Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Jersey withdraws National Guard, State Police from nuclear plants

National Guard troops and State Police no longer will provide regular patrols at the state's three nuclear plants, including Oyster Creek Generating Station, the state Attorney General's Office announced Friday morning, seven years after troops were first stationed there in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Enhanced private security forces and systems have improved the plant's security to the point where 52 troops and officers are unnecessary, officials said. They also said New Jersey is the last state in the country to withdraw soldiers and officers who were on active duty protecting Oyster Creek as well as the Salem and Hope Creek nuclear power plants in Salem County.

Press of Atlantic City Media Group

TMI not on earthquake notification list

(Lebanon County, 12:04 a.m., 12/27/08) A 3.4 magnitude earthquake occurred northwest of the city of Lancaster, Lancaster County. The quake was felt by residents in Berks, Cumberland, Dauphin, Lebanon and Lancaster. No damage or injuries were reported. The incident was terminated at 6:23 a.m. Notifications: Departments of Health, Environmental Protection (Southcentral Regional Office and Headquarters) and Transportation, Public Utility Commission, Federal Emergency Operations Center, Turnpike Commission, PA-1 Call, Millersville University Geology Department, National Earthquake Information Center, State Police, affected counties and PEMA Central and Eastern Area Offices

Request for Information: Fire Protection of Safe Shutdown Capability

Three Mile Island Nuclear Station, Unit 1 - Request For Additional Information Regarding Proposed Exemption From 10 Cfr 50, Appendix R, Section Iii.G, Fire Protection Of Safe Shutdown Capability (Tac No. Md8081) Download PDF

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

YUCCA MOUNTAIN: Nevada objects -- 229 times

Nevada reached a milestone Friday in its 30-year war to defeat the federal Yucca Mountain nuclear waste project by filing 229 challenges to the Department of Energy's license application for the planned repository 100 miles northwest of Las Vegas.

"Clearly this is a seminal day for us," state Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto said at the Sawyer Building with Nevada Nuclear Projects Agency Director Bob Loux at her side. The state's petition was filed with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which is expected to take at least four years to review the application and contentions.

Loux declared the project dead.

"I do believe it's truly over," he said.

The pitfalls of entombing 77,000 tons of highly radioactive waste and spent fuel in a porous, volcanic rock ridge flanked by earthquake faults can't be fixed, he said.

Las Vegas Review-Journal

NRC Seeks Public Input On Draft Environmental Report For Three Mile Island Nuclear Plant License Renewal Application

Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff is seeking public comments on its preliminary conclusion that there are no environmental impacts that would preclude renewal of the operating license for the Three Mile Island Nuclear Station, Unit 1 (TMI-1) in Middletown, Pa.

As part of TMI-1’s license renewal application, dated Jan. 8, AmerGen Energy Company, LLC, submitted an environmental report. The NRC staff reviewed the report and performed an on-site audit. The staff also considered comments made during the environmental scoping process, including comments offered at public meetings held May 1, 2007. Based on its review, the NRC staff has preliminarily determined that the environmental impacts of the license renewal for TMI-1 are not so great that they preclude license renewal.

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

NRC Agrees With Union Of Concerned Scientists and Mothers for Peace

On December 17, 2008 the Nuclear Regulatory Commission “approved a rule that enhances security requirements for nuclear power reactors.” In part, the new rule reflects input from the Union of Concerned Scientists and the San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace. In a Petition for Rulemaking filed April 28, 2003, the two groups sought changes to the NRC's security regulations in two areas: safety and security evaluation integration; and aerial hazards. With the final rulemaking announced yesterday, the NRC accepted and acted upon the safety and security evaluation integration portion of the petition. They did not accept the aerial hazards part.
Mothers for Peace

NRC turns down TMIA request to post guards at entrances to nuke plants

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission will not require entrance guards at the nation’s nuclear power plants. This report details how the Nuclear Regulatory Commission bungled an effort to create a new rule to require entrance guards. TMIA Report (pdf)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

NRC Approves Final Rule Expanding Security Requirements

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission today approved a rule that enhances security requirements for nuclear power reactors. Many of the requirements of this rule are similar to those previously imposed by orders issued after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

The new rule adds several new requirements as a result of experience in implementing previous security orders and updates the regulatory framework in preparation for the licensing of new nuclear power plants.

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Obama's pick for Department of Energy post signed report favoring Yucca Mountain licensing

Steven Chu, the federal laboratory director selected this week to lead the Department of Energy, signed onto a nuclear energy report whose recommendations included licensing for a nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain. Chu’s signature on the August report, alongside those of nine other high ranking federal science managers, is suggesting to some people that there might be a gap between his thinking on the controversial Nevada project and that of his expected soon-to-be boss, President-elect Barack Obama. While some Nevada lawmakers have been quick to characterize Chu as no friend of Yucca Mountain, the report indicates there might be more nuance to his position, even if in the end he carries out an Obama campaign pledge to end the project.
Las Vegas Review-Journal

Good news for wind, bad for ethanol in major energy study

Growing concerns over climate change and energy security have kicked research on alternative energy sources into high gear. The list of options continues to expand, yet few papers have comprehensively reviewed them. And fewer still have weighed the pros and cons in as much depth as a new study published earlier this month in the journal, Energy & Environmental Science. The results are a mixed bag of logical conclusions and startling wake-up calls. The review pits twelve combinations of electric power generation and vehicular motivation against each other. It is a battle royal of nine electric power sources, three vehicle technologies, and two liquid fuel sources. It rates each combination based on eleven categories. And it was all compiled by one man, Mark Jacobson, professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford University.
Ars Technica

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Trespassers at power plant

Four hunters were found trespassing at Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station in Peach Bottom Township Wednesday morning, officials said.

A maintenance worker spotted the men trespassing on company property near the north substation and notified security, said Bernadette Lauer, spokesman for Exelon Corp., which owns and operates the nuclear plant.

The York Dispatch

NRC to Discuss Results of License Renewal Inspection for Susquehanna Nuclear Power Plant on Dec. 16

Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff will discuss the results of an inspection of the proposed aging-management approach for the Susquehanna nuclear power plant on Tuesday, Dec. 16, at a meeting with the facility’s management.

PPL Susquehanna, LLC, which owns and operates the Salem Township (Luzerne County), Pa., plant, has applied for a 20-year license extension for each of the two units at the site. The inspection is part of an ongoing review of that application.

The meeting is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. in the meeting room of the Eagles Building, at 107 S. Market St. in Berwick, Pa. After a discussion of the inspection results, NRC staff will conduct a question-and-answer session regarding the review for interested members of the public.

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Cancers suggest radiation dangers

Vermont Yankee is one of the oldest nuclear reactors in the United States and routinely releases greater amounts of radioactive iodine-131, (the 13th highest in 2002) than the other 104 U.S nuclear reactors. The Vermont Department of Health 2008 surveillance report released this past July, reports, "The ionizing radiation to which people are exposed as a result of Vermont Yankee operations is a known human carcinogen. As with other carcinogens, it is impossible to prove that low doses are without risk. With radiation exposure it is assumed that no dose is without risk." A National Academy of Sciences panel also recently concluded that even very low doses of radiation pose a risk of cancer over a person's lifetime.
Rutland Herald

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

PPL drops $440M expansion at Holtwood, blames economy

PPL said today it has dropped plans to expand its Holtwood hydroelectric plant, citing the venture's soaring estimated cost and other factors. The project price tag has grown to $440 million, compared to initial estimates of $250 million when the project was unveiled in March 2006. "As we evaluated this project in light of current economic conditions and projections of future energy prices, we reached the conclusion that it is no longer economically justifiable," said PPL's William H. Spence in a prepared statement.

