The Nuclear Energy Agency’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station Accident Information Collection and Evaluation (FACE) project aims to address key technical issues identified in investigations into the damaged plant, to improve understanding of the accident and to support the decommissioning activities of TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings).
The project’s third meeting gathered about 90 international experts to discuss the results of recent investigations on the inside of the damaged reactors on 28-30 June 2023 in Paris. The meeting also provided an update on the working groups.
Internal investigation of the unit 1 performed in March 2023 (provided by TEPCO)
During the two-day meeting, the experts shared progress made on their activities in the three main FACE tasks:
1) In-depth discussions regarding the accident progression, associated fission product behaviour, and observed hydrogen combustion events;
2) Characterisation of uranium-bearing particles and establishment of techniques for future fuel debris analysis for decommissioning and decontamination (including an international round-robin analysis activity with prototypic debris materials); and
3) Collection and sharing of data and information.
The meeting participants discussed the possibility of organising a workshop to review the insights gained from the Fukushima Daiichi accident that are applicable to existing and future reactors, in particular through co-operative nuclear safety research projects conducted under the auspices of the NEA. A number of these projects will be completed in 2024 and 2025.
Delegates during the 3rd FACE project meeting in June 2023, Paris, France
Although significant safety insights remain to be gained from the Fukushima Daiichi investigations, it can be challenging to maintain interest and support for research in the areas of severe accidents and thermal hydraulics 12 years after the accident. Some key experimental facilities are at risk of closing when current projects are completed. The FACE experts agreed it would be beneficial to organise a workshop on future research to enhance accident management in operating and future reactors using Fukushima Daiichi insights. The workshop would be held in the fall of 2024, jointly with the fifth FACE meeting.