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Energy and Environment Directorate

Research Capabilities

Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Reactor Support

PNNL staff supported DOE by providing primary authorship for a report: Potential Near-Term Options to Mitigate Contaminated Water in Japan's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant, which addresses waste treatment options for treating turbine building water that was released from nuclear reactors following an earthquake and tsunami in March 2011. The majority of recommendations contained within the report were eventually adopted by the Tokyo Electric Power Company for treatment of the turbine building water.

In November, PNNL staff followed up on this support by attending a 2-day workshop in Tokyo with staff from Tokyo Electric Power Company, the Japanese Atomic Energy Agency, and the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. During this workshop, PNNL staff shared relevant experience from the United States. Topics included U.S. experience with spent fuel basins, secondary waste treatment and decontamination of facilities. A second workshop is currently planned to be held in the United States to discuss soil and groundwater issues. PNNL staff supported DOE to improve the flow and integration of data from the plant, support DOE’s Emergency Operations Center, and ensure efficient coordination of national laboratory capabilities.

PNNL staff analyzed over 300 air filter samples from Japan to help characterize the isotopes and activities released by the Fukushima nuclear reactors that were damaged by the earthquake and tsunami. The work was done in collaboration with National Security Directorate staff and projects. The data provided supportive evidence that most releases were caused by volatile fission products from partial melting of fuel in the reactors.

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