Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Pa. leaders have failed to protect us from worst of electricity deregulation

From the Patriot News:
Pennsylvania decision-makers’ poor understanding of the electricity industry led them into a big mistake 13 years ago: Giving up the state’s authority to control electricity-generation prices.

Consumers were promised a competitive retail electricity market that would restrain prices. The warnings that such a market would not develop went unheeded, but they turned out to be correct.

We’re told that today’s electricity prices are at early 1990s levels. That happens to be because prices at that time were off the chart for customers of utilities that invested in nuclear generation. Prices were trending downward by the mid-1990s, and they could have continued downward were it not for capping some rates at high levels in 1999.

Now Pennsylvania is approaching the end of the purported transition to full deregulation, with electricity monopolies still in place.

In the PPL service territory, that will mean a 30 percent rate increase for residential customers in January. Other utilities, such as PECO and FirstEnergy (including Met-Ed and Penelec), will go to full deregulation in January 2011.

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Monday, December 28, 2009

Winter Storm Power Outages Cause Alert Siren Inoperability

Facility: QUAD CITIES Event Number: 45587 Emergency Class: NON EMERGENCY "On December 23, 2009, at 0656 hours, 40% of the alert sirens in the Quad Cities Station Emergency Planning Zone were determined to be inoperable for greater than 60 minutes. This is considered a major loss of the Quad Cities offsite notification capability. The alert sirens were disabled due to power outages caused by a winter storm. Efforts are underway at the time of this notification to restore the sirens. "This report is being made due to the reduction in public notification capabilities in accordance with 10CFR50.72(b)(3)(xiii). As of 1100 hours, all but 6 EPZ sirens (12%) have been restored. "A follow-up notification will be provided when the sirens have been restored." * * * UPDATE FROM DEWEERTE TO TEAL AT 1707 ON 12/23/2009 * * * "Repairs to the emergency sirens were completed as of 1456 CST hours. All sirens are restored."

PPL customers to get refund

From PoconoNews.Net:
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission approved a $30.16 million refund for PPL residential customers that resulted from PPL Electric Utilities Inc. overcollecting its competitive transition charge (CTC).

The Commission voted 5-0 to approve the revised CTC rates that reflect actual collection and reconciliation data. Because of an overcollection of the CTC, PPL will refund about $30.16 million to its residential customers and $2 million to its industrial customers. These consumers will see the “transition charge” portion of their bill move from a charge to a credit.

PPL undercollected the CTC from its small commercial and industrial customers by about $17.6 million, meaning those customers will continue to pay the CTC in 2010.

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Energy changes will shock

From the Philadelphia Inquirer:

Pennsylvania decision-makers' poor understanding of the electricity industry led them into a big mistake 13 years ago: giving up the state's authority to control electricity-generation prices. Consumers were promised a competitive retail electricity market that would restrain prices. The warnings that such a market would not develop went unheeded, but they turned out to be correct.

Now Pennsylvania is approaching the end of the purported transition to full deregulation, with electricity monopolies still in place. In the PPL service territory, that will mean a 30 percent rate increase for residential customers in January. Other utilities, such as PECO and FirstEnergy (including Met-Ed and Penelec), will go to full deregulation in January 2011.

Unfortunately, the governor and the General Assembly are essentially ignoring the problems that will accompany full deregulation.

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EFMR's real time monitoring system at Three Mile Island

The EFMR Monitoring Group is installing continuous radiation monitors at several locations around the Three Mile Island nuclear power station. The monitors are connected by telephone to a central computer, which downloads the data and displays it. The monitors can be set to record data at preset intervals varying from minutes to hours and can store 1500 data points. The data is downloaded via a dedicated telephone line at preset polling intervals. If the radiation level exceeds a preset alarm level the data is automatically downloaded to the central computer and a polling of all stations is initiated. The software allows the data to be displayed as tables, graphs or readings on a diagram or map. The monitoring station consists of a Thermo Eberline ESM Model FHZ 621 G-L4 wide range detector in a weatherproof housing. The housing also contains an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) and DC power supply, which operates the detector, the RS232 interface adapter, and a telephone modem. The battery in the UPS will operate the monitor and modem for several hours after loss of AC power. The detector is capable of measuring dose equivalent rates from background to 10 rem/hour. The detector also has a feature that uses the difference in radiation energy between natural background radiation and reactor fission product radiation to determine whether small radiation increases are from natural or man-made sources. The chart below shows data from one of the monitors during a 48-hour test. The peak is from a 137Cs calibration source. Five monitoring stations have been purchased and the electrical and telephone installations have been completed for 3 stations as of 27 Mar 03. The other two stations are being used for testing and will be installed when the computer programming and testing is complete.

