Saturday, July 13, 2024

U.S. Solar and Wind Power Generation Tops Nuclear for First Time |

Electricity generation from solar and wind hit a record-high of 401.4 terawatt hours (TWh) between January and June 2024, surpassing the 390.5 TWh of power generated from nuclear power plants, Ember’s data showed.

Friday, July 12, 2024

Duke is again considering Levy County site for new nuclear plant

Duke is again considering Levy County site for new nuclear plant

The proposal could revive a major fight from over a decade ago, where a plan to build a different type of nuclear plant met resistance from environmentalists and consumer advocates.

Avatar of Bruce Ritchie BY:  | 07/11/2024 06:42 AM EDT

Two cooling towers are seen at a nuclear reactor facility.

Duke Energy is considering putting a nuclear power plant in Levy County, Florida.Mike Stewart/AP

ENERGYWIRE | TALLAHASSEE, Florida — Duke Energy Florida is again considering putting a nuclear power plant on 5,000 acres it owns in Levy County, regulatory documents reviewed by POLITICO reveal, as state and federal officials encourage the expansion of nuclear energy.

Duke Energy has not publicized its plans. But documents filed with state regulators in April by the utility say that it is considering building a "next generation" nuclear plant at the site between 2038 and 2048. The proposal could revive a major fight from over a decade ago, where a plan to build a different type of nuclear plant met resistance from environmentalists and consumer advocates.

The utility's pending decision was buried in testimony filed as part of a three-year, $818-million rate hike request filed with the Public Service Commission. The request includes a proposal to charge consumers a collective $94 million to hold the Levy County land for a future power plant.

Benjamin M.H. Borsch, the utility's managing director of integrated resource planning and analytics, said the company is considering placing a small modular nuclear reactor on the site. "The site remains especially valuable given its access to water, transportation, and transmission," Borsch said in written testimony.

Duke Energy in 2013 said it had eliminated the site from consideration for a different proposed nuclear project. Four years later, the utility signed a legal agreement canceling the project and absorbing $150 million in site costs.

Some project opponents said Wednesday they were surprised by the prospect of the new nuclear plant.

"I know it's a long way off," former Republican state Sen. Mike Fasano, now the Pasco County tax collector, told POLITICO. "My question would be, how much is it going to cost and who is going to pay for it?"

Duke spokesperson Audrey Stasko said via email the plant that was proposed prior to 2013 had been canceled, but nuclear energy remains an option "as utilities across the nation move toward a carbon free future." She did not respond Wednesday to questions about the cost and whether a federal license obtained in 2016 could still be used at the plant site.

Public Counsel Walt Trierweiler also declined to comment on the Levy County site, after contesting the utility's $94 million request to hold onto the site. His office announced Monday that it had reached a tentative agreement with Duke Energy to settle the overall rate request dispute.

President Joe Biden on Tuesday signed federal legislation intended to streamline the permitting process to encourage new nuclear plants, which his administration says can help battle climate change. And agency staff told the state Public Service Commission on Tuesday they have begun working on recommendations to encourage the development of advanced nuclear technology as required by state legislation, H.B. 1645 (24R), which Gov. Ron DeSantis signed May 15.

Duke Energy Florida and its predecessor, Progress Energy, collected more than $1 billion from customers for the two 1,100-megawatt nuclear units that had been planned at the Levy County site.

Duke announced in 2013 that it was abandoning the project because of delays in issuing the federal license and uncertainties about the future cost of the project.

Although the plant was never built, the utility said in 2013 it continued to regard the Levy site as a "viable option" for a nuclear plant. The utility continued pursuing the federal nuclear plant license.

In 2017, Duke Energy struck the deal with the Office of Public Counsel in which the utility agreed to write off the $150 million in site costs. The utility also was required to remove by 2019 the plant site from the base rates it charges customers.

As for the proposed Levy County nuclear plant, "this is putting the nails in the coffin and nailing it shut," then-Public Counsel J.R. Kelly said in 2016.

