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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. Lessons Learned from the Fukushima Nuclear Accident for Improving Safety of U.S. Nuclear Plants. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18294.
×

LESSONS LEARNED FROM THE
Fukushima Nuclear Accident
FOR IMPROVING SAFETY OF
U.S. Nuclear Plants

Committee on Lessons Learned from the Fukushima Nuclear Accident for
Improving Safety and Security of U.S. Nuclear Plants

Nuclear and Radiation Studies Board

Division on Earth and Life Studies

NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL
                         OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS

Washington, D.C.

www.nap.edu

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. Lessons Learned from the Fukushima Nuclear Accident for Improving Safety of U.S. Nuclear Plants. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18294.
×

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS   500 Fifth Street, NW   Washington, DC 20001

NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.

This study was supported by Contract/Grant No. NRC-HQ-12-G-03-0002 between the National Academy of Sciences and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project.

International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-27253-7
International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-27253-X

Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 2014954121

Cover images: (Front) Satellite image of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station taken on March 14, 2011, while the accident was still in progress. The Unit 1 reactor building (lower-left corner of image) was damaged by a hydrogen explosion at 15:36 (3:36 P.M.) Japan Standard Time on March 12. The Unit 3 reactor building (building with steam plume near center of image) was damaged by a hydrogen explosion at 11:01 the day the image was recorded. The Unit 4 reactor building, which is still intact in this image, would be damaged by a hydrogen explosion at 06:14 the next day (March 15). (Back) Satellite image of the harbor-front of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station showing extensive damage from the tsunami. Also shown is a seismogram of the Great East Japan Earthquake recorded at the Oshika K-Net Station (MYG011) in Miyagi Prefecture. Satellite image courtesy of DigitalGlobe©2014.

Additional copies of this report are available for sale from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, NW, Keck 360, Washington, DC 20001; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313; http://www.nap.edu/.

Copyright 2014 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.

Printed in the United States of America

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. Lessons Learned from the Fukushima Nuclear Accident for Improving Safety of U.S. Nuclear Plants. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18294.
×

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine

The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences.

The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. C. D. Mote, Jr., is president of the National Academy of Engineering.

The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Victor J. Dzau is president of the Institute of Medicine.

The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. C. D. Mote, Jr., are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council.

www.national-academies.org

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. Lessons Learned from the Fukushima Nuclear Accident for Improving Safety of U.S. Nuclear Plants. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18294.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. Lessons Learned from the Fukushima Nuclear Accident for Improving Safety of U.S. Nuclear Plants. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18294.
×

COMMITTEE ON LESSONS LEARNED FROM THE
FUKUSHIMA NUCLEAR ACCIDENT FOR IMPROVING
SAFETY AND SECURITY OF U.S. NUCLEAR PLANTS

NORMAN P. NEUREITER, Chair, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Washington, D.C.

B. JOHN GARRICK, Vice Chair, Independent Consultant, Laguna Beach, California

ROBERT A. BARI, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, New York

PERCY M. BEARD, JR., Institute of Nuclear Power Operations (retired), Atlanta, Georgia

JAN BEYEA, Consulting in the Public Interest, Lambertville, New Jersey

M. QUINN BREWSTER, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

MICHAEL L. CORRADINI, University of Wisconsin–Madison

RICHARD S. DENNING, The Ohio State University, Columbus1

VIJAY K. DHIR, University of California, Los Angeles

MICHAEL W. GOLAY, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge

BARBARA L. HAMRICK, University of California, Irvine Medical Center

SHELLEY A. HEARNE, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland, and Big Cities Health Coalition, National Association of County and City Health Officials, Washington, D.C.

PAUL A. LOCKE, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland

JAMES E. MATHESON, SmartOrg, Menlo Park, California

NAJMEDIN MESHKATI, University of Southern California, Los Angeles2

THOMAS G. MOSER, Osprey Global Solutions, Wilmington, North Carolina

ARTHUR T. MOTTA, Pennsylvania State University, University Park

JOHN A. ORCUTT, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California at San Diego, La Jolla

EMILIE M. ROTH, Roth Cognitive Engineering, Menlo Park, California

JOSEPH E. SHEPHERD, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena

ELIZABETH Q. TEN EYCK, ETE Consulting, Inc., Great Falls, Virginia

MARK H. THIEMENS, University of California, San Diego3

FRANK N. VON HIPPEL, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey

_______________

1Separated from committee on November 21, 2012.

