Unit 1 HPCI Inoperable Due to Steam Leak

Event Number: 46644
Event Date: 02/25/2011

"At 2027 EST, Unit 1 HPCI system was declared inoperable due to a steam leak on HV155F002, HPCI Steam Supply Inboard Isolation Valve. Engineering evaluation determined that the valve actuator will not close the valve fully under design basis conditions, due to the impingement of steam from the valve packing region on the valve stem. The penetration flow path has been isolated and the outboard isolation valve has been deactivated.

"HPCI is a single train ECCS safety system, This event results in the loss of an entire safety function which requires an 8 hour ENS notification in accordance with 10CFR50.72(b)(3)(v) and the guidance provided under NUREG-1022, rev. 2.

"There are no other ECCS systems presently out of service.

Unit 1 is in a 14 day LCO 3.5.1. EDG's are operable, and offsite power is normal. There is no increase in plant risk, and the licensee will notify the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA).

The NRC Resident Inspector has been notified.

Manual Scram Due to Recirculation Pump Trip

Event Number: 46641
Facility: LIMERICK
Notification Date: 02/25/2011

"Limerick Unit 2 was manually scrammed from 100% power on 2/25/11 at 0910 EST in accordance with plant procedure OT-112 'Recirculation Pump Trip', when both the '2A' and '2B' recirculation pumps tripped. Preliminary indication of why the recirculation pumps tripped is due to main generator stator water coolant runback. The cause of the stator water coolant runback is currently under investigation at this time.

"All control rods inserted as required. No ECCS or RCIC initiations occurred. No primary or secondary containment isolations occurred. The plant is currently in HOT SHUTDOWN maintaining normal Reactor Water Level with Feedwater in service."

Primary plant pressure and temperature is 600 psia and approximately 485 degrees F. All unit safety related equipment is operable and available, if needed. The decay heat path is via turbine bypass valves. There is no affect on Unit 1. The licensee informed Montgomery, Chester, Burks Counties and the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA). The licensee intends to issue a press release.

The NRC Resident Inspector has been notified.

Chernobyl, 25 Years Later

From CounterPunch:

April 26, 2011 will mark the 25th Annivesary of the Chernobyl catastrophe, and for more than 50 years, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have abided by an agreement that in essence, covers each other’s back  – sometimes at the expense of public health. It’s a delicate balance between cooperation and collusion. Signed on May 28, 1959 at the 12th World Health Assembly, the agreement states:

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Anatomy of a Right-Wing Ambush - and taxpayer-funded, to boot!

From Green Mountain Daily:

Arnie Gundersen, on the other hand came fully prepared.  Launching a well-planned slide presentation, he began by saying that the purpose of the forum was not to argue the pros and cons of nuclear energy, but rather to discuss why VY should or should not specifically be shut-down.  He then proceeded to explain, in a relaxed and articulate manner, all of the technical issues, managerial issues and some of the ethical issues that have lead him to believe that VY must not be allowed to operate beyond it's planned expiry. Arguing that closure of VY will have much less  of an economic impact than is projected by VY supporters, Mr. Gundersen described the manner in which pricing and supply works on the New England Grid, and said that hundreds of jobs will be created after VY closes; first, to keep the plant safe and secure while it awaits decommissioning, and later to carry out the actual dismantling and disposal operations.

Each speaker was allowed a brief rebuttal, during which Mr. Gundersen defused the "Exit" sign analolgy with a little science, and reminded the audience that tritium was just the fastest moving (and therefore most quickly identified) substance leached from the broken pipes.  He pointed out that additional radioactive substances of much more deadly portent, were released at the same time but hadn't yet travelled as far as the "plume" of tritium, which has already entered the Connecticut River.

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Nuclear units can operate beyond 60 years, with R&D: DOE official

From Platts:

No reason has yet been discovered why light-water power reactors could not operate beyond 60 years, but coordinated, near-term research efforts should address the issues, industry and government officials said Tuesday.

