Wednesday, July 29, 2009

PPL energy conservation plan sparks debate

Debate is heating up regarding a PPL proposal to charge customers $246 million over four years to implement energy conservation programs mandated by the state. The plan, which would cost the typical residential customer about $24 a year beginning in December, will be the subject of a 6 p.m. public hearing Thursday at Bethlehem City Council Chambers. It is the only public hearing scheduled for the proposal, which will affect all of PPL's residential and business customers in Pennsylvania. The added cost is in addition to a 30 percent rate hike customers are expected to see in 2010 when state-imposed caps on electric rates expire.
The Morning Call

Monday, July 27, 2009

Exelon terminates offer to acquire NRG Energy

Exelon Corporation has terminated its offer to acquire all of the outstanding shares of common stock of NRG Energy, Inc. Both the companies are based in the US. Exelon is engaged in the distribution of electricity and gas, while NRG is a wholesale power generation company. Exelon has terminated its offer in light of the proxy vote results announced today at the NRG annual meeting.
Trading Markets

Peach Bottom Station Environmental Monitoring Program Identifies Tritium On-site

Peach Bottom nuclear plant workers performing environmental monitoring this week identified tritium in a localized area on plant property. The tritium was identified on July 8 from a sample that was drawn on July 6. “This is not a public or employee health and safety issue, but we are committed to being open about the status of our plant operations,” said Peach Bottom Site Vice President Bill Maguire.
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Friday, July 17, 2009

NRC launches special probe of Oyster Creek outage

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has started a special investigation into an emergency shutdown of the nation's oldest nuclear power plant.

Over the weekend, the Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station had to shut down when severe thunderstorms knocked out power to the area.

The NRC said Thursday it is trying to determine whether problems with equipment, communication or operator performance contributed to the problem.


New drug offers radiation protection

A drug developed with Pentagon approval offers protection from radiation in the event of a nuclear attack, U.S. and Israeli researchers said.

The medication could offer effective protection in the event of nuclear or dirty bomb attacks, an exclusive report published Friday in the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Aharonoth said.

The drug developed by Professor Andrei Gudkov may affect the future balance of world powers, the paper said, and will offer cancer sufferers better protection as they undergo radiation treatment.

United Press International

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Yucca Mountain reopens nuclear waste debate

The withdrawal of Nevada's Yucca Mountain as a potential nuclear waste repository has reopened the debate over how and where to dispose of spent nuclear fuel and high-level nuclear waste. In an article in the July 10 issue of Science, University of Michigan geologist Rodney Ewing and Princeton University nuclear physicist Frank von Hippel argue that, although federal agencies should set standards and issue licenses for the approval of nuclear facilities, local communities and states should have the final approval on the siting of these facilities. The authors propose the development of multiple sites that would service the regions where nuclear reactors are located. "The main goal . . . should be to provide the United States with multiple alternatives and substantial public involvement in an open siting and design process that requires acceptance by host communities and states," the authors write.
Spero News

Peach Bottom plant cited by NRC

A control-room operator at the Peach Bottom nuclear plant spent 10 minutes reading a novel, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission alleges.

The violation of federal regulations came to light while the NRC was at the plant for an inspection prompted by a 2007 incident in which security guards at the plant were filmed sleeping in an off-duty room where they were allowed to rest but not sleep.

The latest incident occurred in July 2007, according to a notice of violation sent to Peach Bottom owner Exelon Generation on Thursday.

The control-room operator was seen by another Peach Bottom staffer reading the novel on a computer, according to the NRC.

Non-job-related materials are not permitted in the control room, and the use of computers is restricted to company-related work.

Lancaster Online

Exelon Pa. Peach Bottom 3 reactor back at full

Exelon Corp's 1,112-megawatt Unit 3 at the Peach Bottom nuclear power station in Pennsylvania returned to full power by early Thursday from 65 percent early Wednesday, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said in a report. The company reduced the unit for maintenance on the main condenser.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Exelon still holding on to Guadalupe water

Exelon Energy's plans to build two nuclear reactors near Victoria may be on hold, but it hasn't stopped the power company from reserving the rights to 75,000 acre-feet of precious Guadalupe River water for another year — and maybe longer.

The deal, which the Chicago-based energy behemoth inked with the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority, has worried some Victoria-area residents.

