The chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, whose four fellow commissioners complained about him to the White House, saying that he had been withholding information from them and wielding too much power, drew a spirited defense on Wednesday from a predecessor at the agency. Peter A. Bradford, who was a commission member from 1977 to 1982, was speaking with reporters in a conference call on another topic, whether the recent approval of a new reactor design by the commission represented a major step toward a “nuclear renaissance.” (It doesn’t, he said.) Mr. Bradford never led the Nuclear Regulatory Commission but can be considered an expert on multimember agencies; he later served as the chairman of the public utility commissions of New York State and Maine. In the course of the call, Mr. Bradford said that the four commissioners were trying to give the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s chairman, Gregory B. Jaczko, “a push toward the door.”Read article
Saturday, December 31, 2011
THREE MILE ISLAND NUCLEAR STATION, UNIT 1 (TMI-1) - THIRD INSERVICE INSPECTION INTERVAL RELIEF REQUESTS RR-11-01 AND RR-11-02 (TAC NOS. ME5670 AND ME5671)
In late October, Tokyo Electric Power Company began extracting gases from the containment vessel of the No.2 reactor to remove radioactive substances. During the work, TEPCO found hydrogen accumulating in parts of the reactor at a density of up to 2.9 percent. TEPCO started pumping nitrogen into the pressure vessels of the No.1, 2, 3 reactors on Thursday to lessen the concentration of hydrogen. The density of hydrogen accumulating in the containment and pressure vessels is thought to be below 4 percent, the level where an explosion could occur.Read article
More than eight months after disaster struck at its Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, Tokyo Electric Power Co. said an internal investigation, its first public assessment of its handling of the crisis, found no evidence of significant errors in its response.
But the plant operator also conceded it still didn't have answers to some key questions about the disaster, in the latest reminder of how little is still known about how the March 11 accident unfolded and what the current status of the plant is.
The findings were part of an interim report on the accident that Tepco released Friday.
The report supports Tepco's line that its plant complied with earthquake safety standards. But Tepco acknowledged it hasn't yet resolved a fundamental problem: pinpointing the source of continued leaks of irradiated water from the plant. It also said it doesn't know why radiation releases spiked four days into the crisis.
Complicating the picture, the utility retracted an earlier statement that an explosion took place in Unit 2 of the plant on March 15, the day of the radiation increase, removing one possible cause for the higher radiation levels. Tepco initially said there were two explosions on March 15, one believed to be inside the suppression chamber of Unit 2 and another near the rooftop of Unit 4. This followed explosions at Unit 1 on March 12 and at Unit 3 at March 14.
Exelon Generation Company, LLC – Threshold Determination Under 10 CFR 50.80 – (TAC Nos. ME6269 – ME6287) ADAMS Accession No.: ML112450212
- Which U.S. nuclear power plants currently use 410SS and 416SS components and what are the known uses of 410SS and 416SS?
- Will the NRC undertake a review of 410SS and 416SS steels to determine if additional periodic inspections and mitigation efforts are warranted?
- What regulatory actions will be undertaken in order to assess, require licensee reporting and inspection of, and address problems involved in 410SS and 416SS components?
Radioactive substances from the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant have now been confirmed in all prefectures, including Uruma, Okinawa Prefecture, about 1,700 kilometers from the plant, according to the science ministry.
The ministry said it concluded the radioactive substances came from the stricken nuclear plant because, in all cases, they contained cesium-134, which has short half-life of two years.
Before the March 11 Great East Japan Earthquake, radioactive substance were barely detectable in most areas.
But the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology's survey results released on Nov. 25 showed that fallout from the Fukushima plant has spread across Japan. The survey covered the cumulative densities of radioactive substances in dust that fell into receptacles during the four months from March through June.
Ralph DeSantis FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Three Mile Island Generating Station 717-948-8930
Three Mile Island Unit 1 Returned to Service
Thousands of Equipment Upgrades and Maintenance Tasks Completed Safely, Additional Workers Bring Economic Boost to Region
LONDONDERRY TWP., PA (November 27, 2011) – Following a safe and successful refueling outage, station operators placed Three Mile Island Unit 1 back in service on Friday, Nov. 25 at 3:50 p.m. and the plant reached full power this afternoon. During the outage, workers replaced nearly a third of the reactor’s fuel and safely performed more than 17,000 inspections and maintenance activities on a variety of plant components and systems. This year, workers also upgraded the plant’s main electrical generator and installed a new digital control rod drive system.
“TMI’s refueling outage was a big success thanks to the dedication and talent of our full-time personnel and the many supplemental workers who supported us,” said Site Vice President, Glen Earl Chick. “We completed a host of maintenance activities and equipment upgrades that will help us run the plant safely and efficiently for many years to come.”
Three Mile Island used the talents and expertise of more than 1,700 supplemental workers to support this year’s refueling outage. Many of these workers traveled to Three Mile Island from outside the area, providing a significant boost to the local economy.
Three Mile Island Unit 1 generates 852 megawatts of carbon free power - enough electricity for about 800,000 homes. Electric customers were not affected by the plant being off line.