Co-sponsored by the US Department of Energy, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Nuclear Energy Institute, the three-day workshop in Washington examined "life beyond 60" issues for power reactors. The event followed on a DOE-NRC workshop held in February 2008.

NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko told the workshop that "it's very important that we guard against any potential sense of complacency about aging management and license renewal."

Some 61 of the 104 operating US power reactors have had their initial 40-year licenses renewed by NRC for an additional 20 years.

Jaczko said "the industry has done good work in developing effective aging management programs to meet NRC safety requirements. This is a track record that the industry can be proud of. But it's also important to recognize that we have very limited experience in seeing how aging management programs actually work after the initial 40-year period of operation."

Jaczko also said that "if the industry's research demonstrates that licensees can safely conduct extended operation beyond 60 years, the NRC has every reason to believe that the licensing reviews will proceed efficiently and effectively."

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Value of Subsidies Oten Exceed Market Price of Nuclear Energy Produced

CONTACT: Elliott Negin, Union of Concerned Scientists, 202-331-5439



The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) will hold a telephone press conference to release a new report detailing the full range of subsidies that have benefitted the commercial nuclear power industry in the United States over the last 50 years. The report found that subsidies for the entire nuclear fuel cycle -- from uranium mining to long-term waste storage -- have often exceeded the average market price of the power produced. In other words, if the government had purchased power on the open market and given it away for free, it would have been less costly than subsidizing nuclear power plant construction and operation.

Pending and proposed subsidies for new nuclear reactors would shift even more costs and risks from the industry to taxpayers and ratepayers. The president’s new budget proposal would provide an additional $36 billion in taxpayer-backed federal loan guarantees to underwrite the construction of new reactors. That would nearly triple the amount of loan guarantees already available to the industry.

Ellen Vancko, UCS Nuclear Energy & Climate Change Project manager, Washington, D.C.
Doug Koplow, founder, Earth Track, Inc., Cambridge, Mass. (report author)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011, 1 p.m. EST

The comfort of your own office. Call: 866-793-1307; Conference ID: UCS nuclear subsidies teleconference


The Union of Concerned Scientists is the leading U.S. science-based nonprofit organization working for a healthy environment and a safer world. Founded in 1969, UCS is headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and also has offices in Berkeley, Chicago and Washington, D.C. For more information, go to www.ucsusa.org.

New AP1000 Nuclear Reactor Design Sparks Ire

From In These Times:

In their rush to approve a newly designed nuclear reactor slated for proposed power plants throughout the southeastern United States, federal regulators are ignoring safety issues raised by a pattern of containment failures in reactors. That’s the urgent message at the center of two recent reports examining the design of the Westinghouse AP1000 reactor, which the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is in the process of certifying.

Both reports were written by Arnold Gundersen, a former senior nuclear industry official and chief engineer of Fairewinds Associates, Inc., an independent research firm. The initial report was released in April 2010, and the follow-up report released in late December. They were commissioned by the AP1000 Oversight Group, a coalition of environmental organizations centered in the Southeast, where construction of 14 new nuclear power plants has been proposed. Because of the safety issues documented by Gundersen, the coalition is contesting certification of the AP1000.

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TMI: Operator Examinations


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Coal's hidden costs top $345 billion in U.S. study

From Reuters:

The United States' reliance on coal to generate almost half of its electricity, costs the economy about $345 billion a year in hidden expenses not borne by miners or utilities, including health problems in mining communities and pollution around power plants, a study found.

Those costs would effectively triple the price of electricity produced by coal-fired plants, which are prevalent in part due to the their low cost of operation, the study led by a Harvard University researcher found.

"This is not borne by the coal industry, this is borne by us, in our taxes," said Paul Epstein, a Harvard Medical School instructor and the associate director of its Center for Health and the Global Environment, the study's lead author.

"The public cost is far greater than the cost of the coal itself. The impacts of this industry go way beyond just lighting our lights."

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