2Resigned from committee on June 12, 2013.

3Resigned from committee on July 26, 2012.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. Lessons Learned from the Fukushima Nuclear Accident for Improving Safety of U.S. Nuclear Plants. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18294.
×

LORING A. WYLLIE, JR., Degenkolb Engineers, San Francisco, California

Technical Advisor

NAJMEDIN MESHKATI, University of Southern California, Los Angeles4

Staff

KEVIN D. CROWLEY, Study Director

OURANIA KOSTI, Senior Program Officer

DANIEL POMEROY, Postdoctoral Fellow (December 10, 2012, to September 1, 2013)

DARLENE GROS, Senior Program Assistant

________________

4Effective July 10, 2013.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. Lessons Learned from the Fukushima Nuclear Accident for Improving Safety of U.S. Nuclear Plants. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18294.
×

NUCLEAR AND RADIATION STUDIES BOARD

ROBERT C. DYNES, Chair, University of California, San Diego

BARBARA J. MCNEIL, Vice Chair, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts

JOHN S. APPLEGATE, Indiana University School of Law, Bloomington

DAVID J. BRENNER, Columbia University, New York

MARGARET S. Y. CHU, M.S. Chu & Associates, LLC, Albuquerque, New Mexico

MICHAEL L. CORRADINI, University of Wisconsin–Madison

TISSA H. ILLANGASEKARE, Colorado School of Mines, Golden

CAROL M. JANTZEN, Savannah River National Laboratory, Aiken, South Carolina

ANNIE B. KERSTING, Glen T. Seaborg Institute, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, California

MARTHA S. LINET, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland

FRED A. METTLER, JR., New Mexico VA Health Care System, Albuquerque

NANCY JO NICHOLAS, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico

LAWRENCE T. PAPAY, PQR, LLC, La Jolla, California1

DANIEL O. STRAM, University of Southern California, Los Angeles

RICHARD J. VETTER, Mayo Clinic (retired), Rochester, Minnesota

SERGEY V. YUDINTSEV, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow

Staff

KEVIN D. CROWLEY, Director

JENNIFER HEIMBERG, Senior Program Officer

OURANIA KOSTI, Senior Program Officer

TONI GREENLEAF, Administrative and Financial Associate

LAURA D. LLANOS, Administrative and Financial Associate

DARLENE GROS, Senior Program Assistant

ERIN WINGO, Senior Program Assistant

________________

1Deceased on July 28, 2014.

Page viii Cite
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. Lessons Learned from the Fukushima Nuclear Accident for Improving Safety of U.S. Nuclear Plants. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18294.
×

Acknowledgments

The successful completion of this study would not have been possible without the cooperation and assistance of a very large number of organizations and individuals. The committee would especially like to thank the following organizations and individuals for providing logistical support, advice, and assistance during this study:

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which sponsored the study and provided information on the agency’s post-Fukushima activities and actions. The committee would especially like to thank former Executive Director of Operations Bill Borchardt and staff in the Japan Lessons-Learned Division, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation: David Skeen, Rob Taylor, Bill Reckley, and Kevin Witt. Mr. Witt served ably as the agency’s liaison to the committee and was effective in responding to the committee’s many requests for information.

U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, which assisted the committee with logistical arrangements for its meeting in Japan: former Ambassador John Roos and embassy staff Jeffrey Miller and Jen Ladlein.

Government of Japan for its full cooperation with the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) on this study and for providing technical and logistical assistance:

• Japanese Embassy in the United States: Ambassador Kenichiro Sasae, former Ambassador Ichiro Fujisaki, embassy staff members Takashi Toyota and Akira Tsugita, and former staff member Seiichi Shimasaki.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. Lessons Learned from the Fukushima Nuclear Accident for Improving Safety of U.S. Nuclear Plants. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18294.
×

Embassy staff responded effectively to the committee’s many requests for information and logistical support.

