage water treatment systems can take time, particularly for those technologies that are new and being deployed under field conditions for the first time."

And, it said, "the IAEA team believes it is necessary to find a sustainable solution" to water management, "considering all options, including the possible resumption of controlled discharges to the sea." The final decision, it noted, "will require engaging all stakeholders," including TEPCO and various government agencies.

"Annex" on Drainage K

The IAEA report was based on an examination of the site and meetings with TEPCO personnel from February 9-17, 2015. IAEA sent experts back to the site from April 17-21 after TEPCO reported that its engineers had found the cause of, and were taking steps to mitigate, intermittent radioactivity spikes in "Drainage K" that had caused some contaminated water to flow to the sea.

The report acknowledges those efforts but also encourages TEPCO "to continue to focus on finding any other sources contaminating the [drainage] channels." It also noted that the belated disclosure of these intermittent surges "resulted in some criticism, by the public and the media." It noted TEPCO's new, more thorough disclosure policy, and said "IAEA experts encourage the Social Communication Office to take more proactive leadership in cooperation with Risk Communicators to supervise the communication-related activities within TEPCO." It also urged TEPCO to ensure that the increased volume of data is provided in context "to enhance wider understanding," something the company's leadership committed itself to at the most recent meeting of the Nuclear Reform Monitoring Committee.

To read the full report, please go to:

Overview of the IAEA review is explained at:

IAEA's press release may be accessed at:


Tokyo Electric Power Company, Inc. (TEPCO) is Japan's largest power company, supplying energy to the greater Kanto area, including Japan's two most populous cities, Tokyo and Yokohama. Its 34,000 employees are committed to providing safe, reliable power to its 29.0 million customers, diversifying energy resources to ensure sustainability, and contributing to economic growth while fully meeting its responsibilities after the Fukushima Daiichi accident.
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