Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Status of the Environmental Review for the Bell Bend Nuclear Power Plant Combined License Application


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Three Mile Island Back On-Line

LONDONDERRY TOWNSHIP, PA (Sept. 22, 2012) – Three Mile Island Unit 1 returned to service today at 9:12 a.m. EDT when operators connected the plant’s turbine generator to the regional power grid. The unit automatically shut down on Sept. 20 due to an unexpected actuation of a relay switch on a reactor coolant pump. Plant personnel replaced the relay, installed additional monitoring capabilities of the relay and tested the pump prior to restarting the plant.

“We performed the necessary repairs safely and efficiently and are committed to a reliable operating cycle,” said Rick Libra, TMI Site Vice President.

Three Mile Island is located about 12 miles south of Harrisburg, Pa. The plant 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.

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Forthcoming Meeting with Exelon Generation Company, LLC

Thursday, October 4, 2012 9:00 a.m. - 11 :00 a.m.

NRC Counterparts PowerPoint Presentation

GAO Report: Spent Nuclear Fuel Stored Onsite Could Double Before Disposal

From Power Magazine:
One option to temporarily resolve the nuclear waste conundrum is to transfer spent fuel from wet to dry storage, the GAO said. This has costs and risks—including those associated with moving it—but it would allow safe storage of spent fuel for decades after nuclear reactors retire. However, the length of time that spent fuel can be safely stored in dry casks is "uncertain," the report noted. Though experts say it can safely be stored for about 100 years, an NRC determination in December 2010 stated that spent fuel can be stored for up to 60 years beyond the licensed life of the reactor in a combination of wet and dry storage.

In a landmark decision, a federal appeals court this June remanded that determination back to the NRC, saying it lacked a necessary environmental impact statement. The NRC later this August voted not to issue final licenses dependent on the determination until it could address the court's remand. The agency is meanwhile preparing an environmental impact statement on the effects of storing spent fuel for 200 years.
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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Susquehanna - NRC Marterial Control and Accounting Program Inspection

REPORT NO. 05000387/2012403 AND 05000388/2012403

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Peach Bottom Request for Withholding Information From Public Disclosure


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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

PUC Weighs $45,000 Settlement With PPL Over Termination Investigation

September 13, 2012

HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) today issued for comment a $45,000 settlement with PPL Electric Utilities Corp. over an informal investigation into a residential termination.

The Commission voted 5-0 to issue the settlement for comment between the PUC’s independent Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement (I&E) and PPL for comment. The settlement follows an investigation into a 2011 incident concerning a home in Lititz, Lancaster County, that had been terminated for non-payment.

The PUC’s I&E alleged that PPL violated PUC regulations and the Pennsylvania Public Utility Code during contacts with the customer prior to and after termination of service. The account was terminated for non-payment. According to the investigation, the customer contacted PPL and the company failed to place the account into dispute, which should have affected some of the steps toward termination.

Under the proposed settlement, PPL will pay a $30,000 civil penalty and $15,000 to its Operation HELP Hardship fund, which helps low-income customers maintain service. The company also will retrain some of its customer service personnel and provide copies of its monthly call monitoring reports and provide for direct monitoring of calls by PUC staff.

PPL provides electricity to about 1.4 million customers in 29 counties in central and eastern Pennsylvania.

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission balances the needs of consumers and utilities to ensure safe and reliable utility service at reasonable rates; protect the public interest; educate consumers to make independent and informed utility choices; further economic development; and foster new technologies and competitive markets in an environmentally sound manner. For recent news releases, audio of select Commission proceedings or more information about the PUC, visit our website at www.puc.pa.gov.

Docket No. M-2012-2264635

Radiation Exposure At Peach Bottom

Roughly 50 workers at Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station were exposed to low levels of radiation early Tuesday after a discharge of contaminated steam.

At 1 a.m. that morning, workers were loosening a two-inch vent on top of the Unit 2 reactor vessel head when a "puff" of radioactive steam escaped from a flange, said Neil Sheehan, a spokesman for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Radiation monitoring alarms sounded as workers, dressed in bright yellow radiation-protection suits, hurried to close the vent. In total, the length of the release lasted about 2 minutes.

