Susquehanna: NRC Inspection Report 05000387/2010003 and 05000388/2010003

Susquehanna Steam Electric Station - NRC Integrated Inspection Report 05000387/2010003 and 05000388/2010003

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Review of Pilgrim nuclear license is among the longest in country

From the Patriot Ledger:

The Pilgrim nuclear power plant is one of only three power plants in the country whose relicensing requests have taken longer than the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s self-imposed 30-month deadline to resolve.

In recent letters to Sen. John Kerry and Rep. William Delahunt, NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko wrote that his agency issued 59 license renewals at 34 sites and had 14 license renewal applications under review. Of those, Entergy Corp.’s Pilgrim plant in Plymouth is one of only three that have not been resolved in a 30-month window. The others include Vermont Yankee in Vernon, Vt., and the Oyster Creek plant in New Jersey. The Oyster Creek license was renewed in 2009, while Entergy’s Vermont Yankee request is still being considered.

Jaczko, who was responding to inquiries from Kerry and Delahunt, attributed the delays at Pilgrim to the complexity of issues being raised as a panel of judges reviews Entergy’s relicensing request.

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10 CFR Part 26 and Susquehanna

Good Day:

Daily Event Report No. 46164 dated Augusr 10, 2010, involves an incident at the Susquehanna Unit 1 reactor.

It reported that "a member of the SSES work force was feeling ill effects from a Freon-12 leak."

It also reported that no "medical attention was required."

Section 26.23 of 10 CFR Part 26 defines the performance objectives for fitness-for-duty programs.

Paragraph (b) explicitly states that one of those performance objectives is:

"Provide reasonable assurance that individuals are not under the influence of any substance, legal or illegal, or mentally or physically impaired from any cause, which in any way adversely affects their ability to safely and competently perform their duties."

Freon-12 is a "substance, legal or illegal."

Freon-12 "physically impaired" a worker at SSES Unit 1.

That "physically impaired" worker received no "medial attention."

This is not, repeat not, an allegation that the licensee violated 10 CFR Part 26.

Instead, this is a question. Will the NRC be looking into whether this licensee complied with 10 CFR Part 26 when it provided no medical attention to a worker inside the protected area who self-declared being impaired by a substance, legal or illegal?


David Lochbaum
Director, Nuclear Safety Project
Union of Concerned Scientists
PO Box 15316
Chattanooga, TN 37415
(423) 468-9272 office
(423) 488-8318 cell

SSES terminates emergency


Event Number: 46164

Event Date: 08/10/2010


"At 0911 EDT, the Susquehanna LLC Shift Manager was notified that a member of the SSES [Susquehanna Steam Electric Station] work force was feeling ill effects from a Freon-12 leak located in a plant vital area. This met the declaration criteria for an Alert under [EAL] OA-7 of the emergency plan which was declared at 0922 EDT.

"The affected area has been evacuated and recovery actions are in progress to isolate the leak. No personnel were injured or medical attention was required."

The leak is in the 1A Reactor Building chiller unit. At the time of notification, the leak was still active. The licensee is preparing a team to enter the area to investigate. No outside assistance is required.

Notified DHS (Hill), FEMA (Heyman), DOE (Smith), USDA (Mitchell) and HHS (Rolle).


"At 2335 EDT on 8/10/10, the Alert was terminated. The Chiller has been evacuated of Freon-12. Freon detectors show no presence of Freon-12 on U1 Reactor Building Elevation 749 [feet], except in the immediate vicinity from the leak site with temporary ventilation in service.

"All state and local agencies have been advised, the NRC Resident Inspector has been notified and a press release will be made."

Agencies that the licensee notified included the Columbia County Emergency Management Agency, the Luzerne County Emergency Management Agency, the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

Notified R1DO (Ferdas), NRR EO (Nelson), IRD Manager (Gott), DHS (Doyle), FEMA (O'Connell), DOE (Morrone), HHS (White), and USDA (Timmons).

PPL Susquehanna Reports Progress With Freon Leak


BERWICK, Pa., Aug. 10 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- While an alert remains in effect at PPL's Susquehanna nuclear power plant in Luzerne County, Pa., workers have made significant progress to stop a leak of Freon vapor in the Unit 1 reactor building.

"We're safely removing the Freon from a chiller in the Unit 1 reactor building and placing it in storage tanks on site," said Miriam Mylin, spokeswoman for the Susquehanna plant. "The work is going well, and the leak has been significantly diminished."

Mylin said public safety is not at risk, plant employees are safe and there have been no injuries reported.

