Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Announcing Speakers for Energypath 2018

Grid Integration is an increasingly critical issue as the demand for electricity rises along with the growing need for reliable and diverse sources of electricity. Although progress has been made to improve grid stability and resiliency, more needs to be done to integrate renewables, batteries, and vehicles into the electric grid. This conference will evaluate the challenges of grid integration and discuss viable solutions.

NRC Issues Confirmatory Order to Entergy

Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Press Release
No: IV-18-002 March 14, 2018

NRC Issues Confirmatory Order to Entergy

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has issued a Confirmatory Order to Entergy Nuclear Operations, Inc., and Entergy Operations, Inc., documenting actions they have agreed to take to implement programs designed to prevent willful misconduct at their fleet of seven operating nuclear power plants.

As a result of investigations at the Grand Gulf nuclear power plant in Port Gibson, Miss., Entergy identified that (1) an examination proctor deliberately compromised examinations by providing inappropriate assistance to trainees; (2) workers did not perform required rounds to check equipment and plant conditions; and (3) workers deliberately provided inaccurate documentation indicating they had done so. Three apparent violations of NRC requirements are described in a Nov. 20, 2017,inspection report.

Entergy requested the Alternative Dispute Resolution process with the NRC to discuss corrective actions. The process uses a neutral mediator with no decision-making authority to assist the NRC and its licensees in coming to an agreement.

Following a meeting on Feb. 6 with Entergy officials, the NRC issued a Confirmatory Order documenting actions the company agreed to take.

In addition to Grand Gulf, the Entergy fleet includes Arkansas Nuclear One in Russellville, Ark., Indian Point 2 and 3 in Buchanan, N.Y., Palisades in Covert, Mich., Pilgrim in Plymouth, Mass., River Bend in St. Francisville, La., and Waterford in Killona, La.

Groundwater Monitoring Reveals Widespread Radioactivity at Duke Energy Coal Plants​

Today is the deadline for coal-fired power plants to post the results of their groundwater monitoring under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2015 rule regulating the storage and disposal of coal ash. EPA required such monitoring to determine the extent to which coal ash impoundments and landfills were contaminating groundwater. The results confirm the widespread groundwater contamination caused by coal ash around the country. In particular, Duke Energy’s results reveal startlingly high levels of radioactivity at 11 out of 18 plants.

DEP Notifies Homeowners in Targeted High Radon Areas, Offers Free Test

Dept. of Environmental Protection

Commonwealth News Bureau
Room 308, Main Capitol Building
Harrisburg PA., 17120


Deb Klenotic, DEP

DEP Notifies Homeowners in Targeted High Radon Areas, Offers Free Test

Harrisburg, PA –  Homeowners in eight townships in central Pennsylvania will receive letters in March from the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and American Lung Association (ALA), notifying them of high radon levels in their vicinity and providing a coupon for a free radon test.

“Pennsylvania is prone to high radon levels. From years of data we know that some parts of the state have higher radon levels than others, and we want to get test kits into the hands of homeowners in these areas,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “We certainly continue to encourage all Pennsylvania homeowners to test as well.”

Radon is an invisible, odorless, radioactive gas that can enter homes through the soil and is a known human carcinogen. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommended guideline for radon levels is 4 picocuries per liter (pCi/L).

DEP uses data since 1985 that show radon levels at 100 pCi/L or higher to identify areas for targeted outreach and then invites municipalities to provide addresses, if they choose to participate. Almost 10,000 homeowners will receive the letters with coupons this month, beginning the week of March 5:

•    Centre County: 1,930 homeowners in Haines, Penn, and Potter Townships
•    Lancaster County: 2,471 homeowners in Colerain and Little Britain Townships
•    Lycoming County: 949 homeowners in Hepburn Township
•    Mifflin County: 2,999 homeowners in Derry Township
•    York County: 1,526 homeowners in Peach Bottom Township

This is the fourth year that DEP and ALA have teamed up on direct outreach to homeowners. About 30 municipalities have agreed to partner. The program receives funding from EPA.

