Wednesday, January 30, 2013

TMIA's February 2012 Newsletter

This issue's articles include:
  • TMIA Advocates Revision of Evacuation Plans
  • NRC Suspends Decisions on Licensing
  • New Reactor at Susquehanna on Hold
  • Susquehanna Units Log Frequent Outages
  • PPL Rates Climb $71 Million on 1/1/13
  • NRC Gets New Chairwoman
  • Retiring Exelon CEO Says New Nukes Not Viable
  • Around the Nation
  • TMIA Friend John Hanger Seeks to Replace Corbett
  • Mangano’s Book Exposes the Risks of Nuclear Power

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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Incident Chronology at Susquehanna Steam Electric Station in Berwick: 2010- 2011

This chronology does not include the cost to the rate payer
to build Susquehanna-1 and -2. PP&L asked the Public Utility
Commission (PUC) for $315 million to recover the cost of
building Unit-1. The PUC granted $203 million on August 22,
1983, or a 16% increase to the customer. The company asked for
$330 million for Unit-2 but was allowed $121 million in April,
1985; an 8% increase to rate payers. In addition, PP&L
consumers have “contributed”  approximately $4.6 million
annually (since 1985) to the decommissioning fund.
(Also,  refer  to  May  15  and  August  13,  1998,  for  information
          on  “stranded  costs” passed on to  “hostage” PP&L  rate payers.)
Moreover, in the Winter 1999/2000, PPL unilaterally
devaluated the combined PURTA and Real Estate tax
assessments for the SSES. Prior to the Negotiated Settlement,
the nuclear power generating stations were assessed by PP&L at
approximately $1 billion. PPL is now claiming that the the SSES
is only worth $74 million or the same amount as the valuation of
the Columbia Hospital. If PPL prevails, the Berwick School
District and Luzerne County will experience revenue shock. PPL
is not paying or escrowing any moneys they owe to Luzerne
County and the Berwick School District.
    (See  April  23,  2001  and  July  13,  2003,  for  related  development).
The Susquehanna Steam Electric Station is owned by PP&L (90%)
and  the Allegheny Electric Cooperative (10%). The Allegheny Electric
Cooperative (AEC) is responsible for 10% of the cost of decommissioning.
PP&L’s consultant, TLG, estimated PP&L’s decommissioning share to be
$724 million. Therefore, the AEC is responsible for the remaining 10%, or
$79 million, of the $804 million projected funding  “target” for nuclear

To read more, download PDF

Incident Chronology at TMI from NRC: 1979-2012

March 28, 1979, 4:00 a.m. - Beginning of the Three Mile Island (TMI) Unit-2 loss-of-coolant, core melt accident. The plant came within 30 minutes of a full meltdown. The reactor vessel was destroyed, and large amounts of unmonitored radiation was released directly into the community.

March 28, 1979, 4:30 p.m. - Press conference of Lt. Governor William Scranton:
This is an update on the incident at Three-Mile Island Nuclear Power Plant today. This situation is more complex than the company first led us to believe. We are taking more tests. And at this point, we believe there is still no danger to public health. Metropolitan Edison has given you and us conflicting information. We just concluded a meeting with company officials and hope this briefing will clear up most of your questions. There has been a release of radioactivity into the environment. The magnitude of this release is still being determined, but there is no evidence yet that it has resulted in the presence of dangerous levels. The company has informed us that from about 11 a.m. until about 1:30 p.m., Three-Mile Island discharged into the air, steam that contained detectable amounts of radiation.

March 30, 1979 - Governor Richard Thornburgh recommended an evacuation for preschool children and pregnant women living within five miles of the plant. Out of a target population of 5,000, over 140,000 Central Pennsylvanians fled the area. Schools in the area closed...
The U.S. House of Representatives committee examining reporting information during the accident concluded:
The record indicates that in reporting to State and federal officials on March 28, 1979, TMI managers did not communicate information in their possession that they understood to be related to the severity of the situation. The lack of such information prevented State and federal officials from accurately assessing the condition of the plant. In addition, the record indicates that TMI managers presented State and federal officials misleading statements (i.e. statements that were inaccurate and incomplete) that conveyed the impression the accident was substantially less severe and the situation more under control than what the managers themselves believed and what was in fact the case.