Critic takes issue with VY review

From the Brattleboro Reformer:

The 81 action items identified after a reliability assessment was conducted at Vermont Yankee in 2008 have been addressed, said a spokesman for the nuclear power plant in Vernon.

But a frequent critic of Entergy’s management of the plant, and a member of the oversight panel tasked by the state to review the reliability assessment, takes issue with the company’s view.

According to Vermont Yankee spokesman Rob Williams, "as of last week, more than two years before the license renewal period is set to start, all 81 recommendations have been addressed by Vermont Yankee and have been reviewed by the Department of Public Service and their consultant Nuclear Safety Associates."

The assessment was conducted on behalf of the Vermont Legislature, which is reviewing whether Yankee should be allowed to continue operating after its license expires in 2012.

But nuclear industry inside turned safety advocate Arnie Gundersen said Entergy’s assessement of the assessment is wrong.

"The 81 items that were identified by NSA and the oversight panel have yet to be addressed," he said.

Yankee has in fact only developed plans to address the items, said Gundersen.

"These plans will now take years to implement and will continue to require constant supervision by the state to assure adherence," he said.

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TMI - Request for Additional Information

Three Mile Island, Unit 1 - Request for Additional Information Regarding Request for Exemption From The Requirements of 10 CFR 50, Appendix R, "Fire Protection of Safe Shutdown Capability" (TAC ME0771). Download PDF

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

TMI "event" 11/21

Event Number: 45514 Facility: THREE MILE ISLAND Region: 1 State: PA Unit: [1] [ ] [ ] RX Type: [1] B&W-L-LP,[2] B&W-L-LP NRC Notified By: ROGER BARNES HQ OPS Officer: BILL HUFFMAN Notification Date: 11/22/2009 Notification Time: 01:13 [ET] Event Date: 11/21/2009 Event Time: 22:45 [EST] Last Update Date: 12/18/2009 RADIATION RELEASE IN CONTAINMENT ASSOCIATED WITH STEAM GENERATOR REMOVAL "This event is being reported via the ENS to the NRC Operations Center within four hours after notifications were made to the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency and local counties for an event of potential public interest. This notification was made at 22:45 on November 21, 2009, after the occurrence of an event related to the safety and health of onsite personnel for which a press release has been made. The press release was made following the event of potential public interest notifications. This report is being made under 10 CFR 72.75(b)(2). "At approximately 16:00 on Saturday November 21, 2009, low levels of radiation activity were measured on radiation monitors installed in the TMI-1 reactor building. Personnel were directed to immediately leave the reactor building until the source of the activity could be identified. Surveys directly outside of the reactor building construction opening indicated a slight increase in activity. Levels have returned to normal. No contamination was identified outside of the reactor building. Approximately 150 workers were monitored for exposure to the radiation activity. No worker approached or exceeded any exposure limits. The sources of the activity are believed to be from maintenance tasks related to cutting lines in preparation for removal of the 'B' Steam Generator." The licensee is still investigating the cause of the event but indicated that the radiation release is no longer in progress. Containment Ventilation is established to provide an inflow into containment to the extent possible (considering the openings in containment). The licensee contacted state and local authorities and the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA). The licensee notified the NRC Resident Inspector. The licensee has also issued a press release. * * * UPDATE FROM NEFF TO TEAL AT 1824 EST ON 12/18/2009 * * * "This provides an update to notification EN #45514 that reported a non-emergency offsite notification for an event on November 21, 2009, at the Three Mile island Nuclear Station. "Updated news release and notifications to local, state and federal elected and regulatory officials were performed today, December 18, 2009, that provide an outage update as well as communication the results of analysis of Offsite Environmental Monitors following the November 21, 2009 event."

Saturday, December 19, 2009

NRC Seeks Participants For Upcoming Discussions On Draft Safety Culture Policy

No. 09-200 December 18, 2009

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will host several public workshops next year to gather input on the agency’s draft policy statement on “safety culture,” and the staff wants to hear from individuals interested in participating in the workshops’ roundtable discussions.

“Safety culture is not a simple issue, but it is vital to the NRC’s mission of protecting the public’s health and safety,” said NRC Chairman Gregory B. Jaczko. “Public involvement is critical to addressing the complexities of this topic and I welcome and encourage the public’s participation in the upcoming discussions.”

