Thursday, September 30, 2010

UCS presentation to NRC Commission on PWR containment sump problem resolution options

Good Day: UCS has been invited to participate in a briefing of the Commission on the proposed closeout options for Generic Safety Issue 191, the PWR containment sump problem. The briefing is scheduled to begin this Wednesday, September 29th, at 1pm eastern time at the NRC's headquarters in Rockville, MD. The meeting is scheduled to be webcast. See online info at The slides prepared by UCS, industry representatives, an ACRS representative, and the NRC staff are available from this webpage by clicking on the slides link. The UCS slides are attached. As our title slide indicates, Wednesday will mark 5,132 days (a mere 14 years) since the NRC staff initiated GSI-191 back in September 1996. The NRC staff determined that the problem made it "VERY LIKELY" (their label) that the emergency core cooling systems (ECCSs) would not work at 25 of the nation's 69 pressurized water reactors (PWRs) in event of an accident. The NRC staff determined that the ECCSs would probably not work at another 12 PWRs. About half of the 69 PWRs have taken steps to fully address the problem. The rest have taken some steps, but the NRC staff cannot accept that work to date. On Wednesday, the Commission will hear the industry's pleas for "close enough" and to forego any further work at the lagging PWRs. The NRC will hear the NRC staff outline a two-phase approach to resolve the remaining issues. The NRC will hear ACRS and UCS essentially endorse the NRC staff's approach. UCS qualified its endorsement. All of the options, save for the industry's "do absolutely nothing else to resolve this serious safety problem" one, entail many more years. UCS recommends that the NRC staff factor in known risk factors -- such as GSI-191 being unresolved at certain plants -- when it makes risk-informed safety decisions. Thanks, Dave Lochbaum David Lochbaum Director, Nuclear Safety Project Union of Concerned Scientists PO Box 15316 Chattanooga, TN 37415

Are American homes more energy efficient? Not exactly.

From the Washington Post:
The amount of energy that the average American requires at home has changed little since the early 1970s -- despite advances in technology that have made many home appliances far more energy efficient. Dishwashers use 45 percent less energy than they did two decades ago, according to industry data. Refrigerators use 51 percent less. But on a per-capita basis, Americans still require about 70 million British thermal units a year to heat, cool and power their homes, just as they did in 1971. (One BTU is the energy required to heat one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit.) A key reason, experts say, is that American homes are getting bigger, which means more space to heat and cool. And consumers are buying more and more power-sucking gadgets -- meaning that kilowatts saved by dishwashers and refrigerators are often used up by flat-screen televisions, computers and digital video recorders.
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Peach Bottom: Storage of Low Level Radioactive Waste Generated Off-Site


Water Use in Southwest Heads for a Day of Reckoning

From the New York Times:
A once-unthinkable day is looming on the Colorado River. Barring a sudden end to the Southwest’s 11-year drought, the distribution of the river’s dwindling bounty is likely to be reordered as early as next year because the flow of water cannot keep pace with the region’s demands. For the first time, federal estimates issued in August indicate that Lake Mead, the heart of the lower Colorado basin’s water system — irrigating lettuce, onions and wheat in reclaimed corners of the Sonoran Desert, and lawns and golf courses from Las Vegas to Los Angeles — could drop below a crucial demarcation line of 1,075 feet.
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Former N.J. Gov. Christie Whitman ‘comfortable’ as a nuclear advocate

From the Press of Atlantic City:

Former New Jersey Gov. Christie Whitman, once a top political and environmental figure, is now an ambassador for nuclear power.

The former administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency spends her days promoting an industry largely opposed by environmentalists.

Whitman, a Republican from Somerset County, works for the Clean and Safe Energy Coalition, a national group formed to promote nuclear power. In this role, she has been giving speeches and leading discussions in New Jersey and elsewhere touting the benefits of atomic energy. Whitman was a guest speaker earlier this year at Richard Stockton College’s Hughes Center for Public Policy in Atlantic City.

She has taken on this public role at a time when critical issues affecting nuclear plants and the public are being debated in southern New Jersey.

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Peach Bottom: Response to Confirmatory Order

Peach Bottom Response to Confirmatory Order - NRC Investigation Report Nos. I-2008-023, I-2008-004 Download ML102700185 (PDF)

PPL Electric Utilities Corp. Universal Services and Energy Conservation Plan for 2011-2013

Eric Epstein 4100 Hillsdale Road Harrisburg PA 17112

To Whom It May Concern:

This is to advice you that the Commission in the Public Meeting on September 23, 2010 adopted an Order in the above entitled proceeding.

An Order has been enclosed for your records.

Very truly yours,

Rosemary Chiavetta Secretary

Download PDF of Order

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Three Mile Island Alert testifies to Veteran Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee

Three Mile Island Alert Harrisburg PA For Release on September 27, 2010 Contact Scott Portzline 717 232-8863 Three Mile Island Alert’s security consultant Scott D. Portzline presented written testimony today to the PA Senate hearing on the intelligence bulletin contract. Portzline provided actual events of retaliation against activists which exemplify what could occur from the unnecessary publication of the names of activists. “The price of activism can be quite high in terms of time, effort and money. But when the government includes your name on a list that makes you a suspect, the costs then threaten your patriotism, your good citizenship and your moral obligation to get involved,” said Scott Portzline of Harrisburg PA. Ironically, while Portzline has received letters of appreciation from the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency for his “assessments, concerns and suggestions,” Three Mile Island Alert is considered to be an anti-nuclear group rather than a nuclear watchdog group and therefore would have fit the profile of the intelligence bulletin’s groups which could cause trouble. Mr. Portzline also noted that the overly broad-blanket approach to gathering and disseminating intelligence has distracted the government from containing actual threats to the nation’s infrastructure like the Stuxnet virus. The virus has currently infected approximately 3000 industrial plants in the United States. In fact, Mr. Portzline reported his concerns to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission during the week of September 20, 2010, and found the agency's responses to be inadequate. Portzline, who was instrumental in exposing security weaknesses in the NRC's website in 2004, the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory web site in 2007, and the Department of Energy and Department of Commerce websites earlier this year. Portzline compares the NRC's actions against cyber threats to “hitting the snooze button until someone else wakes you up.” TMI Alert believes that the recent revelations in Pennsylvania serve as a good example of the quest for security over-reaching its moral balance. The government is to be commended for correcting this practice albeit too late for many.

PPL reaches agreement to sell certain non-core generating assets

PPL Corporation


PPL Corporation (NYSE: PPL) said Thursday (9/9) it has reached agreement to sell interests in certain non-core generating stations to LS Power Equity Advisors, an affiliate of LS Power.

The transaction will include the 244-megawatt PPL Wallingford Energy plant, a natural gas-fired facility located in the Town of Wallingford, Conn.; the 585-megawatt PPL University Park plant, a natural gas-fired facility located in University Park, Ill.; and PPL’s one-third share in Safe Harbor Water Power Corporation, owner of the 421-megawatt Safe Harbor Hydroelectric Station on the Susquehanna River in Conestoga, Pa.

The transaction, for approximately $381 million in cash, is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2010, pending receipt of necessary regulatory approvals and third- party consents. The transaction is expected to result in an after-tax special item charge against PPL’s third-quarter earnings of $65 million to $80 million.

Following the closing of the sale, PPL will continue to operate a diverse mix of competitive-market generating plants in Pennsylvania and Montana, with a combined capacity of nearly 11,000 megawatts.

Credit Suisse and BofA Merrill Lynch served as PPL’s financial advisors in this transaction.

PPL Corporation, headquartered in Allentown, Pa., owns or controls generating capacity in the United States, sells energy in key U.S. markets and delivers electricity to about 4 million customers in Pennsylvania and the United Kingdom. More information is available at

LS Power is a power generation and transmission group with a proven track record of successful development activities, operations management and commercial execution. LS Power has been involved in the development, construction, or operations of over 20,000 MW of power generation throughout the United States. LS Power is actively developing both power generation and transmission infrastructure to serve the need for new generation and improve the aging transmission system. Highly regarded in the financial community, LS Power has raised over $13 billion to support investment in energy infrastructure since 2005. For more information, visit

State 'terrorism' documents referred to York County

From the York Daily Record:
Last December's climate change conference in Copenhagen might inspire protests at the Three Mile Island or Peach Bottom nuclear plants.

April's Tea Party rallies in Hanover and York might prompt anti-government radicals to target government offices. And in July, al-Qaida's presence in Chechnya was raising some concerns. The York Haven Hydro Station and Holtwood Hydroelectric Plant on the Susquehanna River were possible targets in the admittedly unlikely event that al-Qaida leaders decided to strike at Central Pennsylvania.

Those were among the concerns related to York County that the Institute of Terrorism Research and Response raised in bulletins provided to the Pennsylvania Office of Homeland Security.

Gov. Ed Rendell recently expressed embarrassment over the bulletins, saying he was unaware of them, and canceled the $100,000 state contract with the Institute.