Order Directing Publication of Notice of Public Input Hearing

On August 28, 2008, PPL Electric Utilities Corporation (PPL Electric) filed a petition (Petition) with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (Commission) seeking approval of a default service program and procurement plan (DSP) for the period January 1, 20011 through May 31, 2014. The purpose of the plan is to establish the terms and conditions under which PPL Electric will acquire and supply default service, including competitive procurement of Provider of Last Resort (POLR) supply and related alternative energy credits; rate design; an explanation of Regional Transmission Organization (RTO) compliance and consistency; and a contingency plan. The Petition and attachments were served on a lengthy list of entities and utility counsel. Download document (PDF)

Mothers for Peace to appeal NRC failure to fully address terrorism issues in Federal Court

The San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace (MFP) will file a petition with the Ninth Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals challenging the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) ruling of October 23, 2008. That ruling was the outcome of a hearing held before the Nuclear Regulatory Commissioners on July 1, 2008. The ruling is accessible at MFP believes that the NRC's October 23, 2008 decision, refusing to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement regarding the environmental impacts of an attack on the proposed Diablo Canyon spent fuel storage facility, violates the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The NRC violated NEPA by failing to address the impacts of credible attacks on the facility, or to adequately explain the basis for its refusal to do so. Therefore MFP will ask the U.S. Court of Appeals to reverse the NRC's decision and order the NRC to prepare an EIS that fully considers the environmental impacts of an attack on the facility, and evaluates the cost-effectiveness of design changes that would provide greater protection to human health and the environment from an attack, such as berming the facility and using more robust casks. MFP expects to file a petition with the Court in the coming week. BACKGROUND The precedent-setting case began in 2002, when the NRC refused to evaluate the environmental impacts of an attack on the proposed dry cask facility before issuing a permit to Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (PG&E) to store spent fuel on the site. In 2006, the Ninth Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals ordered the NRC to do such a study in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). In response, the NRC Staff produced an extremely abbreviated environmental study, devoting just a few pages to its conclusion that the impacts of an attack would be insignificant. MFP's expert witness, Dr. Gordon Thompson of the Institute for Resource and Security Studies, contended that the agency's technical analysts erred by assuming a cask could be punctured without also recognizing that its contents could be ignited, allowing a large quantity of radioactive cesium and other contaminants to become airborne and transported over a broad geographic area. The resulting damage to public health and the environment would cost billions of dollars. MFP, an all-volunteer non-profit group, has challenged NRC regulatory practices as applied to Diablo Canyon since 1973, and has litigated issues related to sabotage and terrorism since 1976. Further background is available at

TMI Licensing information

Three Mile Island Nuclear Station, Unit 1-Supplemental Information Needed for Acceptance of Requested Licensing Action Re: License Amendment Request to Adopt Technical Specification Task Force Traveler, TSTF-490-A, Revision 0, Deletion of E Bar Definition and Revision to Reactor Coolant System Specific Activity Technical Specification (TAC No. ME0100) Download pdf

DEP eNews Report

DEP Fines Chambersburg Nuclear Gauge Company HARRISBURG (Dec. 5) – The Department of Environmental Protection this week fined Professional Inspection and Testing Services Inc. of Chambersburg $6,250 for violating the Radiation Protection Act. Full Story Environmental Policing Nets Gains for Pennsylvania Worth $1.4 Billion PHILADELPHIA (Dec. 5) -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency concluded enforcement cases in fiscal year 2008 that will produce more than $1.4 billion in pollution controls and environmental cleanup protecting Pennsylvania's air, water, and land. The cases include more than $3 million in penalties that polluters will have to pay for violating federal environmental laws. Full Story DEP’s Mine Reclamation Efforts Featured on Environmental TV Program WILKES-BARRE (Dec. 5) – Two projects underway by DEP’s Bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation will be featured on WNEP TV's “Power to Save” series airing in mid-December. The year-long educational campaign is designed to raise awareness of the environment, conservation, saving energy and money. Full Story In Today's Headlines: PUC approvals help electricity customers -- The state Public Utility Commission approved changes on Thursday for local energy utilities that will ease the burden on some local ratepayers, raise rates for others and give still others some control over the rates they pay. Full Story Drilling firm gets water-use approval -- A natural-gas drilling company’s request to consume millions of gallons of river water in Lackawanna and Luzerne counties was denied Thursday. Full Story Erie Art Museum gets money for green study (Erie Times News) -- The Erie Art Museum has received a $50,000 grant for the planning and design of its $9 million expansion project. The money will help pay for the project's green design requirements. Full Story

Monday, December 1, 2008

Letter/Op-Ed: Zebra Mussel

Dear Editor: We would like to thank the Patriot News for shedding light on a menacing predator that has slipped under the media microscope - the invasion of the zebra mussel. (Stripped Invader, November 30, 2008) Zebra mussels pose a serious ecological and economic threat to power plants on the Susquehanna River, and can invade nuclear generating stations causing biological fouling and impaired plant operations. Three Mile Island Alert (“TMIA) has raised concerns about the potential aquatic and financial damages associated with invasive aquatic species dating back to February 1986 when one celled organisms - believed to be fungus, bacteria and algae-like creatures - were discovered at TMI-2. These creatures obscured the view of the reactor core, and impeded the defueling of the damaged reactor. The latest wave of thermal invasions are not surprise attacks. “In 2002, the first report of zebra mussel populations in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed were reported from Eaton Reservoir in the headwaters of the Chenango River, a major tributary to the Susquehanna River in New York.... reports were received that both zebra mussel adults and juveniles, called veligers, have made their way down to the Susquehanna main stem headwaters” (Pa DEP, Update, July 16, 2004) DEP confirmed that zebra mussel adults and juveniles were found in Goodyear Lake in June 2004. This was first major accumulation of the mini mollusk on the Susquehanna River’s main stem below Canadarago Lake in New York. On June 19, 2007, zebra mussels were discovered in Cowanesque Lake, Tioga County. This marked the first time zebra mussels had been discovered in a Pennsylvania waterway in the Susquehanna River watershed. On August 18, 2008 TMIA submitted “Comments on the Susquehanna River Basin commission’s (“SRBC”) Draft Comprehensive Plan for the Water Resources of the Susquehanna River Basin.” We believe that the SRBC (an interstate compact) is not restricted by the artificial limitations and narrow scope the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has imposed on itself. TMIA recommended that the SRBC compel nuclear generating stations to physically inspect the intake pipes at nuclear generating stations. We also believe that licensees should submit a plan for the SRBC’s approval detailing how nuclear plants will defeat health, safety and structural challenges that arise from water fouling, micro biologically influenced corrosion, biofilm disease causing bacteria such as Legionella and listeria, and the eastward migration of Asiatic clams, zebra mussels and the anticipated arrival of quagga mussels. We encourage the Patriot News to continue to track this invasion which could ultimately impact municipal water and sewage capacity. Sincerely, Eric J. Epstein Chairman, TMI-Alert, Inc. Harrisburg, PA (717)-541-1101 Mr. Epstein is the Chairman of Three Mile Island Alert , Inc.,, a safe-energy organization based in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and founded in 1977. TMIA monitors Peach Bottom, Susquehanna, and Three Mile Island nuclear generating stations.

Nuclear reactor owners rush to extend licenses

Since 2000, according to NRC records, 50 of the nation's 104 reactors have been relicensed, 13 of those at least 15 years before their original licenses will end. Another 19 had licenses renewed at least 10 years before the originals will expire.

Among the 18 reactor license renewals now under review by the NRC, six are operating under original licenses that won't expire until 2022 at the earliest. The original license for one, the Vogtle Unit 2 reactor in Waynesboro, Ga., won't end until 2029.

The nuclear power industry says the early renewals are necessary for long-term planning, investment, maintenance and a stable electricity supply.

But citizen groups and industry watchdogs have criticized the process as perfunctory and inadequate to ensure safe operation and public health as the plants age.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Supreme Court to hear arguments in Riverkeeper v. Entergy case

Environmental organization Riverkeeper, Inc. will argue its case over the need for cooling towers at Indian Point and other power plants before the US Supreme Court on December 2.

The case will determine whether or not the Environmental Protection Agency is authorized to compare costs with benefits in determining the “best technology available” for the cooling water intake structures of existing power plants including the Indian Point nuclear plants.

Mid-Hudson News

Demise of Yucca project predicted

President-elect Barack Obama and Sen. Harry Reid have had several discussions about the Yucca Mountain Project since the election, with Reid saying this week the nuclear waste burial plan will "bleed real hard" before being halted. Reid said the most recent conversation, covering the waste repository program and other issues, took place Tuesday. He declined to give details, but hinted that the plan to bury 77,000 tons of highly radioactive material in Nevada could die a slow and painful death. "Yucca Mountain is history, OK?" Reid said in an interview Wednesday. "Just watch, we'll see what happens real soon, just watch. You will see it bleed real hard in the next year."

