Wednesday, August 8, 2018

TMI, Peach Bottom: Staff Qualification Requirements Ammendments

Braidwood, Byron, Calvert Cliffs, Clinton, Dresden, FitzPatrick, LaSalle, Limerick, Nine Mile, Peach Bottom, Quad Cities, Ginna, Three Mile Island - Issuance Of Amendments to Relocate the Staff Qualification Requirements (EPID L-2018-LLA-0053)

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Department of Health and Department of Environmental Protection Report First Human Case of West Nile Virus in Pennsylvania in 2018

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
Dept. of Environmental Protection

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


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
07/27/2018

CONTACT:
Nate Wardle, DOH
717-787-1783
Neil Shader, DEP
717-787-1323


Department of Health and Department of Environmental Protection Report First Human Case of West Nile Virus in Pennsylvania in 2018
Pennsylvanians Reminded to Take Steps to Avoid Infection


Harrisburg, PA - Pennsylvania’s first probable human case of West Nile Virus (WNV) infection in 2018 has been detected in an Allegheny County resident. Samples are being sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for confirmatory testing. The Departments of Health and Environmental Protection strongly recommend that all residents minimize their exposure to mosquitoes.
 
“Detecting the first human case of West Nile Virus this year serves as a great reminder for Pennsylvanians to take the proper precautions when they are outside or near areas where mosquitoes are prevalent,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “With our recent heavy rains, Pennsylvanians may see an increase in mosquito activity. There are some simple steps you can take to protect yourself and your loved ones from mosquito-related diseases.”
 
Although mosquitoes can bite at any time of the day or night, the mosquitoes that transmit WNV are most active at dawn and dusk. When outdoors, people can avoid mosquito bites by properly and consistently using DEET-containing insect repellants and covering exposed skin with lightweight clothing. To keep mosquitoes from entering a home, make sure window and door screens are in place and are in good condition.
 
The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) conducts regular surveillance and control to manage mosquito populations around the state. So far, DEP has detected WNV-infected mosquitoes in 48 counties.
 
“Today’s announcement reminds all Pennsylvanians to be vigilant and take precautions to protect against mosquito bites. Using a personal insect repellant or staying indoors during dawn and dusk will help prevent exposure to mosquitoes,” said Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “DEP monitors mosquito populations across Pennsylvania for the presence of disease.”
 
The mosquitoes that transmit WNV breed in areas with standing and stagnant water. These areas can include urban catch basins, clogged gutters, discarded tires, poorly maintained swimming pools, flower pots and other types of plastic containers.
 
Simple steps to eliminate standing water around the home include:
 
Remove tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots, discarded tires or any object that could collect standing water. Drill holes in the bottom of recycling containers left outdoors.
Have roof gutters cleaned every year, particularly if the leaves from nearby trees have a tendency to clog the drains.
Turn over plastic wading pools and wheelbarrows when not in use.
Do not let water stagnate in birdbaths.
Aerate ornamental pools, or stock them with fish.
Clean and chlorinate swimming pools and remove standing water from pool covers.
Use landscaping to eliminate standing water that collects on your property.
Treat standing water that cannot be eliminated with Bti products which are sold at outdoor supply, home improvement and other stores. Bti is a natural product that kills mosquito larvae, but is safe for people, pets, aquatic life and plants.
 
DEP will continue to survey affected communities to monitor mosquito activity and WNV. DEP biologists have initiated a survey of the mosquito population to determine the risk for further human illness. If necessary, adult mosquito populations will be reduced. These efforts will continue through October.
 
For a fact sheet on WNV, including symptoms, please click on the Department of Health’s West Nile Virus Fact Sheet.
 
For more information, including current WNV test results for mosquitoes, birds and horses, visit http://www.westnile.state.pa.us/ and click on Surveillance Maps and Tables, or call 1-877-PA HEALTH.
 