Read more

For PPL execs, a lower bar, bigger reward

From the Morning Call:
With the economy in a free fall and electric demand down in early 2009, PPL CEO James Miller started unloading people. The Allentown energy company eliminated about 200 jobs that year, cutting its work force by 6 percent to lower overhead that would have been a drain on earnings. And at the end of it all, Miller was rewarded handsomely. He received $7.7 million in cash and equity in 2009, making him the second-highest paid executive in the Lehigh Valley, according to a Morning Call analysis of executive pay at local publicly traded companies. That was 37 percent more than he received in 2008, even though the company's overall revenues and earnings had dropped. To many workers, the concept may seem cold and even cruel. If the company is doing so poorly that it has to cut jobs, how can it so richly reward its top executive? But it highlights the often complex manner in which CEOs are paid, a common subject of political debate that underscores disparities in wealth distribution. And it demonstrates how sometimes when companies upend lives by slashing jobs, they simultaneously cut their CEOs some slack.
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Status of nuclear uprates & license extensions

All of Pennsylvania’s nuclear reactors have increased capacity through share holder funded uprates dating back to 1988 . Power uprates increase on-site radioactive waste storage, and require millions of gallons of additional water daily. There is no permanent waste disposal facility for high level radioactive waste, and each reactor generates 30 metric tons of toxic waste annually. Uprates require millions of gallons of additional water daily from the Delaware and Susquehanna Rivers. PPL’s Extended Power Uprate - which was fully funded by shareholders - increased water consumption from the Susquehanna River from 61 to 70 million gallons per day. (NRC EIS, April, 2008) PPL’s extended power uprate of 13% - which was fully funded by shareholders - added 463 megawatts per reactor, and increased water consumption from the Susquehanna River for 61 to 70 million gallons per day. On October 22, 2009, Exelon met with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and detailed plans for uprates at Limerick in 2010 and 2014-2015, Peach Bottom 2011-2012 and 2013-2014, and Three Mile Island in 2013-2014. (NRC, ADAMS, ML: 092940052) Exelon told the NRC that the Company will “perform, over 1,300 MWe of uprates over the next eight years.” Exelon also acknowledged it “installed 1,100 MWe of increased nuclear capacity through power uprates over the past 10 years.” (“Exelon: Power Uprate Project Plan,” October 22, 2009) Sources: Nuclear News (May, 2010) US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (June, 2010)

Storm knocks out power plant's warning system

From ABC27:
A thunderstorm in southern York County knocked down trees Wednesday night. But that storm posed a much greater threat - it knocked out the warning system from a nearby nuclear power plant. Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station is in Delta, York County. The towers that surround it are topped by emergency sirens. If there's a problem at the plant, they will sound the alarm - but a strong storm that knocked down trees and knocked out power also knocked out this first line of defense. "There are more sirens, they are louder, the system's better than it was before," said nuclear watchdog Eric Epstein. "But the system has no value if it's not operating."
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Friday, September 24, 2010

Global Wind Power Capacity May Rival Nuclear Within Four Years

From Bloomberg:
Installed power capacity from wind turbines around the world will probably rival the potential generation of electricity from nuclear plants within four years, the Global Wind Energy Council said. Installed wind capacity by 2014 will probably reach 400 gigawatts, Steve Sawyer, secretary-general of the council, said in an e-mailed statement. Current nuclear power capacity is about 376 gigawatts, according to the World Nuclear Association. Investments in wind power last year exceeded money spent on all other energy technologies including nuclear power, according to the International Energy Agency. Fifty-nine reactors are presently under various stages of construction globally, the World Nuclear Association said on its website. Growth of wind power in China and elsewhere is offsetting a decline in the U.S. and is little changed in Europe this year, GWEC said. China, the world’s most populous nation and second- biggest economy, will likely more than double the amount of wind power potential this year to about 18 gigawatts, Bloomberg New Energy Finance estimates.
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Peach Bottom: Sirens Unavailable due to Inclement Weather

Event Number: 46269 Event Date: 09/22/2010 Emergency Class: NON EMERGENCY SIRENS UNAVAILABLE DUE TO INCLEMENT WEATHER "During a thunder storm that extended across southern Pennsylvania and northern Maryland, 21 emergency sirens lost power in York County Pennsylvania and 8 emergency sirens lost power in Harford County Maryland. Exelon is communicating to the appropriate utilities to make emergent repairs to restore these sirens." In accordance with Peach Bottom plant specific procedures because greater than 25% of sirens were unavailable, the licensee contacted the following: Pennsylvania and Maryland Emergency Management; Harford and Cecil counties in Maryland and Lancaster, Chester and York counties in Pennsylvania. The licensee notified the NRC Resident Inspector.

Susquehanna: Coolant Injection System Inoperable

Event Number: 46268 Event Date: 09/22/2010 Emergency Class: NON EMERGENCY HIGH PRESSURE COOLANT INJECTION SYSTEM INOPERABLE DUE TO A MINOR LUBE OIL LEAK "At 0830 [EDT] on 09/22/2010, the Unit 2 High Pressure Coolant Injection (HPCI) system was determined to be inoperable due to a minor lube oil leak on the 'A' supply filter. LCO 3.5.1 for the HPCI system was entered at 0830 [EDT] on 09/22/2010. "The leak on the 'A' filter could not be immediately corrected. The 'B' filter was placed in service and leak checked satisfactorily. The LCO 3.5.1 action statements were closed at 1454 [EDT] on 09/22/2010. "This incident is being reported as an event or condition that could have prevented fulfillment of a safety function required to mitigate the consequences of an accident in accordance with 10CFR50.72(b)(3)(v)(D)." The licensee notified the NRC Resident Inspector.

Electrical glitch takes TMI offline

From the Press and Journal:
A faulty electrical device knocked Three Mile Island off-line for about 24 hours from Sunday, Sept. 19 to Monday, Sept. 20, halting the production of power. The reactor did not shut down, but the malfunction, which affected the plant’s turbine generator, forced the unit off the grid. The plant resumed producing electricity around 11 p.m. Monday, Sept. 20, officials said. It is the second time in six months that electric generation at the plant was interrupted by a mechanical problem. In March, oil leaking from two reactor coolant pumps forced the shutdown of the reactor for 31 hours.
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Educating students on Shale becoming focus

From the Times Leader:
A new teaching resource on one of the hottest topics in the region – natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale – hit the Internet on Tuesday. Eric Epstein, founder of the nuclear energy watchdog group EFMR (the initials of family members) and the political forum, announced at a press conference at the state Capitol on Tuesday that the two organizations have produced “nonjudgmental” educational lesson plans and a resource guide entitled “Marcellus Shale: Natural Gas Energy.” Because teachers often incorporate current community issues into their classroom lessons, Epstein thought it important to provide such a resource. His groups put out lesson plans on coal, nuclear, wind and solar energy in the past. He hired educational consultant Diane Little, a former science teacher, to draw up the lesson plans and resource guide, which provide outlines and potential sources of information for lessons at the elementary, middle and high school levels.
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Long-term problem

From the Patriot News:

In response to a lack of long-term options, nuclear plants will be allowed to store high-level radioactive spent fuel on-site for up to 60 years after the plant stops operating, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has ruled.

Previously, nuclear plants were only allowed to store the waste on site for up to 30 years.

Neil Sheehan, a NRC spokesman, said the decision is in response to the lack of a national nuclear waste storage site.

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U.S. invests in drug to protect against radiation

From Reuters:
Tiny biotech Cleveland BioLabs Inc (CBLI.O) has won a $45 million contract from the Department of Defense to conduct clinical trials of a drug to prevent cell damage in the event of nuclear attack. The experimental drug has already been shown to protect mice and monkeys from the damaging effects of radiation. If it works in people, it would be the first drug of its kind. In animals, the drug has been shown to protect bone marrow and cells in the gut from being destroyed by radiation. "There are no drugs which protect humans from radiation," Michael Fonstein, the company's chief executive officer, said in a telephone interview. The drug works by interfering with a process of programmed cell death called apoptosis -- basically a form of cell suicide. This helps the body rid itself of damaged cells,
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Three Mile Island Returns to Service

Exelon Nuclear FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE LONDONDERRY TWP. (Sept. 21, 2010) – Three Mile Island Unit 1 returned to service yesterday at 10:50 p.m. when operators connected the plant’s turbine generator to the regional power grid. The turbine generator shut down on September 19 due to a faulty electrical card on a plant system. Plant personnel replaced the faulty electrical card. Three Mile Island Unit 1 generates 852 megawatts of carbon free power - enough electricity for about 800,000 homes. Electric customers were not affected by the plant being off line.

Commissioner Martin Petitiions for Relief from Polluting Pennsylvania Power Plant