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Monday, September 17, 2012

TMIA To Testify Before The NRC & FEMA On Nuclear Evacuation Plans

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will meet with the public, state and local officials and other interested groups Sept. 13 in Rockville, Md., to discuss a proposed update to the agencies’ guidance for emergency preparedness plans at U.S. nuclear power plants.

Both the NRC and FEMA currently evaluate those plans using a single set of guidance, “Criteria for Preparation and Evaluation of Radiological Emergency Response Plans and Preparedness in Support of Nuclear Power Plants.” The agencies are starting what is expected to be a multiyear process for revising these criteria to incorporate what’s been learned since the guidance was published in 1980. This is the second of two explanatory meetings before the process starts; many additional meetings will be held around the country as the process continues.

Public Meeting

Monday, September 10, 2012

NRC Directs Staff to Conduct Two-Year Environmental Study and Revision to Waste Confidence Rule

Washington (Platts)--6Sep2012/1218 pm EDT/1618 GMT

The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission will develop an environmental impact decision and a revised waste confidence rule on the temporary storage of utility spent nuclear fuel, the commission said in a directive it issued to agency staff Thursday.

The EIS and new rule are to be completed within 24 months, NRC said in a statement Thursday.

The directive responds to a June 8 ruling by the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit that called NRC's assessment of storing spent fuel for at least 120 years "deficient" and said the agency should have calculated "the environmental effects of failing to secure permanent storage" if a repository is never built. The rule was remanded to NRC.

The court also found deficiencies "with the agency's consideration of leaks and fires involving spent fuel pools," the agency said.

At issue was a revised waste confidence rule that NRC issued in 2010 that expressed the commission's confidence that spent fuel can be safely stored for at least 60 years after a reactor's operating license expires. Most, if not all, reactors have renewed their original 40-year operating licenses for another 20 years, which would make the oldest fuel at least 120 years old. The agency reached that conclusion without conducting an EIS.

NRC said in the statement that the commission's staff requirements memorandum "directed the staff to 'proceed directly' with development of the EIS and a revised waste confidence rule to satisfy the deficiencies the Appeals Court found in the NRC's 2010 waste confidence revision."

"Resolving this issue successfully is a Commission priority," NRC Chairwoman Allison Macfarlane said in the agency statement. "Waste confidence plays a core role in many major licensing actions, such as new reactors and license renewals."

Last month, the commission issued an order suspending final action on all license applications dependent on waste confidence, such as applications for new reactors and for the license renewal of existing ones, until the court's remand on waste confidence is addressed. That meant the agency could review those applications, but would hold in abeyance any decision on whether to issue a license.

That order still remains in effect, NRC said in the statement. NRC said that the agency's Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards, which has regulatory responsibility over spent fuel storage and disposal, has set up a waste confidence directorate to develop the EIS. The directorate will be headed by Keith McConnell, the current deputy director of the division of waste management and environmental protection in NRC's Office of Federal and State Materials and Environmental Management Programs.

--Elaine Hiruo, elaine_hiruo@platts.com --Edited by Katharine Fraser, katharine_fraser@platts.com

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Susquehanna Mid-Cycle Performance Review and Inspection Plan 2012


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Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station Mid-Cycle Performance Review and Inspection Plan 2012


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TMI Mid-Cycle Performance Review and Inspection Plan 2012


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NRC Gives UniStar Brief Reprieve, French Nuclear Demise Almost Complete In US


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, August 30, 2012

CONTACT: Paul Gunter, Beyond Nuclear, 301-523-0201

Reprieve for proposed third Maryland reactor just delays the inevitable
French nuclear demise almost complete in the US

Takoma Park, MD - The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) today gave a 60 day reprieve to embattled French governmental electric utility, √Člectricit√© de France (EDF), which remains in violation of the Atomic Energy Act while attempting to obtain a license for a third nuclear reactor at the Calvert Cliffs, MD site. But Beyond Nuclear, which has opposed the third reactor and supports a nuclear phase out, views the decision as simply a delay in the inevitable cancellation of all French reactor plans on US soil.

In a decision released late Thursday, the NRC found applicants Calvert Cliffs 3 Nuclear Project and Unistar “ineligible to obtain a license because they are owned by a United States (U.S.) corporation that is 100 percent owned by a foreign corporation.” However, the agency gave the applicants another 60 days to come up with the hitherto elusive US partner. If they fail to do so, “this proceeding will be closed,” the NRC order stated.

