TMIA's Statement; Re: NRC issues inspection report on TMI-1 "contamination event"

NRC issues inspection report on TMI-1 "contamination event"
“The contamination of 145 workers is significant and was avoidable.
This challenge to public health and safety was caused and aggravated
by poor housekeeping, inattention to detail, and delayed response

Eric Epstein, Chairman of TMI-Alert

Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has issued its
inspection report on the worker contamination event at the Three
Mile Island 1 nuclear power plant on Nov. 21, 2009.

A copy is attached.

The NRC has identified three "green" (very low safety significance)
inspection findings after reviewing Exelon's handling of the event,
which occurred during a refueling and maintenance outage at the
plant. They are:

* Exelon did not use process or other engineering controls, to the
extent practicable, to control the concentration of radioactive materials
in the air during the vacuuming of reactor coolant system piping.
Specifically, the vacuum used was not equipped with a
high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter and allowed the dispersal
of airborne radioactive particulate contamination inside the plant's
containment building, the massive steel-reinforced concrete structure
which surrounds the reactor. This led to the alarming of airborne
radioactivity monitors and prompted the evacuation of about 175
workers from the building. The radioactivity event resulted in 145
workers sustaining external and/or internal contamination, though
none sustained any radiation dose approaching regulatory limits.
Only one worker sustained an internal exposure that met internal
company recording requirements.

* From Nov. 12 to 21, 2009, Exelon did not effectively manage Three
Mile Island 1 containment openings and ventilation system flows in
order to maintain inward airflow and promptly detect and minimize
the release of radioactivity from an opening cut in the containment
building to allow for the replacement of the plant's steam generators.
As a result, an uncontrolled airborne radioactivity release occurred
from the construction opening on Nov. 21, 2009 at about 3:45 p.m.
Airborne radioactivity was also released from the opening liner on
Nov. 12 through the time of the uncontrolled release. The releases
were determined to be low-level and not pose a threat to worker or
public health and safety. The projected dose at the site boundary
was less than quarterly and annual Public Dose As Low As
Reasonably Achievable (ALARA) limits.

* Exelon did not implement timely follow-up and corrective action to
minimize radioactivity released to the environment as required by plant
radiation protection procedures. Specifically, upon discovery on
Nov. 16 of an unplanned, unfiltered radioactive release pathway
from the containment building construction opening to the environment,
plant personnel did not promptly initiate a Condition Report or assign
appropriate significance to the issue. Consequently, an unfiltered
release pathway from the containment building existed until appropriate
controls were reestablished on Nov. 21.

Because the inspection findings are "green," Exelon will have an
opportunity to place them in the Three Mile Island 1 corrective action
programs and take steps to prevent a recurrence. The NRC will follow
up on these actions through our normal inspection process to ensure
the actions have been carried and are effective.

2010 Sustainable Energy Conference

The 2010 Sustainable Energy Conference will be held July 14 - 16 at Stabler Arena on the Lehigh University Campus in Bethlehem Pennsylvania.
This year’s conference and pre-conference Scholar’s Boot Camps will continue to expand on the award winning Solar Scholars® program that began in two-thousand and five with the goal of creating a passion for and understanding of sustainable energy in the leaders of today and tomorrow. This year SEF is in the process of awarding 210 attendance scholarships to professional educators from middle schools, high schools, vocational schools, colleges and universities to attend either a solar, wind or energy efficiency boot camp followed by the larger conference. In addition SEF is providing scholarships to 50 dislocated workers to attend a solar thermal systems boot camp provided by EarthNet Energy in collaboration with the Lehigh Valley Workforce Investment Board. This year’s conference will feature a variety of tracks including renewable energy basics, hands-on training, jobs & economic development, energy policy, sustainable manufacturing, sustainable hospitals, carbon, energy efficiency, utility basics, sustainable energy education, weatherization and energy project financing.

Wind, Solar negate Nuclear

by Scott D. Portzline

The good news for energy reliability is that wind and solar are stealing the show. Just last week, the North American Electrical Reliability Corporation testified to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) that over the next 10 years 260,000 megawatts of new nameplate electrical capacity will be added. A whopping 96% of that will come from wind and solar. The NRC was told they might have to back down some of their nuclear plants during off-peak loads because of new wind-powered generation.

