Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Statehouse leadership wants Yankee pipes rebuilt above ground

From the Rutland Herald:
The Democratic leaders of the state House and Senate called on the owners of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant to replace its entire underground piping system after the discovery of yet another radioactive leak. Senate President Peter Shumlin and House Speaker Shap Smith told reporters at a Burlington news conference Wednesday that Entergy, the plant's owner, needs to take drastic steps to stop the ongoing leaks. Vermont Yankee officials announced over last weekend that another pipe had leaked radioactive substances, including tritium, chromium-51, manganese-54, cobalt-58, cobalt-60, zinc-65, zinc-69, niobium-95, rhodium-105, xenon-131, cesium-137, barium-140 and lanthanum-140. "We can't continue having a leak of the week," said Shumlin, a resident of Windham County, where the nuclear plant is located. "This is Vermont's biggest environmental disaster in its history. This is our BP disaster."
Read more

Susquehanna: Discrimination Resolution

PPL Susquehanna Station: Letter to Licensee reference the closeout of NRC Resolution of an Allegation of Discrimination Download PDF

Atomic Waste Gets 'Temporary' Home

From the Wall Street Journal:
Three months after the U.S. cancelled a plan to build a vast nuclear-waste repository in Nevada, the country's ad hoc atomic-storage policy is becoming clear in places like Wiscasset, Maine. Wiscasset doesn't even have a nuclear-energy plant anymore. The Maine Yankee facility was shuttered back in 1996 after developing problems too costly to fix, and the reactor was dismantled early this decade. What's left is a bare field of 167 acres cleared and ready for development—except for one thing. Left behind are 64 enormous steel-and-concrete casks that hold 542 metric tons of radioactive waste. Seventeen feet tall and 150 tons apiece, the casks are protected by razor wire, cameras and a security force.
Read more

Former Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Elected to Pinnacle West Board of Director

From Penwell:
The board of directors of Pinnacle West Capital Corp. said Dale E. Klein has been elected to the Pinnacle West Board of Directors. He also has joined the Board of Pinnacle West’s principal subsidiary, Arizona Public Service Co. Klein, 62, served as chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission from July 2006 to May 2009, and thereafter as a commissioner until March 30, 2010. Prior to his service on the NRC, Dr. Klein was assistant to the Secretary of Defense for nuclear, chemical and biological defense programs from November 2001 to July 2006.
Read more

Gov't audits NRC, Yankee

From the Brattleboro Reformer:
Tuesday, June 1 2010 BRATTLEBORO - Following the discovery of a radioactive leak coming from an underground pipe at Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant on Jan. 6, both the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and Yankee are being audited. The U.S. Government Accountability Office is planning a review of the NRC's requirements for and oversight of buried pipes at nuclear power plants. Yankee is being audited by the NRC to determine if its license renewal application completely and accurately represents the nature and extent of buried piping at the plant in Vernon. While the GAO's review has not yet begun, the NRC was in Vernon the week of May 24 to conduct its audit. The NRC has 90 days to issue its report. The NRC's visit to Yankee was scheduled, "In light of the recent developments related to tritium leaks found on the site and potential misinformation given to the state of Vermont by Entergy ..."
Read more

TMI Unit 1 Back On-Line after Maintenance

Exelon Press Release LONDONDERRY TWP. Pa. (May 31, 2010) – Three Mile Island Unit 1 (TMI-1) began producing carbon-free electricity today at 7:18 a.m. ET when operators connected the plant to the regional power grid. TMI-1 generates 852 megawatts of electricity, enough power for more than 800,000 homes. The unit was taken offline on May 28 at 11 p.m. ET to perform maintenance on a reactor coolant pump. The maintenance work has been completed. While the plant was offline, plant personnel took advantage of the opportunity to do additional maintenance to ensure a reliable summer operating run.

Post Corrosion on DCU Batteries

C&D Technologies, Inc. (C&D) received a report from a non-domestic customer who is not a U.S. licensee concerning cracks in positive post seals in C&D 3DCU-9 batteries. As a precautionary measure, C&D has chosen to treat this customer's report in the same manner as if the report involved a defect claim by parties regarding matters subject to 10 CFR Part 21. This defect is believed to affect DCU product line batteries 3DCU-7, 2DCU-9, and 3DCU-9, manufactured in the period January 1993 through May 2008. These batteries are used in class 1E applications. The facilities affected by this are DC Cook, Nine Mile Point, Grand Gulf, Susquehanna, Columbia, and Sequoyah. Event Number: 45961

TMI-2 Inspection Report

Inspection No. 05000320/2010008 Docket No. 05000320 Facility: Three Mile Island Station, Unit 2 Download PDF