For more information on West Nile Virus, visit www.health.pa.gov or www.dep.pa.gov or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

NRC Makes Available for Public Review Peach Bottom’s Subsequent License Renewal Application‌

Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Press Release
No: 18-033 July 26, 2018
CONTACT: Scott Burnell, 301-415-8200
 

NRC Makes Available for Public Review Peach Bottom’s Subsequent License Renewal Application

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has received a subsequent license renewal application from Exelon Generation Co. LLC, which requests an additional 20 years for the already-renewed operating licenses of Peach Bottom Units 2 and 3. The application is now available for public review on the NRC website.
 
Exelon filed the application July 10, seeking to renew the licenses for a second time. The Peach Bottom units are boiling-water reactors, located approximately 18 miles south of Lancaster, Pa. The NRC approved the initial license renewal in May 2003, with Unit 2 currently licensed to operate through Aug. 8, 2033, and Unit 3 through July 2, 2034.
 
The NRC staff is reviewing the application to determine if it has sufficient information to complete the agency’s extensive safety and environmental reviews. If the application is determined to be complete, the staff will docket it and publish a notice of opportunity to request an adjudicatory hearing before the NRC’s Atomic Safety and Licensing Board.
 
Information about the license renewal process is available on the NRC website. A copy of the Peach Bottom subsequent license renewal application will be available at the Harford County Public Library, 2407 Whiteford Road, in Whiteford, Md.

Exelon Generation headquarters mulling move from Kennett Square

From Chester County Press:

In what can best be called a “kicking the tires” phase, Exelon Generation, a subsidiary of Exelon Corp., is in the early stages of exploring the option of moving its Kennett Square headquarters, where 700 employees work in two buildings, located at 200 and 300 Exelon Way.
An official statement from the subsidiary, provided to the Chester County Press by David Tillman, director of nuclear communications, reads:
“As part of our cost saving efforts, Exelon Generation’s real estate and facilities team is currently exploring location options for our Kennett Square headquarters.  While our lease doesn’t expire until late 2020, we are being proactive and expect to have a decision by the end of this year.”

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ANS Nuclear Policy Wire 7/24

From ANS Nuclear Policy Wire 7/24:

Last night, House and Senate members released the conference report on the FY 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Included is language that will allow the Secretary of Energy to delegate approval authority for low-risk civil nuclear exports.

While the provision does not apply to China, which represents the bulk of the current international market, it is nonetheless a small but important step in streamlining the current export approval process.

A big thanks to ANS members who weighed in with their House members to support the Society's campaign on this issue.

The House will vote on the conferenced language on Thursday; the Senate will follow shortly after.

NRC Names New Director of the Agency’s Office of Investigations

       Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Press Release
No: 18-032 July 23, 2018
CONTACT: Office of Public Affairs, 301-415-8200

NRC Names New Director of the Agency’s Office of Investigations

Edward “Andy” Shuttleworth has been selected as the new director of the agency’s Office of Investigations.

Shuttleworth most recently served as Acting Assistant Director for Intelligence at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Department of Homeland Security Investigations. He has held a number of leadership positions within HSI, including Deputy Assistant Director for Intelligence Operations; Director, DHS’s Human Smuggling Cell; Unit Chief, Intellectual Property Crimes Unit at the National Intellectual Property Rights Center; and Assistant Special Agent in Charge, Laredo, Texas.

“We are pleased to welcome Andy to our team,” said NRC’s Executive Director for Operations Margaret Doane. “He brings more than 30 years of law enforcement experience to the NRC, and will play a key role in upholding the agency’s mission of public health and safety.”

The Office of Investigations develops policy, procedures, and standards for conducting all NRC investigations of alleged wrongdoing by licensees and other entities. OI conducts and supervises investigations within the scope of NRC authority except those of NRC employees and contractors. OI maintains liaison with other agencies and organizations to ensure the timely exchange of information and makes appropriate referrals to the Department of Justice for prosecution of criminal violations.

Shuttleworth holds a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Troy University, Troy, Ala.

