Monday, April 28, 2008

Future Pilgrim plant owner is finally named

More than five months after the owner of the Pilgrim nuclear power plant in Plymouth revealed plans to spin off the plant and five other reactors into a new company, Entergy Corp. finally has come up with a name for that company.

New Orleans-based Entergy said the new publicly traded company that will own the six reactors will be called Enexus Energy Corp. and will be headquartered in Jackson, Miss. – the location of the current home base for Entergy’s nuclear operations.

Entergy is also creating a new joint venture to operate the plants. That venture, which will be jointly owned by Entergy and Enexus, will be called EquaGen LLC.

Patriot Ledger

22 years on, Welsh farms still under Chernobyl shadow

UP to 359 Welsh farms are still operating under restrictions imposed in the wake of Chernobyl, more than two decades after the Soviet nuclear plant went into meltdown.

The Food Standards Agency Wales revealed the figure before today’s 22nd anniversary of the largest nuclear accident in history.

Upland farms in Wales were caught out by unfortunate circumstances in the wake of the disaster. Heavy rain washed radioactive material from clouds onto fields.

The radiation is absorbed from the soil by plants, which are then eaten by sheep.


Saturday, April 26, 2008

Nuclear accident in Spain angers officials

Spain's Endesa is accused of having played down an incident at a nuclear plant, with the radioactivity emitted 100 times more than previously admitted. The incident, which Endesa labeled "minor," happened last November at a nuclear power plant in Asco, northwestern Spain, but wasn't detected until last month. Spanish media reports Monday said officials from the country's nuclear watchdog, CSNhad, found that the levels of radioactivity meant Asco was the fourth-gravest incident connected to nuclear energy in Spain.
United Press International

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Beyond Nuclear Bulletin

News from Beyond Nuclear April 24, 2008

Top Stories

Hall of Nuclear Shame: “She caused thousands of residents, workers and first responders to suffer injury and, in some cases, death, due to unnecessary exposure to toxins released by the collapse of the World Trade Center buildings.” So said a justifiably angered New York representative, Jerrold Nadler, in the Washington Post, after an appeals court this week reversed a lower court decision that had held former Environmental Protection Agency director, Christine Todd Whitman, liable for twice assuring New York City residents in the days after the World Trade Center attacks that the air was safe to breathe. This is the same Todd Whitman who co-anchors the pro-nuclear, industry-funded propaganda front group currently touting nuclear energy around the globe. Her co-booster is none other than industry darling, Patrick Moore, whose claim that he co-founded Greenpeace has been soundly debunked by the actual founders who noted that Moore applied to join the first Greenpeace sailing that departed two years after the organization was founded. (The actual founders were a group of Quakers and journalists). Moore’s “environmental” track record over the past 16 years includes advocacy on behalf of the logging and chemical industries and genetically modified foods and a host of other anti-environmental causes. Our View: Patrick Moore is frequently cited by the news media as an “environmentalist.” Last time we looked, the definition of an environmentalist was not a paid booster for the nuclear, chemical, clear-cut logging and GM foods industries. It’s time to set the record straight on this and Moore’s well-worn claim that he “co-founded” Greenpeace and expose his phony environmental credentials. As for Todd Whitman, the fact that she was given immunity from liability for putting New Yorkers in harm’s way because she is a federal official exposes the extraordinary moral double-standard between government and ordinary citizens. What You Can Do: Whenever the news media describes Moore or Todd Whitman as an “environmentalist” call them out on it. Write letters to the editors and call in to radio and television shows. Send them the source material found on the two Web sites we list below. If Moore or Todd Whitman show up in your community, be sure to show up yourself to challenge them on their so-called environmentalist credentials. Ask the tough questions. And check out other paid nuclear apologists on these Web sites: Source Watch and

Still Time to Oppose Bombplex: Thanks to a hard-won extension, it is still possible to submit comments to the U.S. Department of Energy on its proposed "Complex Transformation" (a.k.a. Bombplex 2030) nuclear weapons infrastructure modernization plans. The new deadline is April 30th. Over 85,000 public comments, almost all critical and calling for nuclear weapons abolition and radioactive contamination cleanup, have already been submitted, a record on these issues. For guidance on content and submission of comments, visit the Complex Transformation page on the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability Web site.

