State 'terrorism' documents referred to York County

From the York Daily Record:

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

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

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

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

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For PPL execs, a lower bar, bigger reward

From the Morning Call:

With the economy in a free fall and electric demand down in early 2009, PPL CEO James Miller started unloading people.

The Allentown energy company eliminated about 200 jobs that year, cutting its work force by 6 percent to lower overhead that would have been a drain on earnings. And at the end of it all, Miller was rewarded handsomely.

He received $7.7 million in cash and equity in 2009, making him the second-highest paid executive in the Lehigh Valley, according to a Morning Call analysis of executive pay at local publicly traded companies. That was 37 percent more than he received in 2008, even though the company's overall revenues and earnings had dropped.

To many workers, the concept may seem cold and even cruel. If the company is doing so poorly that it has to cut jobs, how can it so richly reward its top executive?

But it highlights the often complex manner in which CEOs are paid, a common subject of political debate that underscores disparities in wealth distribution. And it demonstrates how sometimes when companies upend lives by slashing jobs, they simultaneously cut their CEOs some slack.

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Status of nuclear uprates & license extensions

All of Pennsylvania’s nuclear reactors have increased capacity through share holder funded uprates dating back to 1988 .

Power uprates increase on-site radioactive waste storage, and require millions of gallons of additional water daily. There is no permanent waste disposal facility for high level radioactive waste, and each reactor generates 30 metric tons of toxic waste annually.

Uprates require millions of gallons of additional water daily from the Delaware and Susquehanna Rivers. PPL’s Extended Power Uprate - which was fully funded by shareholders - increased water consumption from the Susquehanna River from 61 to 70 million gallons per day. (NRC EIS, April, 2008)

PPL’s extended power uprate of 13% - which was fully funded by shareholders - added 463 megawatts per reactor, and increased water consumption from the Susquehanna River for 61 to 70 million gallons per day.

On October 22, 2009, Exelon met with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and detailed plans for uprates at Limerick in 2010 and 2014-2015, Peach Bottom 2011-2012 and 2013-2014, and Three Mile Island in 2013-2014. (NRC, ADAMS, ML: 092940052)

Exelon told the NRC that the Company will “perform, over 1,300 MWe of uprates over the next eight years.” Exelon also acknowledged it “installed 1,100 MWe of increased nuclear capacity through power uprates over the past 10 years.” (“Exelon: Power Uprate Project Plan,” October 22, 2009)

Sources:

Nuclear News (May, 2010)

US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (June, 2010)

Storm knocks out power plant's warning system

From ABC27:

A thunderstorm in southern York County knocked down trees Wednesday night. But that storm posed a much greater threat - it knocked out the warning system from a nearby nuclear power plant.

Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station is in Delta, York County. The towers that surround it are topped by emergency sirens. If there's a problem at the plant, they will sound the alarm - but a strong storm that knocked down trees and knocked out power also knocked out this first line of defense.

"There are more sirens, they are louder, the system's better than it was before," said nuclear watchdog Eric Epstein. "But the system has no value if it's not operating."

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Sept. 29th is International Radioactive Waste Action Day!

From Beyond Nuclear:

Beyond Nuclear, in coalition with allies which organized the grassroots radioactive waste policy summit in Chicago in early June, have declared Sept. 29th an international day of action and awareness raising on radioactive waste issues. The date was chosen to commemorate the worst known radioactive waste disaster -- a reprocessing storage tank explosion in the Ural Mountains of Siberia on Sept. 29, 1957, which contaminated an entire region, immediately killed hundreds, and undoubtedly has sickened and even killed many more since, due to the lingering radioactive contamination of a vast area of the environment. Please help spread the word by sharing the flyer and invitation to take action. Also check out the Facebook page.

