Aomori City, Japan
15-17 November 2016
On March 11, 2011, the Tohoku–Taiheiyou–Oki earthquake occurred near the east coast of Honshu, Japan. This magnitude 9.0 earthquake and the subsequent tsunami caused significant damage to at least four of the six units of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power station. As a result, there was a loss of offsite and onsite electrical power systems. Subsequently, the NRC staff performed a systematic evaluation and inspection of selected fuel cycle facilities, in light of the lessons learned from the accident at the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant, to confirm that licensees were in compliance with applicable regulatory requirements and license conditions; and to evaluate their readiness to address natural phenomena hazards (NPH) events and other licensing bases events related to NPH. As a result of the inspections, the NRC staff identified a concern at a licensed facility that converts uranium concentrate received from uranium mines to uranium hexafluoride. Specifically, as a result of its inspection activities, the staff found that the facility may not have been adequately protected from an unlikely but credible event, such as an earthquake or tornado. After the inspection, the licensee agreed to fortify its building and processing equipment. This paper provides a summary of the staff technical evaluation to determine that the risk to public and workers for the upgraded licensed facility provides reasonable assurance of adequate protection of worker and public health and safety.