The DEP Radon Division has also worked with laboratories for decades to be alerted to high radon levels and, as resources allow, make offers to homeowners in those areas. DEP provides ongoing public information at Radon in the Home, and people can also contact the division at 800-237-2366; 717-783-3594; or

Susquehanna: Annual Assessment Letter

ANNUAL ASSESSMENT LETTER FOR SUSQUEHANNA UNITS 1 AND 2 (REPORT 05000387/2017006 AND 05000388/2017006 REPORT 05000387/ 2017402 AND 05000388/2017402 REPORT 05000387/2017501 AND 05000388/2017501)

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Tuesday, March 20, 2018

NRC Issues Annual Assessments for Nation’s Nuclear Plants

Nuclear Regulatory Commission
No: 18-008 March 5, 2018
CONTACT: Office of Public Affairs, 301-415-8200

NRC Issues Annual Assessments for Nation’s Nuclear Plants

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has issued annual letters to the nation’s 99 commercial nuclear power plants operating in 2017 regarding their operational performance throughout the year. All but three plants were in the two highest performance categories.

Of the 96 highest-performing reactors, 83 met all safety and security performance objectives, and were inspected by the NRC using the standard “baseline” inspection program.

The NRC determined that 13 reactors needed resolution of one or two items of low safety significance. For this performance level, regulatory oversight includes additional inspections and follow-up of corrective actions. Plants in this level are: Browns Ferry 1, 2 and 3 (Alabama); Catawba 2 (South Carolina); Clinton (Illinois); Columbia (Washington state); Diablo Canyon 2 (California); Fermi 2 (Michigan); Grand Gulf (Mississippi); Perry (Ohio); Sequoyah 1 and 2 (Tennessee); and Wolf Creek (Kansas).

Diablo Canyon 2 and Fermi 2 have resolved their findings since the reporting period ended and have transitioned to the highest performing level.

There were no reactors in the third performance category with a degraded level of performance. The NRC noted that there were three reactors in the fourth performance category. Arkansas Nuclear One 1 and 2 require increased oversight because of two safety findings of substantial significance. Pilgrim (Massachusetts) is in the fourth performance category because of long-standing issues of low-to-moderate safety significance. Additional inspections will be conducted to confirm that the performance issues are being addressed.

Later this spring and summer, the NRC will host a public meeting or other event near each plant to discuss the details of the annual assessments. A separate announcement will be issued for each public assessment meeting. In addition to the annual assessment letters, plants also receive an NRC inspection plan for the coming year.

Information on the NRC’s oversight of commercial nuclear power plants is available through the NRC’s webpage on the Reactor Oversight ProcessThe NRC routinely updates information on each plant’s current performance and posts the latest information as it becomes available to theaction matrix summary. Assessment letters are posted here; click on “2017q4” for each plant. Annual construction oversight assessments for new reactors at the Vogtle units 3 and 4 sites are also on the NRC website.

Peach Bottom: Annual Assessment Letter

2017006 AND 05000278/2017006 REPORT 05000277/2017402 AND
05000278/2017402 REPORT 05000277/2017501 AND 05000278/2017501)


TMI 1: Annual Assessment

UNIT 1 (REPORTS 05000289/2017006 AND 05000289/2017402 AND


Auditor General DePasquale to Audit Delaware, Susquehanna River Basin Commissions

Auditor General DePasquale to Audit Delaware, Susquehanna River Basin Commissions