They argue the river doesn't hold enough water to quench the region's current thirst, let alone feed the massive reservoir needed to cool nuclear reactors.

“The river is just flat dry,” said Houston environmental attorney Jim Blackburn, who has been hired by a community organization to oppose Exelon. “It's just a mess right now, and there is no way you can put a firm demand for 75,000 more acre-feet.”

San Antonio Express-News

UPDATE 2-Exelon N.J. Oyster Creek reactor shut due to fire

Exelon Corp's 619-megawatt Oyster Creek nuclear power station in New Jersey shut from full power on Feb. 1 due to a main transformer fire, the company said in a release. The company declared an unusual event because the fire lasted longer than 15 minutes. The fire was extinguished within 20 minutes with help from the offsite fire department. An unusual event is the lowest of the NRC's emergency classifications. The company said the fire did not damage anything but the transformer.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Testing finds elevated tritium at Peach Bottom

Environmental monitoring at Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station has turned up levels of a radioactive form of hydrogen six times what the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says is acceptable.

But Peach Bottom maintains there is no public health threat or health threat to employees at the plant.

The amount of radiation someone would receive if they drank two liters of the water found with the highest level of tritium every day for a year would be equivalent to what someone would receive during six cross-country airplane trips, according to data provided by the plant.

Spokeswoman Bernadette Lauer said Friday workers are performing further tests and attempting to locate the source of the tritium, which forms in the nuclear fission process at the heart of the plant's operations.

The tests turned up levels of tritium in water toward the middle of facility grounds that were up to 123,000 picocuries. The EPA-endorsed acceptable level is around 20,000 picocuries per liter, according to the plant.

York Daily Record

Judge rules Indian Point's fish-killing cooling process must stop

Officials at the Indian Point nuclear power plant - which has been called responsible for killing more than a billion fish each year - will have to figure out another way to cool its giant heated steam turbines, a state court has ruled. The plant sucks in and returns more than 2.5 billion gallons of Hudson River water daily - 2 million gallons per minute - in a system that pulls in and kills fish, eggs, larvae and plant life. The hot water flushed back into the river is fatal to some 1.2 billion fish every year, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation. The cooling system doesn't use radioactive water from the reactor core.

Calvert Cliffs 3 approved by Maryland regulator

Constellation Energy has received final approval from the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) for a proposed new reactor at its existing Calvert Cliffs nuclear power plant. The PSC has issued a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) after completing a comprehensive, 18-month review that included several public hearings. The application for the proposed unit was submitted in November 2007 by Unistar Nuclear Energy (UNE), the strategic joint venture between Constellation and Electricité de France (EdF). The CPCN is required before any construction work can begin. It addresses a range of potential environmental and reliability impacts of the proposed new reactor, including air, water, wetlands, cultural and historic impacts.
World Nuclear News

Judge dismisses Constellation lawsuit

In a blow to Constellation Energy Group, a judge dismissed Thursday the company's lawsuit challenging the authority of Maryland regulators to investigate its deal to sell half its nuclear power business to a French utility. The ruling means Constellation has little choice but to proceed with the regulatory review of its $4.5 billion transaction with Electricite de France, a regulatory hurdle that the utility had hoped to avoid and had argued was not required under state law. In a statement, Constellation expressed disappointment with the judge's decision and said it would review its legal options. The legal battle stemmed from the Maryland Public Service Commission's ruling last month that Constellation's deal must be in the public interest to go forward, thereby requiring the panel's approval. Constellation, the parent of Baltimore Gas and Electric Co., the region's largest utility, filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn the PSC ruling.
The Baltimore Sun

MDU Resources Plans To Join ITC Hldgs On Green-Grid Project

MDU Resources Group Inc. (MDU) plans to be one of several partners in ITC Holdings Corp.'s (ITC) Green Power Express LP project, a 3,000-mile transmission line to connect Midwest wind farms to the U.S. electricity grid.

Energy and climate-change legislation wending its way through Congress is widely expected to spark a building boom in transmission lines to upgrade the nation's aging grid and expand the network's reach to include wind and other renewable generation.

Such a comprehensive overhaul of the grid doesn't come without obstacles, but strong federal backing bodes well for ITC, the nation's only publicly traded stand-alone high-voltage transmission company.

Dow Jones Newswires