Peach Bottom: Information Request Re: Adopt 50.69 License Amendment

Peach Bottom Units 2 and 3 - Request for Additional Information 2nd Round (FINAL) - Adopt 50.69 License  Amendment (EPID L-2017-LLA-0281)

ADAMS Accession:  ML18200A274

NRC Announces Hearing Opportunity on Holtec Application For Proposed New Mexico Spent Fuel Storage Facility‌

Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Press Release
No: 18-031 July 18, 2018
CONTACT: David McIntyre, 301-415-8200

NRC Announces Hearing Opportunity on Holtec Application For Proposed New Mexico Spent Fuel Storage Facility

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has announced an opportunity for the public to request an adjudicatory hearing on Holtec International’s application for a license to construct and operate a consolidated interim storage facility for commercial spent nuclear fuel in Lea County, N.M.

The announcement, published July 16 in the Federal Register, describes the requirements and procedures for filing a request for a hearing and petition to intervene. The deadline for requests is Sept. 14.

Holtec submitted its application March 30, 2017. The company intends initially to store 500 canisters holding approximately 8,680 metric tons of spent fuel, and eventually to store up to
10,000 canisters at a dry cask storage facility located about halfway between Carlsbad and Hobbs, N.M. The NRC formally docketed the application Feb. 28, and published a Federal Register notice March 30, initiating its environmental review. The period for submitting public comments on the scope of the environmental review closes July 30.

If granted, a hearing would be held before three administrative judges appointed from the NRC’s Atomic Safety and Licensing Board Panel. Hearing contentions may raise issues of law or fact with Holtec’s application.

TMI, Peach Bottom, etc: ASME Code Cases N-878, N-879, and N-880

Braidwood Station, Units 1 and 2; Byron Station, Unit Nos. 1 and 2; Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant, Units 1 and 2; Clinton Power Station, Unit No. 1; Dresden Nuclear Power Station, Units 2 and 3; James Fitzpatrick Nuclear Power Plant; LaSalle County Station, Units 1 and 2; Limerick Generating Station, Units 1 and 2; Nine Mile Point Nuclear Station, Units 1 and 2; Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station, Units 2 and 3; Quad Cities Nuclear Power Station, Units 1 and 2; R. E. Ginna Nuclear Power Plant; and Three Mile Island Nuclear Station, Unit 1 – Supplemental Information Needed for Acceptance of Requests to Use ASME Code Cases N-878, N-879, and N-880

ADAMS Accession No. ML18186A545

Monday, July 30, 2018

Limerick, Peach Bottom: Environmental Assessment Re: Ammendment to Change Emergency Plan

Limerick Generating Station, Units 1 and 2, and Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station, Units 1, 2, and 3-Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact Regarding License Amendment Request to Change Emergency Plan Staffing (EPID L-2018-LLA-0150)

ADAMS Accession No. ML18172A215

Exelon Request to Revise Average Power Range Monitor Requirements

2018/07/11 NRR E-mail Capture - Exelon Fleet License Amendment Request to Revise Average Power Range Monitor Requirements (EPID L-2018-LLA-0167)

ADAMS Accession No. ML18192B622

Peach Bottom: License Ammendment

Subject: Peach Bottom Units 2 and 3 - Request for Additional Information 2nd Round (FINAL) - Adopt 50.69 License Amendment (EPID L-2017-LLA-0281)

ADAMS Accession No. ML18192A119

Peach Bottom: Reevaluated Seismic Hazard Implementing Near-Term Task Force Recommendation

Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station, Units 2 and 3 – Staff Review of Spent Fuel Pool Evaluation Associated with Reevaluated Seismic Hazard Implementing Near-Term Task Force Recommendation 2.1 : Seismic

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Peach Bottom: Acceptance Review Re SRV/SV

Acceptance Review for Peach Bottom - License Amendment Request for TS Changes related to SRV/SV  Availability (EPID L-2018-LLA-0151)

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Susquehanna: Ammendment Re: Secondary Containment Surveillance Requirements

Susquehanna, Units 1 and 2 - Issuance of Amendment Nos. 270 and 252, Adoption of Technical Specification Task Force (TSTF) Traveler TSTF-551, Revision 3, "Revise Secondary Containment Surveillance Requirements" (EPID L-2017-LLA-0410)