State of New Jersey Dept. of Environmental Protection FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (10/P97) TRENTON --- DEP Commissioner Bob Martin has again formally asked the federal government to force the owners of a coal-powered Pennsylvania power plant to dramatically reduce harmful air emissions that are causing an even greater public health concern in North Jersey than originally known, he announced today. Commissioner Martin today signed a supplemental petition under Section 126 of the federal Clean Air Act, seeking prompt action by the federal Environmental Protection Agency to force RRI Energy to reduce harmful emissions spewing from its Portland, Pa. generating facility and across the Delaware River and directly into Warren County. Sulfur dioxide pollution pouring out of the power plant is more damaging and widespread than previously believed, extending into a much larger area of Warren County and into portions of Sussex, Morris and Hunterdon Counties, according to the petition signed by Commissioner Martin. The supplemental petition includes a trajectory analysis that shows the plant's emissions caused high sulfur dioxide levels at the DEP's ambient air monitoring station in Chester, Morris County, which is located 21 miles east of the Portland plant. Closer to the RRI plant, the levels are much higher, about 10 times the new federal health standard. "We now understand the emissions are more damaging to the public health and welfare than previously believed, and are harming more New Jersey residents over a wider section of our State,'' said Commissioner Martin. "Our residents have to a right to be protected from this health risk. We need the federal government to step up and deal with this serious air pollution issue now.'' Commissioner Martin called on the EPA to hold the required Section 126 hearing in Warren County, which is most directly affected by adverse impacts of the air pollution. "We have a good working relationship in general with the EPA and expect them to be responsive to our petition on this matter,'' said Commissioner Martin. The supplemental filing identifies far greater impacts to New Jersey's air quality and the health of its residents than was initially documented in an initial May 12 Section 126 petition sent to the EPA. It also cites a tougher new federal National Ambient Air Quality Standard for sulfur dioxide that was adopted in June by the EPA. That new federal standard of 75 parts per billion is designed to help protect the public health, including the health of "sensitive'' populations such as asthmatics, children and the elderly. Sulfur dioxide emissions, he noted, can cause a variety of adverse health effects, including asthma and respiratory failure, and environmental impacts such as acid rain. RRI Energy's power plant emitted more than 30,000 tons of sulfur dioxide in 2009, which is more than all seven of New Jersey's coal-fired power plants combined. The DEP believes controls, such as a scrubber, should be installed to reduce those emissions by at least 95 percent to less than 1,500 tons per year. Improved sulfur dioxide and particle control also would reduce other hazardous air emissions, including hydrochloric acid, lead and mercury, said Commissioner Martin. Gov. Chris Christie in May called on the federal government to take prompt action, saying, "The magnitude of the plant's emissions and its close proximity make it a real threat to public health and safety in New Jersey.'' The Portland plant is situated on a 1,094-acre tract along the west bank of the Delaware River in Northampton County, Pa., some 10 miles southeast of Stroudsburg, Pa. and just 500 feet from New Jersey. Built in the 1950s and 1960s, the Portland plant's two coal-fired generating units have no air pollution controls for some contaminants, including sulfur dioxide and mercury, and have outdated controls for nitrogen oxides and particulate matter. As a result, air contaminant emissions generated by the plant are very high. In fact, the Portland plant is the fifth highest emitter of sulfur dioxide per megawatt of power generated in the entire country, mostly due to its use of a high sulfur coal content and lack of a scrubber device. Full text of the previous Section 126 petition and documentation can be found at:

Three Mile Island Off Line Due to Turbine Generator Shutdown

Exelon Nuclear FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE LONDONDERRY TWP. (Sept. 20, 2010) – Three Mile Island Unit 1 went off line Sunday, September 19 at 11:25 p.m. when the plant’s turbine generator shut down. The plant responded as expected. Plant technical experts are working to determine the cause of the turbine generator shut down. The shutdown resulted in a steam release that may have been audible to nearby residents. Neither the turbine generator shutdown nor the subsequent steam release posed a threat to the health or safety of the public or plant workers. Three Mile Island Unit 1 generates 852 megawatts of carbon free electricity - enough electricity for about 800,000 homes. Electric customers were not affected by the plant being off line.

PPL Stakeholder Meeting, Oct 20, 2010

To Whom it May Concern: PPL Electric Utilities will be holding a meeting to update stakeholders on our energy efficiency and conservation programs that fall under Act 129 of 2008. Please join us: Wednesday, October 20th, 2010 9am-12pm Keystone Auditorium Keystone Building 400 North Street Harrisburg PA 17120-0211 To make this meeting as productive as possible for you, please submit suggested agenda items to Evelyn Kieser at by September 30, 2010. PPL Electric Utilities will issue a final agenda about a week before the meeting. For your convenience, a copy of our Program Year 1 Annual Report will be available on beginning today. It will also be posted on\e-power (probably in the Trade Allies section) in the next few weeks. Please RSVP by Thursday, October 14th, 2010 by contacting Evelyn Kieser at or 610-774-2108. Please feel free to pass this on to other stakeholders or partners that you feel would be interested in this update. To learn more about our programs, please visit:

DEP Monitors Stray Gas Remediation in Bradford County Requires Chesapeake to Eliminate Gas Migration

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

HARRISBURG -- While the Department of Environmental Protection continues to monitor Chesapeake Energy’s progress in remediating stray methane gas in Wilmot Township, Bradford County, the agency announced today that it has directed the company to take steps to prevent similar situations from occurring elsewhere in the region.

On Sept. 2, DEP received reports of bubbling water on the Susquehanna River. DEP and Chesapeake believe the culprit is gas migrating from six wells that are located on three well pads on the “Welles property,” which is approximately two to three miles northwest of the river.

“Ventilation systems have been installed at six private water wells. Water has been provided to the three affected homes and Chesapeake is evaluating and remediating each of its well bores within a four-and-a-half-mile radius of the gas migration, which is essential,” said DEP Secretary John Hanger.

DEP sampled six private water wells affected by the migration for compounds associated with natural gas drilling. Their analysis found methane levels in the water wells that fluctuated between non-detect and 4.4 percent, possibly as a result of barometric pressure in the atmosphere. No stray gas has been detected in the homes served by the water wells. DEP also found:

• Methane concentrations ranging from 2.16 milligrams per liter and 55.8 mg/L. • The water met the drinking water standards established for barium, chloride and total dissolved solids. • Three wells exceeded the iron limit of 0.3 mg/L and all six wells exceeded the 0.05 mg/L limit for manganese.

The iron and manganese limits are secondary limits, which mean that the limits are established to prevent taste and odor issues.

DEP and Chesapeake individually sampled isotopic readings from the gas, which could help pinpoint which well is responsible for the gas migration. DEP expects its isotopic analysis to be complete next week while Chesapeake’s is expected sooner.

To help prevent against future migration issues, Hanger said DEP directed Chesapeake to evaluate each of its 171 wells in Pennsylvania that used the well casing procedures used in the six Wilmot Township wells—a procedure that was used exclusively in northeast Pennsylvania. Well casings are installed in a well bore to act as a barrier to the rock formations and maintain the well’s integrity.

To do so, the company is using equipment sensitive to sound and temperature. When the equipment finds an anomaly, the company is to correct it immediately by injecting cement behind the casing that seals off the formation, eliminating the route for gas to migrate.

Once the remediation work is performed, it will take up to two weeks to determine if it was successful, although it may take longer for the stray gas to dissipate.

The Welles property wells were drilled between December 2009 and March 2010, but have not been fractured, or “fracked,” and are not yet producing gas from the Marcellus Shale formation, leading the agency to believe that any stray gas migrating from these wells is from a more shallow formation.

On Sept. 9, DEP issued Chesapeake a notice of violation for failing to prevent gas migration to fresh ground water and for allowing an unpermitted natural gas discharge into the state’s waters. DEP will determine future enforcement actions based in part on the speed with which Chesapeake eliminates the migrating gas.

“This situation perfectly illustrates the problem DEP is addressing through the improved well construction standards we have finalized,” said Hanger. “Chesapeake has assured me that all wells drilled by Chesapeake after July 31 conform to the regulations that the Environmental Quality Board will consider on Oct. 12.”

If approved by the EQB, the Independent Regulatory Review Commission is expected to vote on the regulations in November.

For more information, visit

Firm finds fracking chemicals in wells in northeastern Pennsylvania

From the Patriot News:
A private consulting firm says it found toxic chemicals in the drinking water of a Pennsylvania community already dealing with methane contamination from natural gas drilling. Environmental engineer Daniel Farnham said Thursday that his tests, which were verified by three laboratories, found industrial solvents such as toluene and ethylbenzene in “virtually every sample” taken from water wells in Dimock Township, Susquehanna County. Farnham, who has tested water for gas interests and for local residents, said it would be impossible to say that the chemicals he found were caused by gas drilling. The contaminated Dimock wells are in the gas-rich Marcellus Shale, where a rush to tap the vast stores has set off intense debate over the environmental and public health impact of the drilling process.
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DEP Declares Statewide Drought Watches, Warnings

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

HARRISBURG -- The Department of Environmental Protection today issued a drought warning for 24 Pennsylvania counties and a drought watch for the remaining 43 counties as precipitation deficits continued to build statewide according to Environmental Protection Secretary John Hanger.

“The hot, dry conditions over the summer months have led to steadily-declining ground and surface water levels, particularly in the southwest and east-central portions of the state,” Hanger said. “Pennsylvania’s Drought Task Force has concurred with DEP’s recommendation that drought watches and warnings be issued for all 67 counties to alert water suppliers, industry and the public of the need to begin conserving water.”

A drought watch declaration is the first level — and least severe — of the state’s three drought classifications. It calls for a voluntary 5 percent reduction in non-essential water use, and puts large water consumers on notice to begin planning for the possibility of reduced water supplies.

A drought warning asks residents to voluntarily reduce water use by 10-15 percent.

The 24 counties under a Drought Warning are: Allegheny, Beaver, Bedford, Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Fayette, Franklin, Fulton, Greene, Huntingdon, Lackawanna, Lawrence, Lehigh, Luzerne, Mercer, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Philadelphia, Pike, Schuylkill, Somerset, and Washington. The 43 counties under a Drought Watch are: Adams, Armstrong, Blair, Bradford, Butler, Cambria, Cameron, Centre, Chester, Clarion, Clearfield, Clinton, Columbia, Crawford, Cumberland, Dauphin, Delaware, Elk, Erie, Forest, Indiana, Jefferson, Juniata, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lycoming, McKean, Mifflin, Montour, Northumberland, Perry, Potter, Snyder, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Tioga, Union, Venango, Warren, Wayne, Westmoreland, Wyoming and York.

Precipitation deficits over the past 90-day period are currently as great as 5.6 inches below normal in Somerset County and 5.5 inches below normal in Bucks County. DEP is sending letters to all water suppliers statewide, notifying them of the need to monitor their supplies and update their drought contingency plans as necessary.

DEP monitors a network of groundwater wells and stream gages across the state that provide comprehensive data to the state drought coordinator. In addition to precipitation, groundwater and streamflow levels, DEP monitors soil moisture and water supply storage, and shares this data with other state and federal agencies.