NRC cites visibility for probe failure

A special inspection team from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission failed to find five degraded support columns in the only safety-related cell in Vermont Yankee's cooling towers because inspectors didn't have a clear view of the interior of the cell, according to an NRC spokesman. The columns, estimated to be 40 feet tall, were either bowed or cracked and were in the interior of the cooling towers, where inspectors' views were obscured by louvers that cover the structural timbers but accommodate the trickling and cooling of the water. "There was no way the special inspection team could see these with fill and louvers in place," according to NRC spokesman Neil Sheehan.
Rutland Herald

Nuclear decommissioning fund suffers big loss

The fund set aside to pay for dismantling the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant when it shuts down was already about $400 million short of what would be needed to do the job, according to an estimate by a subsidiary of the plant's owner.

Then it lost nearly $76 million more amid the turmoil in the financial markets during the past 13 months, with more than $33 million of that loss coming last month, according to the state Department of Public Service.

The Boston Globe

Day-care sites near TMI say they lack plan for evacuation

Corradi has experienced mass evacuation. But other day-care centers within 10 miles of TMI are struggling to prepare emergency plans, says a survey of 38 licensed centers by the EFMR Monitoring Group, a nonprofit organization that monitors radiation around TMI. The monitoring group sent questionnaires to 73 state-licensed centers in Cumberland, Dauphin, Lancaster and York counties in December, asking how much support they have received from federal, state and local authorities to develop plans for a nuclear emergency. Half of the centers, caring for nearly 1,500 children, responded. Among the findings: * 87 percent don't know who would provide transportation for their children. * 58 percent don't know to which relocation center they should take children. * Two-thirds have not been provided transportation by the state, the county or a municipality. Even those with evacuation plans admitted they were relying on assumptions about where they would go and how they would get there. The survey shows that the state is not in compliance with federal regulations for a nuclear emergency, said Eric Epstein, founder of the monitoring group. "What we found is a lack of coordination for transportation amplified by a lack of vehicles," Epstein said. "There simply are not enough vehicles to take the kids there." Epstein and Larry Christian of New Cumberland claim that Pennsylvania has been out of compliance with federal Radiological Emergency Response Plans for decades.
The Patriot News

NRC Sends Special Inspection Team to Beaver Valley Nuclear Plant

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has sent a team of specialists to review the circumstances surrounding the identification of air trapped in a safety system at the Beaver Valley Unit 1 nuclear power plant in Shippingport, Pa. The team began its work at the site today. There are two nuclear reactors at Beaver Valley, both operated by FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Company (FENOC).

On Sept. 23, FENOC detected air (called a “void”) in the suction lines for both trains of the low-head safety-injection system (LHSI) at Beaver Valley Unit 1. (The low-head safety-injection system is one of the systems that supply water to the reactor in the event of an accident at the plant. It is also used to circulate cooling water following an accident.) At the time, FENOC determined that the system would have operated as designed. On Oct. 4 and 5, the company effectively eliminated the void by venting both loops of the system and filled the system with water. The company also verified the same conditions did not exist at Beaver Valley Unit 2.

There was no immediate danger to public health and safety or the environment from this condition.

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Nuclear Plant Proposals Challenged by Southeast, National Groups

An attempted revival of U.S. nuclear power is plagued by design problems that have severely delayed federal approval of the reactor most chosen by utilities hoping to build new plants. A coordinated legal action announced today by watchdog groups across the Southeast and in Washington challenges the licensing process by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) as unlawful. The NRC has canceled a 2007 pledge to review and recertify the standard design by 2011, and has missed several deadlines for committing to a new timetable. The groups say plant designs must be completed and genuinely certified before the agency or others can assess safety and financial risks of the multi-billion dollar projects.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Leaking radioactive waste pool at Indian Point drained

Officials at the Indian Point nuclear power plant in Buchanan can cross a big chore off their to-do list. A leaking waste-containment pool, containing 500,000 gallons of radioactive water and spent fuel rods, has been drained and cleaned.

The bulk of the work was completed at the end of October, according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The last step is for work crews to coat the pool and do some other maintenance-related work, thus solving a problem that surfaced several years ago.

In August 2005, a dangerous dose of strontium-90, a carcinogenic isotope, was detected in storm drains and groundwater around the riverside power plant. The contamination was eventually traced back to a leaking spent fuel pool for reactor Unit 1, which was shut down in the 1970s.

Times Herald-Record

NRG Energy Rejects $6.1 Billion Offer From Exelon

NRG Energy Inc., the second-largest power producer in Texas, rejected an unsolicited $6.1 billion takeover offer from Exelon Corp., the largest U.S. utility owner. The offer "significantly undervalues NRG and is not in the best interests of NRG's shareholders," Princeton, New Jersey- based NRG said in a statement today. "The Board thoroughly reviewed Exelon's proposal and reached its decision after careful consideration with its independent financial and legal advisers."

TVA fund for cleanup takes a hit

TVA and other utilities have socked away money to shut down and clean up nuclear power plants once they're too old to function, but those trust funds are generally thick with stocks and other investments that have taken an economic beating. TVA's stash has seesawed over the years, losing or gaining more than $100 million at times, with a 9.7 percent drop to $983 million in March from six months earlier.
The Tennessean

Friday, November 7, 2008

Markey: Pilgrim Plant Fire Raises Issue of Lax Fire Safety Regulation by NRC

Following a fire at the Pilgrim Nuclear Station in Plymouth, Massachusetts, Representative Edward J. Markey (D-MA), a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce committee, today expressed concerns to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) about fire safety and the lack of compliance with critical fire protection regulations at many nuclear power plants. Rep. Markey said, "Thankfully no one was hurt and as far as we know there was no release of radioactivity during this week's fire incident at the Pilgrim plant, but the incident raises once again longstanding concerns about the NRC's lax enforcement of fire safety rules at our nation's nuclear plants. Fire poses a particularly potent risk to nuclear reactors, and shoddy fire protection procedures at nuclear plants are simply inexcusable."
Office of Congressman Ed Markey

Monday, November 3, 2008

NRC Assigns New Resident Inspector to Limerick Nuclear Plant

Nuclear Regulatory Commission officials in the Region I Office in King of Prussia, Pa., have selected Nicole Sieller as the Resident Inspector for the Limerick nuclear power plant in Limerick, Pa. She joins Senior Resident Inspector Gene DiPaolo at the two-unit site, which is operated by Exelon Nuclear.
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Air Force: Nuke missile silo fire went undetected

A fire caused $1 million worth of damage at an unmanned underground nuclear launch site last spring, but the Air Force didn't find out about it until five days later, an Air Force official said Thursday.

The May 23 fire burned itself out after an hour or two, and multiple safety systems prevented any threat of an accidental launch of the Minuteman III missile, Maj. Laurie Arellano said. She said she was not allowed to say whether the missile was armed with a nuclear warhead at the time of the fire.

Arellano said the Air Force didn't know a fire had occurred until May 28, when a repair crew went to the launch site—about 40 miles east of Cheyenne, Wyo., and 100 miles northeast of Denver—because a trouble signal indicated a wiring problem.

She said the flames never entered the launch tube where the missile stood and there was no danger of a radiation release.

Associated Press

Entergy plan calls for 60 years before Yankee decommissioning

Even if Vermont Yankee nuclear plant shuts down in 2012 when its original federal license expires, Entergy Nuclear wouldn't start cleaning up and dismantling the reactor for close to 60 years, according to a plan filed with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Entergy Nuclear has agreed to add $60 million to its shrinking decommissioning fund for the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant — but not until 2026. In its filing with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Entergy Nuclear said it planned on decommissioning the reactor in 2067, and completing the job by 2072, at a total cost of $875 million.
Rutland Herald

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Entergy to postpone spinoff

Entergy Corp ETR.N is likely to delay a proposed spinoff of its five nuclear-power plants into the nation's first standalone nuclear-generating company, the Wall Street Journal said.

The present financial crisis has clouded prospects for completion of the largely debt-financed transaction, the paper said in a report quoting Entergy Chief Financial Officer Leo Denault.

Last year, Entergy announced plans to transfer the five stations to a new publicly traded company, hoping to capitalize on the plants' low operating costs and carbon-free emissions.


The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has made available to the public the combined license (COL) application for a new reactor at the Bell Bend site near Berwick, Pa.