ADAMS Accession No. ML18150A281

TMI: Biennial Problem Identification & Resolution Report

THREE MILE ISLAND STATION UNIT 1 – BIENNIAL PROBLEM IDENTIFICATION
AND RESOLUTION INSPECTION REPORT 05000289/2018012

ADAMS Accession No.  ML18178A047

Peach Bottom: 1-Time Change Susepending EDG Surveillance Requirements

Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station, Units 2 and 3-Issuance of Amendment Nos. 318 & 321 to Revise Technical Specifications 3.8.1 and 3.8.3, One-Time Change Suspending EDG Surveillance Test Completion Requirements (EMERGENCY SITUATION)(EPID L-2018-LLA-0173)

ADAMS Accession No. ML18173A042

Friday, June 22, 2018

NRC Begins Special Inspection at Clinton Nuclear Plant

Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Press Release
No: III-18-022 June 21, 2018
Contact: Viktoria Mitlyng, 630-829-9662 Prema Chandrathil, 630-829-9663

NRC Begins Special Inspection at Clinton Nuclear Plant


The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has launched a Special Inspection at the Clinton nuclear power plant to review the circumstances surrounding the inoperability of the emergency diesel generators for approximately three days during a recent refueling outage. The inspection began Wednesday.

The three-member team will review the sequence of events, and the licensee’s root cause analysis, determine the probable causes, evaluate Exelon’s compliance to shutdown procedures, and assess the corrective actions to address the inoperability. The team will spend time both on and off site. After the inspection, a report documenting the team’s findings will be issued and made publicly available.

The single-unit plant is operated by Exelon Generation Co., and is located in Clinton, Ill., about 23 miles southeast of Bloomington.

Per NRC regulations, at least one emergency diesel generator must be operable during a refueling outage. Emergency diesel generators are safety-related systems designed to provide power to the site if there is a loss of offsite power.

During the May outage, plant workers removed each emergency diesel generator from service one at a time to perform maintenance activities. However, as they were working on the second diesel, a plant worker discovered that the first diesel was not completely restored to an operable status. Once the issue was identified, workers took immediate action to restore one diesel generator to operable service as required per regulations.

TMI: Unit 2 Inspection Report

Inspection Report, Three Mile Island, Unit 2
 
ADAMS Accession No. ML18144A397

TMI: Unit 1 Problem Identification and Resolution Cyber Security Inspection Report


THREE MILE ISLAND NUCLEAR GENERATING STATION, UNIT 1 PROBLEM IDENTIFICATION AND RESOLUTION CYBER SECURITY INSPECTION REPORT 05000289/2017405
ADAMS Accession No.  ML17338A056


TMI: Integrated Inspection Report

THREE MILE ISLAND STATION, UNIT 1 – INTEGRATED INSPECTION REPORT 5000289/2017003

ADAMS ACCESSION NO.  ML17299A150

TMI: Unit 1 Deisgn Bases Assurance Inspection Report


THREE MILE ISLAND NUCLEAR GENERATING STATION – UNIT 1 DESIGN BASES ASSURANCE INSPECTION (TEAM) REPORT 05000289/2018010
ADAMS ACCESSION NO.   ML18122A085


Letter to Power Reactor Licensees: NRC Analysis of Decommissioning Funding Status Reports

Letter to Power Reactor Licensees - U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Analysis of Licensees' 2017 Decommissioning Funding Status Reports
 
ADAMS Accession No. ML18122A001

Peach Bottom: NRC Inspection Report


Exelon Generation Company, LLC, Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station Unit 1 - NRC Inspection Report No. 05000171/2018001
ADAMS Accession No. ML18145A093


Peach Bottom: Safety Evaulation GVRR-2 Re: Fifth 10-Year Interval of Inservice Testing


Subject:                Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station, Units 2 and 3 - Safety Evaluation of Relief Request GVRR-2 Regarding the Fifth 10-Year Interval of the Inservice Testing Program   (EPID NO. L-2017-LLR-0094)
ADAMS Accession No. ML18141A600


