Safety Concerns Delay Approval of the First U.S. Nuclear Reactor in Decades

From Scientific American

A new era for nuclear power is taking shape as third-generation reactors, designed to be simpler and safer, inch through the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC) design certification process. Much of nuclear's revival hinges on the ability of new reactors to outshine those of yore in terms of safety, economics, construction time and life span.

Of the 26 new reactor applications under current NRC scrutiny, 14 are for Westinghouse Electric Co.'s AP1000 pressurized water reactor. What sets the reactor apart is its modular design and passive safety system: Instead of relying on an operator or electronic feedback to shut down the reactor should it overheat, it employs the natural forces of gravity, convection and air circulation.

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Susquehanna: Fitness for Duty Report


Event Number: 46135


A licensed operator was determined to have violated the licensee's Fitness for Duty Policy related to self-reporting a legal action. The employee's access to the Protected Area has been revoked. Contact the Headquarters Operations Officer for additional details.

Beaver Valley & Perry Nuclear: Request to Extinguish Parental Guaranty

Beaver Valley Power Station, Unit Nos. 1 and 2, and Perry Nuclear Power Plant, Unit No. 1 - Request for consent to Extinguish Parental Guaranty – ADAMS Accession no. ML101930016

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Pilgrim to dig new wells to find radioactive source

From the Boston Globe:

The Pilgrim nuclear power plant in Plymouth will dig new monitor wells to try to pinpoint the source of a radioactive substance found in ground water on the site of the facility. But critics, who blame the radioactive pollution on the plant’s system of buried pipes and tanks, say much more has to be done to protect the public.

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TMI: NRC Inspection Report 5000289/2010003

Three Mile Island Unit 1- NRC Integrated Inspection Report 5000289/2010003
ADAMS Accession No. ML102090651

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Coast Guard Response to TMI-Alert, Re: Nuclear Plants and BP Spill

Exelon Cyber security plan

Summary of July 19, 2010, Category 1 meeting with Exelon to discuss re-submittal of its Cyber security plan

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Peach Bottom: NRC Evaluated EP Exercise




Nuclear Energy Loses Cost Advantage

From the New York Times:

Solar photovoltaic systems have long been painted as a clean way to generate electricity, but expensive compared with other alternatives to oil, like nuclear power. No longer. In a “historic crossover,” the costs of solar photovoltaic systems have declined to the point where they are lower than the rising projected costs of new nuclear plants, according to a paper published this month.

“Solar photovoltaics have joined the ranks of lower-cost alternatives to new nuclear plants,” John O. Blackburn, a professor of economics at Duke University, in North Carolina, and Sam Cunningham, a graduate student, wrote in the paper, “Solar and Nuclear Costs — The Historic Crossover.”

This crossover occurred at 16 cents per kilowatt hour, they said.

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NRC urged to move quickly on safety issue

From the Rutland Herald:

The New England Coalition, a nuclear physicist and his activist son want the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to lower the peak temperature of Vermont Yankee’s nuclear fuel cladding, saying data and studies show that the margin of safety in the event of a loss of coolant accident is down to 30 seconds.

The NRC earlier in spring had already agreed to consider the matter raised by Mark Leyse of New York City, but in a review track that will take years, not months. The New England Coalition wants the margin of safety increased immediately.

Leyse and Raymond Shadis, senior technical adviser to the coalition, say Vermont Yankee’s peak cladding temperature of 1,960 degrees Fahrenheit only gives the plant operators 30 seconds to react during a loss-of-coolant incident scenario. They have petitioned to have Entergy Nuclear, the owner of Vermont Yankee, lower the peak temperature to 1,832 degrees Fahrenheit, if not lower. Vermont Yankee already operates with a lower temperature than the standard 2,200 degrees Fahrenheit set for most nuclear reactors.

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