Saturday, January 5, 2019

DEP Encourages Pennsylvanians to Test Homes for Radon

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
Dept. of Environmental Protection

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


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
01/2/2019

CONTACT:
Deb Klenotic, DEP
717-783-9954


DEP Encourages Pennsylvanians to Test Homes for Radon
Winter is the ideal time to test for this naturally occurring radioactive gas, the second leading cause of lung cancer


Harrisburg, PA – The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) encourages Pennsylvanians to start off the new year by conducting a simple test of their homes for radon, a naturally occurring radioactive gas that is the second leading cause of lung cancer. Winter is a good time to test in the commonwealth because doors and windows are closed, providing more accurate results.

“Because of our geology, nearly every county in the commonwealth has locations of high radon levels, putting Pennsylvanians at risk of exposure,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “A radon test is a great way to protect yourself and your family. Fortunately, testing your home for radon is as simple as opening a can, and inexpensive do-it-yourself tests are available at hardware and home stores.” 

“Radon is a leading cause of lung cancer in Pennsylvania,” Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said. “Since we know that radon is prevalent in homes across Pennsylvania, it is important to test your home. It is a simple step you can take to protect your family’s health.”

Radon is an odorless, colorless, radioactive gas that occurs from the breakdown of uranium in the ground. It enters homes through cracks in the foundation or other openings. As a result, high levels of radon tend to be found in basements, but the gas can be found anywhere in the home.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set 4 picocuries of radon per liter (pCi/L) of air as an Action Level. If your radon level is higher than this, EPA, DEP, and the U.S. Surgeon General recommend having a radon mitigation system professionally installed to lower it. Typically consisting of a pipe and exhaust fan, the system will vent radon to the outside. 

All radon testers, mitigators, and laboratories in Pennsylvania must be certified by DEP, which provides a public list of certified radon service providers. People can also obtain a hard copy or verify a company’s certification by calling DEP at 800-23RADON (800-237-2366).

DEP will send free follow-up test kits to Pennsylvanians who’ve tested their homes and have results higher than 100 pCi/L or who’ve installed an active mitigation system in the past year. 

Compared with the associated risk of lung cancer, a radon reduction system is very affordable, generally in the price range of other common home improvements. 

Having a system installed will also make the future sale of your home easier. If you’re building a new home, DEP recommends installing a passive radon system during construction. There is no reliable way to test the ground in advance for radon, and the cost of installing the radon system during construction is typically much less than installing one after the fact.

For people buying or selling a home, Pennsylvania’s Real Estate Seller Disclosure Act requires sellers to disclose the results of any known radon testing. The DEP website lists radon testing options for real estate transactions

DEP provides several downloadable radon publications and is posting radon tips on Facebook and Twitter and airing a public service announcement throughout January, National Radon Action Month. 

For more information, please contact the DEP Radon Division via phone at 800-237-2366 or 717-783-3594, or via email at ra-epbrpenvprt@pa.gov.

Peach Bottom: Use of ASME Code Case N-513-3

Subject:  Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station, Units 2 and 3 - Issuance of Relief Request Re:  Use of ASME Code Case N-513-3 in Lieu of Specific ASME Code Requirements (EPID L-2018-LLR-0040)

ADAMS Accession:  ML18346A500

Peach Bottom: Site Inspection for License Renewal

Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station - Post-Approval Site Inspection for License Renewal (Phase 4) Inspection Report 05000277/2018011 and 05000278/2018011

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Wednesday, January 2, 2019

NRC Proposes $232,000 Fine to Wolf Creek Nuclear Operating Corporation


Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Press Release
No: 18-063 December 18, 2018
CONTACT: Scott Burnell, 301-415-8200

NRC Proposes $232,000 Fine to Wolf Creek Nuclear Operating Corporation

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is proposing a $232,000 civil penalty to Wolf Creek Nuclear Operating Corporation for a Severity Level II violation related to retaliation against a contract employee who reported a safety concern at the Wolf Creek nuclear power plant near Burlington, Kansas.

The violation of NRC requirements for employee protection is related to the contract employee filing a condition report during Wolf Creek’s 2016 refueling outage, as well as raising concerns directly to plant management. The NRC’s investigation concluded that the plant retaliated against the contract employee with an adverse employment action.

NRC staff met with company representatives on Sept. 10 to discuss the violation in a pre-decisional enforcement conference. Company officials contested the violation while also providing the NRC with 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: Inspection & Fuel Storage Installation Report


SUBJECT: ERRATA FOR PEACH BOTTOM ATOMIC POWER STATION – INTEGRATED INSPECTION REPORT 05000277/2018002 AND 05000278/2018002 AND INDEPENDENT SPENT FUEL STORAGE INSTALLATION REPORT 07200029/2018002 

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NRC Proposes $3,500 Fine Against Delaware Firm for Loss of Radioactive Seeds


No: I-18-023 December 4, 2018 Contact: Diane Screnci, 610-337-5330
Neil Sheehan, 610-337-5331 