The applicant, PPL Bell Bend, submitted the application and associated information Oct. 13. The application, minus proprietary or security-related details, is available on the NRC Web site at:

The PPL application seeks approval to build and operate an Evolutionary Power Reactor (EPR) at the site, about seven miles southeast of Berwick. The EPR is an Areva-designed pressurized water reactor, with a nominal output of approximately 1,600 megawatts of electricity. Areva filed its application to certify the design on Dec. 11, 2007. A version of the EPR is currently under construction at the Olkiluoto site in Finland and at Flamanville, France. The EPR application, minus proprietary or security-related details, is available on the NRC Web site at:

The NRC staff is currently conducting an initial check of the Bell Bend application to determine whether it contains sufficient information required for a formal review. If the application passes the initial check, the NRC will docket the application for review; the staff expects to make this decision by late December. If the staff accepts the application, the NRC will then announce an opportunity for the public to participate in an adjudicatory hearing on the application.

Information about the new reactor licensing process is available on the NRC Web site at:
U.S. Nuclear Regulator Commission

Monday, October 27, 2008

NRC Monitoring Alert at Susquehanna 2 Nuclear Plant

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is monitoring an Alert declared this afternoon at the Susquehanna 2 nuclear power plant in Salem Township (Luzerne County), Pa. An Alert is the second-lowest of four levels of emergency classification used by the NRC.

At 4:15 a.m. today, maintenance work was initiated on a water line that is part of a reactor safety system for the plant. That work involved the use of a “freeze seal” – that is, placing a device containing nitrogen over a section of piping so that the water inside the line can be frozen. Once frozen, the line can be isolated to allow maintenance to be performed on it.

PPL, the plant’s owner and operator, declared an Alert at 12:06 p.m. when higher-than-acceptable levels of nitrogen, a toxic gas, were detected inside the room. As required by procedures, the one plant worker who was in the room at the time evacuated.

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Davis-Besse leak no hazard, officials say

On Wednesday, FirstEnergy personnel discovered a leak in a drainage pipe at 4 p.m. The leak contained tritium, a normal byproduct of nuclear reactors, though it can cause cancer with significant exposure. But the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and company officials both said the leak hadn't migrated off the site, and neither the public nor the public's drinking water were threatened. Jim Greer, director of Ottawa County's Emergency Management Agency, said FirstEnergy ran extensive tests and confirmed no one was in harm's way. "They have a number of monitoring wells on site to measure the contamination," Greer said. "It was a reportable level, but not an alarming level, and it hadn't migrated off the property."
Sandusky Register

Exelon Corporation Offers to Acquire NRG Energy, Inc. in $6.2 Billion Transaction

Exelon Corporation EXC today announced its proposal to acquire Princeton, N.J.-based NRG Energy, Inc. NRG. Exelon has offered to acquire all of the outstanding NRG common stock in an all-stock transaction with a fixed exchange ratio with a value of $26.43 for each NRG common share, representing a total equity value of approximately $6.2 billion for NRG based on Exelon’s closing price on October 17.
MSN Money

Monday, October 20, 2008

Exelon Corporation Offers to Acquire NRG Energy, Inc. in $6.2 Billion Transaction

Exelon Corporation today announced its proposal to acquire Princeton, N.J.-based NRG Energy, Inc. Exelon has offered to acquire all of the outstanding NRG common stock in an all-stock transaction with a fixed exchange ratio with a value of $26.43 for each NRG common share, representing a total equity value of approximately $6.2 billion for NRG based on Exelon’s closing price on October 17.
Exelon Corporation Press Release

New income limits on Pa. heating program to help more

Gov. Ed Rendell has announced new higher income limits for participating in the state’s Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, as well as higher minimum amounts of grant assistance.

The state will expand eligibility for LIHEAP to Pennsylvanians earning up to $44,443 for a family of four – an increase from 150 percent of the federal poverty level to approximately 210 percent of the federal poverty level.

The minimum cash grant will increase from $100 to $300, and residents in need of crisis assistance will see their maximum grant rise from $300 to $800.

The Times Leader

Friday, October 17, 2008

NRC Seeks Public Input On Draft Environmental Report For Beaver Valley License Renewal; Meetings Oct. 30

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff is seeking public comment on its preliminary conclusion that there are no environmental impacts that would preclude renewal of the operating license for the Beaver Valley Power Station in Shippingport, Pa.
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Monday, October 13, 2008

Two decades later, how we got here

John McCain supports plans to store high-level nuclear waste 90 miles from Las Vegas at Yucca Mountain.

Barack Obama does not.

The question being asked by Nevadans who oppose the repository — and by those who support it, too — is whether that matters. What could each candidate actually do about it as president?

The short answer is that the next president may be the only thing standing between train loads of radioactive waste and a hole in the Nevada desert.

First, though, a more nuanced view of where they actually stand:

Las Vegas Sun

SUN DAY Campaign

SUN DAY Campaign 6930 Carroll Avenue, Suite #340; Takoma Park, MD 20912 301-270-6477 x.23 Media Advisory U.S. RENEWABLE ELECTRICITY GENERATION SURGES BY 32%; SUSTAINABLE ENERGY ACCOUNTS FOR 11% OF TOTAL ELECTRIC SUPPLY WIND, SOLAR, HYDROPOWER ALL EXPERIENCE DRAMATIC INCREASES AS NUCLEAR POWER’S SHARE DIPS For Immediate Release: October 9, 2008 Contact: Ken Bossong 301-270-6477 x.23 Washington DC -- According to the latest "Monthly Electricity Review" issued by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (October 3, 2008), net U.S. generation of electricity from renewable energy sources surged by 32 percent in June 2008 compared to June 2007. Renewable energy (biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, wind) totaled 41,160,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) in June 2008 up from 31,242,000 MWh in June 2007. Renewables accounted for 11.0% of net U.S. electricity generation in June 2008 compared to 8.6% in June 2007. Compared to June 2007, wind power grew by 81.6% in June 2008 while solar and conventional hydropower experienced increases of 42.6% and 34.7% respectively. Geothermal energy also enjoyed a slight increase (0.8%) while biomass (wood + waste) remained relatively unchanged. Renewable energy sources now account for 37% of the non-fossil net electricity generation in the United States. Net electricity generation from non-hydroelectric renewables (i.e., biomass, geothermal, solar, wind) increased by 24 percent to 10,357,000 MWh and now accounts for just under three percent of total net U.S. electricity generation. By comparison, nuclear power’s share of total net U.S. electricity generation dipped from 19.0% in June 2007 to 18.8% in June 2008. Total U.S. net electricity generation increased by 2.9% to 373,632,000 MWh. “The Bush Administration’s own data clearly illustrate which energy options should be the focus of future investment,” said Ken Bossong, Executive Director of the SUN DAY Campaign “The dizzyingly high growth rates that renewable energy sources continue to enjoy - compared to the stagnant figures for nuclear power - strongly argue for directing limited federal energy dollars into sustainable energy technologies.” A summary table prepared by the SUN DAY Campaign based on the data in the EIA report is attached. The full EIA report “Electric Power Monthly” can be accessed at: # # # # # # # # The SUN DAY Campaign is a non-profit research and educational organization founded in 1993 to promote sustainable energy technologies as cost-effective alternatives to nuclear power and fossil fuels.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

ADAMS Citrix text searching function

We are currently experiencing difficulties with the Citrix text searching function. NRC IT staff is currently working to resolve the issue. In the meantime, text searching may be done using the Web-based version of ADAMS. Please contact the staff of the Public Document Room with any questions about this or related issues at 301-415-4737, 1-800-397-4209, or at . Sincerely, NRC Public Document Room Reference Staff

Oyster Creek foes lose bid to halt reactor relicensing

Opponents of the relicensing of Oyster Creek nuclear power plant in Lacey lost another round Monday in their ongoing battle. The four commissioners who oversee the U.S Nuclear Regulatory Commission denied a petition aimed at suspending license renewal proceedings at Oyster Creek and three other plants in the Northeast. One commissioner dissented in part. A number of groups filed the petition in January after the NRC inspector general office found that some of the wording in NRC reports was identical or nearly identical to language in the license renewal applications written by plant owners. The groups demanded that the review process be overhauled.
Daily Record

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Nuclear energy is not renewable energy, PSC staff says

Florida Power & Light's effort to persuade regulators that nuclear power is a renewable energy suffered a blow Thursday when the staff of Florida's Public Service Commission recommended against including nuclear in the state's portfolio of green energy. In a 75-page report the commission's staff did not wade into the debate over nuclear's impact on the environment but instead relied on the definition of "renewable energy" from Florida statutes. That definition includes hydrogen, biomass, solar, geothermal, wind, ocean, hydroelectric and waste heat as renewable energy sources.
Palm Beach Post

Power cuts feared in UK nuclear plants crisis

In theory, at least, Britain now has 10 operating nuclear power stations, stretching from Torness on the Firth of Forth to Dungeness on the south Kent coast. Each has two reactors, and ministers boast that they supply about one-fifth of the power that keeps the lights on.