Chernobyl Remembered: As we remember – on April 26th – the world’s worst nuclear accident, it’s important also to recognize that the victims of that accident are still being born today and that quantifying those who died, will die, or who will live forever maimed by the accident is virtually impossible. Sadly, exposure to radiation can be passed down – genetically – to children born after the accident. Many now languish in poorly-resourced orphanages. Some of the faces of Chernobyl have been captured by the award-winning photographer, Gabriela Bulisova. You can view a selection of her pictures on our Web site at: as we remember just what kind of catastrophic damage nuclear power can effect.

Please donate to Beyond Nuclear. Won’t you please consider becoming a monthly recurring donor? You can set up your profile and monthly giving here. All gifts are tax-deductible. Or you can mail a check to: Beyond Nuclear at NPRI, 6930 Carroll Avenue, Suite 400, Takoma Park, MD 20912.


Beyond Nuclear aims to educate and activate the public about the connections between nuclear power and nuclear weapons and the need to abandon both to safeguard our future. Beyond Nuclear advocates for an energy future that is sustainable, benign and democratic. Beyond Nuclear staff can be reached at: 301.270.2209. Or view our Web site at:

Nuclear-Plant Analyses Ordered

Signaling that aging nuclear-power plants may face greater scrutiny, U.S. regulators have told utilities to more rigorously analyze metal fatigue at several sites, including two opposed by environmentalists.

The heightened scrutiny comes as a slew of older plants, dating to the late 1960s and early 1970s, seek operating-license renewals from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The NRC has extended the licenses of four dozen nuclear-power reactors since 2000. It is considering requests for nearly a dozen more, including Exelon Corp.'s Oyster Creek plant in New Jersey and Entergy Corp.'s Vermont Yankee plant, which have been targeted by environmentalists.

Wall Street Journal

Utah nuclear waste company ramps up campaign contributions

A Utah disposal company seeking federal permission to import more than 20,000 tons of nuclear waste from Italy has raised its campaign contributions to lawmakers by hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Salt Lake City-based EnergySolutions Inc. is aggressively donating to members of key energy committees in Congress as it increasingly seeks lucrative federal contracts and legislation beneficial to the nuclear power industry.

Associated Press

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Hearings to address TMI license

If you're concerned about how the region's environment could be affected by 20 more years of nuclear power generation at Three Mile Island, federal regulators would like to hear it.

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission will hold two hearings May 1 to take comment on environmental concerns.

The hearings are part of a detailed NRC review of AmerGen Energy Co.'s petition to extend its operating license for the Unit 1 reactor at TMI to 2034.

The Patriot News

NRC Seeks Public Input On Environmental Impact Statement For Three Mile Island 1 License Renewal Application

Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff will conduct a pair of public meetings on Thursday, May 1, to solicit public comments on possible environmental impacts of a proposed 20-year license extension for the Three Mile Island 1 nuclear power plant. AmerGen Energy Co., LLC, which owns and operates the Middletown (Dauphin County), Pa., facility, submitted a license renewal application for the facility to the NRC in January of this year.

The first session will begin at 1:30 p.m. at the Elks Theatre, at 4 W. Emaus St. in Middletown. A second session, which will follow the same format as the first meeting, will get under way at 7 p.m. at the Londonderry Elementary School, at 260 Schoolhouse Road, Middletown. An NRC “open house” will be held 1 hour prior to the start of each meeting to provide interested members of the public with an opportunity to talk informally with agency staff. However, formal comments must be expressed during the transcribed meetings.

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Despite ruling, NUMEC woes endure

After a seven-year tussle with the federal government, the Department of Labor finally is cutting a $150,000 check to Skip McGuire of Parks Township for harmful exposures to radiation in the workplace.

McGuire, 77, is ailing: He had his right kidney removed, three heart attacks, lost his bladder and prostate to cancer and has had a defibrillator and a pacemaker installed.

"I'm still in one piece yet," he says.

Last year, former workers of the Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corp. in Apollo were awarded special status with the government, entitling them to compensation for death, illness and injury caused by exposure to radiation and chemicals in the Apollo NUMEC plant, which created uranium fuel pellets for Navy nuclear reactors.

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

NRC keeps us in the dark

Last week, when the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission reported a security violation at Three Mile Island, a spokesman for the agency described the preliminary findings as "greater than very low safety significance."

That, of course, is a semantic gyration that seems to be endemic to government, or at least government how it's run these days.

Parsing the phrase, you can rest assured that the unnamed violation was not of "very low safety significance." Other than that, who knows? Was it a slight annoyance? Was it something that should cause grave concern? Was it head-for-the-hills-the-world's-going-to-end alarming?

