Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Engineers are continuing their check into the reason for a new tritiated water leak at Braidwood Generating Station. Station spokesman Paul Dempsey said today a leak was discovered last Wednesday by a worker at the station. The flow was stopped at 6:30 a.m. Saturday. The incident occurred in a metal transfer pipe leading from the condensation storage tank to an auxiliary boiler on the non-nuclear side of the station. About 878 picocuries of tritium per liter wwere present in the water in the pipe. The amount is well below the federal maximum of 20,000 picocuries per liter, and 478 picocuries above the California level of 400 picocuries per liter.Link
Pennsylvania has done a poor job overseeing hundreds of millions of dollars in federal homeland security grants, making it hard to evaluate if the spending has improved the state's disaster-response capabilities, three reports found. The reports said record-keeping has been so inadequate that state emergency officials, who must approve local requests for the money, cannot say whether equipment that has been purchased is still in use or where it is.Link
Progress Energy Florida is going to have to spend more than originally planned to build two nuclear reactors in Levy County, the utility's top executive said.
The St. Petersburg-based utility won't disclose how much more expensive the project will be until it's presented to state regulators within 90 days. Based on new industry estimates, the revised cost could be two to three times more expensive than the projection Progress issued more than a year ago.
That's because the cost of concrete, steel, copper, labor and reactor technology has soared as energy companies move forward with plans to build more than 30 new reactors nationwide. Also, Progress Energy's initial estimate excluded the cost of land, inflation, interest payments and new transmission lines.
Wackenhut Corp. Chief Executive Officer Gary Sanders left a month after the security company lost contracts from Exelon Corp. because guards fell asleep on the job at a nuclear power plant.
Sanders, 55, will be replaced by G4S Plc Chief Operating Officer Grahame Gibson, Wackenhut said in a statement today. Gibson will continue to serve as operating chief and a board member of UK-based G4S, parent company of Wackenhut.
Exelon, owner of the largest fleet of U.S. commercial reactors, said last month it was terminating all nuclear-plant security contracts with Wackenhut after guards at its Peach Bottom reactor in Pennsylvania were videotaped asleep while on duty. The videotapes were made public in September.
``They had so many other problems,'' David Lochbaum, director of the nuclear safety project for the Union of Concerned Scientists, said about Wackenhut. ``It's no single disaster that caused this resignation, it's the potpourri of disasters.''
Videotapes of sleeping guards shot by a freshly hired security worker at the Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station in York County are sending ever-widening shock waves through the commercial nuclear community.
The tapes, which cost Lancaster County resident Kerry Beal his job, have focused national attention on the state of security at the nation's 64 nuclear power plant sites.
Since the tapes were made public last year, Exelon Corp., the nation's largest nuclear energy company with 10 plants, including Peach Bottom, Three Mile Island and Limerick in Pennsylvania, announced it would end its contracts with Wackenhut Corp., which employed the guards.
If another nuclear emergency were declared at Three Mile Island, some parents might be swimming against the stream as they drive to pick up their kids from schools.
In such an emergency, some schoolchildren would be sent to pickup centers on the fringe of evacuation zones, raising concerns that parents trying to pick up their kids would slow traffic fleeing the danger.
The watchdog group Three Mile Island Alert petitioned the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to require pickup centers instead be at least five to 10 miles beyond the evacuation zones.
Who would not applaud the benign-sounding goal of the NJ Affordable, Clean, Reliable Energy Coalition (NJACRE), a new lobbying organization. NJACRE's mission, according to its senior adviser, Richard S. Mroz, is "to educate and raise the public awareness about the critical energy and environmental challenges facing our state." ("Nuclear energy power of future," letter, Jan. 7.)
NJACRE's first emphasis, according to its Web site, is to support the relicensing of the Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station in Lacey. Not surprising since NJACRE's start-up funding is from Exelon, the owner of the Oyster Creek plant.