May 22, 1979 - Former control room operator Harold W. Hartman, Jr. tells Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) investigators that Metropolitan Edison- General Public Utilities (GPU) had been falsifying primary-coolant, leak rate data for months prior to the accident. At least two members of management were aware of the practice. NRC investigators do not follow-up or report the allegations to the Commission (See February 29, 1984, for first-ever criminal conviction of a nuclear utility for violating the Atomic Energy Act.)

June 22, 1979 - Governor Richard Thornburgh wrote to the NRC, expressing his "deeply felt responsibility for both the physical and psychological well being of the citizens of Pennsylvania." Thornburgh stated his "strong opposition to any plans to reactivate Unit -1 until a number of very serious issues are resolved."

To read more, download PDF

Incident Chronology at Peach Bottom Atomic Power Plant: 1974- 2012

Philadelphia Electric's (PECO) applied for a license to operate the
Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station in late-July, 1960. The application
was approved by the Atomic Energy Commission. Peach Bottom was a 40
megawatt, High Temperature Graphite Moderated reactor that operated
from 1966-1974.

Peach Bottom 2 & 3 , are 1,065 megawatt Boiling Water Reactor designed
by General Electric and engineered by Bechtel. Both reactors began
operation in July, 1974, but had their licensees extended by the Nuclear
Regulatory Commission (NRC) and are expected to operate though 2034.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and the Institute for
Nuclear Power Operations (INPO) have clearly demonstrated that
Philadelphia Electric's (PECO), renamed Exelon in 2000, performance has
historically been lackadaisical and sub-par. In order to put Peach Bottom's
operating history into perspective, it is necessary to review PECO's plant

According to Eric Epstein, Chairman, TMI-Alert: "Managerial
problems further aggravate and compound the inherent flaws with Peach
Bottom's reactor and containment structure." The reactors at Peach
Bottom are General Electric (GE) Boiling Water Reactors (BWR). Epstein
noted, "The GE-BWR is an obsolete design no longer built or constructed.
Many in the industry feel it is inferior to Pressurized Water Reactors.
Obviously the age of the reactors, and the subsequent embrittlement that
ensues, further erode the margin of safety."

Peach Bottom's Mark 1 containment structure has been
demonstrated by Sandia Laboratories to be vulnerable during a core melt
accident. Epstein explained: "The containment is likely to fail during a
core melt accident [like Three Mile Island] allowing radiation to escape
directly into the environment." Nuclear industry officials say the problem
with the Mark 1 is that it is too small and wasn't designed to withstand the
high pressure it is supposed to resist.

To read more, download PDF

Three Mile Island Nuclear Station, Unit 1 - Supplemental Information Needed for Acceptance of Requested Licensing Action Re: Proposed Revision to the Pressure and Temperature Limit Curves and the Low-Temperature Overpressure Protection Limits

Three  Mile Island Nuclear Station, Unit 1 – Supplemental Information Needed for Acceptance of Requested Licensing Action Re:  Proposed Revision to the Pressure and Temperature Limit Curves and the Low-Temperature Overpressure Protection Limits (TAC NOS. MF0424 and MF0425)

Download ML13022A344

SUSQUEHANNA STEAM ELECTRIC STATION, UNIT 1 - Follow-up Supplemental Inspection Report 05000387/2012011 with Assessment Follow-up Letter (ML13025A325)

SUSQUEHANNA STEAM ELECTRIC STATION, UNIT 1 – Follow-up Supplemental Inspection Report 05000387/2012011 with Assessment Follow-up Letter, dated Jan 25, 2013.

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Monday, January 28, 2013

NRC Recruiting Brochure

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What impact does this have on TMI-2 fuel located at INL?

Idaho may have to accept changes to its landmark 1995 nuclear waste agreement with the federal government if the state wants to continue reaping the benefits of nuclear research. Such is the assessment of a preliminary report released on December 3 by Idaho's Leadership in Nuclear Energy (LINE) Commission.

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Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station, Unit 2 and 3 – Issuance of Amendments Re: Inoperability of Snubbers (TAC Nos. ME9443 and ME9444)

Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station, Unit 2 and 3 – Issuance of Amendments Re:  Inoperability of Snubbers (TAC Nos. ME9443 and ME9444)

Download ML12262A236

Friday, January 25, 2013

PA DEP News Release : DEP Announces Comprehensive Oil and Gas Development Radiation Study

Dept. of Environmental Protection
Commonwealth News Bureau
Room 308, Main Capitol Building
Harrisburg PA., 17120


Kevin Sunday, Department of Environmental Protection

DEP Announces Comprehensive Oil and Gas Development Radiation Study

HARRISBURG -- At the direction of Governor Corbett, the Department of Environmental Protection announced today it will undertake a study to look at naturally occurring levels of radioactivity in by-products associated with oil and natural gas development.