Summary: Exelon Meeting Re: Amendment to Increase Power Level Steps for Lefms


Subject:  Summary Of May 31, 2018, Meeting with Exelon Generation Company, Llc Regarding the Potential License Amendment Request to Increase the Number Of Power Level Steps for the Use of Lefms At Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station, Units 2 and 3 (Pbaps)
ADAMS Accession:  ML18152A986


Summary: License Amendment Request Re: Atrium 11 for Susquehanna


Subject:  Summary of May 15, 2018, Closed Pre-Submittal Meeting with Susquehanna Nuclear, LLC to Discuss a Potential License Amendment Request Re: the Use of Atrium 11 Fuel for Susquehanna Steam Electric Station, Units 1 and 2.
ADAMS Accession:  ML18156A263


NRC to Conduct Public Webinar on Oyster Creek Nuclear Power Plant Decommissioning Topics


Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Press Release
No: I-18-016 June 20, 2018
Contact: Diane Screnci, 610-337-5330 Neil Sheehan, 610-337-5331

NRC to Conduct Public Webinar on Oyster Creek

Nuclear Power Plant Decommissioning Topics

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff will present a webinar for interested members of the public on July 2 regarding the decommissioning of the Oyster Creek nuclear power plant, located in Lacey Township (Ocean County), N.J.

The purpose of the webinar is to provide key facts about the decommissioning process and how the NRC regulates such activities through on-site inspections and other reviews.

The webinar will begin at 1 p.m. Participants will be able to view slides prepared by NRC staff and ask questions in writing via a webpage set up to host the session. Online registration is required to take part.

The NRC will also hold a public meeting in Lacey Township on July 17 to discuss and accept public comments on the Post-Shutdown Decommissioning Activities Report for Oyster Creek submitted by Exelon.

Oyster Creek is scheduled to permanently cease operations in September.


Request for Withholding Information From Public Disclosure For TMI Nuclear Station, Unit 1

Request for Withholding Information From Public Disclosure For Three Mile Island Nuclear Station, Unit 1

Download ML18159A463

Friday, June 1, 2018

Senate confirms Caputo, Wright, Baran as NRC commissioners

The U.S. Senate confirmed Annie Caputo and David Wright to serve as commissioners of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and reconfirmed Jeffrey Baran to serve a second term as commissioner, with unanimous consent on Thursday.

The U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee advanced Caputo and Wright’s nominations in June 2017 and Baran’s nomination in October. U.S. Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), the chairman of the committee, applauded the confirmation votes on Thursday.

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ANS Nuclear Policy Wire 5/25


The Yeas Have It

The Senate Appropriations Committee passed their FY 2019 Energy & Water appropriations bill yesterday, which includes $1.2 billion appropriated for the Office of Nuclear Energy, a $1 million increase from FY 2018. The report is available here
In comparison, the House's bill includes $1.35 billion appropriated for the Office of Nuclear Energy, a $141 million increase from FY 2018. The next step for each bill will be floor consideration. 


Three Mile Island’s future looks bleaker as it fails at power auction

The future of Exelon’s unprofitable Three Mile Island nuclear power plant looks even bleaker after company said today it failed at an annual auction for the future sale of its electricity.
In addition to TMI, Exelon’s Dresden and Byron plants (both in Illinois) did not clear in the 2021-2022 auction to supply the Mid-Atlantic and Midwest regional power grid, known as PJM Interconnection.
Failing to clear the auction means the plants are not able to produce power at a price the market is willing to pay. Exelon says TMI has been unprofitable for six years.

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NRC, FERC Commissioners Schedule Joint Meeting to Discuss Grid Reliability, Reactor Issues‌

Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Press Release
No: 18-021 May 24, 2018
CONTACT: Scott Burnell, 301-415-8200

NRC, FERC Commissioners Schedule Joint Meeting to Discuss Grid Reliability, Reactor Issues

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will hold a joint meeting Thursday, June 7, at FERC headquarters in Washington, D.C.
The meeting, to be held at 888 First St., NE, in Washington, will begin at 9 a.m., and end at approximately 11:15 a.m. Staff members from both agencies and the North American Electric Reliability Corporation will brief NRC and FERC Commissioners on topics to include grid reliability, operating reactor issues, reactor decommissioning, new reactor construction, small modular and advanced reactor activities, and cybersecurity.
FERC encourages those planning to attend to allow enough time for security screening in advance of the meeting. The meeting will also be available via webcast.