Calvert Cliffs 3 was intended to be an Areva design known in the US as the Evolutionary Power Reactor (EPR). Areva is an energy corporation 90% owned by the French government. The application for the new reactor project was filed by UniStar, a corporate merger between EDF and its US domestic partner, Baltimore, MD-based Constellation Energy. But when Constellation withdrew from the project in 2010, citing the overriding financial risks of new reactor construction, EDF, a foreign corporation, was left as sole controlling owner, a violation of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954.

“The NRC’s decision is just postponing the inevitable,” said Paul Gunter of Beyond Nuclear, one of the interveners opposing the Calvert Cliffs EPR application. “When Constellation ran for the exits two years ago, the writing was already on the wall,” Gunter continued. “It’s clear that nuclear energy development has become an economic black hole that smart CEOs are avoiding like the plague,” he said.

The EPR in Europe is an on-going financial and technical disaster. The two EPR projects under construction in Finland and France have both run into constant and lengthy delays, managerial problems, legal challenges, technical flaws and enormous cost over-runs. The Finnish EPR at Olkiluoto, abandoned by original partner Siemens, is now five years behind schedule and 120% over-budget.

The EPR underway in Flamanville, France is four years behind the completion schedule with soaring cost over-runs that exceed $7.5 billion. Three government safety regulators - from Finland, France and the UK - have raised safety concerns about Areva’s EPR design.

Areva had originally planned for seven EPR reactors at six US sites, in Idaho, Maryland, Missouri, New York, Pennsylvania and Texas. But Calvert Cliffs was considered the “reference reactor” by the NRC. Its ultimate cancelation would effectively nullify the others.

“It’s just a matter of time - 60 days in fact - before we see the phantom promise of the so-called ‘new generation’ French reactor evaporate here in the US,” said Gunter of Beyond Nuclear. “In fact, industry-wide, nuclear power is proving too expensive and too risky with multi-year delays, fleeing corporate partners and ballooning costs the norm.”

In a similar instance, in the aftermath of the March 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, when US corporation, NRG Energy, pulled its investment from two proposed new reactors at the existing South Texas nuclear station near Houston, Japanese partner Toshiba attempted to continue with the project. But late last year, the NRC said it would not issue a construction license because the current project ownership did not meet foreign ownership restrictions.

In recent weeks, two planned reactors in Texas were canceled by the country’s biggest nuclear corporation, Exelon which sees no economic future in nuclear energy. Four reactors - in California, Nebraska and Florida - remain closed because of dangerous technical and structural flaws. Southern California Edison is about to lay off 730 workers. And the shutdown of the Waterford reactor in Louisiana in advance of Hurricane Isaac demonstrates that nuclear plants are a liability during a natural disaster when uninterrupted electricity supply can be critical.

In November 2008, three national safe energy groups - Beyond Nuclear, Nuclear Information & Resource Service, Public Citizen - and the local citizens group Southern Maryland Citizen Alliance for Renewable Energy Solutions - formally petitioned the NRC licensing board for a hearing opposing the Calvert Cliffs 3 application. The joint petition included the contention that EDF, as the dominate owner of the third proposed reactor, was in violation of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 as amended and NRC licensing regulations, which prohibit controlling foreign ownership of a US nuclear plant.

For details on the shutdowns, cancelations, and cost-over-runs of nuclear projects in the US and worldwide, see the Beyond Nuclear Retreat web page at http://www.beyondnuclear.org/the-nuclear-retreat/ and World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2012, by Mycle Schneider and Antony Froggatt at http://www.beyondnuclear.org/storage/calvert-cliffs-cola/calv3_cola_order_contention1_08302012.pdf.


Beyond Nuclear works to end nuclear power and nuclear weapons. With a strongly rooted commitment to citizen action - and in the wake of the devastating Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan - Beyond Nuclear is empowering grassroots communities around the country to shut US nuclear reactors. This summer, through our campaign to “Freeze our Fukushimas,” we will organize town hall meetings, media campaign, actions, petitions and protests to ensure that the 23 US reactors identical in design to those at Fukushima are closed. More at www.beyondnuclear.org.

