From Beyond Nuclear:

Iran has charged that an extremely dangerous “foreign-made” computer worm, “Stuxnet”, has infected tens of thousands of its industrial computer systems. According to international computer security experts, the computer worm targets electricity facilities using Siemens control systems including Iran’s nearly operational Bushehr nuclear power plant in what is being called the first case of cyber-sabotage of an industrial system.

The still mutating computer worm is designed to reprogram critical functions however researchers do not yet know what types of systems are targeted or how the sabotage is executed. The Islamic Republic News Agency reports that the virus is not stable and since cleanup efforts began three new versions of the infection have been spreading.

The computer worm is reported to have first been discovered in June when researchers found about 45,000 infected computers in various countries including Indonesia and India. However, leading cyber-security analysts have concluded that a system in Iran was the focus of the attack.  The Washington Post quotes a researcher with the security firm Symantec, “We have never seen anything like this before. It is very dangerous.” 

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PEACH BOTTOM ATOMIC POWER STATION (PBAPS), UNITS 2 AND 3­ REQUEST FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION RELATED TO LICENSE AMENDMENT REQUEST TO ALLOW RECEIPT AND STORAGE OF LOW­ LEVEL RADIOACTIVE WASTE GENERATED OFF-SITE

Download ML102580915 (PDF)

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From the New York Times:

A once-unthinkable day is looming on the Colorado River.

Barring a sudden end to the Southwest’s 11-year drought, the distribution of the river’s dwindling bounty is likely to be reordered as early as next year because the flow of water cannot keep pace with the region’s demands.

For the first time, federal estimates issued in August indicate that Lake Mead, the heart of the lower Colorado basin’s water system — irrigating lettuce, onions and wheat in reclaimed corners of the Sonoran Desert, and lawns and golf courses from Las Vegas to Los Angeles — could drop below a crucial demarcation line of 1,075 feet.

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From the Press of Atlantic City:

Former New Jersey Gov. Christie Whitman, once a top political and environmental figure, is now an ambassador for nuclear power.

The former administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency spends her days promoting an industry largely opposed by environmentalists.

Whitman, a Republican from Somerset County, works for the Clean and Safe Energy Coalition, a national group formed to promote nuclear power. In this role, she has been giving speeches and leading discussions in New Jersey and elsewhere touting the benefits of atomic energy. Whitman was a guest speaker earlier this year at Richard Stockton College’s Hughes Center for Public Policy in Atlantic City.

She has taken on this public role at a time when critical issues affecting nuclear plants and the public are being debated in southern New Jersey.

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Peach Bottom Response to Confirmatory Order - NRC Investigation Report Nos. I-2008-023, I-2008-004

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Eric Epstein
4100 Hillsdale Road
Harrisburg PA 17112

To Whom It May Concern:

This is to advice you that the Commission in the Public Meeting on September 23, 2010 adopted an Order in the above entitled proceeding.

An Order has been enclosed for your records.

Very truly yours,

 

Rosemary Chiavetta
Secretary

Download PDF of Order

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Three Mile Island Alert
Harrisburg PA
For Release on September 27, 2010
Contact Scott Portzline 717 232-8863

Three Mile Island Alert’s security consultant Scott D. Portzline presented written testimony today to the PA Senate hearing on the intelligence bulletin contract. Portzline provided actual events of retaliation against activists which exemplify what could occur from the unnecessary publication of the names of activists.

“The price of activism can be quite high in terms of time, effort and money. But when the government includes your name on a list that makes you a suspect, the costs then threaten your patriotism, your good citizenship and your moral obligation to get involved,” said Scott Portzline of Harrisburg PA.

Ironically, while Portzline has received letters of appreciation from the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency for his “assessments, concerns and suggestions,” Three Mile Island Alert is considered to be an anti-nuclear group rather than a nuclear watchdog group and therefore would have fit the profile of the intelligence bulletin’s groups which could cause trouble.

Mr. Portzline also noted that the overly broad-blanket approach to gathering and disseminating intelligence has distracted the government from containing actual threats to the nation’s infrastructure like the Stuxnet virus. The virus has currently infected approximately 3000 industrial plants in the United States.

In fact, Mr. Portzline reported his concerns to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission during the week of September 20, 2010, and found the agency's responses to be inadequate. Portzline, who was instrumental in exposing security weaknesses in the NRC's website in 2004, the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory web site in 2007, and the Department of Energy and Department of Commerce websites earlier this year. Portzline compares the NRC's actions against cyber threats to “hitting the snooze button until someone else wakes you up.”

TMI Alert believes that the recent revelations in Pennsylvania serve as a good example of the quest for security over-reaching its moral balance. The government is to be commended for correcting this practice albeit too late for many.

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PPL Corporation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PPL Corporation (NYSE: PPL) said Thursday (9/9) it has reached agreement to sell interests in certain non-core generating stations to LS Power Equity Advisors, an affiliate of LS Power.

The transaction will include the 244-megawatt PPL Wallingford Energy plant, a natural gas-fired facility located in the Town of Wallingford, Conn.; the 585-megawatt PPL University Park plant, a natural gas-fired facility located in University Park, Ill.; and PPL’s one-third share in Safe Harbor Water Power Corporation, owner of the 421-megawatt Safe Harbor Hydroelectric Station on the Susquehanna River in Conestoga, Pa.

The transaction, for approximately $381 million in cash, is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2010, pending receipt of necessary regulatory approvals and third- party consents. The transaction is expected to result in an after-tax special item charge against PPL’s third-quarter earnings of $65 million to $80 million.  

Following the closing of the sale, PPL will continue to operate a diverse mix of competitive-market generating plants in Pennsylvania and Montana, with a combined capacity of nearly 11,000 megawatts.

Credit Suisse and BofA Merrill Lynch served as PPL’s financial advisors in this transaction.

PPL Corporation, headquartered in Allentown, Pa., owns or controls 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 www.pplweb.com.

LS Power is a power generation and transmission group with a proven track record of successful development activities, operations management and commercial execution. LS Power has been involved in the development, construction, or operations of over 20,000 MW of power generation throughout the United States. LS Power is actively developing both power generation and transmission infrastructure to serve the need for new generation and improve the aging transmission system. Highly regarded in the financial community, LS Power has raised over $13 billion to support investment in energy infrastructure since 2005. For more information, visit www.LSPower.com.

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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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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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