But that settlement also specifically allowed Duke to request customer charges for the plant site in the future.

Duke had not sought those charges in recent years. Borsch said in his April testimony that transmission line improvements scheduled between 2025 and 2030 would improve access to the plant site.

Helmuth W. Schultz III a regulatory consultant hired by Trierweiler to testify in the rate case, said the PSC should refuse to allow the company to collect from customers the $94 million to hold the site.

"There is no evidence that it is probable that the land will be used for a regulated project in the foreseeable near future," Schultz said in written testimony.

Borsch responded in testimony filed last week that the site's designation under federal legislation for additional clean energy credits makes it worth hundreds of millions of dollars more to customers.

Susan Glickman, a veteran environmental lobbyist, said Wednesday the possible new Duke project confirmed her concerns about the state legislation that seeks to encourage new nuclear plants, which she said are costly and take too much time to build.

"We don't want some new technology that has not been fully developed delaying the clean energy solutions that are readily available at low cost," she said. Glickman is vice president of policy and partnerships at the left-leaning CLEO Institute.

State Rep. Bobby Payne, a Republican from Palatka and who sponsored the recent legislation that DeSantis signed in May, told legislators in January that millions of dollars spent by the federal government on clean energy had led to only slight increases in its overall use.

"The NIMBY mentality has kept us from developing nuclear power in this area and all throughout the country," Payne told the state House Energy, Communications and Cybersecurity Subcommittee.


07/10/2024 - 07/11/2024


Power Reactor
Event Number: 57221
Facility: Peach Bottom
Region: 1     State: PA
Unit: [2] [] []
RX Type: [2] GE-4,[3] GE-4
NRC Notified By: Gino Lombardo
HQ OPS Officer: Eric SimpsonNotification Date: 07/10/2024
Notification Time: 11:15 [ET]
Event Date: 07/10/2024
Event Time: 07:28 [EDT]
Last Update Date: 07/11/2024Emergency Class: Non Emergency
10 CFR Section:
50.72(b)(2)(iv)(B) - RPS Actuation - Critical
50.72(b)(3)(iv)(A) - Valid Specif Sys ActuationPerson (Organization):
Henrion, Mark (R1DO)
Power Reactor Unit Info
UnitSCRAM CodeRX CritInitial PWRInitial RX ModeCurrent PWRCurrent RX Mode
2A/RY24Power Operation0Hot Shutdown
Event Text
EN Revision Imported Date: 7/11/2024


The following information was provided by the licensee via phone and email:

"At 0728 EDT on July 10, 2024, with Unit 2 in Mode 1 at 24 percent power, the reactor automatically scrammed due to a manual turbine trip. The [reactor] scram was not complex with all systems responding normally. Reactor vessel level reached the low-level set-point following the scram, resulting in valid Group 2 and Group 3 containment isolation signals. Due to the reactor protection system actuation while critical, this event is being reported as a four hour, non-emergency notification per 10 CFR 50.72(b)(2)(iv)(B) and an eight hour, non-emergency notification per 10 CFR 50.72(b)(3)(iv)(A) for the Group 2 and Group 3 isolations.

"Operations responded using emergency operating procedures and stabilized the plant in Mode 3. Decay heat is being removed by discharging steam to the main condenser using the turbine bypass valves. Unit 3 was not affected.

"There was no impact on the health and safety of the public or plant personnel. The NRC Resident Inspector has been notified."
Page Last Reviewed/Updated Thursday, July 11, 2024

Wednesday, July 10, 2024

NRC Publishes Annual Report to Congress on Security Inspections

No: 24-056 July 10, 2024
CONTACT: David McIntyre, 301-415-8200

NRC Publishes Annual Report to Congress on Security Inspections

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has posted an unclassified version of its annual
to Congress on the results of the agency’s security inspection activities in 2023.