HARRISBURG (Feb. 13, 2018) – Auditor General Eugene DePasquale today said he is immediately starting the department’s first-ever audits of the Delaware River Basin Commission and the Susquehanna River Basin Commission.
“I look forward to working cooperatively with the Delaware and Susquehanna River Basin Commissions to identify any problems, concerns, or weaknesses and develop workable solutions,” DePasquale said during a news conference launching the two audits.
“My team will conduct comprehensive examinations of the river basin commissions and report back to the public and the General Assembly this summer.”
The two separate audits will be conducted simultaneously, focusing on six objectives specified in the state fiscal code (Act 44 of 2017), which mandated the audits review:
  • The cost of salaries, benefits and other compensation provided to the officers and employees of the commission.
  • The cost of expense reimbursements provided to the officers and employees of the commission.
  • Other fixed and variable costs of the commission.
  • The potential for improved efficiencies and overall cost reductions, including an analysis of duplication of commonwealth efforts and the ability to share equipment, services or personnel with commonwealth and local agencies.
  • Contributions to the commission by the commonwealth or any person within this commonwealth, whether via appropriations, fees, penalties or otherwise, in comparison to other signatory parties.
  • The impact of the fees and penalties of the commission on public and private entities within the commonwealth.
The audits will cover July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017 and are expected to be completed this summer.
The Delaware and Susquehanna River Basin Commissions are interstate compacts charged with preserving water supply and quality, managing drought and flood condition, and preserving water-related recreational opportunities.
Auditor General DePasquale posts all audit reports, along with his travel expenses and the agency’s monthly expenses, online at:
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NRC Begins Technical Review of Holtec Application for New Mexico Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage Facility‌

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
No: 18-007 March 1, 2018
CONTACT: David McIntyre, 301-415-8200

  NRC Begins Technical Review of Holtec Application for New Mexico Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage Facility

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has formally docketed an application by Holtec Inc. to construct and operate a consolidated interim storage facility for spent fuel from commercial nuclear power reactors in Lea County, New Mexico. In docketing the application, the NRC has determined the application is sufficiently complete for the staff to begin its detailed safety, security and environmental reviews. Docketing does not indicate approval of the application.

Holtec submitted its application on March 30, 2017, and supplemented it in October and December in response to NRC staff questions. Holtec seeks to store up to 8,680 metric tons of uranium in commercial spent fuel in the Holtec International Storage Module Underground “MAXimum” Capacity (HI-STORM UMAX) Storage System for a 40-year license term.

The NRC staff informed Holtec of its docketing determination in a letter dated Feb. 28, 2018. The NRC will publish a notice of docketing in the Federal Register in coming days. The application and other documents related to the NRC’s review are available on the NRC website.

NRC Finalizes White Finding at Clinton Nuclear Power Plant

Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Press Release
No: III-18-005 February 28, 2018
Contact: Viktoria Mitlyng630-829-9662 Prema Chandrathil630-829-9663

NRC Finalizes White Finding at Clinton Nuclear Power Plant

The NRC has notified Exelon of its final determination that an inspection finding related to a degraded condition on a safety-related pump at the Clinton nuclear power plant has low to moderate safety significance.

The issue was identified during an inspection conducted June 15 – Dec. 28, 2017. NRC inspectors determined that the plant’s failure to identify a condition that could negatively impact the proper operation of a safety pump resulted in its failure. NRC inspectors have verified that the pump has been repaired.

Clinton has been under increased NRC oversight since the third quarter of 2017 due to a previous finding of low to moderate safety significance. The finding involved the plant’s failure to evaluate the suitability of installing new electrical components on an emergency diesel generator room ventilation fan. The modification resulted in the diesel generator being inoperable for a period of time that exceeded requirements. NRC inspectors reviewed the plant’s actions to resolve the issue.

Clinton will remain under increased oversight until NRC inspectors conduct independent reviews to verify that Exelon has fully understood the causes for both findings and has taken sufficient action to prevent recurrence.

The single-unit plant, operated by Exelon Nuclear Generation Co., is located in Clinton, Ill., about 23 miles southeast of Bloomington, Ill.