Exelon Corporation is one of the nation’s largest electric utilities with more than $18 billion in annual revenues. The company has one of the industry’s largest portfolios of electricity generation capacity, with a nationwide reach and strong positions in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic. Exelon distributes electricity to approximately 5.4 million customers in northern Illinois and southeastern Pennsylvania and natural gas to approximately 490,000 customers in the Philadelphia area. Exelon is headquartered in Chicago and trades on the NYSE under the ticker EXC.
BRAIDWOOD STATION, UNITS 1 AND 2; BYRON STATION, UNIT NOS. 1 AND 2; CLINTON POWER STATION, UNIT NO.1; DRESDEN NUCLEAR POWER STATION, UNITS 2 AND 3; LASALLE COUNTY STATION, UNITS 1 AND 2; LIMERICK GENERATING STATION, UNITS 1 AND 2; OYSTER CREEK NUCLEAR GENERATING STATION; PEACH BOTTOM ATOMIC POWER STATION, UNITS 2 AND 3; QUAD CITIES NUCLEAR POWER STATION, UNITS 1 AND 2; AND THREE MILE ISLAND NUCLEAR STATION, UNIT 1 BULLETIN 2011-01, "MITIGATING STRATEGIES" REQUEST FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION REGARDING 60-DAY RESPONSE (TAC NOS. ME6402, ME6403, ME6409, ME6410, ME6416, ME6427, ME6428, ME6444, ME6445, ME6446, ME6447, ME6460, ME6465, ME6466, ME6473, ME6474, AND ME6493
SUSQUEHANNA STEAM ELECTRIC STATION, UNITS 1 AND 2 -ISSUANCE OF AMENDMENTS RE: CHANGE TO TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS (TSs) SURVEILLANCE REQUIREMENTS (SRs) 22.214.171.124 TO REVISE THE LOWER SURVEILLANCE TOLERANCES (TAC NOS. ME5050 AND ME5051)
Susquehanna Steam Electric Station, Units 1 and 2 – Audit of the Licensee’s Management of Regulatory Commitments (TAC Nos. ME7014 and ME7015) ADAMS Accession No.: ML11264A002
Sunday, December 18, 2011
SUSQUEHANNA STEAM ELECTRIC STATION, UNITS 1 AND 2 - AUDIT OF THE LICENSEE'S MANAGEMENT OF REGULATORY COMMITMENTS (TAC NOS. ME7014 AND ME7015
The estimate of much higher levels of radioactive caesium-137 in the atmosphere comes from a worldwide network of sensors that was studied by the Norwegian Institute for Air Research in a report authored by Andreas Stohl .
The Norwegian study says the Japanese government estimate came only from data in Japan, and that would have missed emissions blown out to sea. Its says that Fukushima Daiichi radioactive releases equal 40 percent of those from the Chernobyl disaster in 1986.
A study by the French Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety also stated that the amount of caesium-137 that flowed into the Pacific from the coastal plant is some 30 times more than was estimated by the plant’s owner, Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO).
From USA Today:
As the nation explores whether to invest more in nuclear energy, the National Academy of Sciences has begun a study of cancer risks faced by people living near nuclear facilities -- a study it admits is worrisome. A patchwork of state and local mortality reports, inconsistent data on illnesses and pollution combined with an American population that has moved around quite a bit in the past 50 years are just some of the challenges, said John Burris, chairman of the cancer-risk study committee. Proving scientifically whether long-term exposure to low doses of radiation around the nation's 104 nuclear facilities has meant a higher rate of cancer for those living nearby will be a daunting task, Burris said. "If you show living near a nuclear facility increases your chances of getting cancer, there will have to be radical changes, but that is not up to the committee," Burris said at a public meeting in Tennessee this month. The study, called for by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, is planned to update a 1991 National Cancer Institute study that found no danger in living near nuclear plants. President Obama has called for $36 billion in federal loan guarantees for nuclear power plant construction.
The disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in March released far more radiation than the Japanese government has claimed. So concludes a study1 that combines radioactivity data from across the globe to estimate the scale and fate of emissions from the shattered plant.
The study also suggests that, contrary to government claims, pools used to store spent nuclear fuel played a significant part in the release of the long-lived environmental contaminant caesium-137, which could have been prevented by prompt action. The analysis has been posted online for open peer review by the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics.
Andreas Stohl, an atmospheric scientist with the Norwegian Institute for Air Research in Kjeller, who led the research, believes that the analysis is the most comprehensive effort yet to understand how much radiation was released from Fukushima Daiichi. "It's a very valuable contribution," says Lars-Erik De Geer, an atmospheric modeller with the Swedish Defense Research Agency in Stockholm, who was not involved with the study.
CORRECTION LETTER FOR PEACH BOTTOM ATOMIC POWER STATION, UNIT 3 - SAFETY EVALUATION REGARDING SAFETY LIMIT MINIMUM CRITICAL POWER RATIO VALUE CHANGE (TAC NO. ME6391)
From Kyodo News:
The secretariat of the Nuclear Safety Commission of Japan proposed on Thursday expanding the maximum evacuation perimeter around a nuclear power plant to a 30-kilometer radius from the current 10 km in the event of a future nuclear accident.
The secretariat also proposed newly designating a 5-km radius around a nuclear plant as a zone from which people should immediately be evacuated following a plant accident.
The proposal was shown to the commission's working group reexamining evacuation rules for nuclear accidents in the wake of the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Fukushima Prefecture triggered by the massive earthquake and tsunami in March.