DEP offers the following tips for conserving water around the home:

  • In the bathroom:
  • Install low-flow plumbing fixtures and aerators on faucets;
  • Check for household leaks – a leaking toilet can waste up to 200 gallons of water a day;
  • Take short showers instead of baths.
  • Kitchen/laundry areas:
  • Replace older appliances with high efficiency, front loading models that use about 30 percent less water and 40-50 percent less energy;
  • Run dishwashers and washing machines only with full loads;
  • Keep water in the refrigerator to avoid running water from a faucet until it is cold.

The department also offers water conservation recommendations for commercial and industrial users such as food processors, hotels and motels, schools and colleges, as well as water audit procedures for large water customers.

Water conservation tips and drought information can be found online at, keyword: drought.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Audit: South Carolina radioactive waste cleanup will cost $1.5 billion more than expected

From the Star Tribune:
A federal audit shows that the cost of cleaning up millions of gallons of radioactive waste at a South Carolina facility will cost almost $1.5 billion more than expected.

The report released Tuesday by the U.S. Government Accountability Office finds that the U.S. Department of Energy underestimated the true costs of cleaning up the Savannah River Site in its $3.2 billion bid.

The GAO says the department underestimated labor costs by up to 70 percent and did not account for numerous other expenses.

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German nuclear plants won't sustain attack with conventional weapons, Greenpeace says.

Greenpeace specifically examined the outer shells of Germany's 17 nuclear power plants and found those of eight older reactors to be highly vulnerable to an attack. The walls of containment buildings at, for example, the Unterweser, Kruemmel and Neckarwestheim nuclear power plants were about one meter thick, said Oda Becker, a physicist at Hanover University and author of the study. That was too thin to protect even against a hit with "a conventional anti-tank missile using modern thermobaric warheads". The Russian-built AT-14 was one of the most frequently used weapons of this kind, she said and added "just one of these missiles isn't enough, but fewer than ten shots could trigger a horrible scenario."
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Peach Bottom: Acceptance of License Amendment Request Related to Liquid Nitrogen Storage

Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station, Units 2 and 3: Acceptance of License Amendment Request Related to Liquid Nitrogen Storage Download ML102310408 (PDF)

DEP to Showcase How Solar is Benefitting South-central PA Businesses

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Dept of Environmental Protection For Immediate Release

HARRISBURG -- The sun’s ability to produce clean electricity, create jobs, and reduce costs for families and businesses will be on full display this week as the Department of Environmental Protection sets out to showcase solar-powered facilities in south-central Pennsylvania.

“This is an opportunity for Pennsylvania to illustrate the benefits of solar energy, and how the commonwealth is a leader in developing and using this emerging technology,” said DEP Secretary John Hanger. “The companies we’re visiting this week are taking advantage of this technology, which will benefit their operations, their customers, and the environment for the foreseeable future.”

Hanger will visit the Foxchase Golf Club at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 15. The club, located at 300 Stevens Road in Stevens, Lancaster County, installed a 303.6-kilowatt system that is expected to generate enough electricity to meet nearly 100 percent of the business’ electrical needs, saving nearly $37,000 each year. It will reduce carbon emissions by 7.2 million pounds per year, or the equivalent of removing more than 600 passenger vehicles from the roads.

At 11 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 16, acting DEP Small Business Ombudsman Robert Taylor will visit the Littlestown Veterinary Hospital in Adams County. The hospital installed a 24.6-kilowatt solar array, which will produce half of the facility’s electricity demands, saving it about $3,400 annually. The hospital is located at 5010 Baltimore Pike, Littlestown.

Representatives of the companies responsible for installing the two systems—Advanced Solar Industries LLC for the Lancaster County project and Astrum Solar for the Adams County veterinary hospital—will be on hand to discuss each system and its benefits.

Each stop in the south-central region is part of a statewide tour of facilities that generate energy on site using solar technology.

According to Hanger, these projects illustrate the economic potential of solar energy and how it can be used as a driving economic force in the state if used more fully. The secretary stressed the need for Pennsylvania to increase the solar share of its portfolio standards act.

“Six years ago, we saw the need for an aggressive portfolio standard and after we enacted one, we led the way toward a more sustainable future,” said Hanger. “Unfortunately, other states have passed us by since then, leaving us vulnerable to losing the jobs and companies this industry has created here in Pennsylvania. We have an opportunity to again position ourselves as a national green energy leader, but we must act now.”

Hanger said it is important for the General Assembly to consider legislation that would increase the commonwealth’s solar energy requirement to 1.5 percent—up from its current 0.5 percent target. Doing so, he explained, would create more demand for the solar industry and would make Pennsylvania competitive with neighboring states like New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland, which have all enacted more ambitious standards. Less than two years ago, Pennsylvania’s installed solar capacity was minimal, but more than 39 megawatts of capacity—or enough to power 5,900 homes—has been installed since then. The state is also home to more than 600 solar businesses.

For more information on clean, renewable energy, visit or call 717-783-8411.

Solar Projects Drive $1.4 Billion into PA’s Economy in 2009 Solar Share of Generation Market Increases 350 Percent

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Dept of Environmental Protection For Immediate Release

HARRISBURG -- Sustained growth and declining costs are driving Pennsylvania's solar market to generate an ever-increasing amount of clean, renewable energy, which is saving consumers money, according to Department of Environmental Protection Secretary John Hanger.

The secretary said that in 2009, the share of solar energy generation among Pennsylvania's power pool increased by 350 percent, attracting $1.4 billion into state’s economy last year alone. “The cost of solar power is plummeting, making solar power increasingly a sound alternative for businesses and families that seek to stabilize and control their electricity costs,” said Hanger. “Right now, thanks to sharply lower solar power prices, it is a great time to consider solar power for a home or business.”

The median installed costs for small business and residential photovoltaic (PV) projects in the state dropped from about $9 per watt in 2008 to as low as $6 per watt in August; the lowest-cost projects are as much as $1 per watt less than this most recent figure. Large solar projects of one megawatt or more now cost about $4.50 per watt. The lower costs can be attributed in part to the PA Sunshine Solar Rebate Program, which reimburses up to 35 percent of the purchase and installation costs for residential and small business PV and solar hot water systems.

Since the program’s opening in May 2009, more than 2,000 projects have been installed, representing nearly 20 megawatts of new capacity. An additional 2,300 projects, representing 53 megawatts of capacity, have been applied for or are under construction.

“Since energy from the sun is free, lower equipment costs lead to lower electricity costs,” said Hanger. “The cost of electricity from the latest generation of projects in Pennsylvania is between 12 to 20 cents per kilowatt-hour, and that price is locked in for the 25-year life of the panels.

“Today the cost of electricity from a utility company to a small business or home ranges between 10 and 14 cents per kilowatt-hour. But how much will electricity cost two years from now? How about five, 10 or 25 years from now? For families and businesses using solar power, they know their electricity will not be more than what they are paying for solar today. For those businesses and families not using solar, most likely prices for electricity will go up and possibly by a substantial amount.”

Hanger also noted that solar power emits zero air pollution, which cuts soot, smog, mercury and heat-trapping pollution that can sicken and kill Pennsylvanians. In addition, solar power helps to keep the power grid reliable by providing more power on the hottest days of the year when very high demand can cause brownouts and blackouts.

DEP Announces Start of Tritium Cleanup at Oyster Creek

State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection For Immediate Release (10/P94) TRENTON - The first phase of a cleanup of radioactive tritium that leaked from the Oyster Creek nuclear power plant last year and into two aquifers below the facility will begin immediately, with a goal of pumping the tritium contaminated water out of the ground to avoid any potential contamination of potable water supplies, Commissioner Bob Martin announced today. The Exelon Corp. has agreed to start pumping efforts this week on two monitoring wells which are in the Cape May and upper Cohansey aquifers, and also has agreed to expand that effort to a third contaminated location by early October. "We have asked Exelon to expedite this effort, to clean up this radioactive material as quickly and efficiently as possible to ensure public health and the safety of our drinking water supplies,'' said Commissioner Martin. "Radioactivity has not been measured beyond the boundaries of the nuclear plant or anywhere near a potable water source. Our intention is to make sure that never happens.'' Commissioner Martin said he is encouraged by the Exelon's cooperation with the State in dealing with the tritium issue, especially their willingness to expedite the cleanup process and explore remediation alternatives. But he also pledged that the DEP will carefully monitor the work to make sure it is done properly. In May, Commissioner Martin announced the launch of a State investigation into the 2009 leak of radioactive tritium into the aquifers below Oyster Creek, which is located in Ocean County. Toward that goal, the DEP issued a Spill Act directive to Exelon, requiring the plant owner to cooperate with the DEP's investigation and take action to prevent the radioactive substance from ever reaching the region's potable water supplies. In June, Exelon documented levels of tritium in the monitoring wells located in the Cohansey aquifer that exceeded 1 million picuries per liter (pCi/L), as compared with an EPA health-based standard of 20,000 pCi/L. Those levels have since declined markedly, according to information provided Exelon, but are still above acceptable standards, including nearly 700,000 picuries at two locations in the Cohansey and Cape May aquifers. At a meeting today in Trenton with Commissioner Martin, company officials outlined plans to immediately start pulling contaminated water from the ground below the nuclear generating station to control any further migration of the tritium plume which is currently flowing uncontrolled towards the plant's discharge canal. That water will be pumped into drums and transferred to a large holding tank on site, eventually to be diluted into massive volumes of water used daily for cooling the power generating process. The mixing effort will bring the tritium levels below detectable standards. This will be confirmed with surface water monitoring in the discharge canal, with the results to be shared with the public. The plan also calls for continued regular monitoring and analysis of the content of the water pulled from the ground, and careful observation of groundwater levels in the area near the nuclear plant. In addition, scientists are developing a backup plan, if needed, to supplement the work that is starting this week. Preliminary results from groundwater monitoring wells so far indicate that tritium has not reached the clay bottom of the lower portion of the Cohansey aquifer and has not been detected in any of the wells in the even deeper Kirkwood aquifer. The tritium plume appears to be moving toward Oyster Creek's discharge canal, but no samples taken from the discharge canal have indicated the presence of tritium. Tritium occurs as a by-product of nuclear power plant operations, and tritium leaks are not uncommon at nuclear power plants nationwide. Exelon had taken some steps prior to the DEP's previous directive, including drilling additional monitoring wells to identify the extent of contamination. The company also committed to move all pipes containing radioactively contaminated water either above ground or into concrete vaults to avoid similar leaks by the end of 2010, and those upgrades are on track to be completed before the end of the year.