The report covers the NRC’s security inspection program, including force-on-force
exercises, for commercial nuclear power reactors and Category I fuel cycle facilities. The report
keeps Congress and the public informed of the NRC’s efforts to oversee the protection of the
nation’s civilian nuclear power infrastructure and strategic special nuclear material.

In 2023, the NRC conducted 184 security inspections at commercial nuclear power plants
and Category I fuel cycle facilities. These included 18 force-on-force inspections, held every
three years at nuclear power plants, involving simulated attacks to test the effectiveness of a
licensee’s physical protection program. The publicly available inspection results are discussed in
the report.

When NRC inspectors identify a security finding, they ensure that the licensee corrects
the situation in a timely manner. Details of security findings are considered sensitive and not
released to the public.

Fwd: DOE Seeks Input on Federal Consolidated Interim Storage Facility for Spent Nuclear Fuel

Monday, July 8, 2024



Hello friends,

I owe you an apology.

Last time I wrote to you, I breezily promised it would be the first of monthly updates through 2024. And then...nothing!

I'm not so self-important as to imagine anyone's been crying into their inboxes wondering where the emails from me have gone (!) But I certainly don't take for granted anyone who's been kind enough to entrust me with their email address, so I wanted to explain where I've been.

And more importantly, what's coming next for this newsletter.

The short answer is, I started playing in the Substack playground.

My publication on Substack is called 'Meandering Over the Pebbles' (you can read why I chose that name here).

And over the past 6 months, I've written a handful of standalone posts as well what I'm calling my 'Weekly Meanders' - updates from my week just gone with a focus on what I'm doing workwise, from screening 'The Atom: A Love Affair' and developing new film ideas to (so far, I have to confess, not very successfully!) working on my new life stories business.

Here are a few examples:

Happy Birthday, Mr Nader

Weekly Meander #12: The productivity paradox

Weekly Meander #16: Comparison (or, am I still a filmmaker?)

And honestly, I've been having such a good time over there I've decided to go all in and make it the main hub for my online life...

What this means is that over the next couple of weeks I'll be porting this mailing list over to Substack - and using it as my main way of keeping in touch from now on.

From your point of view, nothing will change - you'll still get my messages delivered straight to your inbox just as you do now.

But... if you'd rather not keep hearing from me, you can absolutely just unsubscribe now and I won't transfer your email across. I may still use this original list to make one-off, big announcements (eg a new film, a new launch for the life stories business) but these will be very occasional.

Just click here and I'll take you off the list for the move over to Substack - there's no hard feelings at all and I'm just happy & thankful to have had you along for the ride up to this point.

Hopefully though you will want to stick around - in which case all you need to do is sit tight while I tinker under the bonnet.

I've got loads of exciting plans for my new online home, including:

  • a forthcoming nuclear-themed interview series

  • an atomic movie club 

  • an ongoing strand based on an A to Z rundown of my favourite feature documentaries 

Plus I'm now developing a new short documentary with the wonderful nuclear novelist Philippa Holloway, whom you'll hopefully remember from the online in-conversation event I organised with her last summer. And Substack will be the place to hear about that as it progresses over the second half of this year.

But at this point, I imagine you may be asking...

What even is Substack anyway?

I know I've mentioned it once or twice before - but I've also become increasingly aware from talking to people that it is still a relatively unknown platform. So I thought I'd do a little primer for you.

At its heart, Substack combines the functionality of a standard mailing list platform that delivers emails straight to your inbox (like Mailchimp, where this newsletter is currently hosted) with that of an old-style blogging platform, where every post remains live online and available to read at any time into the future.

But on top of that, it also has features you might recognise from other social media spaces: Substack Notes which is a little like Twitter; audio for podcasts, narrated versions of posts or voice notes to subscribers; and most recently video, offering options akin to YouTube, Instagram or TikTok. And it offers the possibility of hosting online communities through things like group video calls and private chat threads.