The reality, as an Independent on Sunday investigation shows today, is very different. The majority of the power stations are in dire trouble, and their failure is leading to the most acute concern in years that the country may run short of electricity this winter.

The Independent

Request to suspend all licensing proceedings until NRC fixes ADAMS search

Dear Mr. Borchardt: Beginning in November 1999, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) transitioned from disseminating docketed information concerned operating power reactors to dozens of local public document rooms in communities across the United States to depositing that information in an online electronic library called the Agencywide Documents Access and Management System (ADAMS). As described on NRC webpage
The Agencywide Documents Access and Management System (ADAMS) is an information system that provides access to all image and text documents that the NRC has made public since November 1, 1999, as well as bibliographic records (some with abstracts and full text) that the NRC made public before November 1999. The NRC continues to add several hundred new documents daily. ADAMS permits full-text searching and enables users to view document images, download files, and print locally.
But this is a fallacy; specifically in the “ADAMS permits full-text searching” part. Earlier today, I used the Citrix-based access to ADAMS to conduct a full-text search for documents on the Vermont Yankee docket (50-271) dated between January 1, 2005, and December 31, 2008. That search returned a single document. That seemed unusually low for such a long time period. I then performed a second search using all the same search parameters except moving “safety evaluation” from the Document Text Contains box to the Title Contains box. This second search returned 51 documents. Having more than a passing awareness of how the staff enters documents into ADAMS, I understand that the title field is typed in by the NRC staff rather than being taken verbatim from the document, so it’s conceivable that documents with “safety evaluation” in their title may not have “safety evaluation” in their text. So I spot-checked a few documents to see if this explained the disparate search results. Every document I spot-checked had “safety evaluation” in its text. I have attached screen captures of the two search results along with some of the spot-checked documents to save you replicating this exercise, though you are welcome to do so. ADAMS is the NRC’s official source for docketed material. I used ADAMS to look for specific docketed material related to Vermont Yankee (VY). Using the full-text search tool that NRC explicitly describes to the public, I find 1 document. Yet it appears that there may be 50 other documents on the VY docket that the full-text search fails to identify. The actual number of “hidden” documents may be far higher than 50 because there could very easily be documents with “safety evaluation” in their text but not in their titles. The NRC’s purported “full-text search” finds less than 2 percent of the relevant information. Thus, ADAMS is essentially NRC’s electronic hide & seek game. The NRC places docketed materials in ADAMS, which is allegedly then publicly available but in reality is equivalent to being withheld from the public because the tool for finding materials inside the electronic library is fundamentally flawed. I respectfully ask that you immediately suspend ALL LICENSING PROCEEDINGS – ALL OF THEM – until the NRC corrects its flawed search engine for docketed materials in ADAMS. The public cannot participate meaningfully in these proceedings maintains a large electronic library with the equivalent of a bibliographic card catalog of blank pages. We cannot find relevant materials in ADAMS because your search tool is broken. Licensing proceedings conducted with this massive impairment to information access are a sham and must cease until the NRC-imposed impairment is remedied. Sincerely, David Lochbaum Director, Nuclear Safety Project

Questions for TMI's renewal

TMI-Alert Inc. sharply disagrees with the results of a recent poll paid for and released by Exelon on the relicensing of Three Mile Island. At issue are the questions that were not asked. The poll also failed to note that a majority of the folks who actually testified before the Nuclear Regulatory Commission were against extending the license of TMI-1.

When the community held a nonbinding referendum on May 18, 1982, more than 67 percent of the voters in Cumberland, Dauphin and Lebanon County opposed the restart of Three Mile Island. TMI and the NRC ignored the results.

How many people would support nuclear power if you asked the following fact-based questions:

The Patriot News

Utilities Seek $122 Billion in Nuclear Loan Support

Southern Co., PPL Corp. and Duke Energy Corp. are among 17 utilities seeking $122 billion in loan guarantees from a U.S. Energy Department program that makes available $18.5 billion to build nuclear plants. Power companies that want to build 21 reactors submitted applications for the guarantees, the department said in an e- mail today. Spokeswoman Bethany Shively said the department isn't naming the utilities. The industry has complained that the $18.5 billion isn't enough to jumpstart a so-called nuclear renaissance, saying that amount could help support three reactors at the most. The program, mandated under a 2005 law, has been mired in funding disputes and delays. It's intended to offer financing support for clean-energy projects that otherwise might not be built.

Millstone Reaches Deal With Environmental Groups

The operator of the Millstone nuclear power plant in Waterford will speed up efforts to curb the plant's effect on Long Island Sound under an agreement reached Monday with two environmental groups. That's good news for winter flounder and other aquatic life: The plant pumps more than 2 billion gallons of water each day out of the Sound to cool its reactors, killing millions of young fish and other creatures before dumping the warmed water back into the Sound. Millstone's owner, Dominion Nuclear Connecticut, has been operating for years with an expired state permit to discharge its used water into the Sound. The process of updating that permit has been snagged by changing regulations and administrative proceedings.
Hartford Courant

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Find Sites Undergoing Decommissioning

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has published a map and listing of sites that are undergoing decomissioning.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Emergency Preparedness & Response News

Emergency Preparedness & Response News is a quarterly newsletter that will be published by NSIR/DPR to highlight recent and upcoming events of interest to the radiological emergency preparedness community. The inaugural issue is available for download, as pdf.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Pilgrim re-licensing should consider town’s cancer occurrence

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s finding that “Plymouth most exceeded the state’s expectations for all forms of cancer” is very troubling.

Of particular concern is the high number of Leukemia and Multiple Myeloma, given the connection between such diseases and continued exposure to radiation.

Not mentioned is another troubling statistic, continued higher than expected rates of thyroid cancer, also linked to radiation exposure.

The Patriot Ledger

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Epstein Appeals NRC's Denial of Petition on Emergency Planning

(Harisburg) - Today Eric Joseph Epstein appealed the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s ("NRC") Denial of A Petition for Rulemaking Submitted by Eric Epstein, Requiring Periodic Comprehensive NRC Review of Emergency Planning Around U.S. Nuclear Power Plants During The License Renewal Process on July 25, 2008 . Mr. Epstein said, The NRC’s decision to Deny the Petition for Rulemaking was arbitrary and capricious,made without public input, and ignored new and significant information, including data produced by the staff. The staff’s recommendations and Commissioner comments Re: PAR NUREG-0654, clearly indicate the need to update and review emergency planning for nuclear plants seeking license extensions. Mr. Epstein asked that the NRC amend its regulations that govern renewal of operating licenses for nuclear power plants. Specifically, the Petitioner requests that the NRC conduct a comprehensive review of U.S. nuclear power plant licensees' emergency planning during the license renewal proceedings based on new information he produced. The Commission's position was that the NRC's emergency planning system is part of a comprehensive regulatory process that is intended to provide continuing assurance that emergency planning for every nuclear plant is adequate. Epstein sated, "The Petition for Rulemaking does not oppose the relicensing nuclear generating stations. The Petitioner is asking the Court to compel the NRC to publish the Petition for Rulemaking and allow an open discussion based on the new information presented and subsequently revealed after the filing of the Petition. Commissioner Jaczko dissented from the NRC’s Denial of of Eric Epstein’s Petition for Rulemaking:
I disagree with the decision to deny this petition for rulemaking. Instead, I believe the review of a license renewal application authorizing, if granted, an additional twenty-years of operation, provides the opportune time at which the agency should reevaluate emergency preparedness issues. Currently, the only time the NRC issues a comprehensive affirmative finding that both onsite and offsite emergency plans are in place around a nuclear power plant, and that they can be implemented, is at the time it grants an initial operating license. Although there are regular assessments of these plans through exercises and reviews, we do not periodically reassess that initial reasonable assurance of adequate protection of the public--even if it was made decades ago--unless and until we find a serious deficiency in a biennial exercise. I believe considering emergency preparedness during the license renewal process would provide an opportunity to improve public confidence in the licensees and in all levels of government.

NRC, Army Corps of Engineers Update Environmental Review Cooperation

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Army Corps of Engineers have revised their interagency agreement regarding environmental reviews for proposed nuclear power plants as well as significant actions at existing plants. The agencies will coordinate early in these reviews to ensure they share all the information necessary for carrying out their respective regulatory duties.