In the coming weeks, DEP will seek a peer review of its study plan and begin to sample and analyze the naturally occurring radioactivity levels in flowback waters, treatment solids and drill cuttings, as well as associated matters such as the transportation, storage and disposal of drilling wastes.

DEP routinely reviews radioactivity data in wastes the oil and natural gas industry and other industries generate, and the information the agency has obtained to date indicates very low levels of natural radioactivity. This study, which is expected to take 12 to 14 months, is aimed at ensuring that public health and the environment continue to be protected.

“This administration is undertaking what will be the most comprehensive study of its kind anywhere, and Gov. Corbett has directed us to do so in order to be proactive for the future and to continue Pennsylvania’s leadership in responsible development of domestic natural gas resources,” DEP Secretary Mike Krancer said. “This thorough and rigorous study, which will focus on conditions here in Pennsylvania, is further demonstration that states are best suited to responsibly oversee the natural gas exploration and production activities taking place in our respective borders.

“DEP’s current regulations and monitoring networks are designed to protect the public from exposure to unsafe levels of radiation, and our regulations in this field have led the nation for years,” Krancer said.

The agency will collect samples of flowback water, rock cuttings, treatment solids and sediments at well pads and wastewater treatment and waste disposal facilities. The study will also analyze the radioactivity levels in pipes and well casings, storage tanks, treatment systems and trucks.

Throughout the study, DEP will provide progress reports to its water, waste, radiation and citizens’ advisory councils.

Pennsylvania is the only state that requires through regulation that landfills monitor for radiation levels in the incoming wastes. Should waste trigger a radiation monitor, the landfill must use a conservative and highly protective protocol that DEP developed to determine if the amount and concentration of the radioactive material can be accepted. This protocol ensures that the materials, such as Marcellus Shale drill cuttings and other sources of naturally occurring radiation in the waste stream, do not pose a risk to public health during disposal.

Drill cuttings and other materials associated with oil and gas have occasionally triggered radiation monitors at landfills. DEP’s data indicates that less than half a percent of all drill cuttings produced by the Marcellus Shale industry in 2012 that were disposed of in landfills triggered radiation monitors. The cuttings did not contain levels of radioactivity that would be harmful to the public, and they were safely disposed of in the landfills.

In 2011, DEP announced the results of in-stream radiation water quality monitoring for seven rivers in Pennsylvania. The monitors were placed downstream of treatment plants that had been discharging treated Marcellus Shale wastewater, a now defunct practice as a direct result of DEP’s call to industry to cease delivery of wastewater to plants that were not equipped to fully treat it. The in-stream monitoring results showed that radioactivity levels in all seven rivers were at or below normal background levels and below federal safe drinking water standards.

In 2011, DEP also required 14 public water suppliers to report early the results of routine monitoring for radioactivity in drinking water. Such monitoring is required as part of the state’s oversight of public water supplies. Most results showed no detectable levels of radioactivity, and the levels that were detectable did not exceed safe drinking water standards.

DEP will work on the study with Perma-Fix Environmental Services of Pittsburgh, which has worked with the agency as a consultant on health physics and radiological issues and has assisted DEP for more than a decade with radioactivity monitoring and assessments.

The agency will consult with independent members of academia to peer review the project’s detailed study plan. Once the peer review is complete, DEP will publish the study plan on its website, where the agency’s proposal for the study is currently viewable.

For more information and to view the study proposal and a summary of the study, visit and click the “Oil and Gas Development Radiation Study” button on the front page.

Go to website

Follow-Up Letter on Technical Issues For Resolution Regarding Licensee Communication Submittals Associated with Near-Term Task Force Recommendation 9.3


Download ML13010A162

Wyden joins three senators in nuclear waste policy group

Wyden joins three senators in nuclear waste policy group
By Zack Colman - 01/23/13 03:57 PM ET

Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) will participate in an ad hoc Senate nuclear waste management group, signaling the topic could get attention this Congress.