The claim by former NRC Commissioner Forrest J. Remick that nuclear power is “the most cost-effective way to boost capacity while meeting climate change goals” is hardly the truth. (Allentown Morning Call, Your View, 3/22/2010) The so-called nuclear renaissance is already on “life support” with taxpayer loans. Some proposed new plants are being canceled by utilities as costs double and even triple. Ratepayers in Florida are already paying for new nuclear plants that haven’t even begun construction let alone generate a watt.

In San Antonio Texas, the city-owned utility filed a $32 billion lawsuit against their nuclear construction partners alleging they had concealed rising cost information and thereby threatened the city’s credit rating. In South Carolina, the Public Service Commission ruled that the cost of proposed new nuclear plants does not have to be disclosed. How can anyone determine its cost effectiveness with a secret nuclear price tag? Meanwhile nuclear plant owners are suing the US over their current nuclear waste burden.

On the question of operating capacity, even if the new wind and solar generators were to operate at 20% capacity, that’s still double the output of the 26 proposed nuclear plants touted by Professor Remick. There’s no perpetual waste bill, no security force, no government subsidized catastrophic insurance, and no need for evacuation plans with these renewables.

The US is already ahead of schedule for the Department of Energy’s 2030 energy plan to have 20% of our electricity supplied by wind. Just last year 9,900 megawatts of new wind power came online. That increase in a single year represents 4 times the rate of growth provided by nuclear plant power uprates as calculated over a 15 year period. Best of all, it relieves us of the financial entanglement of 2 new nuclear plants. It should soon be obvious that Public Utilities and Wall Street favor these renewables and have all but closed the door on nuclear.

Scott D. Portzline
Harrisburg PA Security Consultant to Three Mile Island Alert

Participate in Nation Academy cancer study meeting

From Beyond Nuclear:

Background: Following the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s announcement that it will ask the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to perform a cancer risk study around nuclear power facilities, the NAS’ Nuclear and Radiation Studies Board (NRSB) has posted a detailed agenda for a Monday, April 26th public meeting. See our April 8 Bulletin article “US NRC asks National Academy of Sciences to perform a cancer study around nuclear reactors” for more background. Invited speakers include Steven Wing, PhD., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Associate Professor; Arjun Makhijani, PhD., President of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research; and Ralph Andersen of the Nuclear Energy Institute along with Senator Markey’s policy director, Michal Freedhoff, and Brian Sheron of the NRC. There will be approximately 45-minutes for public comment. Cindy Folkers of Beyond Nuclear will also participate.

Our view: Concerned citizens’ groups sent a letter to NRC expressing strong apprehension over NRC’s conducting or controlling this study. These concerns remain largely unaddressed. While the study venue appears to have changed from Oak Ridge Associated Universities to NAS in response to our concerns, the NRC can still have a great deal of input in study design. Additionally, the current chair of NRSB is Richard Meserve, former chair of the NRC. His presence and possible participation in parts of this study process raises serious concerns about its independence.

What you can do: It is imperative that you weigh in at the beginning of this process to attempt to make it transparent and legitimate. If you are near the Washington, DC area on Monday April 26, please try to attend this meeting. There is NO call-in participation. You can submit written comments before the meeting, or Beyond Nuclear can submit written comments for you during the meeting if you are unable to attend. We strongly recommend you place your name on the NRSB list by contacting: if you wish to speak during the comment period. NRSB also recommends you have a written version of your comments for the record.  For location, contact information, and specific times, please see the agenda. Contact if you have additional questions.

MET ED Rate Caps to Expire on Dec 31. Rates to go up 30-45%

Debate Sponsored by Citizens' Caucus

The following question will be debated at a breakfast meeting on April 24:

“Resolved: That electricity restructuring has or will provide significant befits to consumers.”

Debating affirmative: Terry Fitzpatrick, Esq. President and CEO of Energy Association of PA,  Former Chairman Pennsylvania PUC.