NRC Oversight Workshop to Focus on Vendor Inspection Activities


Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Press Release
No: 18-020 May 24, 2018
CONTACT: Scott Burnell, 301-415-8200

NRC Oversight Workshop to Focus on Vendor Inspection Activities

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is hosting its sixth Workshop on Vendor Oversight on June 14 in Cleveland.

The workshop, which is open to the public, will run from 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m., at the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel, 24 Public Square. Workshop presenters will include representatives from the NRC, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Electric Power Research Institute, the Edison Welding Institute, Luminant Power, Paragon Energy Solutions and Westinghouse.

The NRC encourages those interested in attending the workshop to pre-register by June 1 before 1 p.m. Individuals needing reasonable accommodations to participate in the workshop should contact Nicholas Savwoir by June 11, via e-mail at Nicholas.Savwoir@nrc.gov or via phone at (301) 415-0256.

The NRC staff expects the workshop will bring together members of the public, licensees, applicants, industry organizations, and vendors of safety-related parts, materials, and services. Workshop sessions will cover topics including counterfeit, fraudulent, or suspect items; supplier oversight challenges; commercial-grade dedication; reverse engineering; additive manufacturing (e.g., 3D printing); and safety culture. NRC staff will be available at the end of each workshop session for additional discussions.


Saturday, May 19, 2018

Susquehanna: Cyber-Security Inspection

SUSQUEHANNA STEAM ELECTRIC STATION, UNITS 1 AND 2 INFORMATION REQUEST FOR THE CYBER-SECURITY INSPECTION NOTIFICATION TO PERFORM INSPECTION 05000387/2018403 AND 05000388/2018403

ADAMS ACCESSION NO. ML18136A614

NRC to Hold Open House to Discuss Peach Bottom Power Plant 2017 Safety Performance


Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff will discuss the 2017 safety performance of the Peach Bottom nuclear power plant, operated by Exelon, during an open house on May 24 in Holtwood, Pa. The open house, which will be held at the Muddy Run Visitor Center, 172 Bethesda Church Road West, will held 5:30-7 p.m. NRC staff responsible for inspections, including the resident inspectors assigned to Peach Bottom on a full-time basis, will be available to discuss the plant’s performance.
Peach Bottom operated safely during 2017. At the end of last year, all inspection findings and performance indicators for the plant were green, or of very low safety significance. As a result, the plant will receive the normal level of oversight in 2018, which entails thousands of hours of inspection each year.
The NRC Reactor Oversight Process uses color-coded inspection findings and indicators to describe plant performance. The colors start at green and increase to white, yellow or red, commensurate with the safety significance of the issues involved. Inspection findings or performance indicators with more than very low safety significance trigger increased NRC oversight.
Inspections are performed by two NRC resident inspectors and inspection specialists from the agency’s Region I Office in King of Prussia, Pa.
The annual assessment letter, as well as the notice for the open house, are available on the NRC website. Current plant performance information for Peach Bottom Unit 2 and Unit 3 is also available.

Letter to Power Reactor Licensees: 2017 Decomissioning Funding

Letter to Power Reactor Licensees - U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Analysis of Licensees' 2017 Decommissioning Funding Status Reports.