The Bomb Chroniclers

From the New York Times:
They risked their lives to capture on film hundreds of blinding flashes, rising fireballs and mushroom clouds. The blast from one detonation hurled a man and his camera into a ditch. When he got up, a second wave knocked him down again. Then there was radiation. While many of the scientists who made atom bombs during the cold war became famous, the men who filmed what happened when those bombs were detonated made up a secret corps. Their existence and the nature of their work has emerged from the shadows only since the federal government began a concerted effort to declassify their films about a dozen years ago. In all, the atomic moviemakers fashioned 6,500 secret films, according to federal officials. Today, the result is a surge in fiery images on television and movie screens, as well as growing public knowledge about the atomic filmmakers. The images are getting “seared into people’s imaginations,” said Robert S. Norris, author of “Racing for the Bomb” and an atomic historian. They bear witness, he added, “to extraordinary and terrifying power.”
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Time to End Nuclear Socialism, Says New Study

From Greentech Media:
It shouldn't be called the French Nuclear Miracle, says Mark Cooper. It's more like a recurring nightmare. Unlike computers, solar panels, wind turbines and most other high tech projects, nuclear power plants and projects don't go down in price over time. Instead, the costs escalate, and that's a recipe for a disaster, according to a report released today by Cooper, senior fellow for economic analysis at the Institute for Energy and the Environment at Vermont Law School. Rising costs means more expensive energy, he said. It also undermines the purpose of subsidies like government-backed loan guarantees, because the subsidies can't be phased out due to the continuing price increases. Worse, the vast scope of nuclear projects invariably absorbs the mental energy of utilities and crowd outs investment in other renewables and energy efficiency. "The French Nuclear Miracle is a misconception. There is no reason to think that things will change if the U.S. follows France," he said. "It would replicate what I call Nuclear Socialism. Nuclear power would remain a ward of the state."
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Accident at Russia’s Kursk Nuclear Power Plant reveals blatant disregard of safety standards: Is the Russian nuclear industry headed for a meltdown?

From Bellona:
Incidents of various degrees of severity are not uncommon at Russian nuclear power plants (NPPs), but when repairs take longer than a month – as was the case with Reactor 1 of Kursk NPP, which was scrammed on July 22 and only went online on August 31 – concerns arise that serious damage must have occurred. A scrutiny of what happened at Kursk NPP seems to indicate the frightening possibility that a malfunction involving any RBMK reactor may turn out to be as devastating as the 1986 Chernobyl disaster. Kursk NPP: How extensive was the damage? Kursk NPP is located in Kurchatov – a town bearing the name of the prominent Soviet nuclear physicist, and the man behind the Soviets’ A-bomb, Igor Kurchatov. It stands 40 kilometers southwest of Kursk, a large city in Central European Russia, and operates four power units with pressurized-tube reactors with a total capacity of 4 million kilowatts. Last July 22, an incident took place at the plant that put Reactor 1, an RBMK-1000 installation, out of commission and led to what later turned out to be five weeks of ongoing repairs. Even more disturbing, what information was finally made available about the incident did not come through the official channels from the state nuclear corporation Rosatom or Kursk NPP’s head company, the nuclear power plant operator Rosenergoatom, but from Kursk employees.
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Anti-nuke coalition counters Vermont Yankee filing on preemption

From the Rutland Herald:
The issue of federal preemption at the Vermont Yankee nuclear reactor over last winter’s radioactive tritium leak continues to simmer. In a filing Friday with the Vermont Public Service Board, the New England Coalition, a nonprofit anti-nuclear organization, said that Entergy Nuclear’s attempt to re-examine the issue of preemption is unnecessary and the company has failed to offer any valid reasons for another bite at the legal apple. Vermont has every right to investigate and protect its groundwater, the coalition argued, and there is well-established evidence that such radiological leaks ultimately increase the costs of decommissioning. The Vermont Public Service Board opened an investigation into the tritium leak at Vermont Yankee in February, to determine whether the leak had environmental or economic ramifications, particularly in the area of the ultimate decommissioning of the power facility and the contamination of groundwater.
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More troubles at Indian Point nuclear power plant

From the New Jersey Newsroom:

A series of unexplained mechanical failures — including a large hot water leak and the activation of a fire suppression system — triggered an emergency shut down of Indian Point 3 late Thursday night. It is the seventh unplanned shut down between the twin Indian Point reactors in the past two years. The facility is located less than 20 miles from the New Jersey border in New York.

The latest mishap comes just one week after failures in the steam generation system forced the shut down of the companion nuclear reactor at Indian Point 2. That reactor is still off line while engineers at Entergy Nuclear Northeast, owners of the Indian Point site, try to find what caused rising water levels in its massive steam generators, and triggered an automatic shut down.

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Davis-Besse can operate for another year before replacing lid, NRC says

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission admits it is still learning how cracks form and spread in crucial reactor parts, such as those that kept the Davis-Besse nuclear power plant shut down for more than three months this year and for two years earlier in the decade.

But the NRC insists the knowledge it has gained in recent years, along with stepped-up inspections, make it a safe bet that Davis-Besse near Toledo can operate for another year before the plant is outfitted with a new reactor lid.

An NRC special inspection team gave a public report of its findings Thursday in Oak Harbor. The final, formal report will be issued in 45 days.
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Exelon's Rowe says gas prices may slow new reactors

From the Daily Herald:

Exelon Corp. Chief Executive Officer John Rowe said he expects natural-gas prices to remain low, pushing back the construction of new U.S. nuclear power plants by a "decade, maybe two."

"We think natural gas will stay cheap for a very long time," Rowe said in an interview today at Bloomberg's headquarters in New York. "As long as natural gas is anywhere near current price forecasts, you can't economically build a merchant nuclear plant."

Rowe said that the price of natural gas would have to rise to $8 per million British thermal units and permits for emitting a ton of carbon dioxide would have to be $25 to make the power prices from new merchant reactors competitive with gas-fueled plants. Merchant plants sell their power on wholesale markets without the income assurance that utilities with regulated electricity rates get.

Natural gas for October delivery fell 4 cents, or 1 percent, to $3.774 at 2:36 p.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices have fallen 33 percent this year and are down 76 percent from the 2005 high of 15.378.

Gas was used to generate 21 percent of U.S. electricity in 2008, according to the Energy Information Administration. It's the second-biggest fuel source for U.S. power generation behind coal and drives electricity prices in parts of the country such as Texas.

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EPA Formally Requests Information From Companies About Chemicals Used in Natural Gas Extraction

Press Release

EPA Formally Requests Information From Companies About Chemicals Used in Natural Gas Extraction / Information on hydraulic fracturing chemicals is key to agency study of potential impacts on drinking water

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced that it has issued voluntary information requests to nine natural gas service companies regarding the process known as hydraulic fracturing. The data requested is integral to a broad scientific study now underway by EPA, which Congress in 2009 directed the agency to conduct to determine whether hydraulic fracturing has an impact on drinking water and the public health of Americans living in the vicinity of hydraulic fracturing wells. In making the requests of the nine leading national and regional hydraulic fracturing service providers – BJ Services, Complete Production Services, Halliburton, Key Energy Services, Patterson-UTI, RPC, Inc., Schlumberger, Superior Well Services, and Weatherford – EPA is seeking information on the chemical composition of fluids used in the hydraulic fracturing process, data on the impacts of the chemicals on human health and the environment, standard operating procedures at their hydraulic fracturing sites and the locations of sites where fracturing has been conducted. This information will be used as the basis for gathering further detailed information on a representative selection of sites. “This scientifically rigorous study will help us understand the potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water – a concern that has been raised by Congress and the American people. By sharing information about the chemicals and methods they are using, these companies will help us make a thorough and efficient review of hydraulic fracturing and determine the best path forward,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “Natural gas is an important part of our nation’s energy future, and it’s critical that the extraction of this valuable natural resource does not come at the expense of safe water and healthy communities. EPA will do everything in its power, as it is obligated to do, to protect the health of the American people and will respond to demonstrated threats while the study is underway.” Hydraulic fracturing is a process in which large volumes of water, sand and chemicals are injected at high pressures to extract oil and natural gas from underground rock formations. The process creates fractures in formations such as shale rock, allowing natural gas or oil to escape into the well and be recovered. During the past few years, the use of hydraulic fracturing has expanded across much of the country. EPA announced in March that it will study the potential adverse impact that hydraulic fracturing may have on drinking water. To solicit input on the scope of the study, EPA is holding a series of public meetings in major oil and gas production regions to hear from citizens, independent experts and industry. The initial results of the study will be announced in late 2012. EPA will identify additional information for industry to provide – including information on fluid disposal practices and geological features – that will help EPA carry out the study. EPA has requested the information be provided on a voluntary basis within 30 days, and has asked the companies to respond within seven days to inform the agency whether they will provide all of the information sought. The data being sought by the agency is similar to information that has already been provided separately to Congress by the industry. Therefore, EPA expects the companies to cooperate with these voluntary requests. If not, EPA is prepared to use its authorities to require the information needed to carry out its study. EPA is currently working with state and local governments who play an important role in overseeing and regulating fracturing operations and are at the forefront of protecting local air and water quality from adverse impacts. View the letter on the voluntary information request:

NRC Shares Ongoing Seismic Research on Eastern and Central U.S. Nuclear Power Plants

From the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission: The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has informed U.S. nuclear power plants about the agency’s ongoing examination of updated earthquake information and modeling for the eastern and central parts of the country. Recent applications for new nuclear power plants referenced this updated seismic information, which includes Electric Power Research Institute models of earthquake ground motion. NRC staff have used the agency’s Generic Issues Program to analyze that data, as well as recent U.S. Geological Survey findings, with regards to existing eastern and central reactor sites. Western U.S. reactor locations already take into account that area’s greater seismic activity. “Reactors in eastern and central states remain safe, since our analysis confirms that overall seismic risk remains low. Nuclear power plants have been designed and built considering the most severe historical earthquake in their vicinity, taking into account the uncertainties in the area’s seismic record,” said Eric Leeds, Director of the NRC’s Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation. “We’re continuing to examine the recently updated earthquake information.” The NRC also used the updated information to confirm spent reactor fuel storage sites and fuel cycle facilities remain safe. The NRC’s Information Notice on the subject is available from the agency’s electronic document database, ADAMS, by entering ML101970221 in the ADAMS search engine here:

TMI: Relocation of Surveillance Frequencies

Three Mile Island Nuclear Station, Unit 1 - Request for Additional Information Regarding License Amendment Request to Adopt TSTF-425, Relocation of Surveillance Frequencies to a Licensee-Controlled Program Download ML102300078 (PDF)

Pilgrim: We Have a Problem

From Northampton Media:
Safety and PR officials at Entergy, the Louisiana-based owner of the Pilgrim nuke plant at Plymouth, Mass., are scrambling to find the source of a radioactive tritium leak that, after new monitoring wells were dug in May, flared to unacceptable during levels July and continues to show evidence of a leak. Published reports and sources tapped by Northampton Media reveal that state public health officials are holding urgent meetings to deal with the Pilgrim’s tritium leak, and that Pilgrim plant officials meet first thing every morning to deal with the issue. While the Pilgrim leak, documented in late spring, amounts to far less of the radioactive material than was found at Vermont Yankee last year, the fact that the reactor is located next to Cape Cod Bay and is less than 40 miles from Boston, and 20 miles as the seagull flies from Provincetown, is cause for concern.
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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Pa. kayaker finds ancient tree fossil


A Pennsylvania man kayaking on a local river found a tree fossil embedded in a rock at the river's side that experts say is almost 300 million years old.

Shaun Blackham of Demont, Pa., was paddling his kayak on the Kiskiminetas River in Armstrong County in July when he spotted the fossil imprinted on the surface of a rock, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported.

"There it was, staring me right in the face," said Blackham, 45.

The plant fossil was 3 to 4 feet long and 10 to 14 inches wide.

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Crack at Crystal River Nuclear Power Plant explained

From the St. Petersburg Times:
From the start, one question especially has concerned the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission: Why Crystal River?

Why did a 42-inch-thick wall at that nuclear plant separate into two layers during a big maintenance project last fall? Other nuclear plants have done similar jobs 26 times around the country, but no one ever saw a crack like Crystal River's — a crack that has kept the plant off-line for 11 months and piled up nearly a quarter of a billion dollars in outage costs.

On Thursday, NRC officials said they think they know the answers to that question and others.


Saving Japan's Nuclear Reactor Industry

From Japan Inc:

Japan is a world leader in nuclear reactor technology. That lead, however, is threatened by China, France, Korea and Russia. Moreover, failure in the American State of Texas might be the end for Japanese vendors of commercial nuclear reactors; companies which have been spearheading expansion of Japan’s globe-leading industries. This failure is threatened not by mistakes by the companies themselves, but rather by the lack of political will and foresight of the U.S. Government, a government that has lacked the leadership to pass a carbon tax and not had the vision to appropriate adequate financing for nuclear power. Fortunately, there still is time for the Japanese nuclear industry to act to save itself, and, ironically, to save America as well from its short-sighted ways.

The solution isn’t complicated—but it is not inexpensive either. It will require Japanese vendors to take the lead and secure financing for plant construction and commitments for the power produced. Only by making sure these plants are constructed as planned will Japan secure its future in this developing industry. What’s more, if the world market for carbon-free energy continues to develop as anticipated, an added benefit of a commitment to take the output of these plants may be a nice additional profit in the merchant energy market.

This article will summarize the Who, What and How the Texas projects have failed or are likely to fail and steps that can still be taken to alter the current trajectory. Japanese companies had started down the right path, and they thought they had closed sales on three nuclear projects proposed to be built in Texas. Celebration of these deals may have been premature as one project is dead, another project was ordered by a company that now lacks the balance sheet to complete it, and the last project developer appears unlikely to be able to secure financing. Having recently lost out on nuclear projects in the middle east, Japan’s success in the U.S. market is critical to demonstrating it can deliver nuclear projects in a world market and compete effectively against the Chinese, French, Koreans and Russians.

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Exelon hopes Schuylkill River project becomes permanent

From the Pottstown Mercury:
Grants for projects aimed at improving the quality of water in the Schuylkill River were announced Monday — four days before a quasi-federal agency meets to consider the fate of a nuclear power plant project which some argue could degrade the quality of that same river water. The project, which adds water to the river from an upstream mine pool and reservoir, has been running on a trial basis for seven years. Permission to make the practice permanent is being requested by Exelon Nuclear — which contributed $224,441 to the Schuylkill River Watershed Restoration fund this year — for use at its Limerick Generating Station. With an additional $100,000 coming from the Philadelphia Water Department — contributing for the first time this year — the $324,441 fund is administered by Pottstown-based Schuylkill River Heritage Area and was divided among four watershed improvement projects — one in Schuylkill County, one in Berks County, one in Montgomery County and one in Philadelphia.
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Entergy drills more tritium monitoring wells at Vermont Yankee

From the Times Argus:
Entergy Nuclear is drilling four additional monitoring wells outside the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant to better define the plume of underground radioactive contamination, the company said Thursday. Drilling of the wells is being delayed for about two weeks because Entergy engineers need to review and sign off on the project, said Larry Smith, spokesman for Entergy Nuclear. Levels of tritium continue to rise in the well closest to the Connecticut River and within the mapped plume. Smith said that well, GZ14-S, was shallow and about 60 feet from the river. Tritium was measured at 370,000 picocuries per liter last week, up from 353,000 picocuries per liter on Aug. 16. That level of radioactivity is similar to water inside the reactor. A new extraction well is being drilled near GZ14-S, according to the Department of Health, and new equipment will allow Entergy to withdraw higher concentration groundwater.
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TMI: Mid-Cycle Performance Review and Inspection Plan

Three Mile Island: Mid-Cycle Performance Review and Inspection Plan

Download ML102440717 (PDF)

Peach Bottom: Mid-Cycle Assessment Letter

Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station Units 2 and 3: Mid-Cycle Performance Review and Inspection Plan

Download ML102440413 (PDF)

Peach Bottom: NRC Inspection Report

PEACH BOTTOM ATOMIC POWER STATION, UNIT 1 - NRC INSPECTION REPORT NO. 05000171/2010007 Download ML102450036 (Inspection Letter) Download ML102450061 (Inspection Report)

NRC Finalizes License Transfer for Zion Nuclear Power Station

NRC News U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission No. III-10-035 The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has finalized the transfer of the possession license for the Zion Nuclear Power Station from Exelon Generating Company LLC to ZionSolutions LLC. The license transfer is effective as of today. The two unit plant is located about 40 miles north of Chicago. The Zion station has been shut down since 1998. The NRC modified the original operating and possessing of radioactive materials license to a possession-only license for the purposes of storage and decommissioning activities. On Jan. 25, 2008 Exelon submitted an application to the NRC requesting approval for a transfer of the possession license, management authorities and decommissioning trust fund to ZionSolutions, a subsidiary of EnergySolutions LLC. ZionSolutions was formed for the purpose of decommissioning the Zion site. On May 4, 2009 NRC staff issued an order approving the license transfer. Some of the major issues NRC staff reviewed included financial qualifications, license procedures, transfer and maintenance of decommissioning funds and the assurance of dedicated disposal space. “The NRC will continue its regulatory oversight of the decommissioning activities, from start to finish,” said NRC Region III Administrator Mark Satorius. “NRC staffers will conduct frequent inspections, review the performance of activities and help ensure the high safety standards set forth by the agency are maintained by the company.” Under the license transfer, Exelon will retain ownership of the real estate and spent nuclear fuel. ZionSolutions will construct a dry cask storage facility and transfer the spent fuel to dry cask storage as part of the decommissioning plan. Following decommissioning, currently scheduled for 10 years, the license for the spent fuel will be transferred back to Exelon.