NRC Proposes $145,000 Civil Penalty for Violations at Vogtle Nuclear Plant

Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Press Release
No: II-18-002 February 21, 2018
Contact: Roger Hannah, 404-997-4417 Joey Ledford, 404-997-4416

NRC Proposes $145,000 Civil Penalty for Violations at Vogtle Nuclear Plant
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff is proposing a $145,000 civil penalty against Southern Nuclear Operating Co., for violations at the company’s Vogtle nuclear power plant involving plant employees who did not complete required rounds to check equipment and plant conditions, but provided inaccurate documentation indicating that they had done so.

The Vogtle plant is located near Waynesboro, Ga., about 26 miles southeast of Augusta. The violations, identified during an NRC inspection, occurred from August to October 2016. An NRC investigation, completed in August 2017, found that on multiple occasions during the three-month period, at least 13 system operators failed to complete their rounds as required by plant procedures, but entered data into an electronic log indicating they had completed equipment status checks and area inspections.

The NRC does not license system operators, yet they provide an important function. The letter from the NRC to the company states, “Outside rounds are conducted for a variety of reasons, including the early identification, trending, and correction of degraded, abnormal, or undesirable plant conditions. In this case, however, this vital function was intentionally precluded by the deliberate misconduct.”

Based on the NRC review, there were no actual safety consequences and the agency is unaware of any equipment issues or conditions missed during the time the rounds were not completed.

Southern Nuclear has taken a number of corrective actions, including procedure revisions, additional training and oversight, and disciplinary action for the individuals involved.

The company has 30 days to either pay the fine or protest.

Peach Bottom: Evaluation of Relief Request

By letter dated September 29, 2017, Exelon Generation Company, LLC (Exelon, the licensee) submitted Relief Requests GVRR-2, 01A-VRR-2, 01A-VRR-3, and 01A-VRR-4 to the
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).
In these relief requests, Exelon proposed alternatives to certain inservice testing requirements of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Code for Operation and Maintenance of Nuclear Power Plants (OM Code) for Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station (Peach Bottom), Units 2 and 3. The subject relief requests are for the fifth 10-year interval of the inservice testing program at Peach Bottom, Units 2 and 3, which will begin on August 15, 2018. 

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DEP Seeks Public Comment on CAFO Discharge Draft Permit

Dept. of Environmental Protection

Commonwealth News Bureau
Room 308, Main Capitol Building
Harrisburg PA., 17120


Neil Shader, DEP

DEP Seeks Public Comment on CAFO Discharge Draft Permit
Comments on draft PAG-12 will be accepted until February 20, 2018

Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is accepting public comments on a draft general permit, PAG-12, that is intended to provide NPDES permit coverage to persons operating concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) in Pennsylvania. The current PAG-12 General Permit expires on March 31, 2018.

“The proposed changes to the PAG-12 will streamline and clear up some requirements for farmers, while also improving water quality by strengthening protections for storage and leak detection,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “These new requirements are designed to make it easier for farmers to continue to be good stewards of the environment while operating their animal operations.”

DEP is proposing some changes to PAG-12:
•    Electronic submission of Annual Reports, when required by DEP
•    Annual inspections of earthen storage facilities and leak detection systems
•    Changing the reporting period from “calendar year” to “crop year” (October 1 – September 30)
•    Updated forms to comply with EPA requirements and elimination of duplicative and conflicting requirements

The draft permit also proposes a $500 annual fee, as well a $500 Notice of Intent (NOI) fee. These fees would be paid to the Clean Water Fund for the purpose of supporting DEP’s pollution control efforts.

Other changes are described in the draft fact sheet for the PAG-12 General Permit, which can be found on the DEP eLibrary with the other PAG-12 materials:

Interested persons are encouraged to submit comments using DEP’s online eComment system at Written comments should be submitted by email to or by mail to the Department of Environmental Protection, Policy Office, Rachel Carson State Office Building, P.O. Box 2063, Harrisburg, PA 17105-2063. All comments must include the originator’s name and address.