ADAMS Accession No. ML18122A001

Subsidies for Uneconomic Power Plants Wrong Choice, Broad Energy Coalition Opposes Federal Action Based on Faulty Factual and Legal Premise

Subsidies for Uneconomic Power Plants Wrong Choice, Broad Energy Coalition Opposes Federal Action Based on Faulty Factual and Legal Premise 
Natural Gas-Renewables-Power-Efficiency Groups Submit Legal Analysis Showing No ‘Emergency’ Justifying Action Under Existing Federal Authorities, Inappropriate to Long-term Market Support of Uneconomic Power Plants 
Washington, D.C., May 8, 2018 – An unusual coalition representing natural gas, power, renewable energy and energy efficiency industry associations submitted a legal analysis to the Department of Energy (DOE) late Monday opposing federal use of emergency authority to provide a long-term subsidy for aging and uneconomic power plants that would otherwise retire. Such federal action is under consideration following a request from FirstEnergy Solutions (FES), an owner of power plants now in bankruptcy proceedings.
The industry groups’ legal analysis notes that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission recently rejected a similar proposal from DOE and initiated a broader review of electric power system “resilience” to determine whether any change in market rules is needed. FES has since petitioned DOE to use its emergency powers under Section 202(c) of the Federal Power Act to prevent the company’s power plants from closing, and others have pointed to even more obscure statutory provisions to seek similar action.
The analysis refutes that an “emergency” exists requiring the use of emergency authorities, pointing out that none of the referenced emergency authorities appropriately apply to the requested relief for power plants whose retirements do not threaten the reliability of electric power.
The legal analysis makes the following key points:
  1. The orderly retirement of inefficient, aging power plants in 2020 and 2021 does not constitute an emergency. “FirstEnergy’s claim that an emergency exists rests entirely on the observation that some coal and nuclear plants – most importantly those owned by FirstEnergy – are losing money and are therefore likely to retire in the coming years. That is not an emergency. The retirements [First Energy cites] will unfold over a period of years and will be carefully planned.” (page 3) Further to this point, the paper quotes grid operator PJM Interconnection’s recent response to FirstEnergy’s petition: “…the PJM Transmission System will remain reliable and therefore the generating units listed above may plan to deactivate as scheduled.” (See page 3.) 
  1. DOE must reject FirstEnergy’s petition under Section 202(c) to provide above-market pricing to power plants. “Section 202(c) authorizes the Department to order generators to run during times of war or other emergencies … The orderly retirement of power plants in PJM will unfold over a period of years and in the context of ample supply of generating capacity. There is no ‘emergency’ that could serve as the basis for using … Section 202(c).” (page 5) “FirstEnergy’s petition seeks to stretch Section 202(c) far beyond what its text can support… It does not give the Department authority to set national energy policy or to advantage one type of fuel for electric generation over others.” (See page 5.)
  1. The Defense Production Act does not contain authority to provide above-market pricing to power plants. “The Defense Production Act allows certain types of market interventions that are rare in American law. Even so, as broad as it is, the DPA is not broad enough to do what the supporters of these uneconomic power plants would like. The DPA does not allow the government to set prices. Nor does it allow the government to force market participants to buy products or services they do not wish to buy.” (See page 7.) 
  1. Section 215A of the Federal Power Act authorizes only temporary measures in response to grid security emergencies. The 2015 FAST Act added Section 215A to the Federal Power Act authorizing DOE to issues emergency measures in response to a ‘grid security emergency,” defined as cyberattacks, EMP attacks, geomagnetic storms and direct physical attacks with significant adverse effects on the reliability of critical electric infrastructure. “The retirement of coal and nuclear plants would not, of course, fit within any of these categories.” (page10) “Orders for ‘emergency measures’ may last only 15 days before an additional emergency finding is required. The 15-day limitation shows clear that … Congress meant them in the ordinary sense that emergency measures are temporary and short-lived. FirstEnergy’s request that certain favored power plants receive rate recovery for four years...would far exceed an authority limited to providing temporary, emergency relief.” (See pages 11-12.)
Media Contacts:Advanced Energy Economy: Monique Hanis, mhanis@aee.net, 202-236-8220American Petroleum Institute: Mike Tadeo, tadeom@api.org202-682-8540American Wind Energy Association: Evan Vaughan, evaughan@awea.org, 202.431.4640Electric Power Supply Association: Nancy Bagot, nbagot@epsa.orgInterstate Natural Gas Association of America: Cathy Landry, clandry@ingaa.org, 202-216-5913Natural Gas Supply Association: Daphne Magnuson, daphne.magnuson@ngsa.org 202-326-9314      
See this statement online here.