Wyden will join committee ranking member Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) in the group. He replaces retired former Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.)

Murkowski had hoped Wyden would fill Bingaman’s vacancy. She expressed optimism that earlier negotiations, combined with Wyden’s interest, portend positively for nuclear waste management legislation.  “I’m hoping that we will resume kind of where we left off at the end of last Congress, where we were having some kind of regular meetings to discuss the next set of ideas,” Murkowski told reporters Wednesday.

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Sunday, January 20, 2013

NRC may allow more powerful guns to guard spent fuel

File photo. Casks like this storing spent nuclear fuel at the Limerick nuclear plant may soon be guarded with more powerful guns.

LIMERICK — Machine guns may be coming to a nuclear plant near you.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has proposed a rule that would allow security guards to wield machine guns and “enhanced weapons” to guard spent fuel rods being stored at nuclear power plants.

The cost of the weapons upgrade, training and background checks envisioned in the NRC rule could cost the industry between $26.5 million and $34.7 million, according to NRC estimates.

The new rule, if made final, could be used by Exelon Nuclear’s Limerick Generating Station to upgrade weaponry if needed, according to NRC spokesman Neil Sheehan.

Any upgrades, and subsequent costs, would be voluntary but in making industry costs estimates “NRC staff assumed that all licensees and certificate holds who fall within the proposed designated classes of facilities would take advantage of making us of enhanced weapons protection,” according to the announced of the proposed rule in the Jan. 10 edition of the Federal Register.

“We can’t provide specific details on the types of weapons our security officers carry or the extent of Exelon’s background investigations (for safeguard reasons),” Dana Melia, communications manager for the nuclear plant, wrote in an e-mail response to a Mercury inquiry.

“But Limerick already receives the highest level of security and protection as mandated by the Nuclear Regulation Commission,” Melia wrote.

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Markey: Maintain Construction Ban at Hanford Nuclear Site to Avoid Hydrogen Explosions, Dangerous Nuclear Accidents


Contact: Eben Burnham-Snyder, Rep. Ed Markey

Markey: Maintain Construction Ban at Hanford Nuclear Site to Avoid Hydrogen Explosions,
Dangerous Nuclear Accidents

Release of GAO report, leak of internal DOE memo raise questions about DOE decision to ‘ramp up’ construction at troubled site

WASHINGTON (January 18, 2013) -- Congressman Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), a senior Member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, today sent a letter  to Energy Secretary Steven Chu urging him to implement the recommendations made in a new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on the troubled Hanford nuclear site that was requested by Reps. Upton, Waxman, DeGette, Markey and former Rep. Stearns.  That report, along with a leaked memo written by the nuclear project’s former director of engineering, found that the technical problems associated with the project were so severe that all construction on the troubled facilities should cease until they are suitably resolved.

“The Department of Energy’s recent announcement that it may ramp up construction at Hanford flies in the face of the reasoned recommendations to suspend it that are made in this report and by the project’s own top staff,” said Rep. Markey.  “From hydrogen explosions to dangerous nuclear chain reactions, the potential consequences of continuing with these misguided plans prematurely could be devastating to the project, the workers, the environment and maybe even the public.”

The Hanford Waste Treatment Project is a Washington State facility that is supposed to treat millions of gallons of high level nuclear waste left over from Cold War nuclear weapons production that is being stored in 177 aging underground tanks, 70 of which have already leaked about 1 million gallons of waste into the groundwater, which feeds the Columbia River about 12 miles away.

The challenges identified in the GAO report released today, as well as by other experts, include the stunning possibility that the nature of the waste as well as the engineering of the facility could result in both nuclear criticalities (which are the chain reactions that are exploited during the detonation of a nuclear weapon) and hydrogen explosions (which occurred during the 2011 Fukushima meltdowns) if the project proceeds as it is currently designed.

The report also notes that the costs of the project have ballooned from $4.3 billion in 2000 to a staggering $13.4 billion today, and that additional cost increases and delays are likely to occur because the underlying technical challenges have yet to be resolved.  Yet despite these glaring deficiencies, the report also found that DOE has prematurely provided financial performance awards to Bechtel, its contractor, for resolving technical issues associated with the project that later turned out to be unresolved.