Plus, there's one more crucial difference compared with Facebook and the rest - there are no ads on Substack

The platform makes its money by taking a small cut from paid subscriptions from writers who offer them, usually in return for some extra paywalled content. There are big name journalists and novelists now writing on Substack who have hundreds of paying subscribers - out of many thousands of free subscribers - who are making a genuinely good living out of the platform (though, obviously, I'm not in this category 😄)

What this means is an interface that's visually pared down and strikingly calm compared with the usual algorithmic overload. And a reading experience that encourages the time and space to settle in with longer newsletters rather than the blur of the scroll, with its constant interruptions from unrelated posts butting in and trying to sell you stuff.

Here's a fancy infographic which I think sums it all up pretty well:

Of course all I will be doing is moving your existing subscription to my newsletter over there.

But if you're interest is piqued I would definitely invite you to head to the Substack website or download the app and have a look around - there's some great writing there and a lovely, supportive community feel in the comments and other social features, which I've rarely experienced online elsewhere in recent years.

Anyway, I've probably wittered on for quite long enough now. Long story short, if you'd still like to get my emails delivered to your inbox like always, there's absolutely nothing you need to do.

But if you'd rather duck out at this point, that's totally cool too. And here's the button for you again.

A little animation treat for you

Lastly I just wanted to share a great animated short I watched this week. I've missed sharing my favourite watch recommendations in these newsletters (and I've not actually been doing it on Substack either - note to self, should start doing this again ) so this is a little filmic gift from me to you to make amends. I hope you like it!

'The Burden' is a bizarre, darkly funny, apocalyptic Swedish animated musical - featuring a variety of animals singing and dancing in depressing late-capitalism locales.

It's weird but kind of amazing.

Do check it out and see what you think (and maybe hit reply to tell me if you feel like it? I know I always say it, but it genuinely is lovely to hear from you!) Here's the link:

And that's it. If I've worked out the process properly the next message you get from me should be a welcome email via Substack (unless you're unsubscribing now or have already subscribed to Substack before this point - in which case BIG THANKS and sorry for preaching to the converted!)

I'm really looking forward to hanging out with you again after this longish break in my swanky new online home - it's gonna be a good time I'm sure of it. See you there!

With love and grateful thanks as always,

Vicki x 

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Wednesday, July 3, 2024

NRC Proposes $9,000 Fine for Defense Health Agency for Loss of Radioactive Material

No: I-24-013 July 2, 2024
CONTACT: Diane Screnci, 610-337-5330
Neil Sheehan, 610-337-5331

NRC Proposes $9,000 Fine for Defense Health Agency for Loss of Radioactive Material

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has proposed a $9,000 civil penalty to the Defense
Health Agency for loss of nuclear material used during medical procedures.

DHA, headquartered in Falls Church, Virginia, oversees medical treatment facilities within
the Department of Defense, including the Brooke Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston,

In March 2023, DHA reported the loss of a single seed containing iodine-125 that is used to
help target the location of cancerous tissue. The seed could not be located after being removed from
a patient at Brooke Army Medical Center and sent to a laboratory for analysis. The NRC performed
an inspection at the medical center in June 2023, to review what occurred.

Later, DHA reported the loss of 10 additional iodine-125 seeds believed to be in storage.
The NRC then conducted a reactive inspection. Despite an investigation and multiple searches, the
material was not found.

In February, the NRC notified DHA that it had identified two apparent violations stemming
from the loss of the seeds and was considering escalated enforcement, including a civil penalty. The
violations include a failure to properly secure stored NRC-licensed materials and a failure to control
them when not in storage. DHA was informed it could submit a written response, request a
predecisional enforcement conference or seek to resolve the matter via the alternative dispute
resolution mediation process.

DHA provided a written response in April requesting the NRC reduce the proposed civil
penalty based in part on DHA’s prompt self-reporting of the loss, reviews DHA did to better
understand what occurred, and procedural and other changes DHA made to prevent recurrence.