Saturday, December 23, 2017

NRC Publishes Draft Environmental Assessment of Proposed Crow Butte Expansion‌

Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Press Release
No: 17-052 December 18, 2017
CONTACT: David McIntyre, 301-415-8200

NRC Publishes Draft Environmental Assessment 

of Proposed Crow Butte Expansion

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission seeks public comments on a draft Environmental Assessment with a “Finding of No Significant Impact” for a license amendment request to authorize construction and operation of the proposed Marsland Expansion Area of the Crow Butte in situ uranium recovery facility near Crawford, Neb.

The Marsland Expansion Area stretches over 4,622 acres, of which 1,754 acres could be disturbed by the proposed action. The area is located approximately 11 miles south-southeast of the existing Crow Butte facility. The draft Environmental Assessment concludes that overall impacts from the expansion would be small for most resource areas, with potential moderate impacts in the short- term for specific aspects of three resource areas. If finalized, the Environmental Assessment and FONSI would complete the NRC staff’s environmental review of the Crow Butte Marsland license amendment request.

Notice of the draft document was published in the Federal Register on Dec. 15. Public comments will be accepted through Jan. 29. The draft Environmental Assessment, along with more information about the Marsland Expansion Area, is available on the NRC website. Copies are also available at the Crawford Public Library, 601 2nd St., in Crawford, Neb., and the Chadron Public Library, 507 Bordeaux St., in Chadron, Neb.

ANS Nuclear Policy Wire 12/18: Incomplete Pass

The text of the final tax bill is out, and the nuclear power production tax credit has been axed. The credit would have allowed the under-construction Vogtle plants to qualify for a tax break byextending the expiration date past the original 2020 deadline for plants to begin operating. 
Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA) told the Washington Examiner, "I am committed to doing whatever I can to ensure that the Plant Vogtle project stays on track for completion to strengthen America's energy security and to preserve the more than 6,000 Georgia jobs created by this project...we are working on a path forward to get a nuclear tax credit extension passed this year or early next year."

NRC Issues Confirmatory Order to Global Nuclear Fuel-Americas Facility to Address Issues Related to Scrap Metal Shipment‌

Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Press Release
No: II-17-051 December 15, 2017

NRC Issues Confirmatory Order to Global Nuclear Fuel-Americas Facility 

to Address Issues Related to Scrap Metal Shipment

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has issued a confirmatory order to the Global Nuclear Fuel-Americas manufacturing facility in Wilmington, N.C., following an agreement reached during an alternative dispute resolution mediation session completed on Oct. 25.

An NRC inspection report issued in July 2017 documented a September 2016 incident where GNF-A contracted with a company to ship scrap metal piping to a local recycling facility. When the shipment arrived at the facility, the material caused the radiation portal monitor to alarm and the shipment was returned to the GNF-A facility.

The NRC inspection report identified several apparent violations, including the failure to properly survey the material before release, failure to comply with U.S. Department of Transportation regulations for the material and failure to notify the NRC when radiation limits on the shipment exceeded regulations. GNF-A officials advised the NRC that the company would participate in the agency’s alternative dispute resolution program to resolve the enforcement issues. The NRC ADR process is facilitated by a neutral third party with no decision-making authority, who assists the NRC and the company in reaching an agreement when there are differences regarding an enforcement action.

The ADR session held in October resulted in GNF-A agreeing with several of the violations and agreeing on corrective actions to preclude recurrence of the violations. Those actions include both steps already taken and planned, such as the revision of procedures related to the release of material, additional training, improvements in recordkeeping, and the initiation of a safety culture assessment. In addition, the company has agreed to install a vehicle portal monitor to detect surface radiation levels on future shipments.

The NRC will not issue violations or civil penalties because of the detailed corrective actions and enhancements contained in the confirmatory order. The company has one year to complete some of the actions in the order, and GNF-A is required to provide the NRC with a letter discussing its basis for concluding that the order has been satisfied within three months of their completion.

ADVISORY – MONDAY – GO-TIME: DEP to Announce Increased Oil and Gas Drilling Inspections in 2017 as a Result of Switch to Electronic Process

Dept. of Environmental Protection

Commonwealth News Bureau
Room 308, Main Capitol Building
Harrisburg PA., 17120


Deb Klenotic, DEP

ADVISORY – MONDAY – GO-TIME: DEP to Announce Increased Oil and Gas Drilling Inspections in 2017 as a Result of Switch to Electronic Process

Harrisburg, PA –  The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will announce that it’s on track to complete more oil and gas drilling site inspections in 2017 than in 2016 as a result of a GO-TIME project that replaced paper forms with a mobile app.