But instead of maintaining the suspension on construction recommended by GAO and the project’s former director of engineering, earlier this week, the Department of Energy announced that it is ready to ramp up construction and that it may do so by bypassing the most problematic so-called “Pretreatment facility,” entirely, and instead feed waste directly to the high and low-level waste treatment facilities without first separating the types of waste.

Rep. Markey first wrote DOE about the problems at the Hanford site in November 2011 following reports that several senior scientists and safety officials had repeatedly raised concerns about the potential for catastrophic failures of the technologies to be used for the handling of high-level nuclear waste at the Hanford site, as well as about the potential for hydrogen explosions and radioactive releases in the event of a serious accident. For their efforts, staff were demoted, reprimanded or ignored.

In the letter sent today, Rep. Markey reiterated his requests for additional materials related to these alleged acts of retaliation, and requested numerous additional materials related to the budget projections for the WTP, the justification for ignoring the recommendations to solve the serious technical challenges associated with the project before resuming construction, and for information on how DOE planned to recoup the payments it made to Bechtel, its contractor, for work that turned out to be incomplete.

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NRC Seeks Public Comment on Possible Changes to Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage and Transportation Regulatory Framework

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is asking the public for input as the agency considers changes to the regulatory framework for spent nuclear fuel storage and transportation. The request for comment, published in the Jan. 17 Federal Register, is the first in a series and will inform the NRC’s effort to improve how it regulates after more than 20 years of experience approving dry casks for spent fuel storage and transportation.

The NRC is specifically looking at how it could better integrate the requirements for spent fuel storage under 10 CFR Part 72 with those for spent fuel transportation under 10 CFR Part 71. As part of this evaluation, the NRC is looking at the potential need for changes to policy, guidance, or regulatory requirements for retrievability, cladding integrity, and safe handling of spent fuel. The public will have another opportunity to comment on any proposed changes, should the NRC decide to revise its guidance or regulations on these issues. More information is available in the Federal Register notice and on the NRC website.

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Monday, January 14, 2013



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Sunday, January 13, 2013

Duck Hunters Cause of Security Incident at Pilgrim ...Pilgrim is a "sitting Duck" after all!

Duck Hunters Cause of Security Incident at Pilgrim

Duck hunters set off an alarm at Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station Saturday morning. The event lasted a little more than an hour.

January 12,2013

Release from Entergy

The Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station declared an unusual event Saturday morning at 9:50 for security considerations until suspicious activity near the plant was determined to be duck hunters.

Pilgrim Station implemented its Integrated Security Response Plan. State and local public safety agencies were notified and assisted in the response. The plant has remained secure during the investigation. The unusual event was terminated at 11:05 a.m.

An Unusual Event is the lowest of four emergency classifications of events that apply to nuclear power plants as defined by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

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Markey Questions DOE's Radioactive Recycling Proposal


Markey Questions DOE’s Radioactive Recycling Proposal

Radioactive Scrap Metal Could be Turned into Consumer Products

WASHINGTON (January 11, 2013) – A Department of Energy proposal to allow up to 14,000 metric tons of its radioactive scrap metal to be recycled into consumer products was called into question today by Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) due to concerns over public health. In a letter sent to DOE head Steven Chu, Rep. Markey expressed “grave concerns” over the potential of these metals becoming jewelry, cutlery, or other consumer products that could exceed healthy doses of radiation without any knowledge by the consumer. DOE made the proposal to rescind its earlier moratorium on radioactive scrap metal recycling in December, 2012.

The proposal follows an incident from 2012 involving Bed, Bath & Beyond stores in America recalling tissue holders made in India that were contaminated with the radio-isotope cobalt-60. Those products were shipped to 200 stores in 20 states. In response to that incident, a Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokesperson advised members of the public to return the products even though the amount of contamination was not considered to be a health risk.

“The public concerns associated with such a proposal cannot be understated,” writes Rep. Markey to Secretary Chu. “If these metals are being released to companies who will subsequently manufacture new consumer products from them, DOE simply has no way to ensure that different samples are not aggregated into more highly radioactive products.”

The full letter can be found HERE.

The letter notes that in 2000, then-Energy Secretary Bill Richardson first suspended DOE’s radioactive recycling efforts in response to concerns raised by Rep. Markey and others that DOE would not be able to assure public safety as radioactively contaminated metals could have been turned into everything from baby spoons to jewelry to medical devices that are implanted into the human body. In December 2012, however, DOE proposed to do away with the ban on radioactive recycling.