The Commission recently published the draft safety culture policy statement in the Federal Register, (http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2009/pdf/E9-26816.pdf ), setting forth the NRC’s expectation that all licensees and certificate holders establish and maintain a safety culture that protects public health and safety and the common defense and security. The draft policy defines safety culture as: “That assembly of characteristics, attitudes and behaviors in organizations and individuals which establishes that as an overriding priority, nuclear safety and security issues receive the attention warranted by their significance.”

The workshops, described in another Federal Register notice (http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2009/pdf/E9-29793.pdf), are tentatively scheduled for February, April and October 2010. The staff expects the workshops will help forge a consensus around the objectives, strategies, activities and measures that enhance safety culture for NRC-regulated activities. The effort should also help develop high-level description/traits of areas important to safety culture. These concepts will be incorporated into the final safety culture policy statement and could also be incorporated into the NRC’s oversight programs.

Individuals or organizations interested in participating should submit names of individuals who will represent a group (or themselves) to Alex Sapountzis or Maria Schwartz, by mail to U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Office of Enforcement, Concerns Resolution Branch, Mail Stop O-4 A15A, Washington, DC 20555-0001, or by e-mail to Alexander.Sapountzis@nrc.gov or Maria.Schwartz@nrc.gov.

Keystone Connection

A newsletter published by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission regarding utility news in the telecommunications, energy, transportation and water markets. Download (PDF)

Digital Version of Pennsylvania Geology

From Jay Parrish, State Geologist:
As you know, we have moved to a digital version of Pennsylvania Geology. The newest issue can be found at the following link: http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/topogeo/pub/pageolmag/pdfs/v39n3.pdf. I want to thank you for your patience as we continue to transition to this new format. It is a format which will allow us to make far more use of color photos and digital map data. Please forward this link to anyone who you might think would be interested in the geology of Pennsylvania and ask them to contact us at RA-pageology@state.pa.us to subscribe. For previous versions of Pennsylvania Geology, please visit http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/topogeo/pub/pageolmag/pageolonline.aspx.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Report: Spent fuel storage costs may run $225B

From the Brattleboro Reformer:

If no federal repository for spent nuclear fuel is opened in the next 100 years, the nation’s taxpayers could be on the hook to pay for on-site storage, such as the dry casks at Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in Vernon.

That cost could run anywhere between $10 billion and $26 billion.

That was the conclusion of the Government Accounting Office, which just released a report on the costs of nuclear waste management -- whether it be a long-term repository, centralized storage or on-site storage.

The United States has 70,000 tons of waste stored at 80 sites in 35 states. By 2055, the amount of waste is expected to increase to 153,000 tons.

Read more

PUC Expands the Role of the Office of Competitive Market Oversight to Include Electric Retail Choice Issues

HARRISBURG – As part of a continued effort to facilitate a smooth transition to a competitive market as many Pennsylvanians face the expiration of generation rate caps, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) today announced it will be expanding the Office of Competitive Market Oversight (OCMO) to serve as the Commission’s electric retail choice ombudsman. According to the Secretarial Letter issued to electric generation suppliers (EGSs) and electric distribution companies, OCMO is responsible for responding to questions from EGSs, monitoring competitive market complaints and facilitating informal dispute resolution between the default service provider (DSP) and EGSs. In performing these functions, OCMO will assume only advisory and informal mediation roles. The first meeting of the expanded OCMO is planned as a conference call for Dec. 18, 2009, at 9 a.m. Further details are contained in the Secretarial Letter. In areas where competitive electricity supplies are being offered, Pennsylvania consumers may be able to secure supply rates below the prices offered by their utility. Generation supply costs comprise the majority of the average electric bill. Consumers are encouraged to proactively engage competitive suppliers – whose price is unregulated by the PUC – to obtain pricing information for the generation portion of their bill. The PUC has engaged consumer advocates and industry experts in efforts to mitigate any price increases in future electric generation prices. The PUC has been working to educate consumers; develop strategies to remove barriers for suppliers providing competitive electric service; approve phase-in or pre-payment plans and direct all utilities to file such programs if electric rates increase by more than 25 percent; update low-income programs that provide customer assistance; and implement default service pricing that reflects the least cost to consumers over the long term. The PUC also is continuing to implement reasonable, cost-effective programs that consumers and companies can implement to conserve energy or use it more efficiently. The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission balances the needs of consumers and utilities to ensure safe and reliable utility service at reasonable rates; protect the public interest; educate consumers to make independent and informed utility choices; further economic development; and foster new technologies and competitive markets in an environmentally sound manner. For recent news releases, audio of select Commission proceedings or more information about the PUC, visit our website atwww.puc.state.pa.us.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Harrisburg Diocesan Council of Catholic Women were Awarded a $500 "Earth in Our Hands" Grant

