At Oak Harbor, Ohio, 21 miles southeast of the city of Toledo, lies the Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station, where a hole the size of a football was discovered in the head of the nuclear reactor vessel in March 2002. Today, a federal jury in Toledo convicted a former reactor coolant system engineer at the facility of lying to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission about the safety condition of that reactor vessel head. "Today, after hearing all the facts, a federal jury convicted Andrew Siemaszko for concealing the truth from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission," said Ronald Tenpas, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division. "The effectiveness of the NRC's regulation and the safe operation of the nation's nuclear power plants depends on honest and forthright information."NBC5.com
Thursday, August 28, 2008
The Vermont Legislature will make history in a vote expected as early as January on whether to allow the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant to continue operating after 2012. Never before has a state taken such a vote. "This is a tremendous opportunity for us," said Deb Katz of the Citizens Awareness Network, an antinuclear group based in Shelburne Falls. "But it's not going to be easy."
Vermont Yankee is three miles from Massachusetts and a stone's throw from New Hampshire. A serious accident or act of sabotage at the reactor would kill thousands, and leave hundreds of square miles uninhabitable. Like all nuclear power plants, Vermont Yankee contributes to global warming. The cost of storing nuclear waste makes nuclear power more expensive than solar, wind, or any other source of electricity. So people from Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont are working with Katz's group and other organizations, telephoning and going door to door in legislative districts throughout Vermont, encouraging voters to contact their state legislators.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
The owners of the Oyster Creek nuclear power station, now in the middle of a contentious relicensing battle, may close the plant if the government requires the installation of cooling towers, a company document shows.
Exelon Corp., Oyster Creek's owner, said the cost of cooling towers could "negatively impact" a decision to keep the oldest commercial nuclear plant running. The statement came last month in an Exelon filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Power provider Entergy Corp. is advancing its plans to spin off nuclear plants that generate free-market electricity, a deal that may be a boon for shareholders but a potential burden for taxpayers, according to critics. If approved by regulators, Enexus Energy Corp., to be based in Jackson, Mississippi, will become a separate, publicly traded company in the next several months. Stockholders of New Orleans-based Entergy would receive Enexus shares on a pro-rata basis. The exact number has not been determined. But there is concern over debts of as much as $4.5 billion that the new company would take on, including up to $3.5 billion paid to Entergy for the plants and other assets. There is also the dismantling or mothballing of nuclear reactors at the end of their life spans, hich critics say Enexus may be unable to pay. That could leave taxpayers with billions in cleanup costs should the company become insolvent. The plants range in age from 32 years to 37 years.International Herald Tribune
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
The office that AmerGen Energy will use to give out information about a nuclear emergency at Three Mile Island moves to Chester County next week. The move means local news organizations will have to send reporters to Coatesville, about 65 miles away, if they want face-to-face access to plant experts. AmerGen will close the center in Susquehanna Township off Interstate 81. The location is the same used by AmerGen's parent company, Exelon Corp., to handle emergencies at its Peach Bottom and Limerick plants. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which requires plant owners to maintain information centers outside a 10-mile radius of the plant, did not object to the change. The move also drew support from state and local emergency management agencies. But the watchdog group Three Mile Island Alert opposed the change, saying it will put unnecessary distance between the company and the community and have a chilling effect on news coverage. The Coatesville facility will offer wireless Internet service and access to phone lines and copy/fax machines once the center is activated on Tuesday, AmerGen officials said.The Patriot News
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Duke Energy has been forced to abort a test of an experimental fuel assembly at its Catawba nuclear power plant in York County, S.C. after noticing unusual physical changes that can damage the fuel and create a safety hazard. The Charlotte, N.C.-based company was testing mixed-oxide or MOX fuel, which combines conventional uranium with plutonium from the nation's atomic weapons stockpiles. Duke is participating in a federal Department of Energy program to dispose of 34 metric tons of plutonium from bombs.Facing South
Monday, August 11, 2008
The state attorney general's office suffered a major defeat yesterday in its fight to influence relicensing proceedings for the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth.
The federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission denied a petition submitted nearly two years ago that sought greater consideration of the environmental impact of spent fuel storage facilities in the event of an accident or terrorist attack. Attorney General Martha Coakley had argued the pools where used fuel rods are stored could be drained, leading to a zirconium fire and a significant amount of radioactive material being released into the environment.
But the NRC, in a decision published yesterday in the Federal Register, said the spent-fuel pools "are massive, extremely robust structures designed to safely contain the spent fuel discharged from a nuclear reactor under a variety of normal, off-normal, and hypothetical accident conditions."
Thursday, August 7, 2008
SUMMARY: The NRC is denying two petitions for rulemaking (PRM), one filed by the Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (Massachusetts AG) and the other filed by the Attorney General for the State of California (California AG), presenting nearly identical issues and requests for rulemaking concerning the environmental impacts of the high-density storage of spent nuclear fuel in large water pools, known as spent fuel pools (SFPs). The Petitioners asserted that “new and significant information” shows that the NRC incorrectly characterized the environmental impacts of high-density spent fuel storage as “insignificant” in its National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) generic environmental impact statement (EIS) for the renewal of nuclear power plant licenses. Specifically, the Petitioners asserted that spent fuel stored in high-density SFPs is more vulnerable to a zirconium fire than the NRC concluded in its NEPA analysis.Denial of Petition for Rulemaking (pdf)
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
NRC Meeting Aug. 20 In Monroe, Mich., To Discuss Review Process For Expected New Reactor Application
Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff will conduct a public meeting in Monroe, Mich., on Wednesday, Aug. 20, to discuss how the agency will review an expected Combined License (COL) application for a new reactor at the Fermi site, about 5 miles northeast of Monroe. The prospective applicant, Detroit Edison, has told the NRC it intends to apply later this year for a license to build and operate an Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor (ESBWR) at the site.U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Friday, August 1, 2008
When it comes to Vermont Yankee, it can make one’s brain hurt keeping the stories straight from week to week. Last week, we learned that radiation levels around the plant are higher now that VY is pumping out 20 percent more power. But, according to the Vermont Department of Health, “higher direct gamma radiation” measured at the site is still below the state’s limit. Of course, those limits were adjusted downward this year by 60 percent due to changes in how the state calculates radiation dosages. As it turns out, under the old standards, VY would have exceeded state standards by about 50 percent (more in some areas).Seven Days