In the letter from Rep. Markey, DOE is asked how it could assure consumers that they will not be affected by higher doses of radiation from products using aggregated radioactive scrap metal, among other concerns.

NRC to Discuss Implementing Orders for Post-Fukushima Improvements Jan. 16 in Rockville, MD

Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff will meet with industry representatives Jan. 16 to continue discussions on schedules and guidance for actions stemming from recommendations of the NRC’s Japan Near-Term Task Force, which examined issues raised by the Fukushima nuclear accident in March 2011.

The meeting will be held from 9-11:30 a.m. in the Commission Hearing Room on the first floor of the White Flint North complex at 11555 Rockville Pike in Rockville, Md.

NRC management and industry executives will discuss topics including:
U.S. nuclear power plants’ integrated plans for complying with three specific post-Fukushima actions the NRC ordered the plants to take in March 2012; Efforts to better understand and analyze flooding and earthquake hazards; Strategies to respond to extreme natural events resulting in the loss of power at plants, and;
Longer-term activities to resolve other recommendations.

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Waste Confidence Monthly Public Teleconferences

Greetings and Happy New Year!

In an effort to promote transparency and share information, the Waste Confidence Directorate is planning to hold monthly Status Update Teleconferences on the third Wednesday of every month from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. EST (10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. PST).  The NRC staff will discuss the status of its development efforts related to the Waste Confidence generic environmental impact statement and rule, and provide additional background information (e.g., documents to be released, public meeting schedules) as warranted.  Interested parties are invited to participate and ask questions; however, please note that discussion in this forum will not be considered as formal comments and will not be considered in the EIS development.

The first public teleconference will be held on Wednesday, January 16, and will provide an overview of the recently completed scoping period and next steps in the Waste Confidence environmental review.  With the exception of the agenda, which is included as the last page in the meeting notice (linked below), there are no slides or handouts associated with this teleconference.

January 16, 2013
1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. EST

Monthly Public Teleconference Status Meeting
Prior to the start of the meeting, please dial 1-800-857-2553 and provide the operator with passcode 3682386.

Meeting Notice

Tentative Future Dates of Teleconferences
February 20, 2013
March 20, 2013
April 17, 2013
May 15, 2013
June 19, 2013
July 17, 2013
August 21, 2013


Staff of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Waste Confidence Directorate

Monday, January 7, 2013

PA DEP News Release : DEP Reminds Pennsylvanians that January is Radon Action Month

Dept. of Environmental Protection
Commonwealth News Bureau
Room 308, Main Capitol Building
Harrisburg PA., 17120


Amanda Witman, Department of Environmental Protection

DEP Reminds Pennsylvanians that January is Radon Action Month
Free Webinar on Jan. 16 to Offer Q&A with Experts, Home Testing Tips


As part of National Radon Action Month, the Department of Environmental Protection will present an episode on the subject as part of its quarterly webinar series, DEP at Home, on Wednesday, Jan. 16, from 7 to 8 p.m.

“Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States and affects almost half of all Pennsylvania homes,” DEP Secretary Mike Krancer said. “Everyone needs to test their homes for radon.

“The good news is that a radon problem is easily and inexpensively fixed. The webinar will teach people more about this health risk and how they can protect their families.”

The webinar will feature a presentation and live question-and-answer session with Robert Lewis and Matthew Shields of DEP’s Bureau of Radiation Protection and Kevin Stewart of the American Lung Association.

Radon is a colorless, odorless, radioactive gas that occurs naturally through the breakdown of uranium in soil and rocks. It can seep into homes through cracks in basements and foundations, and can build up inside to concentrations many times the recommended level.

Radon is responsible for an estimated 20,000 lung-cancer deaths in the United States every year, and about 40 percent of Pennsylvania homes have radon levels above the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s action level of four picocuries per liter. While radon problems may be more common in some regions, the potential exists for any home to have high radon levels.

Pennsylvania is particularly prone to elevated radon levels, and the only way to know if there is a radon problem is to test the home. DEP recommends testing all homes and public and private buildings. The best time to test is during the cold-weather months, when homes and buildings are closed and radon is most likely to build up to unhealthy levels.