Press Release November 19, 2009 Contact: Joyce Scott - joynbob10@aol.com Linda Braasch - wowof3@aol.com Barbara McCarthy, President of Harrisburg Diocesan Council of Catholic Women accepted a certificate and the $500 award for the “Earth in Our Hands” project at the 2009 Annual Convention of the National Council of Catholic Women. The grant application was submitted by the Harrisburg Diocesan CCW Community Concerns Commission. Earth: In Our Hands project grants are intended to help diocesan councils or parish affiliates design and implement projects that promote Catholic’s obligation to be good stewards of the Earth’s environment and pursue environmental justice among people. “Living in the shadows of Three Mile Island gives us a unique opportunity to uphold our inalienable rights for the common good of all,” Linda Braasch, chairwoman of the diocese’s Community Concerns Commission which applied for the grant. “We recognize the re-licensing of TMI was inevitable, however with God, all things are possible.” In presenting this award to the HDCCW President, the following was stated: Pope Benedict recently reminded us: “Today, we all see that humanity can destroy the foundations of its existence, the earth.” He went on to say, “We must respect the inner laws of creation, of this earth; we must learn these laws and obey these laws if we are to survive.” Partially in response to these words, NCCW began the “Earth in Our Hands Program,” which allows us to respond to two challenges. 1 – To live on the earth in a sustainable way, to preserve its life and health for future generations. 2 – To exercise the “preferential option for the poor” that we defend and put the needs of the world’s most vulnerable people first in our hearts and our efforts. The grant application stated, “Hopefully our proposed project will rally the citizens. Together we will uphold human dignity, respect for life, and the integrity of our environment.” Collaborating with interfaith and community groups we will work in solidarity to educate for justice and peace. Through sharing, advertising, communication, and letter writing, we will try to promote laws denying a nuclear license renewal to utility sites where emissions of radiation have proved to pose a risk to the environment, workers, and public. We hope that these laws will endorse legislation requiring a designated and permanent nuclear waste disposal site to be operational before new nuclear plants are given a license to operate. These goals are before the NCCW in our pending, proposed resolution; “Citizens Response to the Civil Use of Nuclear Energy as it Affects our Environment.” Seeking the truth and justice of a safe secure energy future as a result of this nation’s worst commercial nuclear accident is not easy. We have intervened in the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) TMI Unit 1 re-licensing process. Our petition and opposition to the licensing of nuclear power plants before there is a nuclear waste disposal site are part of the record. Our ladies learned of the sense of futility and oppression one feels after attending an NRC meeting. The power of the industry does not take our concerns seriously. It is important that we as a Christian community reach out in faith, network in solidarity, and have a voice in nuclear energy decisions in order to provide our children with a safe environment free of uncontrolled radiation releases and toxic waste. There needs to be industry accountability and our humanity needs to be a part of the solution. With gratitude to God for our Bishop, the Most Reverend Kevin C. Rhoades, we encourage citizens to be aware of the facts, pray, and participate in efforts to protect the environment and to promote safety at Three Mile Island.

Obituary: Thomas M. Gerusky

Thomas M. Gerusky, age 74 of Allendale in Lower Allen Twp., died Sunday in Select Specialty Hospital, East Pennsboro Twp. Mr. Gerusky was born on June 18, 1935 in Fort Edward, near Lake George, New York, a son of the late Michael and Marie Varney Gerusky. He received a bachelor's degree at Union College and in 1956 earned a master's degree in radiological physics at the University of Rochester. Before coming to Harrisburg he worked at the Brookhaven National Atomic Laboratory and for Squibb Institute. At Union College he was a member of Phi Delta Theta Fraternity and the Garnet Key Society. Gerusky was the director of the Pennsylvania Bureau of Radiological Health in the Department of Environmental Resources. He later worked for the U.S. Department of Energy Environmental Restoration program in Germantown, MD. Patriot-News columnist Paul B. Beers, in "Reporter At Large" wrote that Gerusky was said to be "the faceless expert quoted whenever there is fallout or a nuclear power plant leak. A welcome side-talent of his expertise is that public communications comes easy to him and he is good at it...." Gerusky's expertise and knowledge was widely sought during the Three Mile Island Nuclear accident in 1979. Most notable were actions he took toward protecting the citizens of Pennsylvania during the TMI incident. Surviving is his wife Patricia A., at home; two daughters Kathleen Hamilton, of Etters and Diane Adam of Lebanon; one son, Michael Gerusky of Greensburg; six grandchildren, Michael, Lindsay, Shaun, Brittany, Aaron and Thomas; two sisters, Sharron Beaty and Shirley Corrigan, both of Florida. There will be a memorial gathering on Thursday, Dec. 10 from 6-8p.m. at Mussleman Funeral Home and Cremation Services, Inc., 324 Hummel Ave., Lemoyne. there will be no viewing. Burial will be at the convenience of the family. In lieu of flowers memorial donations may be made to PUlmonary Education and Research foundation at perf2ndwind.org

