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)

Download ML101870631 (PDF)


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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From Vermont Public Radio:

An anti-nuclear group says federal regulators need to address a potential safety problem at Vermont Yankee.

The New England Coalition says Yankee's electric cables could get wet and disable safety equipment.

As VPR's John Dillon reports, the coalition has asked the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to reopen hearings on Yankee's request for a new, 20-year license.

(Dillon) Back in May, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission conducted a routine inspection at Vermont Yankee and noted that a number of electric cables at the plant were submerged in water. The inspectors said it's a potential safety problem because the cables aren't designed to work when wet.

Now the New England Coalition has asked the federal agency to include the cables in its review of Yankee's request for a new 20-year license. Ray Shadis is technical advisor to the New England Coalition.

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From Reuters:

Tennessee Valley Authority's 1,065-megawatt Browns Ferry 1 and 1,104-MW Browns Ferry 2 nuclear power reactors in Alabama had increased output by early Tuesday, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said in its power reactor status report.

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From the New York Times:

The Indian Point nuclear plant is quite literally in hot water:  As I reported today, the plant’s current cooling system requires huge volumes of Hudson River water, and New York State instead favors the use of cooling towers to lower the impact on fish and other river organisms.



Event Number: 46194

Event Date: 08/21/2010


"On August 21, 2010 an inspection of the Air Intake Tunnel (AIT) sump identified missing flood barriers needed to protect safety related equipment in the plant. If enough flood water had entered into the AIT, water could have entered into the Auxiliary Building (AB) through the ventilation ductwork that connects the AIT and the AB. If flood water continued to enter the AB, then safety related equipment in the AB could have been affected.

"This condition could have resulted in the unavailability of equipment in the Auxiliary Building including the 1A and 1B Decay Heat pumps, the 1A and 1B Building Spray pumps and 1A, 1B and 1C Make-up Pumps. This is reportable as an 8 hour ENS notification under 10CFR50.72(b)(3)(v)(B) and 10CFR50.72(a)(1)(ii) as a condition that at the time of discovery could have prevented the fulfillment of the safety function of structures or systems that are needed to remove residual heat.

"Flood protection barriers have been established for the affected penetrations. Inspections of the flood protection barriers are ongoing. Further engineering review is being performed to determine the impact of the potential water intrusion into the AIT and AB."

The licensee notified the NRC Resident Inspector. The licensee will notify the Pennsylvania Bureau of Radiation Protection.