Debating negative:  Herb Braden, P.E. Retired Mechanical Engineer;  40-year career in design and development of power projects.

The public is invited to attend.

Time and place: April 24, 8:00 A.M, Mt. Gretna Fire Hall, Boulevard Street, Mt. Gretna, Pa...

Admission (includes meal) $10.00 Members; $12.00 non-members...

For reservations:  Call 717-964-1802 or visit our web site at

Ohio, NY Nuclear Plants Not Up To Snuff


The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) on Monday asked the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to keep the Davis-Besse nuclear plant in Ohio shut until its owners implement measures to prevent recurring violations of federal health and safety regulations.

In 2002, and again earlier this year, plant workers discovered that Davis-Besse had been operating for extended periods with cooling water leaking through cracks in the metal tubes that penetrate the lid of the vessel housing the reactor core. Federal regulations require that reactors be immediately shut down whenever such leakage occurs because leaking cracks are warning signs of a catastrophic rupture of piping carrying cooling water, or worse, vessel failure.

“Davis-Besse has to kick its crack problem and operate within federal regulations--or not at all,” said David Lochbaum, director of the nuclear safety project at UCS. “It was more luck than skill that no one was harmed by Davis-Besse’s past transgressions. Ohioans deserve better protection before Davis-Besse’s luck runs out.”

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The echoes of Three Mile Island, 31 years later

Editor of the Brattleboro Reformer:

The following quotes come from "Three Mile Island: In Their Shoes 3/28/1979:"

"I stepped outside into the heat and rain. Soon after, my skin became red and itchy as if badly sunburned. About three weeks later, my hair turned white and began falling out. Not long after, my left kidney ‘just dried up and disappeared. ‘" -- Trimmer family, Lisburn, Pa.

"The day after, we, like most area residents, were unaware of what was unfolding nearby, as we worked in our garage with the doors open. Then we developed what we thought was a bad sunburn. We also experienced burning in our throats and tasted what seemed to be metal in the air. That same metallic taste is commonly reported in cancer patients receiving radiation therapy. I soon developed diarrhea and nausea, blisters on my lips and inside my nose, and a burning feeling in my chest." -- Peters family, Etters, Pa., four miles away from TMI.

"Seventeen years old, I was out playing tennis with a friend. I heard the sirens and ignored them. Likely it was a drill of some sort. My folks came to get me an hour later. It was hot out. We drove away. Now 31 years later, I have had cancer 3+ times. I have been there for many friends as they had stillbirths, children born deformed, as they have been sick. What a nightmare." -- Coble family, Lancaster Pa., 15-20 miles from TMI.

The nuclear industry claims no one was hurt or injured. I guess I am no one. I guess all my friends with the metallic taste, the burning in the throat, the hair loss, the erythema, the diarrhea, the burning in the chest, the nausea, the blisters on our nose and lips, the burned white eyes on our dead pets, I guess we are all no one.

Or maybe Arnie Gundersen is right once again. He states that the exposure at Three Mile Island Unit 2 was underestimated by a factor of 100 to 1,000.

The nuclear industry did not tell the truth 30 years ago. They continued lying about Three Mile Island for 30 years. Thus many affected neighbors died before settling.

Gary Sachs,

Brattleboro, March 24

Race, LLC / Studsvik to Pay $650,000 to Settle EEOC Racial Harassment & Retaliation Suit

From the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission:

A Memphis radioactive waste processing company will pay $650,000 to 23 African American employees and provide other relief to settle a race and retaliation discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

According to the EEOC’s suit against Race, LLC, doing business as Studsvik, LLC (Civil Action No. 2:07-cv-2620, filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee, Western Division), Courtney Britton, who worked as a lead worker in the shop for Studsvik, and other African American employees, were subjected to racially offensive comments by their white supervisor. Further, the complaint alleged that Britton’s supervisor regularly referred to him and other African American employees with the N-word and other derogatory slurs, such as “boy.”

In addition, the EEOC said, white managers subjected Britton and other African American employees to excessive radiation exposure, more than their white co-workers. The EEOC also charged that Britton was suspended for 15 days and then laid off in retaliation for complaining about the racial harassment.