Millions in U.S. Drink Dirty Water, Records Show

From The New York Times:
More than 20 percent of the nation’s water treatment systems have violated key provisions of the Safe Drinking Water Act over the last five years, according to a New York Times analysis of federal data. That law requires communities to deliver safe tap water to local residents. But since 2004, the water provided to more than 49 million people has contained illegal concentrations of chemicals like arsenic or radioactive substances like uranium, as well as dangerous bacteria often found in sewage. Regulators were informed of each of those violations as they occurred. But regulatory records show that fewer than 6 percent of the water systems that broke the law were ever fined or punished by state or federal officials, including those at the Environmental Protection Agency, which has ultimate responsibility for enforcing standards. Studies indicate that drinking water contaminants are linked to millions of instances of illness within the United States each year. In some instances, drinking water violations were one-time events, and probably posed little risk. But for hundreds of other systems, illegal contamination persisted for years, records show.
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White House Is Urged to Help States With Nuclear Plants Stockpile Thyroid Drug

From The New York Times:
After the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Congress passed a law instructing the federal government to help states build bigger stocks of a simple, cheap drug to protect people near nuclear power plants in the event of an accident or terrorist attack. But the 2002 law left a legal loophole allowing the White House to forgo distribution if officials found that there was a better way to prevent cancer than administering the thyroid drug, potassium iodide. And after years of delays, the Bush administration dropped the plan in 2007, saying evacuations would be a better alternative. Now advocates are trying again, bargaining on a new administration that is re-examining Bush-era policies.
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Kaiga: Question mark over nuclear safety

From rediff.com:

The poisoning of more than 90 workers with radioactive tritium at the Kaiga nuclear power station is a serious safety violation, which calls for a critical look at India's nuclear power programme. The way the episode came to light, and the manner in which the authorities, from plant managers to the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, to top officials of the Department of Atomic Energy, responded to it is a disturbing tale in itself.

The tritium ingestion was noticed on November 24 only after its effects had become manifest in abnormal levels of the isotope found in the urine of 92 plant workers, of the 800 tested. The plant managers admitted to the incident only after it caused public concern and the media reported it. Although they called this a "malevolent act", they didn't report it to the police for a week. The police aren't convinced this was the first occurrence of its kind at Kaiga.

We still don't know precisely how and for how long the workers' internal exposure to tritium occurred, what was the concentration of tritium in the water-cooler (which was allegedly deliberately spiked with tritium), and how many people drank the water. All that the Nuclear Power Corporation, which operates the Kaiga reactors, said is that two workers received a dose exceeding the 30 millisievert maximum limit stipulated by the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board. This is a general limit for radiation, not specific to tritium, a highly toxic substance for which different measures such as Curies or Bequerels per litre are usually prescribed the world over.

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Thursday, December 3, 2009

'Suffering will be significant'

From the Patriot News:

The middle of an ugly economic climate when people are already struggling to pay their bills is the wrong time to jolt PPL customers with a 30 percent bill increase, a group of activists argued at the Capitol on Tuesday.

"The increases will be significant, the suffering will be significant," said Eric Epstein of Rock the Capital. "People will be making choices they shouldn't have to make between food, warmth and medicine."

Epstein and others argued that legislators should quickly act to extend rate caps that have kept prices at 1996 levels.

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Statement By NRC Chairman Gregory B. Jaczko On Upcoming Commission Schedule

From the Nuclear Regulatory Commission:

“The Commission has established its tentative schedule for the first months of 2010 with the goal of continuing to ensure that our stakeholders are informed of, and involved in, the agency’s activities and plans. The Commission is moving into the new year with a comprehensive meeting schedule, tackling diverse and timely issues as well as undertaking discussions to resolve several long-standing issues from the past.