New PA water rules

The Pennsylvania Environmental Quality Board (EQB) approved two important water protection rules that will shield both drinking water and the state's rivers and streams. One rule sets a protective limit on total dissolved solid (TDS) pollution and requires Marcellus Shale drillers to treat wastewater that they discharge to rivers and streams to drinking water standards. The second rule requires new developments to create or protect a 150 foot natural filter planted with trees and other plants along our best waterways.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Susquehanna: Cyber Security Plan Amendment Request

ADAMS Accession No. ML092740791

NRC finds apparent violations at 13 VA hospitals

From the Philadelphia Inquirer:
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has found the Department of Veterans Affairs in apparent violation of three federal regulations involving radiation use at 13 VA hospitals across the country, including the Philadelphia VA Medical Center.
While the action could result in a fine, the bigger issue is that the commission could strip the VA of its ability to oversee radiation services at all 153 hospitals nationwide. The commission would then take on those duties or assign them to states such as Pennsylvania and New Jersey that have that capability.
"We have concerns about the way oversight and enforcement actions are being implemented" by the VA, commission spokeswoman Viktoria Mitlyng said.

TMI: Control Rod Drive Control System Upgrade

Three Mile Island Nuclear Station, Unit 1 - Issuance of Amendment Re: Technical Specification Changes to Reflect Control Rod Drive Control System Upgrade (TAC No. MD9762)
ADAMS Accession No. ML092740791

Letter to Chairman & Commissioners re groundwater contamination and preemption

Dear Ms. Vietti -Cook,
Attached is a letter from Greenpeace, Beyond Nuclear, Eastern Environmental Law Center, Natural Resources Defense Council, Riverkeeper and the Union of Concerned Scientists to Chairman Jaczko and the Commissioners regarding groundwater contamination and preemption. Accompanying our letter as an attachment is a July 5, 2006 letter from NRC's OGC to the Illinois Attorney General.
Please forward these on to Chairman Jacko and the Commission. Several of us will be meeting with the Chairman and other commissioners the June 10 and will be addressing this issue.
Jim Riccio

Strontium discovered in soil surrounding Vermont Yankee leak Read more:

From the Burlington Free Press:
Vermont Yankee reported Friday afternoon that the radioactive isotope strontium has been located in the soil near where tritium had been discovered leaking at the Vernon nuclear power plant in January.
Strontium-90 was discovered in soil that had been excavated from the area of the leak, Vermont Yankee spokesman Larry Smith said. It was noted in an analysis the company received Monday from a soil sample taken March 17, he said. The state Health Department and Nuclear Regulatory Commission were notified Thursday, he said.

Childhood Leukemia and Proximity to Nuclear Power Plants

From Environmental Health Perspectives:
Since the first report of increased childhood leukemia rates around Britain’s Sellafield nuclear power plant (NPP) in 1983, controversy has surrounded the possible link between the disease and proximity to nuclear reactors. Twenty‐five years later the debate rages on, with different studies yielding seemingly contradictory findings. A public sensitized to the dangers of nuclear power might well ask the question: why aren’t we sure by now?
“The many studies that have been performed are difficult to compare because of differences in their methodology,” explains John Bithell, honorary visiting fellow at the Childhood Cancer Research Group, University of Oxford. These differences include the age groups studied, the geographical areas considered, and potential confounding factors such as socioeconomic status.

U.S. nuclear power plants: Continued life or replacement after 60?

From the U.S. Energy Information Administration
The nuclear industry has expressed strong interest in continuing the operation of existing nuclear facilities, and no particular technical issues have been identified that would impede their continued operation. Recent AEOs had assumed that existing nuclear units would be retired after 60 years of operation (the initial 40-year license plus one 20-year license renewal). Maintaining the same assumption in AEO2010, with the projection horizon extended to 2035, would result in the retirement of more than one-third of existing U.S. nuclear capacity between 2029 and 2035. Given the uncertainty about when existing nuclear capacity actually will be retired, EIA revisited the assumption for the development of AEO2010 and modified it to allow the continued operation of all existing U.S. nuclear power plants through 2035 in the Reference case.

Peach Bottom: Leak Rate Test Interval Request

ADAMS Accession No. ML101320059

Arts: Swiss Artist Catalogs Mutant Insects Around Nuke Plants

From Wired:
"Conventional wisdom holds that nuclear power stations don't leak enough radiation to create malformed organisms. But in some locations, Hesse-Honegger discovered mutations — curtailed feelers, misshapen legs, asymmetrical wings — in as many as 30 percent of the bugs she gathered. That's 10 times the overall rate of about 3 percent for insects found in the wild. "For me, the mutated bugs were like prototypes of a future nature," she says. A selection of Hesse-Honegger's work will be shown this fall in Berlin."