The NRC’s licensing process ensures public health and safety, as well as the environment, are maintained during commercial use of nuclear materials, including nuclear power plants. The NRC takes the lead in meeting the National Environmental Policy Act’s (NEPA) requirements during that process. The Corps protects U.S. waters and wetlands through the provisions of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 and the Clean Water Act, and administers permits for such purposes.

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Monday, September 22, 2008

Berkshire bails out falling Constellation

There's nothing like a good financial panic to lure Warren Buffett off the sidelines. The billionaire investor and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway sprang into action Thursday with a $4.7 billion plan to acquire Constellation Energy (CEG, Fortune 500), the Baltimore-based energy wholesaler and utility operator whose shares have plunged this week as the company ran short on cash. Under the deal, Constellation - which runs the Baltimore Gas & Electric utility and operates 83 electric generators around the country - will be folded into Berkshire's MidAmerican Energy unit.
CNN Money

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Too cheap to meter

Good Day: Next Tuesday marks the 54th anniversary of one of the most widely quoted speeches in atomic history. On September 16, 1954, AEC Chairman Lewis Strauss delivered the attached speech before the Founders' Day Dinner of the National Association of Science Writers in New York City. On page two, Chairman Strauss uttered the infamous words, "It is not too much to expect that our children will enjoy in their homes electrical energy too cheap to meter." The billions of dollars of subsidies for new nuclear power reactors in the 2005 Energy bill may explain why this speech is found in the science fiction part of the NRC's library. Sadly, that placement makes it hard to find given the over-crowding in this section. And the document in the non-fiction section of the NRC's library is currently checked out. Thanks, Dave Lochbaum UCS AEC Chairman Lewis Strauss speech (pdf)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Alexander sponsors bill to help sick nuclear workers' families

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., today introduced legislation that he said would help the families of sick nuclear workers in cases where a worker dies before his or her claim for compensation is processed.

"We should not allow an inefficent bureaucracy to run out the clock through a claims process that takes so long that our Cold War heroes are dying before their claims are processed, leaving their families with no compensation," Alexander said in a statement distributed to the news media.

Alexander said the legislative amendment, co-sponsored by seven other senators, would reform the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act. It would address cases where workers or their eligible survivors die during the claims process, which can take years, and leave other family members without a right to collect compensation.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

NRC Permanently Bars Contractor From Many Activities, Restricts Other NRC-Licensed Functions

NRC officials said Joseph S. Shepherd, a contractor for Source Production and Equipment Company (SPEC), which supplies industrial gamma radiography equipment, repeatedly and deliberately provided inaccurate information regarding modifications to, and inspections of, a shipping container for radioactive material. Specifically, Shepherd told the NRC in 2005 that he had authorized modifications to the container, invalidating its status as an NRC-approved package. Shepherd repeatedly told both SPEC and the NRC the container had been properly inspected, but NRC investigators determined the inspections were incomplete or not performed by a qualified inspector.
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

TMI Relicensing: Letter to NRC (Piccola/DePasquale)

August 18, 2008 Chairman Dale E. Klein Commissioner Gregory B. Jaczko Commissioner Peter B. Lyons United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission 11555 Rockville Pike Rockville, MD 20852-2738 Re: Findings and Responses of the NRC Office of the Inspector General Report on the License Renewal Program Dear Chairman Klein and Commissioners Jaczko and Lyons: As you know, the federal relicensing system that has historically ensured nuclear plants are safe to operate for an extended period beyond their original license of 40 years has come under sharp criticism. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) Office of Inspector General (OIG) Audit of the NRC’s Renewal Program (OIG-07-A-15) found certain safety evaluations lacked critical documentation. Essentially, the Division of Licensing Renewal (DLR) lacks a complete report quality assurance process to ensure documentation of the staff’s aging management program review methodology and substantive support for staff conclusions. (1) Currently, Pennsylvania has three nuclear stations involved in the relicensing process: Beaver Valley Nuclear Generating Station (Shippingport), the Susquehanna Steam Electric Station (Berwick), and the Three Mile Island Nuclear Generating Station (Londonderry Township). According to the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, “ is theoretically possible that NRC does an adequate job in reviewing the issues associated with the continued safety of aging nuclear plants, but its own documentation of the review process suggests strongly to the contrary.” (2) We too have some concern about the OIG’s findings which were outlined in its September 2007 report. In the 13 relicensing cases it examined, the office found littleevidence that NRC staff had confirmed the integrity of aging safety systems they approved. For example, 98 percent of 458 passages in audit, inspection and safety evaluation reports failed to adequately document or support NRC conclusions. Problems fell into two categories: ‘red’ cases, where no specific support was found, and ‘yellow’ cases, where support was often provided by the companies whose plants were being relicensed. In those latter cases, the report found that NRC safety evaluation language was often ‘identical or nearly identical’ to the information that the companies had provided in the license renewal application. (3) The Letter raises questions as to whether the NRC actually verified the materials submitted by the licensees, and whether errors may have escaped detection and correction. In addition, there is a concern that even when the NRC was able to verify information, this practice may set the stage for future errors. Under NRC regulations (specifically 10 CFR 50.59) licensees can make future changes without prior NRC review and approval to anything that NRC hasn't relied upon in past regulatory decisions. We are aware that similar concerns have been expressed by representatives from California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York. And, we are encouraged by your efforts to repair the problems outlined in the Assistant Inspector for General Audits’ Memorandum to Luis A. Reyes, Executive Director of Operations, U.S. NRC on January 7, 2008. As elected officials near Three Mile Island, we are interested in the overall safety review of this facility and any site specific issues that have been identified with it. Thank you for your prompt consideration in this most important matter. We look forward to hearing from you. Sincerely, JEFFREY E. PICCOLA (15th Senatorial District) EUGENE A. DePASQUALE (95th Legislative District) ___ 1 OIG-07-A-15, September, 2007, p.11. 2 Letter to the Commissioners of the NRC from the Executive Offices on Energy and Environmental Affairs and the Office of Public Safety and Security, Commonwealth of Massachusetts, February 15, 2008. 3 This regulation is available online at: HYPERLINK ""

UCS comments on NRC security information openness and transparency

After 9/11, the NRC not only re-drew the line but also re-crafted its rules of engagement with the American public on security policy making. Essentially, the NRC’s post 9/11 rules of engagement preclude the public from meaningful input, and severely limit the public’s access to output from the NRC’s security policy decision-making. It is not only possible but essential to responsibly discuss nuclear plant security policy in public. That fact has been demonstrated repeatedly since 9/11 by open Congressional hearings, many broadcast far and wide by C-SPAN. UCS’s experts have testified at open, public Congressional hearings as have representatives of other public interest groups. Yet the NRC has resisted repeated attempted by UCS to engage the agency in responsible, productive dialogues like those conducted with the Congress. Like Congress has done, the NRC must engage public stakeholders about nuclear plant security policy issues in enough detail so that the public can make informed judgments on the adequacy of NRC’s post-9/11 security measures. We are convinced that this can be achieved without disclosing information that would aid terrorists in carrying out attacks against nuclear facilities.
Letter from Union of Concerned Scientists to U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (pdf)

NRC broke rules in plant inquiry, report says

When a whistle-blower told the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission in 2007 that guards at the Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station were sleeping on the job, the agency told the plant's owner to investigate even though the accusation involved company managers.

Having the plant's owner, Exelon, and its security provider, Wackenhut Corp., investigate themselves was a mistake, according to a report by the NRC's Office of Inspector General. By asking the companies to handle it themselves, the agency's Region 1 office in King of Prussia violated its own rules, the report states.