Residents may hire a certified radon testing company, though it is easy to perform a radon test by using a kit that can be purchased at a home improvement store or a Pennsylvania-certified radon laboratory. Completed test kits are to be sent to a Pennsylvania-certified lab, where the samples are analyzed and the results are then sent to the resident. If results reveal radon levels above the action level, a radon mitigation system may be necessary.

Radon mitigation systems cost between $700 and $1,200 and require minimal maintenance. Most home or building owners choose to hire a radon mitigation professional to install the system.

For more information about radon, including information about interpreting test results or to find a Pennsylvania-certified radon contractor, visit, keyword: Radon, or call 1-800-23-RADON.

To participate in the webinar, visit and click the “DEP at Home” button on the homepage. Space is limited and participation is based on a first-come, first-served basis.

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ECONOMICS VY Yankee's financial prospects seen grim

By Susan Smallheer
Staff Writer | January 06,2013

BRATTLEBORO — A financial analyst who follows the nuclear industry said that while financial information on the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant indicates it is not making money for owner Entergy Nuclear, the company may be leery of shutting the 41-year-old reactor down because it would set a dangerous political precedent.

Julien Dumoulin-Smith of UBS Securities LLC said likewise that Entergy may have calculated that shutting it down would cost more than keeping it running.
“The issue is what’s the alternative and what is the liability to retire it? Is it better to run it as a loss?” he said Friday.

Dumoulin-Smith said that Entergy, and the nuclear industry as a whole, were closely watching the Vermont regulatory fight, but that the bigger issue was the future of the Indian Point nuclear plant, which is located on the Hudson River about 40 miles north of New York City. Indian Point is also owned by Entergy Nuclear.

“It’s really all about Indian Point; Indian Point is what matters more,” he said.

The nuclear industry is being adversely affected by the “revolution” in shale gas, and the growth in the natural gas industry, he said.

Entergy spokesman Robert Williams issued a statement in response to the UBS report, and declined further comment.

“Our nuclear units are important sources of clean, reliable power, and we remain fully focused on the safe operation of the plants,” he said. “As a matter of policy, Entergy does not comment on the financial performance of individual plants.”

Dumoulin-Smith issued a report last week that raised serious questions about the future operation of Vermont Yankee, given its low cash flow, and he said that Entergy’s wholesale nuclear fleet showed “modest to negative cash flows” until 2016. Vermont Yankee is a member of Entergy’s wholesale fleet.

In a recommendation to potential Entergy investors, Dumoulin-Smith wrote: “We believe both its New York Fitzpatrick and Vermont Yankee plants are at risk of retirement given their small size.”

Dumoulin-Smith’s report remained officially “neutral” on a recommendation to buy Entergy stock.

Vermont Yankee’s legal future will be debated next week at two court hearings: first Jan. 14 at the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York City, and two days later at the Vermont Supreme Court. Vermont’s high court will take up a motion by the New England Coalition, an anti-nuclear group, to shut down Yankee because it is operating without a current state certificate of public good.

Yankee’s financial health has recently posed a big question mark, as Entergy Corp. chief executive officer Wayne Leonard said in 2011 during a quarterly earnings call with analysts that Yankee wasn’t even covering its capital costs.

And Entergy is known to be facing a major investment in the future when it comes to Yankee in the form of its aging condenser, a large piece of equipment estimated to cost about $100 million to replace.

Dumoulin-Smith said his report didn’t take into account the condenser issue in its financial calculations.

He did take into consideration about $80 million to be spent at the Pilgrim nuclear plant in Massachusetts for dry cask storage and re-licensing, and $130 million for wedge wire screens at Indian Point.

New York environmental officials have been battling with Entergy over the environmental effects of Indian Point’s water withdrawals from the Hudson River, with state officials saying cooling towers were needed to mitigate the environmental impacts of such large water withdrawals.

Dumoulin-Smith said the continuing low price for natural gas and the explosion of the shale gas industry was spelling financial doom for the nuclear industry, particularly the smaller, marginally profitable nuclear plants such as Vermont Yankee.

And while Dumoulin-Smith put Entergy’s other small nuclear plant, the Fitzpatrick plant in upstate New York, in the same financial category as Vermont Yankee, politics could keep Fitzpatrick online if push comes to shove.

Dumoulin-Smith said that property taxes in New York are much higher — and thus more important — to their host communities, and those communities would fight harder to keep the plants online.