DEP Reissues Draft Discharge Permit for Brunner Island Electric Generating Station

Dept. of Environmental Protection

Commonwealth News Bureau
Room 308, Main Capitol Building
Harrisburg PA., 17120


John Repetz, DEP

DEP Reissues Draft Discharge Permit for Brunner Island Electric Generating Station

Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has reissued a revised draft National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit to Brunner Island LLC for the operation of its 1,490-megawatt coal- and natural gas-fired power plant, which discharges treated industrial wastewater and cooling water to the Susquehanna River.

“This is DEP’s fourth attempt to update Brunner Island’s discharge permit due to changing federal discharge guidelines,” said DEP South-central Regional Director Joe Adams. “While the plant continues to operate under the terms of its previous permit, it is long past time to update and finalize the terms of a new permit that will be in effect for the coming years.”

The revised draft permit addresses revisions to compliance dates and requires studies of any temperature-related impacts on the Susquehanna River due to its operation as a peaking facility. It includes additional reporting requirements for changes in plant operations that could lead to dramatic changes in thermal discharges. Sudden temperature changes in the plant’s discharge channel have resulted in fish kills. The draft permit also extends by two years dates to comply with effluent limits for certain wastewater streams.

The NPDES permit Brunner Island is currently operating under expired in 2011. In the interim, DEP has administratively extended the terms of that permit, and issued three draft permits, the most recent in April 2017. That draft was subject to a 30-day public comment period and a public hearing conducted on July 24, 2017. Based on comments received, and changes made in September 2017 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to its wastewater guidelines, DEP decided to re-draft the permit for a fourth time. While EPA may ultimately decide to revoke, amend, or leave undisturbed the guidelines currently in effect, DEP must utilize them in NPDES permits in accordance with the Clean Water Act.

A notice of the revised draft permit will be published in the PA Bulletin on January 20, 2018. That will begin a 30-day public comment period which ends on February 20, 2018. DEP will consider any comments received before deciding on whether to issue a final permit.

The draft permit is available for public review at the DEP South-central Regional Office, 909 Elmerton Avenue, Harrisburg, PA 17110, Monday through Friday between 8:00 AM and 4:00 PM Please call 717-705-4732 to schedule an appointment. It can also be accessed on DEP’s South-central Regional webpage at


The Commission previously has taken steps with regard to reliability and other matters that have helped to address the resilience of the bulk power system.  The Commission recognizes that we must remain vigilant with respect to resilience challenges, because affordable and reliable electricity is vital to the country’s economic and national security.  As explained below, we are terminating the proceeding we initiated in Docket No. RM18-1-000 to address the Proposed Rule on Grid Reliability and Resilience Pricing (Proposed Rule) submitted to the Commission by the Secretary of Energy.[1]  Nonetheless, we appreciate the Secretary reinforcing the resilience of the bulk power system as an important issue that warrants further attention.  To that end, we are initiating a new proceeding in Docket No. AD18-7-000 to specifically evaluate the resilience of the bulk power system in the regions operated by regional transmission organizations (RTO) and independent system operators (ISO).  In this order, we direct each RTO and ISO to submit information to the Commission on certain resilience issues and concerns identified herein to enable us to examine holistically the resilience of the bulk power system.  The resilience of the bulk power system will remain a priority of this Commission.  We expect to review the additional material and promptly decide whether additional Commission action is warranted to address grid resilience.

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Peach Bottom: Task Force Traveler TSTF-542

Peach Bottom, Units 2 and 3 - Issuance of Amendments Re: Revise Technical Specifications to Adopt Technical Specifications Task Force Traveler TSTF-542 (CAC Nos. MF9138 and MF9139; EPID L-2017-LLA-0174)

ADAMS Accession No. ML17325B708

Decommissioning the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant

UMASS: The Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station Study

Pilgrim Watch: Decommissioning Pilgrim