The Patriot News

Three Mile Island’s Flawed Poll

Dear Editor: TMI-Alert, Inc. sharply disagrees with the results of a recent poll paid for and released by Exelon on September 8, 2008. At issue are the questions that were not asked. The poll also failed to note that a majority of the folks who actually testified before the NRC were against extending the license of TMI-1. When the community held a non-binding referendum on May 18, 1982, over 67% of the voters in Cumberland, Dauphin and Lebanon County opposed the restart of Three Mile Island. TMI and the NRC ignored the results. How many people would support nuclear power if you asked the following fact-based questions? 1) Did you know taxpayers and rate payers have spent $1 billion to remove the damaged fuel from TMI-2 since the reactor meltdown in 1979? The plant still needs to be cleaned up and decommissioned. Did you know Three Mile Island Unit-2 pays no taxes? Should TMI-2 be cleaned up before Exelon builds more nuclear reactors? 2) Did you know that Exelon has at least 11 full-time registered lobbyists working in Harrisburg as of July, 2008? (Pa. Department of State) Do you trust nuclear lobbyists to make energy policy for Pennsylvania? 3) Currently Exelon is recovering $5.5 billion in nuclear taxes on electric bills referred to as “Competitive Transition Costs” for overruns associated with construction of the Limerick nuclear power plant. Should Exelon refund the $5.5 billion to rate payers before building another nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania? 4) Three Mile Island has failed to include child care facilities in their Radiological Emergency Plans for the past 22 years. The NRC, FEMA, PEMA, and Governor Rendell refuse to adopt dedicated plans, designated transportation routes, or provide vehicles for these children. Should Exelon implement safety plans for kids before building another nuclear power plant? 5) TMI generates 30 metric tons of high level radioactive waste annually and there are over 1,000 tons of toxic garbage on site. Should Exelon remove nuclear garbage stored next to the Susquehanna River before we build more plants? 6) Did you know the enrichment of uranium releases massive amounts of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) which are more damaging as a global warmer than carbon dioxide? Nuclear fuel production in America creates at least 800,000 pounds of CFCs annually, or 80% of all CFC’s released into the atmosphere by the USA. CFCs remain the primary agent for stratospheric ozone depletion. Do you still think nuclear power is "clean" and "green"? 7) There were 804 employees working at TMI prior to the purchase of the plant by Exelon. Now the number is 600, and the company has recently suffered from workers sleeping on the job. Should Exelon hire more workers before building another nuclear power plant? 8) Did you know TMI does not have to conserve water during periods of drought? Should new nuclear power plants be exempt from water conservation practices? Sincerely, Eric Joseph Epstein, Chairman Three Mile Island Alert, Inc. 4100 Hillsdale Road Harrisburg, PA 17112 (717)-541-11o1

Thursday, September 4, 2008

VPIRG challenges Vt. Yankee ads

Advertisements in print and on the air tout Vermont Yankee as "safe, clean, reliable." The nuclear power plant is none of those, argues the Vermont Public Interest Research Group, which Tuesday asked state Attorney General William Sorrell to investigate whether the ads amount to false advertising. "Each aspect of this claim is misleading as it is unsubstantiated and conflicts with relevant science and reports," VPIRG Executive Director Paul Burns said in a letter to Sorrell. Vermont Yankee stands by its advertisements, spokesman Rob Williams said. The ads are targeted at Vermont residents in advance of next year's decisions by the Legislature and Public Service Board about whether the plant may continue operating after 2012.
The Burlington Free Press

Feds delay decision on license renewal

Federal regulators will delay a decision on renewing Indian Point's operating license an additional four months - until late summer 2010 - to give them more time to evaluate safety and environmental issues at the nuclear plant. "We have said from the beginning that we are committed to a thorough and rigorous review of the Indian Point license renewal application. That has not changed," said Brian Holian, director of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's Division of License Renewal. "The fact that we will, when necessary, take additional time to address outstanding issues underscores our determination to give this application our full measure of attention." Advertisement Staffers at the agency want more time to review additional information provided by the plant's owner, Entergy Nuclear; to respond to a record number of contentions opponents filed against the application; and to address generic issues presented by the agency's Office of Inspector General in a recent report on the NRC's license renewal program.
The Journal News

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Ohio Nuclear Engineer Convicted of Lying About Cracks in Reactor

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."

Nuke Fight Nears Decisive Moment

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.

The Valley Advocate

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Epstein to speak at September AIA event in Philly

The Delaware Valley Green Building Council & AIA Philadelphia's Committee on the Environment invite you to a lunchtime presentation on Nuclear Power: Is it the Resurgence of an Economic and Environmental Boondoggle or the Savior for Global Climate Change? Thursday September 25, 2008 from 12:00-1:00 The core meltdown at Three Mile Island Unit-2 (“TMI”) beginning on March 28, 1979 ignited a fierce debate about the role of commercial nuclear power. In the three decades following the Accident, Americans have held been exposed to a mercurial flow of information on the future of nuclear power as a safe, “clean,” and economic energy source. There are unresolved questions associated with nuclear power production that continue to bedevil the industry: “Where is the waste going to go?” “Where is the water going to come from and who should have access to this commodity?” And, “What’s Wall Street’s take on this?” In the last decade, the emergence of global warming, security, and an experienced workforce have altered the debate on the future of nuclear power. Speaker: Eric Epstein is the Chairman of Three Mile Island Alert, Inc. a safe-energy organization based in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and founded in 1977. TMIA monitors Peach Bottom, Susquehanna, and Three Mile Island nuclear generating stations. Location: The Center for Architecture, 1218 Arch Street, Philadelphia PA 19107 Time: 12:00 – 1:00 (Bring Your Own Lunch) Cost: $5 for AIA/DVGBC members, and $10 for Non-Members Registration is Required. Please visit to register online Continuing Ed. Credits: This program is worth 1.0 AIA LUs (HSW). Contact Michelle Wolfe at with questions.

Shutdown of reactor threatened

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.

Asbury Parks Press

Entergy deal good for shareholders; others wary

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

TMI info center moves to Chester County

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

Diablo Canyon Fire

Press release, San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace For Immediate Release August 19,2008 Contact: Jane Swanson, spokesperson San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace (805) 595-2605 cell (805) 440-1359 The transformer fire shortly after midnight on Sunday, August 17 at Diablo Canyon nuclear plant was an explosive event that would have endangered workers if it had happened during the daytime. The transformer in question was the size of a small room, and was cooled by highly flammable oil. Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), which operates the plant, confirms that the fire caused damage to a nearby building and another transformer. San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace (MFP) will be monitoring the investigation of this explosive fire. County Emergency planners and the public need to know the cause of this fire and how a repeat might be prevented, as well as what consequences to expect should another transformer blow up when workers are present. Diablo workers need reassurance that future transformer fires will be prevented. MFP will be looking for the following information from investigation results: 1. While it is appropriate for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and PG&E to work together to determine the cause of this fire, the NRC should also do some investigating, such as interviewing workers responsible for maintaining and monitoring the transformers, independently of PG&E. 2. The possible role of human error needs to be assessed. Was there a lack of training or failure to inspect the transformer? Transformers sometimes give warning signals of impending failure, such as overheating. The NRC needs to determine if such warning had occurred and/or if they were looked for. 3. The role of mechanical failure must also be assessed. Were there components of the transformer that were aging? 4. What steps will be taken to prevent reoccurrence? A previous transformer fire at Diablo Canyon occurred in May of 2000, and 2 transformers burned in 1995, all at unit 1. Were the causes of those fires assessed? If so, were there factors in common with those that triggered the recent fire? What steps were taken to prevent a repetition of the 2000 and 1995 fires? 4. The investigation should determine what the consequences would have been if this kind of fire had happened during the daytime when workers were present. Videos of burning transformers of smaller sizes show violent fire punctuated by explosions and are available at

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Comments on Susquehanna Water Resources

Three Mile Island Alert, Inc.’s Comments on the Susquehanna River Basin Commission’s Draft Comprehensive Plan for the Water Resources of the Susquehanna River Basin. Download PDF

Graded Exercises – prepping the students

I watched the August 12 webcast of the NRC’s Commission briefing on emergency planning rulemaking. During the third panel, there was considerable discussion about an exercise conducted in May at San Onofre NPS in California. What caught my attention was Mike Rose mentioning that the players got together for nearly a full day of tabletops in late April and the graded exercise was conducted the first week of May. What he did not say but what seemed apparent to me was that the April session was a bit of a dress rehearsal for the May graded exercise. It seems to be quite unrealistic since in event of an actual emergency, it's unlikely that the responders would have gathered a couple days earlier to refresh on who does what to whom. Graded exercises are tests to see how well the responders are prepared. Getting the players together prior to the graded exercise makes about as much sense as a high school teacher showing the students the algebra test to let them practice answering the questions until they get it right - and then giving them the same questions on the final exam. They may all get A’s on the exam but have no real mastery of the subject matter. Check the next emergency planning NRC/FEMA graded exercise at your reactor.