He said the new generation tax, adopted by the 2012 Vermont Legislature and being fought by Entergy, could push Yankee over the financial edge.

Entergy lost the first round in its court battle over the new $12 million tax, but has appealed a ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Christina Reiss.

“We’re looking for what creates value for Entergy shareholders,” said Dumoulin-Smith.

“The question of viability of nuclear is in doubt for small units like Vermont. Vermont Yankee is one of the smallest operating nukes in the country,” he said. “Natural gas is clearly overtaking coal, and nuclear is the next wave of potential victims.”

He added: “Nuclear is under attack.”

Special Electric Reliability Forum on January 10, 2013

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission will hold a Special Electric Reliability Forum on January 10, 2013, to hear from the state’s electric utilities that were affected by Superstorm Sandy. Although all PUC Commissioners will be in attendance, the PUC’s Bureau of Technical Utility Services will examine utilities’ pre-planning measures as the storm approached the east coast, as well as their communications with customers and efforts to restore service during and after the storm. Hurricane Sandy hit Pennsylvania on, October 29, 2012. At the peak of the storm, 1.2 million Pennsylvanians were without power. Throughout the course of the event, over 1.8 million Pennsylvanians lost power at one time or another with 90 percent of customers having their power restored by November 3, 2012.

"The Atomic States of America" is available for pre-order on iTunes and will be available on January 15th.

The Atomic States  of America, the Sundance 2012 competition film is available for pre-order on iTunes and will be available on January 15th.

In 2010, the United States approved the first new nuclear power plant in 32 years, heralding a “Nuclear Renaissance”. But that was before the Fukushima accident in Japan renewed a fierce public debate over the safety and viability of nuclear power.

The Atomic States of America journeys to nuclear reactor communities around the country to provide a comprehensive exploration of the history and impact to date of nuclear power, and to investigate the truths and myths about nuclear energy.

From the gates of Three Mile Island, to the cooling ponds of Braidwood, IL, the film introduces people who have been on the front lines of this issue for decades: community advocates, investigative journalists, renowned physicists, nuclear engineers, Nuclear Regulatory Commission inspectors, and former government leaders.

Based in part on Kelly McMasters' book “Welcome to Shirley”, about growing up in the shadow of the Brookhaven National Lab on Long Island, the film explores the evidence for serious health consequences documented by people living in Shirley, as well as near other nuclear facilities. Their concerns call into question who can be trusted to provide truthful information, and how much influence the nuclear industry has over the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and its decisions.

As the nation stands at the crossroads of a possible Nuclear Renaissance, The Atomic States of America inspires informed discussion on the safety, viability and future of nuclear power in the United States.

In the wake of the Fukushima disaster in Japan, The Atomic States of America casts a timely inquiry into the viability of nuclear energy.”
–Outside Magazine

“A stimulating, well-made piece. A sobering documentary about the dangers of nuclear reactors and a downsized Nuclear Regulatory Commission.”
–Hollywood Reporter

“Reasoned and worth engaging…The film builds a convincing statistical case about cancer and nukes.”

"Potent, emotionally powerful, and highly revealing, …does an outstanding job of opening our eyes to the reality of nuclear power. Acutely topical....The Atomic States of America convincingly encapsulates both the history of this allegedly clean source of energy and our collective denial of a potentially looming disaster at our aging sites.”
–Sundance Film Festival

TMI - Audit of Exelon Generation Company, LLC's Management of Regulatory Commitments (TAC NO. ME9240)


Download ML12348A353

Waste Confidence Scoping Meeting Summaries and Transcripts


Meeting summaries for the November public meeting webcasts and the December webinars, as well as transcripts for the December webinars are now available in ADAMS:

· November 14 scoping webcast meetings summary (ADAMS Accession No. ML12339A281):

· December 5 and 6 scoping webinar summary (ADAMS Accession No. ML12356A293):

· December 5 webinar transcript (ADAMS Accession No. ML12355A174):

· December 6 webinar transcript (ADAMS Accession No. ML12355A187):

These documents can also be accessed on our Waste Confidence website:

Please note that the scoping period for the Waste Confidence EIS ends on Wednesday, January 2.  Electronic comments can be submitted via through 11:59 p.m. eastern standard time on Wednesday.  (Please see for the comment mailing address and fax number.)


Staff of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Waste Confidence Directorate