• Atomic Energy Commission of Japan: former Chairman Shunsuke Kondo.

• Japan Atomic Energy Agency: former President Atsuzuki Suzuki.

• Japan Science and Technology Agency: Center for Research and Development Strategy (CRDS) Director General Hiroyuki Yoshikawa; CRDS Deputy Director General Tateo Arimoto; Principal Fellow Kenkichi Hirose; and Washington, D.C. representative Takashi Ohama.

• Nuclear Regulation Authority: Commissioner Toyoshi Fuketa and staff member Masahiro Aoki.

National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (Tokyo) for cosponsoring and supporting the committee’s meeting at the institute’s facilities in Tokyo: President Takashi Shiraishi and faculty members Tateo Arimoto, Kiyoshi Kurokawa, and Atsushi Sunami.

Science Council of Japan for assisting with the identification of technical experts for the committee’s meeting in Tokyo: President Takashi Onishi and Vice President Fumiko Kasuga.

Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) for its full cooperation and support for this study, particularly for providing technical information about the company’s response to the earthquake and tsunami at the Fukushima Daiichi and Fukushima Daini nuclear plants; for arranging and hosting tours of those plants; and for participating in the committee’s meeting in Tokyo: Chief Nuclear Officer and Executive Vice President Zengo Aizawa, General Manager of International Relations and Strategy Group Akira Kawano; Fukushima Daiichi Superintendent Takeshi Takahashi; Fukushima Daini Superintendent Naohiro Masuda; TEPCO’s Washington, D.C., representative Kenji Tateiwa; and the many other TEPCO staff listed in Appendix B. Mr. Tateiwa served effectively as a liaison between TEPCO and NAS staff.

Tohoku Electric Power Company for arranging and hosting the tour of the Onagawa nuclear plant and participating in the committee’s Tokyo meeting: Managing Director Shigeru lnoue; Onagawa Superintendent Shun Tsubata; Deputy Superintendent lsao Kato; staff members Masayoshi Abe and Satoshi Otokita; Washington, D.C., representative Hiroya Shimanuki; and the other Tohoku staff listed in Appendix B.

Nuclear Energy Institute for providing information about the U.S. nuclear industry’s response to the Fukushima Daiichi accident to improve safety of nuclear plants in the United States: President and Chief Executive Officer Marvin Fertel; Executive Director (Fukushima Response) Jim Scarola; Vice President of Nuclear Operations Joe Pollock; and Senior Technical Advisor Steven Kraft. Mr. Kraft provided lead support for the

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. Lessons Learned from the Fukushima Nuclear Accident for Improving Safety of U.S. Nuclear Plants. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18294.
×

committee’s information requests and visits to the Oyster Creek Generating Station and Edwin I. Hatch Nuclear Plant.

Institute of Nuclear Power Operations for providing information about the U.S. nuclear industry’s response to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident: President and CEO Robert Willard and Vice President David Hembree.

Southern Company for hosting a tour of the Edwin I. Hatch Nuclear Plant: Site Vice President Dennis Madison, staff member J. Derwood Tootle, and the many other plant staff who supported the plant tour.

Exelon Corporation for hosting a tour of the Oyster Creek Generating Station: Site Vice President Garey Stathes, Plant Manager Russell Peake, and the many other plant staff who supported the plant tour.

Speakers and invited participants at the committee’s information-gathering meetings. These individuals are too numerous to be listed here. Their names are provided in Appendix B.

Other individuals and organizations who provided information and support for this study: Scott Deitchman, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Nancy Hedinger, Paula Gotsch, and Kerry Margaret Butch, League of Women Voters of New Jersey; Jaewon Hong, U.S. Food and Drug Administration; Kiyohiko Mabuchi, National Cancer Institute; Alan Morris, Anbex; Damian Peko, U.S. Department of Energy; Andrew Sowder, Electric Power Research Institute; Satoru Tanaka, Atomic Energy Society of Japan; and the World Health Organization, especially María del Rosario Pérez.

Najmedin Meshkati, University of Southern California, who served as a technical advisor to the committee for issues related to nuclear safety culture.