The plant declared an alert Tuesday morning (8/10) when employees detected Freon leaking in an area that contains plant safety systems. An alert is the second lowest of the four emergency classifications established by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission for nuclear power plants.

Freon is used as a refrigerant in the air-conditioning system for the reactor building and provides cooling to pump motors in the reactor building.  

Unit 1 continues to operate at full power. Unit 2 is not affected and continues to operate at full power.

PPL has activated its Joint Information Center at the East Mountain Business Center just off Route 115, south of Wilkes-Barre, Pa. The phone number is 1-866-832-4474.

The Susquehanna plant, located about seven miles north of Berwick, is owned jointly by PPL Susquehanna LLC and Allegheny Electric Cooperative Inc. and is operated by PPL Susquehanna.

PPL Susquehanna is one of PPL Corporation's generating facilities. Headquartered in Allentown, Pa., PPL Corporation (NYSE: PPL) controls or owns nearly 12,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the United States, sells energy in key U.S. markets and delivers electricity to about 4 million customers in Pennsylvania and the United Kingdom. More information is available at

Note to Editors: A Susquehanna Nuclear Energy Guide is available on the PPL media Web site at The guide provides specific plant and general nuclear energy information.

SOURCE PPL Susquehanna

NRC Monitoring 'Alert' Declared at Susquehanna Nuclear Power Plant

From the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission:

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is monitoring PPL’s response to an “Alert” declared this morning at the Susquehanna nuclear power plant, which is located in Salem Township (Luzerne County), Pa. The Alert – the second-lowest of four emergency classifications used by the NRC – was declared at 9:22 a.m. after toxic gas – believed to be Freon – was identified by workers in the Unit 1 Reactor Building. As a precaution, PPL, which owns and operates the two-reactor plant, has evacuated that building.  No injuries have been reported. 

Freon apparently leaked from a chiller, or air-conditioning, system used to maintain certain temperatures inside the Reactor Building. That structure houses safety systems used to support the operation of the reactor, but those systems have not been impacted by the event.

The NRC has two Resident Inspectors stationed at Susquehanna who are following PPL’s response to the event. In addition, the NRC Region I Office, in King of Prussia, Pa., has activated its Incident Response Center and is closely monitoring the company’s actions from there.

PPL is seeking to identify the exact source of the Freon leakage and terminate it. Both reactors at the site remain in operation. As of earlier today, Susquehanna 1 was at 100-percent power and Susquehanna 2 was at 94-percent power.

Appropriate federal and state officials have been notified regarding the event.


2 SC nuclear power plant employees face possible firing for bringing weapons to work

From WYFF:

Two employees at South Carolina nuclear power plant could be fired for bringing a weapon to work, an official confirmed Wednesday.

Oconee Nuclear Station security officers found the weapons on two employees over the past couple of weeks as they entered the Duke Energy plant, company representative Sandra Magee saidThe discoveries were not believed to be related.Magee said she didn't know what type of weapons were found. Duke Energy officials are interviewing the workers who broke company rules, Magee said.

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International physicians group calls for ban on uranium mining

From Beyond Nuclear:

The International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) adopted a resolution at its International Council meeting on Sunday in Basel, Switzerland, calling for a ban on uranium mining and the production of yellowcake (uranium oxide). The resolution described both processes as “irresponsible” and “a grave threat to health and to the environment”.

The resolution also describes uranium mining and yellowcake production as a “violation of human rights”. The right to life, liberty and security, to physical integrity, self-determination, the protection of human dignity, the right to clean water are just some of the rights that are afflicted by uranium mining and its processes, say the doctors.

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"Let Them Eat Fish:" Reflections on Deceptive Advertising by Entergy and BP

From the Huffington Post:

As campaign season heats up in my home state of Vermont, environmentally conscious voters have been remarking on the similarity between media ads on local TV by Entergy, owner of the radiation-leaking Vermont Yankee nuclear plant, and BP, responsible for the worst environmental catastrophe in American history.

Both Louisiana-based giants are trying to assure the public that the worst is past, that they are responsible corporate citizens cleaning up their respective messes, and the public has nothing to fear. But like the proverbial Pinocchio whose nose gets longer every lie, their respective PR teams have made their mutual cover-ups even more obvious.

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New ActNow! Video

From Beyond Nuclear:

Please watch our newest short video production, ActNow! A nuclear disaster – potentially even worse than the Gulf tragedy – could be inevitable if we do not take the necessary steps to prevent one. We have already witnessed major nuclear accidents – at Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, Church Rock and elsewhere. Please ActNow! Call the White House and Congress and please sign our petition today.

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