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Public Utility Commission Finds PPL’s Proposed Time of Use Tariff Unjust and Unreasonable

Sustianable Energy Fund


ALLENTOWN, Pennsylvania (March 9, 2010) Sustainable Energy Fund (SEF) successfully challenged PPL’s proposed Time of Use Tariff.

Sustainable Energy Fund intervened on behalf of electric customers last fall alleging that PPL’s proposed Time of Use (TOU) program unjustly enriched electric generation suppliers like PPL Energy Plus, shifted program costs to non participating customers, unfairly excluded low income customers, promoted unfair competitive practices and lacked real economic benefit for PPL ratepayers. In its filing, PPL proposed to charge non‐participating customers to fund the discount received by customers switching loads to off‐peak periods.

PPL’s proposed Time of Use program offers higher rates for electricity consumed during “on‐ peak” periods and lower rates for electricity used during “off‐peak” periods. Essentially, customers who shift usage from “on‐peak” periods when it cost more to generate electricity to “off‐peak” periods when it cost less would reduce their bill. For example, a homeowner could set the dishwasher to run at bedtime instead of during the mid‐afternoon peak period.

“We are supportive of Time of Use Rates where the savings result from electricity generators providing time varying rates” stated John Costlow, Director of Technical Services for SEF. “PPL’s proposal asked for non participating customers to foot the bill. It is like the grocer giving the customer in front of you a dollar off then adding that dollar to your bill.”

In its final order and opinion issued on March 9, 2010 the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission found PPL’s proposal “unjust and unreasonable.” The order directed PPL to modify the program to allow participation by renewable energy, “On‐Track” and net metering customers it previously excluded; questioned the cost‐effectiveness of the program; and prohibited PPL from collecting more than $4 million dollars it proposed to spend for education and marketing costs. In addition, the PUC directed PPL to “absorb any costs of the TOU program that are the result of lost or decreased revenues due to reduced or shifted demand.”

Eric Epstein from TMIA stated, “The PUC correctly halted PPL’s discriminatory plan that unfairly excluded customers, penalized hostage ratepayers and cross‐subsidized PPL Energy Plus.” He welcomed the decision as a victory for ratepayers and hailed the PUC’s decision as a landmark that could potentially set a precedent, stating, “The PUC made it clear that it will not allow ratepayers to finance and brand ill‐conceived marketing schemes.”

Mr. Costlow stated, “Local electric customers have supported PPL since the 1920s yet when their customers are hurting the most, PPL proposes a program that will reduce one customer’s bill and increase someone else’s bill.” He continued, “I don’t get PPL; last month PPL increased its dividends for shareholders and then three days later announced it is filing for a rate increase. Where is their corporate conscience?”

Sustainable Energy Fund (SEF) is a private nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization focused on reducing financial, educational and regulatory barriers to a sustainable energy future. SEF’s educational programs such as the award winning Solar Scholars® create an understanding and passion for sustainable energy in leaders of today and tomorrow. To overcome traditional financial barriers the organization provides specialized loans and leases for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.

For more information on Sustainable Energy Fund, visit

Exelon settles over tritium violations

From the Coal City Courant:

A $1 million agreement between Exelon, the Illinois Attorney General and the State's Attorneys of Will, Ogle and Grundy Counties has officially resolved the environmental consequences of radioactive tritium leaks into the groundwater beneath the Braidwood, Byron and Dresden nuclear power plants. Just about half of that is already earmarked for environmental projects in and around the areas of the affected plants.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan made the announcement late last week, stating that Exelon will pay more than $1 million to resolve three separate civil complaints that she and the State's Attorneys filed jointly, including civil penalties totaling $628,000 and $548,000 to fund several Supplemental Environmental Projects in and around the communities where the power plants are located.

"It is imperative that Illinois' nuclear power plants are operated in a manner that does not endanger public health or the environment," Madigan said. "I appreciate the involvement and assistance of State's Attorneys Glasgow, Roe and Sobol in reaching these successful settlements. Through these actions, we are working to ensure that proper clean up has occurred and to put in place protections to prevent tritium leaks in the future."

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