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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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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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.

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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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From the Press and Journal:

A faulty electrical device knocked Three Mile Island off-line for about 24 hours from Sunday, Sept. 19 to Monday, Sept. 20, halting the production of power.

The reactor did not shut down, but the malfunction, which affected the plant’s turbine generator, forced the unit off the grid.

The plant resumed producing electricity around 11 p.m. Monday, Sept. 20, officials said. It is the second time in six months that electric generation at the plant was interrupted by a mechanical problem. In March, oil leaking from two reactor coolant pumps forced the shutdown of the reactor for 31 hours.

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From the Times Leader:

A new teaching resource on one of the hottest topics in the region – natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale – hit the Internet on Tuesday.

Eric Epstein, founder of the nuclear energy watchdog group EFMR (the initials of family members) and the political forum RockTheCapital.com, announced at a press conference at the state Capitol on Tuesday that the two organizations have produced “nonjudgmental” educational lesson plans and a resource guide entitled “Marcellus Shale: Natural Gas Energy.”

Because teachers often incorporate current community issues into their classroom lessons, Epstein thought it important to provide such a resource. His groups put out lesson plans on coal, nuclear, wind and solar energy in the past.

He hired educational consultant Diane Little, a former science teacher, to draw up the lesson plans and resource guide, which provide outlines and potential sources of information for lessons at the elementary, middle and high school levels.

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From the Patriot News:

In response to a lack of long-term options, nuclear plants will be allowed to store high-level radioactive spent fuel on-site for up to 60 years after the plant stops operating, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has ruled.

Previously, nuclear plants were only allowed to store the waste on site for up to 30 years.

Neil Sheehan, a NRC spokesman, said the decision is in response to the lack of a national nuclear waste storage site.

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From Reuters:

Tiny biotech Cleveland BioLabs Inc (CBLI.O) has won a $45 million contract from the Department of Defense to conduct clinical trials of a drug to prevent cell damage in the event of nuclear attack.

The experimental drug has already been shown to protect mice and monkeys from the damaging effects of radiation.

If it works in people, it would be the first drug of its kind.

In animals, the drug has been shown to protect bone marrow and cells in the gut from being destroyed by radiation.

"There are no drugs which protect humans from radiation," Michael Fonstein, the company's chief executive officer, said in a telephone interview.

The drug works by interfering with a process of programmed cell death called apoptosis -- basically a form of cell suicide. This helps the body rid itself of damaged cells,

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Exelon Nuclear

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

LONDONDERRY TWP. (Sept. 21, 2010) – Three Mile Island Unit 1 returned to service yesterday at 10:50 p.m. when operators connected the plant’s turbine generator to the regional power grid. The turbine generator shut down on September 19 due to a faulty electrical card on a plant system. Plant personnel replaced the faulty electrical card.

Three Mile Island Unit 1 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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State of New Jersey
Dept. of Environmental Protection

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

(10/P97) TRENTON --- DEP Commissioner Bob Martin has again formally asked the federal government to force the owners of a coal-powered Pennsylvania power plant to dramatically reduce harmful air emissions that are causing an even greater public health concern in North Jersey than originally known, he announced today.

Commissioner Martin today signed a supplemental petition under Section 126 of the federal Clean Air Act, seeking prompt action by the federal Environmental Protection Agency to force RRI Energy to reduce harmful emissions spewing from its Portland, Pa. generating facility and across the Delaware River and directly into Warren County.

Sulfur dioxide pollution pouring out of the power plant is more damaging and widespread than previously believed, extending into a much larger area of Warren County and into portions of Sussex, Morris and Hunterdon Counties, according to the petition signed by Commissioner Martin.

The supplemental petition includes a trajectory analysis that shows the plant's emissions caused high sulfur dioxide levels at the DEP's ambient air monitoring station in Chester, Morris County, which is located 21 miles east of the Portland plant. Closer to the RRI plant, the levels are much higher, about 10 times the new federal health standard.  

"We now understand the emissions are more damaging to the public health and welfare than previously believed, and are harming more New Jersey residents over a wider section of our State,'' said Commissioner Martin. "Our residents have to a right to be protected from this health risk. We need the federal government to step up and deal with this serious air pollution issue now.''

Commissioner Martin called on the EPA to hold the required Section 126 hearing in Warren County, which is most directly affected by adverse impacts of the air pollution.

"We have a good working relationship in general with the EPA and expect them to be responsive to our petition on this matter,'' said Commissioner Martin. 

The supplemental filing identifies far greater impacts to New Jersey's air quality and the health of its residents than was initially documented in an initial May 12 Section 126 petition sent to the EPA.  It also cites a tougher new federal National Ambient Air Quality Standard for sulfur dioxide that was adopted in June by the EPA.

That new federal standard of 75 parts per billion is designed to help protect the public health, including the health of "sensitive'' populations such as asthmatics, children and the elderly. Sulfur dioxide emissions, he noted, can cause a variety of adverse health effects, including asthma and respiratory failure, and environmental impacts such as acid rain.

RRI Energy's power plant emitted more than 30,000 tons of sulfur dioxide in 2009, which is more than all seven of New Jersey's coal-fired power plants combined. The DEP believes controls, such as a scrubber, should be installed to reduce those emissions by at least 95 percent to less than 1,500 tons per year.

Improved sulfur dioxide and particle control also would reduce other hazardous air emissions, including hydrochloric acid, lead and mercury, said Commissioner Martin.

Gov. Chris Christie in May called on the federal government to take prompt action, saying, "The magnitude of the plant's emissions and its close proximity make it a real threat to public health and safety in New Jersey.''

The Portland plant is situated on a 1,094-acre tract along the west bank of the Delaware River in Northampton County, Pa., some 10 miles southeast of Stroudsburg, Pa. and just 500 feet from New Jersey. Built in the 1950s and 1960s, the Portland plant's two coal-fired generating units have no air pollution controls for some contaminants, including sulfur dioxide and mercury, and have outdated controls for nitrogen oxides and particulate matter.

As a result, air contaminant emissions generated by the plant are very high. In fact, the Portland plant is the fifth highest emitter of sulfur dioxide per megawatt of power generated in the entire country, mostly due to its use of a high sulfur coal content and lack of a scrubber device.

Full text of the previous Section 126 petition and documentation can be found at: http://www.state.nj.us/dep/baqp/petition/126petition.htm

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