York Daily Record

Friday, April 11, 2008

NRC warns of counterfeits

Two nuclear operators in the USA discovered that they had purchased counterfeit parts during 2007, it was revealed by safety regulators. None of the parts had been used in safety-related systems.
World Nuclear News

Thursday, April 10, 2008

NRC to give fatigued nuclear workers some relief

Almost 10 years after watchdogs and lawmakers complained about excessive overtime and low staffing levels at the nation's nuclear plants, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has approved a new set of rules designed to make plants safer by staving off employee fatigue. For some workers who staff the two reactor control rooms at Florida Power & Light Co.'s St. Lucie Nuclear Plant on Hutchinson Island, the standards can't take effect quickly enough. It's not uncommon for licensed reactor operators, who make sure the nuclear reactors are operating correctly 24 hours a day, to work more than 1,000 overtime hours a year, according to operators at the plant. Much of the overtime is forced because staffing of licensed reactor operators has reached "critically low" levels, according to one veteran operator who asked not to be identified because he feared putting his job at risk.
Palm Beach Post

NRC Proposes $130,000 Civil Penalty Against Florida Power & Light For Security Violations At Turkey Point Nuclear Power Plant

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff has proposed a $130,000 civil penalty against Florida Power & Light Co., for violations of security requirements at the Turkey Point nuclear power plant, operated by the company on Biscayne Bay near Homestead, about 30 miles southeast of Miami.

NRC officials said the fine was being proposed because a 2006 investigation found that security officers employed by Wackenhut Nuclear Services were willfully inattentive to duty (sleeping) from 2004 through 2006. NRC investigators determined that, on multiple occasions during that time, security officers at Turkey Point were willfully inattentive to duty or served as lookouts so other officers could sleep on duty. Included in these multiple examples is an incident that occurred on April 6, 2006, in which a security officer was observed by an NRC inspector to be sleeping while on duty at a post in a vital area of the reactor.

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

NRC To Discuss Results of Safety Conscious Work Environment Inspection at Peach Bottom

Nuclear Regulatory Commission officials will meet with Exelon Generation Co. representatives on Tuesday, April 15, to discuss the results of a “safety conscious work environment” inspection conducted at Peach Bottom. The plant, operated by Exelon, is located in Delta, Pa.

Following the discussion of the NRC inspection findings, Exelon will discuss the status of the “safety conscious work environment” surveys it plans to conduct at its nine other operating reactor sites. The meeting will begin at 5:30 p.m. at the Peach Bottom Inn, 6085 Delta Road, in Delta, Pa. The meeting is open to the public for observation. The public will have the opportunity to communicate with the NRC staff after the business portion of the meeting.

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Friday, April 4, 2008

TMI safety report

The safety of Three Mile Island was the focus of a public meeting in Dauphin County last night. CBS 21's Jaime Meyers was at the meeting and has the details. The meeting focused of the safety of the plant through the year 2007. According to the results of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, people living near the plant don't need to be worried about their safety. However, they did admit, it's not perfect. TMI Spokesman Ralph DeSantis: "The NRC found we essentially received the highest color code in all areas that they grade us on."
CBS 21

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Panic at TMI

If you can't see it, it isn't there. That was the reassurance bridesmaids and family gave bride-to-be Stephanie (Deardorff) Merrifield as she prepared to marry on March 31, 1979 - three days after the worst nuclear accident in U.S. history. On March 28 the plant in Middletown experienced a partial meltdown. A 20-mile radius around the town was put on alert for a possible evacuation. Pregnant women and young children were advised to leave. Gov. Dick Thornburgh canceled appointments that day, without explanation, including one with West Manchester Township resident James Shindler, who later packed up to leave with his wife. Teachers closed classroom windows and pulled down the blinds. They refused to let the students go outside, much less home, for several hours. If you can't see it, it isn't there.
York Daily Record

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

State takes some nuke duties from NRC

Almost three decades ago, Pennsylvania’s capital region gained international attention as the site of what remains the nation’s worst nuclear incident when a reactor at Three Mile Island near Middletown partially melted down.

Nuclear issues are back on the radar in Harrisburg now that the Commonwealth has taken nuclear regulation into its own hands.

The federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the state Department of Environmental Protection announced Monday that more than two decades after state legislation directed it, Pennsylvania has become the 35th “agreement state.”

That means the NRC and the state have signed an agreement that Pennsylvania will assume regulatory authority over almost 700 radioactive-material licensees, most of them in medical or industrial uses and including licenses for academic study.

Times Leader