Nuclear Plant's Tear-Down Is Template

From the Wall Street Journal:
Exelon Corp. shut its Zion nuclear power plant 12 years ago rather than make costly repairs. Now, after spending more than $132 million babysitting it on the shore of Lake Michigan, the big nuclear operator is ready to have it torn down. On Wednesday, Chicago-based Exelon, the nation's largest owner of nuclear plants, is expected to transfer its Zion nuclear licenses to EnergySolutions Inc., a nuclear waste storage and services firm in Salt Lake City, Utah, giving it full control of the Illinois site so it can oversee the demolition. Both companies say the arrangement could provide utilities with a template for disposing of nuclear plants past their useful lives. It lets a utility focus on its business and puts a contractor in charge of demolition. The contractor receives government-mandated funds set aside years ago for plant closures. Most of the recent focus on nuclear energy has concerned the cost of building new plants. But there's anxiety about dealing with old plants, too. Plant demolition poses a challenge because some equipment is radioactive and requires special handling. Radioactive waste must be sent to licensed sites or put in special storage, at the site.
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French Nuclear Watchdog Says EDF Has Problems With Flamanville EPR Liner

From Bloomberg:
Electricite de France SA, Europe’s biggest power producer, experienced renewed problems with welding quality at the EPR nuclear reactor being built in Normandy, according France’s nuclear safety agency. Faults in welds of the containment liner of the Flamanville EPR, the utility’s first in France, were found during an inspection in July, the Autorite de Surete Nucleaire said in an Aug. 27 report on its website. EDF officials weren’t immediately available for a comment. “Welding difficulties caused by the ergonomics of the welder’s post” were the cause of similar problems at the building site in 2008 and 2009 and treatment by EDF “was not performed correctly,” according to the report. The agency also said EDF was slow in detecting “inferior weld quality.” EDF’s EPR, which was designed by Areva SA, is considered key to the utility’s ability to export nuclear technology to other countries. Earlier this month, EDF was asked for modifications of the control platform on the reactor, which is delayed and will cost more than expected.
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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Peach Bottom: Relocate Surveillance Frequencies to Licensee Control

Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station, Units 2 and 3 – Issuance of Amendments Re: Adoption of Technical Specification Task Force (TSTF) Traveler 425, Revision 3, Relocate Surveillance Frequencies to Licensee Control (TAC Nos. ME2184 and ME2185) Download ML102100388

Exelon Expanding Into Wind Generation with Acquisition of John Deere Renewables

CHICAGO (Aug. 31, 2010) – Exelon Corporation today announced an agreement to acquire John Deere Renewables, a leading operator and developer of wind power, in a transaction that will add 735 operating megawatts of clean, renewable energy to Exelon’s generation portfolio, as well as an additional 230 megawatts in advanced stages of development. The acquisition, valued at approximately $860 million with a provision for up to an additional $40 million upon commencement of construction on the advanced development projects, is an economically sound transaction that builds on the company’s commitment to renewable energy as part of Exelon 2020, a business and environmental strategy to eliminate the equivalent of Exelon’s 2001 carbon footprint. Exelon already is the least carbon-intensive of the large U.S. electric utilities, and this transaction marks its entry into owning and operating wind projects. Exelon will finance the transaction using Exelon Generation debt. “Not only does this acquisition add value for Exelon shareholders, providing incremental earnings in 2012 and cash flows in 2013, but it also is one more way to implement a clean energy future,” said John W. Rowe, Exelon chairman and CEO. “Whether harmful emissions are priced or regulated, our combined capacity of nearly 19,000 megawatts of zero-emission wind, solar, hydro, landfill gas and nuclear power remains a clear competitive advantage that will only become more valuable.” Under the terms of agreement, Exelon will acquire John Deere Renewables’ 735 megawatts of installed, operating wind capacity—enough to power 160,000 to 220,000 households—spread across 36 projects in eight states. Approximately 75 percent of the operating portfolio is already sold under long-term power purchase arrangements. As part of the acquisition, Exelon also has the opportunity to pursue 1,468 megawatts of new wind projects that are in various stages of development, including the 230 megawatts in advanced stages of development. “We expect to see increasing demand for clean, efficient wind power at a national level and in the 29 states that already have a renewable energy standard,” Rowe said. “This acquisition gives Exelon a strong position in the wind generation business that adds diversity to our generation fleet and provides more options for future growth.” The acquisition will become part of the Exelon Power division of Exelon Generation, which already includes more than 1,000 megawatts of owned and contracted renewable power, including hydroelectricity, wind, landfill gas and solar. Before this acquisition, Exelon was already the largest wholesale marketer of wind energy east of the Mississippi, with 352 megawatts of wind power capacity from five wind projects in Illinois, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Exelon Power also owns and operates a 10-megawatt solar plant in Chicago, the largest urban solar plant in the country. Exelon expects to close the transaction with John Deere Renewables in the fourth quarter of 2010. Barclays Capital acted as financial advisor to Exelon. Foley & Lardner served as legal advisors to Exelon and McDermott Will & Emery advised for certain tax matters.

Do-it-yourself solar power for your home

From CNN Tech:

Imagine outfitting your house with small, affordable solar panels that plug into a socket and pump power into your electrical system instead of taking it out. That's the promise of a Seattle, Washington-based start-up that is working to provide renewable energy options -- solar panels and wind turbines -- for homes and small businesses. The panels cost as little as $600 and plug directly into a power outlet. The company, Clarian Power, aims to be the first to bring a plug-in solar power system to the market, in 2011. Clarian's president, Chad Maglaque, says the company's product is different from existing micro-inverters, which convert solar panels' power into AC current. Maglaque says his system has built-in circuit protection, doesn't require a dedicated electrical panel and plugs directly into a standard electrical outlet.

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Emergency Preparedness & Response News - Summer 2010

Emergency Preparedness & Response News is a quarterly newsletter that is published by NSIR/DPR to highlight recent and upcoming events of interest to the radiological emergency preparedness community.

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Is Entergy trying to sell Yankee?

From the Brattleboro Reformer:
According to Energy Daily, Entergy is looking for a buyer for its Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in Vernon. Two potential buyers -- Exelon Corp. and NRG Energy Inc. -- have already show an interest in the power plant, according to Jeff Beattie, a writer for Energy Daily. "Apparently fed up with the troublesome investment -- and the difficult political environment it faces in the state -- Entergy Corp. has begun shopping its Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant to potential buyers," wrote Beattie. Entergy declined to comment on the information given to Beattie by his sources because it's not company policy to discuss market rumors or speculation. "But we have said that as part of Entergy's ongoing point-of-view based strategy, we would consider buying or selling any asset or business depending on what option creates the most value," Entergy spokesman Mike Burns, told Beattie. Exelon, the nation's largest nuclear operator has performed at least a preliminary round of investigation into the possibility of buying Yankee, according to Beattie's sources. NRG Energy, which owns 44 percent of a pair of reactors in Texas, has also conducted preliminary reviews, wrote Beattie.
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Peach Bottom: Requests for Relief

Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station, Units 2 and 3 - Requests for Relief l3R-49, and l3R-49, and l3R-50 (TAC Nos. MD2154 and MD2155) Download ML101870631 (PDF)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Coalition files with NRC over wet cables at Vermont Yankee

From the Brattleboro Reformer:
The New England Coalition on Nuclear Pollution is asking the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Atomic Safety and Licensing Board to reopen its hearing into whether Entergy should receive a license extension for its Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in Vernon. NEC is asking the ASLB to admit a new contention that contends Entergy does not "have in place an adequate aging management program to address the effects of moist or wet environments on buried, below grade, underground, or hard-to-access safety-related electrical cables ..." Thus, wrote Ray Shadis, NEC’s technical consultant, Yankee is not in compliance with NRC regulations "and guidance and/or provide adequate assurance of protection of public health and safety." "The problem is that these cables are rated only for dry service. They are not for outdoor use," Shadis told Vermont Public Radio earlier this week. "So what can result is that safety equipment, when you need it, can short out and not function. We think this is a very serious safety issue. We think that the company before it goes into an extended period of operation - for another 20 years - really needs to address it."
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Beaver Valley Both Trains of Head Safety Injection Pumps Declared Inoperable

Facility: BEAVER VALLEY Event Number: 46208 Notification Date: 08/26/2010 BOTH TRAINS OF HIGH HEAD SAFETY INJECTION PUMPS DECLARED INOPERABLE "Beaver Valley Power Station Unit No.1, while operating at 100% full power, performed Ultrasonic Testing on the High-Head Emergency Core Cooling System Pump suction headers (6" and 8") following a fill and vent of the 'A' High Head Emergency Core Cooling System Pump. This is required because the fill point for the out of service Emergency Core Cooling System Pump 1CH-P-1A, is it's suction valve from the 8" Charging header, 1CH-19, which was opened. Preliminary indications were such that the 6" suction header was full of water and an air void did exist in the 8" suction header, but the size was indeterminate and had to be calculated by System Engineering. Operations commenced additional monitoring for cavitation of the running charging pump with none identified. Operations then vented the 8" suction header multiple times. At 1649 hours today, the results of the Ultrasonic Test (UT) was provided by System Engineering indicating that an air void existed in the Emergency Core Cooling System Pump 8" Suction header that was in excess of the Acceptance Criteria. At 1649 hours, both trains of High Head Safety Injection pumps were declared Inoperable but remain Available. Technical Specification (TS) 3.5.2 - ECCS operating is not met. Required Action C.1 requires entry of TS LCO 3.0.3 immediately. "Per 10CFR50.72(b)(3)(v)(A)&(D) - Event or Condition That Could Have Prevented Fulfillment of a Safety Function, and 10CFR50.72(b)(3)(ii)(B) Unanalyzed Condition, this event is reportable to the NRC within 8 hours. "At 1715 additional venting of the 6" Charging Pump suction header revealed no air present. Additional venting of the 8" Charging Pump suction header revealed additional air pockets. The 8" header was then vented multiple times, with a short delay in between each venting, until no air was identified. "At 1718, follow up UT on both Charging Pump Suction headers revealed it remained full of water with no voids present. Both trains of High Head Safety Injection are declared OPERABLE restoring compliance to TS LCO 3.0.3 and 3.5.2. Reactor power remained at 100% during these evolutions. "The NRC Resident Inspector was informed."