NRC Proposes $3,500 Fine Against Delaware Firm
for Loss of Radioactive Seeds 

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has proposed a $3,500 civil penalty to a Delaware medical firm for failing to properly secure licensed nuclear material.
On May 30, a physicist for Christiana Care Health Services discovered that 50 iodine-125 seeds were missing from a lab at the firm’s offices in Newark, Del. The seeds are implanted into patients for the treatment of different types of cancer. Reviews performed by the company determined that seeds were on trays in the lab and inadvertently removed on March 16 for recycling. It is believed the trays were later picked up by a recycling company.
Christiana Care asked the recycling firm if the boxes holding the materials could be retrieved but was told that was not possible. The seeds were not recovered.
The NRC performed inspections at Christiana Care offices in response to the event. During these reviews, the agency identified one apparent violation: the company’s failure to properly control and maintain surveillance of licensed nuclear material that was in a controlled or unrestricted area that was not in storage.
In light of the low radiation levels associated with the materials involved, no adverse health impacts on workers or members of the public are anticipated because of the incident.
The company will have 30 days to pay the fine or to appeal the decision.

Exelon: Fleet Request to use ASME Code Cases N-878 and N-880

Exelon Generation Company, LLC - Fleet Request to use ASME Code Cases N-878 and N-880 (EPID L-2018-LLR-0077)

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Researchers evaluate studies supporting state subsidies for nuclear plants

An intensive public debate is occurring in states with competitive electricity markets about the future of their existing nuclear generation plants. A team of Penn State researchers examined the set of studies that has been used in legislative discussions to provide evidence in support of subsidy programs.

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NRC Proposes $3,500 Fine Against Delaware Firm for Loss of Radioactive Seeds


No: I-18-023 December 4, 2018 Contact: Diane Screnci, 610-337-5330
Neil Sheehan, 610-337-5331
 
NRC Proposes $3,500 Fine Against Delaware Firm
for Loss of Radioactive Seeds

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has proposed a $3,500 civil penalty to a Delaware medical firm for failing to properly secure licensed nuclear material.
On May 30, a physicist for Christiana Care Health Services discovered that 50 iodine-125 seeds were missing from a lab at the firm’s offices in Newark, Del. The seeds are implanted into patients for the treatment of different types of cancer. Reviews performed by the company determined that seeds were on trays in the lab and inadvertently removed on March 16 for recycling. It is believed the trays were later picked up by a recycling company.
Christiana Care asked the recycling firm if the boxes holding the materials could be retrieved but was told that was not possible. The seeds were not recovered.
The NRC performed inspections at Christiana Care offices in response to the event. During these reviews, the agency identified one apparent violation: the company’s failure to properly control and maintain surveillance of licensed nuclear material that was in a controlled or unrestricted area that was not in storage.
In light of the low radiation levels associated with the materials involved, no adverse health impacts on workers or members of the public are anticipated because of the incident.
The company will have 30 days to pay the fine or to appeal the decision.

Exelon: Request to Revise Technical Specifications for High Radiation Areas

Subject: Summary of November 19, 2018, Meeting with Exelon Generation Company, LLC Regarding Planned Fleet License Amendment Request to Revise Technical Specifications for High Radiation Areas (EPID L-2018-LRM-0068)

ADAMS Accession No. ML18325A171

NRC Schedules Regulatory Conference to Discuss Preliminary Inspection Finding at Clinton Nuclear Power Plant

Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Press Release
No: III-18-030 November 28, 2018

NRC Schedules Regulatory Conference to Discuss

Preliminary Inspection Finding at Clinton Nuclear Power Plant


The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will meet with Exelon Generation officials on Nov. 30 to discuss a preliminary inspection finding regarding the licensee’s failure to follow multiple procedures to ensure an emergency diesel generator was operable during a recent refueling outage at the Clinton nuclear power plant, located in Clinton, Ill.

The 1 p.m., meeting will be open to the public and will be held at the NRC’s Region III office, located at 2443 Warrenville Road, Suite 210, in Lisle, Ill. A phone bridge line is available at 1-877-952-8632, passcode 13959#. Following the NRC’s discussion with Exelon, members of the public will be able to ask questions of agency staff.

The NRC inspection report documents the apparent violation, preliminarily determined to be of low to moderate (white) safety significance. The NRC evaluates regulatory performance at commercial nuclear plants with a color-coded process that classifies inspection findings as green, white, yellow or red in order of increasing safety significance.

The NRC officials will not make a decision on this issue at the meeting, rather they will carefully review the information provided. The decision will be documented in publicly available correspondence.

Pre-Submittal Meeting with Susquehanna: Water Piping Replacement

Subject: Summary of November 5, 2018, Pre-Submittal Meeting with Susquehanna Nuclear, LLC to Discuss a Potential License Amendment Request Re: Emergency Service Water Piping Replacement for Susquehanna Steam Electric Station, Units 1 and 2 (EPID L-2018-LRM-0030)

ADAMS Accession No. ML18311A262


Nuclear Bailouts Undermine Energy Independence

The nuclear industry is well-financed and heavily subsidized by the federal government. Nuclear has shed its radioactive wardrobe and proclaimed it now clean and green. The industry, despite it's history of bailouts, wants more subsidies under the guise of green sheen.

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