Paul Gunter, Director
Reactor Oversight Project
Beyond Nuclear
6930 Carroll Avenue Suite 400
Takoma Park, MD 20912
Tel. 301 270 2209

Friday, September 7, 2012

NRC To Weaken Worker Fatigue Rule


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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Study Shows Risk Of Cancer Appears To Last For Entire Lifetime After Exposure To Radiation

From Enformable Nuclear News:
After the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the health effects of ionized radiation have become a hot topic around the globe.  A new study showing that survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear bombings have continued to show a higher-than-normal risk of thyroid cancer, over half a century after their initial exposures.

The researchers calculated that 36 percent of the 191 thyroid cancers that eventually developed in people who were kids or teens at the time of the attacks were likely due to radiation exposure.

“Thyroid cancer is one of the most radiosensitive cancers,” said Dr. Kiyohiko Mabuchi of the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, who worked on the new study.
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Saturday, September 1, 2012

Status Of PPL Rate Requests

1) Distribution:

On February 28, 2012, PPL filed a Notice of Intent with the PUC to increase  “distribution rates and will allow the Company to begin to recover the costs incurred since 2010 for the improvement and expansion of its distribution system. The request also will reflect increases in operation and maintenance costs since 2010, including costs associated with major storm events, programs to enhance retail electric competition and customer education.”

PPL filed for a distribution  rate hike  of $104.6 million. PPL acknowledged the proposal “would produce an average increase in distribution rates of approximately 13%.” However, the actual rate increase for the average residential electric electric bill would be 16.5% or a $7.00 per month according to the Office of Consumer Advocate.

Reply briefs due:  September 14, 2012.
Effective: January 1, 2012.

2) Default Service Program and Procurement Plan for the Period June 1, 2013 through May 31, 2015

On May 1, 2012, PPL Electric filed a Petition requesting approval for the terms and conditions under which the Company will acquire supply and provide Default Service from June 1, 2013 through May 31, 2015 ("DSP”) including  a proposal for competitive procurement of Default Service supply and related Alternative Energy Credits ("ABCs"); an implementation plan; a proposed rate design, including a Time-of-Use ("TOU") rate for Default Service during the DSP II Program Period; an explanation of Regional Transmission Organization ("RTO") compliance and consistency; and a contingency plan for the DSP Program. The filing also contained several proposals designed to enhance retail competition in PPL Electric's service area.  (PPL Electric).

Two issues of note for County residents: 1) How customers are notified after their initial contract expires and whether the cost of paying for enhancing retail competition will fall on the shoulders of rate payers or suppliers.

Reply brief: October 19, 2012.
Effective date: June 1, 2013- May 31, 2015.


The DSIC is an automatic adjustment charge that enables companies to recover certain infrastructure improvement costs between base rate cases through a quarterly surcharge on customers’ bills.  The DSIC resets to zero when a company files a base rate case or if the utility is over-earning. The company also must notify customers of any change in the DSIC. An annual reconciliation audit is conducted by the PUC to ensure that no over-collections or under-collections have occurred.

The DSIC allows  companies to use a surcharge to fund more upgrades of aging infrastructure that would not otherwise be feasible at a reasonable rate for customers. (Pa PUC)

In 2004,  PPL's request for a distribution system improvement charge was not approved.

Filing date: November , 2012.
Effective date: TBD.

4) As needed costs: Pass through in transmission charges from the PJM Interconnection, the regional power pool.

Nukes On The Susquehanna River This Summer

Susquehanna Steam Electric Station

June 19, 2012 – Operators at the Unit 1 reactor performed a planned shutdown to investigate the source of a minor water leak inside the containment structure.

A plant official said the leak does not affect the safety of the plant or the public. Unit 2 is continuing to operate at full power.

May 7, 2012 – The NRC issued a report dealing with a supplemental inspection at the Unit 1 reactor from Feb. 13 through March 2, 2012. The inspection stemmed from unplanned scrams (plant shutdowns) in 2010 and early 2011, and an internal flooding incident in the third quarter of 2010 that resulted in a white finding from the NRC of low to moderate safety significance.


NRC Public Meetings Through October

The time listed is local to the jurisdiction where the meeting is being held. When a meeting offers video conferencing at multiple locations, these details will be provided.
Meetings presently scheduled from 09/01/2012 forward

Public Meeting Schedule