In Memoriam – Fukushima & the NRC

In commemoration of the March 11th, 2011, nuclear disaster at Fukushima, Japan, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has issued new legislation aimed at imposing further rules on the U.S. nuclear industry. Collectively known as the Mitigation of Beyond-Design-Basis Events Rule, this piece of regulatory bureaucracy seeks to continue Obama-era reactionary oversight on the country’s nuclear fleet, to harden each facility and their operators against the mechanisms that allowed that gargantuan wall of Pacific ocean to torpedo through the reactor and relinquish its sinister waste upon the surrounding light of the earth.

We know the canted tale of events—as the water retreated from the beach, sinking back toward the oceanic horizon, a dark visitation occurring far out where the eye perceives the sky kissing the horizon, began to swell with turgid and menacing energy, climbing dubious rungs in the distant sky, reaching monstrous heights with each mile made inland, pale faces draining of color perceiving this horror and fleeing through the streets, the equally pale faces of the Daiichi plant who did not take to the streets but were stricken with palpable horror at the sudden illumination of what was to come when that dark wave fall back on the earth—the tsunami punched through concrete and steel, poured past security measures, and flooded the facility to the tune of a complete electrical shut down. The loss of electricity ultimately doomed the operators’ ability to cool the reactors, who, allowed to heat unabated, flung their radioactive waste into the air and the sea—eight years later the city is inhabited only by a legislative body of radioactive wild boar, the offspring of mankind’s mishaps.

Traumatized by the disaster and the images of mutated wildlife running amuck (the horror! the horror!), the NRC has continually handed down regulations like this latest initiative to entrench the U.S nuclear fleet against such literal and figurative meltdowns. The Mitigation of Beyond-Design-Basis Events Rule, which will be published this spring in the Federal Register, has three main stipends:

1. Maintain resources and procedures to cool a reactor’s core and spent fuel pool, as well as preserve the reactor’s containment, following an event that disables all of a site’s normal and emergency a/c electrical power sources, as well as the site’s ability to safely transfer heat to the environment
2. Maintain equipment that can reliably measure spent fuel pool water levels following a severe event
3. Preserve the resources needed to protect the core, containment and spent fuel pool from external hazards

It is the second provision that withers in the heart of the Fukushima disaster and the one with which Otek is most concerned—for the simple reason that we can affect change. After all, we have the technology.
Ideally, spent fuel from the uranium-drench fuel rods would be stored in a permanent subterranean disposal site designed to withstand 100,000 years—unfortunately the only site in the world being designed for such a purpose lies in Finland; the U.S. abandoned its own facility in Nevada several years ago due to spellbinding short-sightedness and juvenile naivety of those ever-wagging tongues in Washington. Thus, thanks to incredibly resilient human stupidity, America has no storage facility for the dangerous radioactive waste it produces—hence the need for temporary water storage facilities housed with the plant, that cool the internal temperature of the waste over several decades.

Measuring these water levels then, becomes a critical operative. It follows then that the equipment charged with such a task should be cutting-edge, of this century, accurate, reliable, easy to operate, and unflinchingly objective. Welcome to Otek—with our New Technology Series and our recently developed Solid State Analog Meter (SSAM) we are the arrow that penetrates the dust on measurement and control applications such as spent fuel water levels. After 45 years of doing something, you’d probably be pretty good at it too. From 1974 to 2019, Otek has been pioneering the panel metering industry with a dedication to bettering our customer’s interests through the power of our patented technology.

Both the NTM and SSAM models are obsolescence hardened, highly configurable and programmable to a wide variety of applications, and come endowed our technologically advanced features such as, serial I/O, math functions, USB and RS485 options, relays, signal input fail alarms, self diagnostics, and much more. Each model carries our lifetime warranty and are extremely customizable to the imaginations of our customers.

So until we decide to pull our collective heads out of the muckraking bureaucracy this country thrives on and build a permanent disposal facility, temporary water storage is our safest bet for corralling one of the most dangerous substances on Earth—and Otek is right there to help.

Want more information on the NTM or SSAM? Call us today at (520) 748-7900 or send us an email at