Meeting: Nuclear Reactor Proposal

DATE: Tuesday, August 19, 2008 TIME: 6:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. LOCATION: Bloomsburg University's Kehr Union Ballroom ADDRESS: 400 East Second Street, Bloomsburg PA 17815 This is the first public meeting about the new nuclear reactor proposal in PA - part of the new wave of reactor proposals that're sweeping the country. Nuclear power is dangerous and destructive throughout its life-cycle and is not a solution for climate change. This proposal needs to be squashed early in the process. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is holding the public meeting in Bloomsburg PA (exit 236 off of I-80, about 15 miles west of the existing Berwick reactor) about the upcoming application from Pennsylvania Power & Light (PPL) for a Construction/Operating License for a new atomic reactor. Their purpose is to discuss the role that the NRC will play in the anticipated review of the application, including details of the safety and environmental reviews. A key topic is how and when the public may participate in NRC processes. Please let PPL and the NRC know that Pennsylvanians oppose new reactors! SCHEDULE: 6:00 pm - Open House (poster session in lobby) 7:00 pm Public Outreach Meeting Begins. Introductions/Opening Remarks by NRC 7:15 pm NC Staff Presentations • NRC: Who We Are And What We Do • Overview of COLA Review Process o Safety Review o Environmental Review o How the public may participate • Construction Inspection 7:45 pm Open forum for public questions and comments on NRC processes 9:30 pm Adjourn Resources: Nuclear Information and Resource Service; 301-270-6477 Michael Mariotte, Executive Director Energy Justice Network Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Op-Ed: Taxpayers shouldn't have to underwrite nuclear power

August 11, 2008 Dear Editor: Senator John McCain joined a growing legion of “tax and spend” politicians who have declared that part of their strategy to cure global warming is to build more nuclear generating stations. While nuclear plants have less of a carbon "footprint" than their coal-generating siblings, Mr. McCain failed to factor the financial, radioactive, and aquatic "footprints" associated with and additional 65 nuclear plants. One of the first out of the gate for the free nuclear cash is Pennsylvania Power Light (“PPL”). According to PPL, a new nuclear reactor requires a federal subsidy of $4.5 billion or 80 percent of the projected cost of the project. This "nuclear loan" is guaranteed by the U.S. Treasury -- taxpayers. The real cost, based on overruns in Florida and Texas, is actually $10 billion. Which begs the obvious question for Mr. McCain: Why aren't the shareholders of one of the "best managed" and "most profitable utilities" (Forbes magazine, December 2007) assuming the risk for a multibillion-dollar slam dunk? It's back to the future. PPL's operating nuclear plants were projected to cost ratepayers $2.1 billion, but overruns resulted in a $4.1 billion price tag. These are the same folks who are currently collecting $2 billion in nuclear taxes referred o as “Competitive Transition Costs.” It gets worse for senior citizens and those living on fixed incomes. PPL will be treating its loyal customer base to at least a 35% increase on January 1, 2010. Why is Mr. McCain supporting yet another nuclear subsidy at the same time senior citizens are trying to keep their lights on? Each nuclear reactor produces 30 metric tons of high-level radioactive waster per year. This is toxic garbage without a forwarding address which will create a "radioactive footprint" that lasts thousands of years. How is Mr. McCain going to underwrite the cost of securing Pennsylvania’s roads and rails when waste shipments from the northeast come barreling through your town? As of June, 2008, all of Pennsylvania's nuclear reactors began storing low-level radioactive waste on site when Barnwell (South Carolina) closed its doors to states outside of the Atlantic Compact. (Pennsylvania belongs to the Appalachian Compact.) Neither the industry or the Department of Environmental Protection has been able to "incent" (bribe) a single Pennsylvania community to bed down with a 500-year "low-level" radioactive "footprint." Where is Mr. McCain going to store the waste? Communities and ecosystems that depend on limited water resources are also adversely affected by exiting nuclear stations. PPL’s nuclear station draws 58 to 63.5 million gallons of water per day from the Susquehanna River. The plant returns much smaller portions of the back wash into the river at elevated temperatures. Last fall, 53 Pennsylvania counties were placed on "drought watch," including Luzerne County where the station is moored. Yet nuclear power plants are exempted from water conservation efforts. Why does Mr. McCain continue to support water subsides for nuclear plants while the rest of us are compelled to ration? The fundamental question remains the same: Why should taxpayers subsidize big nuclear’s "radioactive footprint?" Mr. McCain's solution to global warming is little more than corporate socialism wrapped in a green bow. Sincerely, Eric Epstein, Chairman, TMI-Alert 4100 Hillsdale Road Harrisburg, PA 17112 717-541-1101 Three Mile Island Alert, Inc. is a safe-energy organization based in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and founded in 1977. TMIA monitors Peach Bottom, Susquehanna, and Three Mile Island nuclear generating stations.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

More trouble for nukes

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

AG suffers setback on Pilgrim nuclear plant

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."

Cape Cod Times

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Denial of Petition for Rulemaking

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

The Politics of Tragedy

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

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Denial of Petition for Rulemaking

SUMMARY: The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is denying a petition for rulemaking submitted by Eric Epstein (PRM–54–5). The petition requests that the NRC amend its regulations that govern renewal of operating licenses for nuclear power plants. Specifically, the petitioner requests that the NRC conduct a comprehensive review of U.S. nuclear power plant licensees’ emergency planning during the license renewal proceedings. The NRC is denying the petition because the petition presents issues that the Commission carefully considered when it first adopted the license renewal rule and denied petitions for rulemaking submitted by Andrew J. Spano, County Executive, Westchester County, New York (PRM–54–02), and Mayor Joseph Scarpelli of Brick Township, New Jersey (PRM–54–03). The Commission’s position is that the NRC’s emergency planning system is part of a comprehensive regulatory process that is intended to provide continuing assurance that emergency planning for every nuclear plant is adequate. Thus, the Commission has already extensively considered and addressed the types of issues raised in the petition. Also, the petition fails to present any significant new information or arguments that would warrant the requested amendment.
Federal Register (pdf)

A Phila. law firm gone nuclear

Philadelphia-based Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, L.L.P., one of the nation's largest and most influential law firms, has become a major player in the resurgent movement to build the next generation of nuclear reactors.

After a decades-long hiatus, surging interest among utilities in construction of commercial nuclear power plants has produced a windfall of work for Morgan, which has quietly built the nation's largest practice dealing with nuclear reactors.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission says it expects to receive applications for 34 new reactors through 2010, and Morgan lawyers are representing some two-thirds of the utility companies involved in those projects.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Receipt of Petition for Rulemaking

SUMMARY: The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has received and requests public comment on a petition for rulemaking filed by Mr. Eric Joseph Epstein. The petition, docketed on January 3, 2000, has been assigned Docket No. PRM-50-70. The petitioner requests that NRC amend its financial assurance requirements for decommissioning nuclear power reactors to: (1) Require uniform reporting and recordkeeping for all ``proportional owners'' of nuclear generating stations (defined by the petitioner as partial owners of nuclear generating stations who are not licensees); (2) modify and strengthen current nuclear decommissioning accounting requirements for proportional owners; and (3) require proportional owners to conduct a prudency review to determine a balanced formula for decommissioning funding that includes not only ratepayers and taxpayers but shareholders and board members of rural electric cooperatives as well. The petitioner believes that the proposed amendments would eliminate the funding gap for decommissioning between nuclear power licensees and proportional owners of nuclear generating stations.
Federal Register Environmental Documents

Concern over French nuclear leaks

A French nuclear monitoring body has expressed concern at the number of leaks from French nuclear power stations in recent weeks. The director of Criirad, an independent body, said the organisation was worried by the numbers of people contaminated by four separate incidents. In the most recent leaks, about 100 staff at Tricastin, in southern France, were exposed to low doses of radiation. It came two weeks after a leak forced the temporary closure of a reactor. There has also been a 10-fold increase in the number of incidents reported by people working in the French nuclear power industry, Criirad director Corinne Castanier said.
BBC News

Friday, July 25, 2008

ASLB judges wrap up Vt. Yankee hearings

Judges from the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board renewed their questioning of staff from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and Entergy Nuclear Thursday on just how effective its computer model was in determining the effects of aging in the plant's piping. The three judges also had sharp words for the NRC staff about who was really in charge of its re-licensing review, at one point uttering the infamous words, "Where is the beef?" Alex Karlin, chairman of the three-judge panel, even compared the NRC's review process to a matruska doll, a set of nested Russian toys, where you open one doll, and find inside a successively smaller and smaller but identical doll, only to find nothing at the center.
Rutland Herald