From Bloomberg:

Electricite de France SA, Europe’s biggest power producer, experienced renewed problems with welding quality at the EPR nuclear reactor being built in Normandy, according France’s nuclear safety agency.

Faults in welds of the containment liner of the Flamanville EPR, the utility’s first in France, were found during an inspection in July, the Autorite de Surete Nucleaire said in an Aug. 27 report on its website. EDF officials weren’t immediately available for a comment.

“Welding difficulties caused by the ergonomics of the welder’s post” were the cause of similar problems at the building site in 2008 and 2009 and treatment by EDF “was not performed correctly,” according to the report. The agency also said EDF was slow in detecting “inferior weld quality.”

EDF’s EPR, which was designed by Areva SA, is considered key to the utility’s ability to export nuclear technology to other countries. Earlier this month, EDF was asked for modifications of the control platform on the reactor, which is delayed and will cost more than expected.

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Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station, Units 2 and 3 – Issuance of Amendments Re: Adoption of Technical Specification Task Force (TSTF) Traveler 425, Revision 3, Relocate Surveillance Frequencies to Licensee Control (TAC Nos. ME2184 and ME2185)

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CHICAGO (Aug. 31, 2010) – Exelon Corporation today announced an agreement to acquire John Deere Renewables, a leading operator and developer of wind power, in a transaction that will add 735 operating megawatts of clean, renewable energy to Exelon’s generation portfolio, as well as an additional 230 megawatts in advanced stages of development.
The acquisition, valued at approximately $860 million with a provision for up to an additional $40 million upon commencement of construction on the advanced development projects, is an economically sound transaction that builds on the company’s commitment to renewable energy as part of Exelon 2020, a business and environmental strategy to eliminate the equivalent of Exelon’s 2001 carbon footprint. Exelon already is the least carbon-intensive of the large U.S. electric utilities, and this transaction marks its entry into owning and operating wind projects. Exelon will finance the transaction using Exelon Generation debt.
“Not only does this acquisition add value for Exelon shareholders, providing incremental earnings in 2012 and cash flows in 2013, but it also is one more way to implement a clean energy future,” said John W. Rowe, Exelon chairman and CEO. “Whether harmful emissions are priced or regulated, our combined capacity of nearly 19,000 megawatts of zero-emission wind, solar, hydro, landfill gas and nuclear power remains a clear competitive advantage that will only become more valuable.”
Under the terms of agreement, Exelon will acquire John Deere Renewables’ 735 megawatts of installed, operating wind capacity—enough to power 160,000 to 220,000 households—spread across 36 projects in eight states. Approximately 75 percent of the operating portfolio is already sold under long-term power purchase arrangements. As part of the acquisition, Exelon also has the opportunity to pursue 1,468 megawatts of new wind projects that are in various stages of development, including the 230 megawatts in advanced stages of development.
“We expect to see increasing demand for clean, efficient wind power at a national level and in the 29 states that already have a renewable energy standard,” Rowe said. “This acquisition gives Exelon a strong position in the wind generation business that adds diversity to our generation fleet and provides more options for future growth.”
The acquisition will become part of the Exelon Power division of Exelon Generation, which already includes more than 1,000 megawatts of owned and contracted renewable power, including hydroelectricity, wind, landfill gas and solar. Before this acquisition, Exelon was already the largest wholesale marketer of wind energy east of the Mississippi, with 352 megawatts of wind power capacity from five wind projects in Illinois, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Exelon Power also owns and operates a 10-megawatt solar plant in Chicago, the largest urban solar plant in the country.
Exelon expects to close the transaction with John Deere Renewables in the fourth quarter of 2010.
Barclays Capital acted as financial advisor to Exelon. Foley & Lardner served as legal advisors to Exelon and McDermott Will & Emery advised for certain tax matters.


From CNN Tech:

Imagine outfitting your house with small, affordable solar panels that plug into a socket and pump power into your electrical system instead of taking it out.

That's the promise of a Seattle, Washington-based start-up that is working to provide renewable energy options -- solar panels and wind turbines -- for homes and small businesses. The panels cost as little as $600 and plug directly into a power outlet.

The company, Clarian Power, aims to be the first to bring a plug-in solar power system to the market, in 2011.

Clarian's president, Chad Maglaque, says the company's product is different from existing micro-inverters, which convert solar panels' power into AC current. Maglaque says his system has built-in circuit protection, doesn't require a dedicated electrical panel and plugs directly into a standard electrical outlet.

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Emergency Preparedness & Response News is a quarterly newsletter that is published by NSIR/DPR to highlight recent and upcoming events of interest to the radiological emergency preparedness community.

