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.