At TMI: 35-year-old ‘design flaw’ fixed

From the Press and Journal:
A design flaw that left the Three Mile Island nuclear plant vulnerable to damage from the severest of floods was corrected by plant engineers last week. The flaw had existed since the plant was built in the 1970s, officials said. It was found by engineers on Aug. 21 in an air intake tunnel sump deep inside the Londonderry Twp. plant and reported by plant owner Exelon Nuclear to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. What engineers discovered was a 6-inch diameter pipe that could have allowed flood water into the plant, possibly damaging crucial systems used to keep the reactor from overheating. The absence of a flood barrier on the pipe “could have prevented the fulfillment of the safety function of structures or systems that are needed to remove residual heat,’’ said an NRC event report. “This condition could have resulted in the unavailability of equipment in the Auxiliary Building.”
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Group Wants Feds To Address Yankee Safety

From Vermont Public Radio:
An anti-nuclear group says federal regulators need to address a potential safety problem at Vermont Yankee.

The New England Coalition says Yankee's electric cables could get wet and disable safety equipment.

As VPR's John Dillon reports, the coalition has asked the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to reopen hearings on Yankee's request for a new, 20-year license.

(Dillon) Back in May, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission conducted a routine inspection at Vermont Yankee and noted that a number of electric cables at the plant were submerged in water. The inspectors said it's a potential safety problem because the cables aren't designed to work when wet.

Now the New England Coalition has asked the federal agency to include the cables in its review of Yankee's request for a new 20-year license. Ray Shadis is technical advisor to the New England Coalition.

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TVA Ala. Browns Ferry 1, 2 reactor output rises

From Reuters:
Tennessee Valley Authority's 1,065-megawatt Browns Ferry 1 and 1,104-MW Browns Ferry 2 nuclear power reactors in Alabama had increased output by early Tuesday, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said in its power reactor status report.
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Rethinking How to Cool the Indian Point Nuclear Plant

From the New York Times:
The Indian Point nuclear plant is quite literally in hot water: As I reported today, the plant’s current cooling system requires huge volumes of Hudson River water, and New York State instead favors the use of cooling towers to lower the impact on fish and other river organisms. Cooling towers are common at inland plants on small rivers, where there is so little water available that using so-called once-through cooling, the system used at Indian Point, would heat the water too much. Water that passes through Indian Point’s cooling system emerges 15 degrees hotter in summer than it went in, and in the winter the temperature gain is slightly larger. But cooling towers are very rare in locations with salt water or brackish water, like the Hudson near Indian Point. One such spot is the Hope Creek nuclear plant, near the southern tip of New Jersey.
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TMI missing flood barriers to protect safety related equipment


Event Number: 46194

Event Date: 08/21/2010

FLOOD BARRIERS NEEDED TO PROTECT SAFETY RELATED EQUIPMENT MISSING "On August 21, 2010 an inspection of the Air Intake Tunnel (AIT) sump identified missing flood barriers needed to protect safety related equipment in the plant. If enough flood water had entered into the AIT, water could have entered into the Auxiliary Building (AB) through the ventilation ductwork that connects the AIT and the AB. If flood water continued to enter the AB, then safety related equipment in the AB could have been affected. "This condition could have resulted in the unavailability of equipment in the Auxiliary Building including the 1A and 1B Decay Heat pumps, the 1A and 1B Building Spray pumps and 1A, 1B and 1C Make-up Pumps. This is reportable as an 8 hour ENS notification under 10CFR50.72(b)(3)(v)(B) and 10CFR50.72(a)(1)(ii) as a condition that at the time of discovery could have prevented the fulfillment of the safety function of structures or systems that are needed to remove residual heat. "Flood protection barriers have been established for the affected penetrations. Inspections of the flood protection barriers are ongoing. Further engineering review is being performed to determine the impact of the potential water intrusion into the AIT and AB." The licensee notified the NRC Resident Inspector. The licensee will notify the Pennsylvania Bureau of Radiation Protection.

Gulf Oil Spill & Nuclear Plants: NRC Responds to TMI-Alert's Inquiry

From the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission:
This letter is in response to your letter to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) dated June 14, 2010, concerning prevention of safety problems at coastal nuclear plants that could be caused by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico (Gulf oil spill). In your June 14, 2010, letter, you sought assurances that the proper federal and state agencies are working in a coordinated and comprehensive effort to prevent safety problems at coastal nuclear plants related to the Gulf oil spill. We understand your inquiry regarding the monitoring of subsurface oil plumes has been addressed in a letter from Captain Kevin C. Kiefer, Staff Director of the U. S. Coast Guard (USCG), National Incident Command (NIC) to TMI Alert, Attn: Scott Portzline, dated July 21,2010.
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Peach Bottom: Safety Limit Minimum Critical Power Ratio Change

Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station, Unit 2 - Request for Additional Information Regarding License Amendment Request for Safety Limit Minimum Critical Power Ratio Change (TAC No. ME3994) Download ML102150140 (PDF)

Not so easy to recycle nuclear waste

From the Rutland Herald:

In the Aug.10 public radio program “Vermont Edition,” the three Republican candidates to the U.S. House of Representatives discussed briefly our energy policy. Two candidates voiced a strong, but misguided support for the fast breeder nuclear reactors, and the statement was made that “we should build fast breeders, recycle the nuclear waste and get rid of it, instead of leaving it to our children.”

Nothing is farther from the truth. Although we hear it often, fast breeders cannot recycle waste and get rid of it. Nuclear power is generated by the fission of nuclear fuel, and each fission creates two radioactive fission products. Therefore, the fission products accumulate during the reactor operation, regardless of the type of reactor or the type of fuel considered. The more reactors operate, the more fission products we will have to deal with. There is no physical way to “burn” or recycle this waste. Fission products are here to stay until their natural decay transmutes them into something else. Unfortunately, this decay process can last for thousands of years.

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Gundersens, state agencies, Entergy clash over VY

From the Brattleboro Reformer:

In its report to the Legislature's Joint Fiscal Committee, submitted on July 26 and released to the public on Aug. 12, Fairewinds Associates, which is operated by Arnie and Maggie Gundersen, wrote that state agencies conspired to "belittle the accurate analysis of Fairewinds Associates, Inc. rather than investigate the existence of underground pipes at (Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant)."

Fairewinds Associates was commissioned to perform a number of assessments of Yankee for the JFC.

Arnie Gundersen was a member of the Public Oversight Panel that reviewed a reliability assessment of Yankee commissioned by the state. The assessment was meant to inform the state on whether the power plant should gain approval to continue its operation past 2012, its license expiration date. Entergy, which owns and operates Yankee, has applied to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to extend its license. The NRC has yet to issue its decision, but the state Legislature voted earlier this year against Yankee's continued operation.

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Peach Bottom: Extending completion time for "Standby Liquid Control system"

Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station, Units 2 and 3: Acceptance of License Amendment Request Related to Extending Completion Time for Technical Specification 3.1.7, "Standby Liquid Control system" (TAC Nos. ME3598 and ME3599)

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Global Warming Shuts Down LaSalle

Facility: LASALLE Event Number: 46171 Event Date: 08/12/2010 TECHNICAL SPECIFICATION REQUIRED SHUTDOWN DUE TO ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS RESULTING IN ELEVATED ULTIMATE HEAT SINK TEMPERATURE "At 2050 [CDT] on 8/12/10, LaSalle Unit 1 and Unit 2 commenced a Plant Shutdown. At 1952 [CDT] on 8/12/10, LaSalle Ultimate Heat Sink exceeded the 101.25?F limit per Technical Specification LCO 3.7.3, Condition B. Per Technical Specification LCO 3.7.3, Required Action B.1, both Unit 1 and Unit 2 are to be in Mode 3 (Hot Shutdown) in 12 hours. Per Technical Specification LCO 3.7.3 Required Action B.2, both Unit 1 and Unit 2 are to be in Mode 4 (Cold Shutdown) in 36 hours. Technical Specification LCO 3.7.3, Ultimate Heat Sink requires that both Unit 1 and Unit 2 to be in MODE 3 by 8/13/10 at 0752 [CDT] and MODE 4 by 8/14/10 at 0752 [CDT]. "Unit 1 was initially at 76% Power due to a response to elevated Main Condenser In-Leakage, not related to the Ultimate Heat Sink High Temperature. Unit 2 was initially at 82% Power due to elevated Condensate Temperature and in response to worsening Main Condenser Backpressure. For Unit 2, both of these parameters were related to the elevated Ultimate Heat Sink Temperature. "The Ultimate Heat Sink Temperature is currently 101.33?F. All Systems are responding as expected." This condition is a result of the hot environmental conditions and is not due to any equipment problems or other operating issues at the site. The licensee has notified the NRC Resident Inspector.

Susquehanna: NRC Inspection Report 05000387/2010003 and 05000388/2010003

Susquehanna Steam Electric Station - NRC Integrated Inspection Report 05000387/2010003 and 05000388/2010003 Download ML102250028 (PDF)