NRC plays "Nuclear Waste Con Game" on the American people

From Beyond Nuclear:

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission yesterday updated its "Nuclear Waste Confidence Rule," expressing "confidence" that commercial irradiated nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste (implying reprocessing) can be stored safely and securely, either on-site or off-site, for 60 years after operation licenses have expired at atomic reactors. Added to 60 years of operations (40 year original licenses plus 20 years of extended operations -- NRC has rubberstamped approval for all 59 such license extensions applied for thus far), that adds up to a whopping 120 years of on-site storage, in pools and/or dry casks. That's over half the age of the United States as a country, going backwards in time! But the "first cupful" of high-level radioactive waste, generated by Enrico Fermi in 1942 during the Manhattan Project, has not been "safely and securely" dealt with in nearly 70 years! And suitable geology for a "safe and secure" permanent dumpsite has not been found in over 50 years of searching!

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Nuclear plant looks less likely

From the News & Observer:

After years of talking up the nuclear renaissance, Progress Energy concedes it may never build new nuclear reactors in North Carolina.

The Raleigh electric utility told state regulators this week that it is considering nuclear payment alternatives that include joint financing and co-ownership with other power companies. Progress is reassessing its nuclear options as consumer energy demand remains slack in the wake of the recession while construction costs remain high.

In one possible scenario, Progress could own a stake in a nuclear plant built by another regional utility. Such an option would not require building the reactors that Progress proposed two years ago at its Shearon Harris nuclear complex in Southwestern Wake County.

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Global Wind Power Capacity May Rival Nuclear Within Four Years

From Bloomberg:

Installed power capacity from wind turbines around the world will probably rival the potential generation of electricity from nuclear plants within four years, the Global Wind Energy Council said.

Installed wind capacity by 2014 will probably reach 400 gigawatts, Steve Sawyer, secretary-general of the council, said in an e-mailed statement. Current nuclear power capacity is about 376 gigawatts, according to the World Nuclear Association.

Investments in wind power last year exceeded money spent on all other energy technologies including nuclear power, according to the International Energy Agency. Fifty-nine reactors are presently under various stages of construction globally, the World Nuclear Association said on its website.

Growth of wind power in China and elsewhere is offsetting a decline in the U.S. and is little changed in Europe this year, GWEC said. China, the world’s most populous nation and second- biggest economy, will likely more than double the amount of wind power potential this year to about 18 gigawatts, Bloomberg New Energy Finance estimates.

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Peach Bottom: Sirens Unavailable due to Inclement Weather

Event Number: 46269
Event Date: 09/22/2010
Emergency Class: NON EMERGENCY

SIRENS UNAVAILABLE DUE TO INCLEMENT WEATHER

"During a thunder storm that extended across southern Pennsylvania and northern Maryland, 21 emergency sirens lost power in York County Pennsylvania and 8 emergency sirens lost power in Harford County Maryland. Exelon is communicating to the appropriate utilities to make emergent repairs to restore these sirens."

In accordance with Peach Bottom plant specific procedures because greater than 25% of sirens were unavailable, the licensee contacted the following: Pennsylvania and Maryland Emergency Management; Harford and Cecil counties in Maryland and Lancaster, Chester and York counties in Pennsylvania.

The licensee notified the NRC Resident Inspector.

Susquehanna: Coolant Injection System Inoperable

Event Number: 46268
Event Date: 09/22/2010
Emergency Class: NON EMERGENCY

HIGH PRESSURE COOLANT INJECTION SYSTEM INOPERABLE DUE TO A MINOR LUBE OIL LEAK

"At 0830 [EDT] on 09/22/2010, the Unit 2 High Pressure Coolant Injection (HPCI) system was determined to be inoperable due to a minor lube oil leak on the 'A' supply filter. LCO 3.5.1 for the HPCI system was entered at 0830 [EDT] on 09/22/2010.

"The leak on the 'A' filter could not be immediately corrected. The 'B' filter was placed in service and leak checked satisfactorily. The LCO 3.5.1 action statements were closed at 1454 [EDT] on 09/22/2010.

"This incident is being reported as an event or condition that could have prevented fulfillment of a safety function required to mitigate the consequences of an accident in accordance with 10CFR50.72(b)(3)(v)(D)."

The licensee notified the NRC Resident Inspector.

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