And last, but certainly not least, National Academy of Sciences’ staff for organizing and facilitating this study. Study Director Kevin Crowley and Senior Program Officer Ourania Kosti organized the committee meetings and assisted the committee with report writing and review. They also provided valuable technical and policy insights and perspectives. Postdoctoral Fellow Daniel Pomeroy assisted with research and report writing. Program Assistant Darlene Gros managed the logistics of the meetings, report review, and publication. Senior Program Officer Jennifer Heimberg and Program Assistant Erin Wingo assisted with production of the final report.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. Lessons Learned from the Fukushima Nuclear Accident for Improving Safety of U.S. Nuclear Plants. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18294.
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Reviewer Acknowledgments

This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise in accordance with procedures approved by the Report Review Committee of the National Research Council. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the National Research Council in making this published report as sound as possible and will ensure that this report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their participation in the review of this report:

Brian Atwater, U.S. Geological Survey and University of Washington

Lake Barrett, L. Barrett Consulting

Dennis Bley, Buttonwood Consulting, Inc.

Daniel Blumenthal, U.S. Department of Energy

Robert Budnitz, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Cynthia Costello, New York State Department of Health

Jeffrey Gabor, ERIN Engineering and Research, Inc.

Randall Gauntt, Sandia National Laboratories

Robert Geller, University of Tokyo

David Gertman, Idaho National Laboratory

Sherrell Greene, Advanced Technology Insights, LLC

Dave Klimek, Nexus Technical Services Corporation

Joseph Klinger, Illinois Emergency Management Agency

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. Lessons Learned from the Fukushima Nuclear Accident for Improving Safety of U.S. Nuclear Plants. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18294.
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Shunsuke Kondo, Japan Atomic Energy Commission (retired)

Kiyoshi Kurokawa, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies

David Lochbaum, Union of Concerned Scientists

Thomas McKenna, International Atomic Energy Agency

Richard Meserve, Carnegie Institution for Science

Randall Mumaw, Boeing Commercial Airplanes

Per Peterson, University of California, Berkeley

William Radasky, Metatech Corporation

Scott Sagan, Stanford University

Craig Sawyer, General Electric Company (retired)

Fred Tollison, Institute of Nuclear Power Operations (retired)

Although the reviewers listed above provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions and recommendations of this report, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Marvin Adams, Texas A&M University, and Chris Whipple, ENVIRON. Appointed by the National Research Council, Drs. Adams and Whipple were responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were considered carefully. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. Lessons Learned from the Fukushima Nuclear Accident for Improving Safety of U.S. Nuclear Plants. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18294.
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The March 11, 2011, Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami sparked a humanitarian disaster in northeastern Japan. They were responsible for more than 15,900 deaths and 2,600 missing persons as well as physical infrastructure damages exceeding $200 billion. The earthquake and tsunami also initiated a severe nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. Three of the six reactors at the plant sustained severe core damage and released hydrogen and radioactive materials. Explosion of the released hydrogen damaged three reactor buildings and impeded onsite emergency response efforts. The accident prompted widespread evacuations of local populations, large economic losses, and the eventual shutdown of all nuclear power plants in Japan.

Lessons Learned from the Fukushima Nuclear Accident for Improving Safety and Security of U.S. Nuclear Plants is a study of the Fukushima Daiichi accident. This report examines the causes of the crisis, the performance of safety systems at the plant, and the responses of its operators following the earthquake and tsunami. The report then considers the lessons that can be learned and their implications for U.S. safety and storage of spent nuclear fuel and high-level waste, commercial nuclear reactor safety and security regulations, and design improvements. Lessons Learned makes recommendations to improve plant systems, resources, and operator training to enable effective ad hoc responses to severe accidents. This report's recommendations to incorporate modern risk concepts into safety regulations and improve the nuclear safety culture will help the industry prepare for events that could challenge the design of plant structures and lead to a loss of critical safety functions.

In providing a broad-scope, high-level examination of the accident, Lessons Learned is meant to complement earlier evaluations by industry and regulators. This in-depth review will be an essential resource for the nuclear power industry, policy makers, and anyone interested in the state of U.S. preparedness and response in the face of crisis situations.

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