The Commission is moving forward in our planning while not losing sight of where we have been, or the challenges that face us currently. I look forward to discussions about our anticipated activities, such as those in the area of uranium recovery, to make sure that our mission – for safety, security and protection of the environment – is being met. I’m also looking forward to discussions to help us close out long-standing generic safety issues, such as the GSI-191, which addresses sump performance issues. The meetings planned around current issues will provide an opportunity to engage stakeholders on such critical items as safety culture and ensuring adequate decommission funding.

I am looking forward to exploring these items with my Commission colleagues, the agency staff, and our stakeholders, as we move forward with the agency’s business of protecting people and the environment.”

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Davis-Besse security guard injured when gun discharges

From the Toledo Blade:
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission said there "are still a lot of questions" about an incident Friday in which a Davis-Besse security guard accidentally shot himself in his leg.
The incident occurred in the bathroom of a men's locker room at 7:35 a.m. when security guard Jamie Arthur bent over to set down a rifle.
A 9mm Smith & Wesson handgun issued by FirstEnergy Corp. went off in the holster he was wearing and a bullet struck his calf, Capt. Steve Levorchick of the Ottawa County Sheriff's Office said.
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Governor Rendell: Major Solar Project in Philadelphia Navy Yard to Create 400 Jobs

From the Department of Environmental Protection:
Governor Edward G. Rendell announced today that one of the world’s most competitive and innovative thin-film solar panel producers will open a manufacturing facility in Philadelphia’s Navy Yard, creating 400 jobs and leveraging hundreds of millions of dollars of private investment.

The Governor said the planned project by Heliosphera US represents an exciting development for Pennsylvania’s green economy that will bolster the state and city’s reputation as an emerging leader in solar technology and development.

“This was a very competitive project and Heliosphera’s decision to locate this exciting facility at the Navy Yard speaks volumes about Pennsylvania’s efforts to build a competitive economic climate and one that encourages growth and innovation in the renewable energy field that will define our future,” said Governor Rendell.

“This project means a great deal for the city and the state, not only in terms of jobs and the sizeable investment the company is making here, but also in strengthening our state’s presence in the solar energy industry. Solar is the fastest growing source of electric generation in the world. With this and other solar projects underway across the state, we’re making a statement that we intend to be a leader in that growth.”

Pennsylvania provided the company with a $49 million funding offer, coordinated through the Governor’s Action Team, consisting of a variety of grants and loans.

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Possibly an act of mischief, says NPCIL chief

From the Hindu:
The Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited is taking seriously the incident of tritiated heavy water, a radioactive substance, getting mixed with the water in a drinking water cooler in the reactor building of the first unit of the Kaiga Atomic Power Station in Karnataka, its Chairman and Managing Director S.K. Jain said on Sunday.

Mr. Jain called it “possibly an act of mischief.” Sixty-five workers, who drank that water, received doses of radiation higher than the prescribed limits. The incident came to light when their urine samples were tested on November 24. “The contamination of water in the cooler is a matter of serious concern, and the cause is being investigated,” he said.

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Critics say TMI forgot '79 lessons

From the Patriot News:

The Three Mile Island nuclear station's former operators learned from the 1979 partial reactor meltdown that there's no such thing as overcommunication about TMI.

Two former spokesmen for GPU Nuclear Corp., which operated the facility after the 1979 accident, said that based on lessons learned from that incident, they subsequently alerted local officials about every minor event at the plant, such as when an ambulance was called or a steam release was loud.

They issued so many notifications that officials receiving them complained.

"The operation of a nuclear power plant is based on trust, and communication is an exercise in trust," said Douglas Bedell of Cornwall, who was a communication manager for GPU Nuclear.

Bedell and Joe Benish, who joined GPU Nuclear's communication staff six months after the 1979 accident, said they find it puzzling that Exelon Corp., which operates the facility now, did not alert state officials to last Saturday's radiation leak inside a TMI reactor building until more than five hours after it occurred.

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Cuban nationals land at Florida nuclear plant: NRC

From Reuters:
A group of Cuban nationals who fled their country by boat landed in the cooling canal of a nuclear power plant along Florida's coast on Thanksgiving Day, according to a U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission event report issued Friday.

The plant's operations were not disrupted by the incident, according to the report.

The Turkey Point nuclear power plant control room received a call from an individual stating that he was a member of a group of 33 Cuban nationals that had landed in the cooling canal. The group was made up of 29 adults and 4 children.

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