Oil and gas Deputy Secretary Scott Perry will discuss this and several other productivity increases resulting from the early 2017 implementation of a mobile app for field inspectors, after years of a paper-based process.

Sharon Ward, Director of the Governor’s Office of Transformation, Innovation, Management and Efficiency (GO-TIME), will give an overview of the goals and successes to date of the GO-TIME initiative.

WHAT: GO-TIME: DEP to Announce Increased Oil and Gas Drilling Inspections in 2017
WHEN: Monday, December 18, 11:00-11:30 AM
WHERE: Capitol Media Center, State Capitol, Room 01 East Wing, Harrisburg, PA 17126

NRC Approves Changes to Fort Calhoun Nuclear Plant’s Emergency Planning Requirements‌

Nuclear Regulatory Commisison - Press Release
No: 17-051 December 14, 2017
CONTACT: David McIntyre, 301-415-8200

NRC Approves Changes to Fort Calhoun Nuclear Plant’s Emergency Planning Requirements

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has granted the Omaha Public Power District’s request to alter the emergency preparedness plan for the Fort Calhoun Station nuclear power plant in Washington County, Neb., to reflect the plant’s decommissioning status.

The changes come in the form of exemptions from certain NRC requirements that may not be appropriate for a plant that has permanently ceased operations. Once the licensee implements the exemptions, state and local governments may rely on comprehensive emergency management (“all hazard”) planning for off-site emergency response to events at Fort Calhoun, rather than having a dedicated offsite radiological emergency response plan. As a result, there will not be a 10-mile emergency planning zone identified in Fort Calhoun’s license. The plant will maintain an onsite emergency plan and response capabilities, including the continued notification of state government officials of an emergency declaration.

OPPD provided analyses to show the exemptions are warranted because when compared to an operating power reactor, the risk of an offsite radiological release is significantly lower and the types of possible accidents significantly fewer at a nuclear power reactor that has permanently ceased operations and removed fuel from the reactor vessel. The NRC staff evaluated and confirmed these analyses and, based on the NRC staff’s evaluation and recommendation, the Commission approved the exemptions Oct. 25. The exemptions were granted and a safety evaluation issued Dec. 11, and license amendments reflecting the exemptions were issued Dec. 12. Under the exemptions, OPPD may not implement the changes to its emergency preparedness plans until April 7, 2018, based on the company’s evaluation of applicable accidents.

Fort Calhoun, a single pressurized-water reactor, began operations in 1973. It ceased operations Oct. 24, 2016. All spent fuel has been permanently moved from the reactor vessel into the spent fuel pool for storage. The exemptions from certain emergency preparedness requirements are part of several changes to the plant’s licensing basis and technical specifications the licensee requested to reflect Fort Calhoun’s decommissioning status.

NRC Proposes $22,400 Fine Against Qal-Tek Associates

Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Press Release
No: IV-17-021 December 14, 2017

NRC Proposes $22,400 Fine Against Qal-Tek Associates

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is proposing a $22,400 civil penalty against Qal-Tek Associates of Idaho Falls, Idaho, for violations regarding the shipment of radioactive materials.

The violations were identified in an NRC inspection report prepared following an incident that occurred in April, when a package containing several radioactive sources was shipped from a temporary jobsite to the company’s headquarters. Upon receipt, workers scanned the package and determined that radiation levels exceeded regulatory limits resulting from radioactive sources that had not been properly packaged.

A commercial shipping service was used, but based on interviews of licensee and shipper employees, no one is expected to have received a radiation exposure in excess of regulatory limits.

NRC staff met with company representatives on Nov. 9, during a pre-decisional enforcement conference. Company officials did not contest the violations, but provided information about long-term corrective actions. The company has 30 days in which to dispute the fine or request involvement of a neutral third-party mediator to resolve the issue.

Peach Bottom: Fifth 10-Year Interval of the Inservice Testing Program

Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station, Units 2 and 3 - Safety Evaluation of Relief Request 01A-VRR-4 Regarding the Fifth 10-Year Interval of the Inservice Testing Program (EPID L-2017-LLR-0097)

ADAMS Accession No. ML17332A019