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From the Brattleboro Reformer:

According to Energy Daily, Entergy is looking for a buyer for its Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in Vernon. Two potential buyers -- Exelon Corp. and NRG Energy Inc. -- have already show an interest in the power plant, according to Jeff Beattie, a writer for Energy Daily.

"Apparently fed up with the troublesome investment -- and the difficult political environment it faces in the state -- Entergy Corp. has begun shopping its Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant to potential buyers," wrote Beattie.

Entergy declined to comment on the information given to Beattie by his sources because it's not company policy to discuss market rumors or speculation.

"But we have said that as part of Entergy's ongoing point-of-view based strategy, we would consider buying or selling any asset or business depending on what option creates the most value," Entergy spokesman Mike Burns, told Beattie.

Exelon, the nation's largest nuclear operator has performed at least a preliminary round of investigation into the possibility of buying Yankee, according to Beattie's sources. NRG Energy, which owns 44 percent of a pair of reactors in Texas, has also conducted preliminary reviews, wrote Beattie.

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 Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station, Units 2 and 3 - Requests for Relief l3R-49, and l3R-49, and l3R-50 (TAC Nos. MD2154 and MD2155)

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From the Brattleboro Reformer:

The New England Coalition on Nuclear Pollution is asking the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Atomic Safety and Licensing Board to reopen its hearing into whether Entergy should receive a license extension for its Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in Vernon.

NEC is asking the ASLB to admit a new contention that contends Entergy does not "have in place an adequate aging management program to address the effects of moist or wet environments on buried, below grade, underground, or hard-to-access safety-related electrical cables ..."

Thus, wrote Ray Shadis, NEC’s technical consultant, Yankee is not in compliance with NRC regulations "and guidance and/or provide adequate assurance of protection of public health and safety."

"The problem is that these cables are rated only for dry service. They are not for outdoor use," Shadis told Vermont Public Radio earlier this week. "So what can result is that safety equipment, when you need it, can short out and not function. We think this is a very serious safety issue. We think that the company before it goes into an extended period of operation - for another 20 years - really needs to address it."

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Event Number: 46208
Notification Date: 08/26/2010


"Beaver Valley Power Station Unit No.1, while operating at 100% full power, performed Ultrasonic Testing on the High-Head Emergency Core Cooling System Pump suction headers (6" and 8") following a fill and vent of the 'A' High Head Emergency Core Cooling System Pump. This is required because the fill point for the out of service Emergency Core Cooling System Pump 1CH-P-1A, is it's suction valve from the 8" Charging header, 1CH-19, which was opened. Preliminary indications were such that the 6" suction header was full of water and an air void did exist in the 8" suction header, but the size was indeterminate and had to be calculated by System Engineering. Operations commenced additional monitoring for cavitation of the running charging pump with none identified. Operations then vented the 8" suction header multiple times. At 1649 hours today, the results of the Ultrasonic Test (UT) was provided by System Engineering indicating that an air void existed in the Emergency Core Cooling System Pump 8" Suction header that was in excess of the Acceptance Criteria. At 1649 hours, both trains of High Head Safety Injection pumps were declared Inoperable but remain Available. Technical Specification (TS) 3.5.2 - ECCS operating is not met. Required Action C.1 requires entry of TS LCO 3.0.3 immediately.

"Per 10CFR50.72(b)(3)(v)(A)&(D) - Event or Condition That Could Have Prevented Fulfillment of a Safety Function, and 10CFR50.72(b)(3)(ii)(B) Unanalyzed Condition, this event is reportable to the NRC within 8 hours.

"At 1715 additional venting of the 6" Charging Pump suction header revealed no air present. Additional venting of the 8" Charging Pump suction header revealed additional air pockets. The 8" header was then vented multiple times, with a short delay in between each venting, until no air was identified.

"At 1718, follow up UT on both Charging Pump Suction headers revealed it remained full of water with no voids present. Both trains of High Head Safety Injection are declared OPERABLE restoring compliance to TS LCO 3.0.3 and 3.5.2. Reactor power remained at 100% during these evolutions.

"The NRC Resident Inspector was informed."


From the Press and Journal:

A design flaw that left the Three Mile Island nuclear plant vulnerable to damage from the severest of floods was corrected by plant engineers last week.

The flaw had existed since the plant was built in the 1970s, officials said.

It was found by engineers on Aug. 21 in an air intake tunnel sump deep inside the Londonderry Twp. plant and reported by plant owner Exelon Nuclear to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

What engineers discovered was a 6-inch diameter pipe that could have allowed flood water into the plant, possibly damaging crucial systems used to keep the reactor from overheating.

The absence of a flood barrier on the pipe “could have prevented the fulfillment of the safety function of structures or systems that are needed to remove residual heat,’’ said an NRC event report. “This condition could have resulted in the unavailability of equipment in the Auxiliary Building.”

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