Peach Bottom

On April 28, 2010, the NRC issued a report of an inspection covering a two-week period to evaluate changes, tests or experiments and permanent plant modifications. The inspection, completed March 19, 2010, dealt with activities relating to safety and compliance with the NRC’s rules and regulations and with conditions of the plant operator’s license. No findings of significance were identified, the NRC said.

The NRC issued a report on May 12, 2010, covering the three-month period ending March 31, 2010. The report said a self-revealed finding of very low safety significance was identified, and a licensee-identified violation was determined to be of very low safety significance.

The self-revealed matter involved the identification of 21 slow control rods during a Unit 2 scram time testing conducted from Jan. 30 to Jan. 31, 2010. Positioning of control rods helps change reactor power and can help shut down the reactor.

In the report, the NRC said there was planned power curtailment at Unit 2 on Jan. 29, 2010. A performance review of control rods was conducted, resulting in the identification of 21 slow rods, or 11 percent, of the 185 tested. The NRC said the 21 rods contained “1995-vintage SSPV diaphragms of the Viton-A material type.” The NRC said issues with these components had been found at other boiling water reactors plants, and they were to be regularly monitored. The NRC said Peach Bottom officials determined that the “performance monitoring and trending of the scram times was not being performed as required by Exelon (the licensee) procedure.”

The NRC noted that the 21 slow control rods were promptly repaired with a Viton-AB diaphragm made available in 1997 by the vendor as a warranty exchange for the Viton-A diaphragms. The NRC said the repaired control rods were re-tested satisfactorily and returned to service.

The licensee-identified violation involved preventive maintenance practices for the MSIV oil dashpot needle control valve. “There were no actual safety consequence associated with this event” discovered in September 2009, the NRC said..

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From the Toronoto Star:

The Pickering nuclear power plant is killing fish by the millions.

Close to one million fish and 62 million fish eggs and larvae die each year when they’re sucked into the water intake channel in Lake Ontario, which the plant uses to cool steam condensers.

The fish, which include alewife, northern pike, Chinook salmon and rainbow smelt, are killed when they’re trapped on intake screens or suffer cold water shock after leaving warmer water that’s discharged into the lake.

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission has told Ontario Power Generation, which operates the plant, to reduce fish mortality by 80 per cent. And in renewing Pickering A station’s operating licence last month, the nuclear regulator asked for annual public reports on fish mortality and the effectiveness of steps OPG is taking to reduce rates.

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This map displays the number of persons within 10 miles of nuclear power plants.

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Three Mile Island Nuclear Station, Unit 1 – Request for Additional Information Regarding License Amendment Request to Adopt TSTF-425, Relocation of Surveillance Frequencies to a Licensee Controlled Program (TAC No. ME3587)

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Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station, Unit 2 - Request for Additional Information Regarding License Amendment Request for Safety Limit Minimum Critical Power Ratio change (TAC No. ME3994)

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From the Las Vegas Review-Journal:

The Yucca Mountain nuclear waste plan was kept alive Tuesday when a panel of judges ruled the Obama administration does not have the authority to withdraw the project without permission from Congress.

Federal law requires the Department of Energy to apply for a waste repository license and for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to evaluate the application and rule on its merits unless lawmakers decide otherwise, according to a three-judge board that hears commission licensing matters.

"We deny DOE's motion to withdraw the application," the judges said at the outset of a 53-page ruling. The Nuclear Waste Policy Act, which was passed in 1982, "does not give the secretary (of energy) the discretion to substitute his policy for the one established by Congress."

The decision is a setback for the Obama administration, which has been moving to shut down the Nevada project in fulfillment of a campaign pledge to Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., a longtime Yucca foe.

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Three Mile Island Nuclear Station, Unit 1: Request for Exemption From Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations Part 50, Appendix R Requirements (TAC No. ME0771)

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From the Huffington Post:

Scientists, researchers and other experts warn that the United States is entering an era of water scarcity. Back in 2003, the US General Accounting Office (now known as the US Government Accountability Office or GAO) projected that 36 states, under normal conditions, could face water shortages by 2013. However, those shortages were realized in 2008 -- five years sooner than predicted. Current forecasts suggest that climate change will only exacerbate the challenges of managing and protecting water resources.

Water scarcity has widespread implications for our nation. As a recent New York Times (Global Edition) article notes, water scarcity is increasingly a major constraint for the production of electricity. But what, in particular, does this mean for the nation's fleet of nuclear power plants?

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From the New York Times:

Approval of the design for the Westinghouse AP 1000 reactor is slowly moving forward at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, as are financial arrangements for building the nation’s first one, near Augusta, Ga. Yet the argument about whether its design is safer than past models is advancing, too.

On June 18, the Southern Company, the utility holding company that is building it, and the Department of Energy announced that they had come to final terms on a federal loan guarantee that would allow the project to go forward. The guarantee is for 70 percent of the company’s costs, not to exceed $3.4 billion. (Georgia Power, the Southern subsidiary building the plant, owns 45.7 percent of it; other partners also got loan guarantees.)

Lots of details have yet to be agreed upon, though. One is that the reactor is surrounded by a shield building meant to protect it from hazards like crashing airplanes, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is not convinced that the shield building would survive earthquakes and other natural hazards. Westinghouse, a subsidiary of Toshiba, is doing new analytical work to try to convince the commission staff of its safety.

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From the Professional Reactor Operator Society:

The NRC issued an Inspection Report dated May 2008 and noted (from previous reports also) that a small amount of contaminated water was leaking from the Unit 2 spent fuel pool and subsequent additional subsrface groundwater contamination emanating from the Unit 1 spent fuel pool system. At that time Entergy committed to remove and transfer all spent fuel from Unit 1 Spent Fuel Pool to Indian Point's Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation, and drain the spent fule pool by Dec 31, 2008.

Entergy is seeking a license amendment request to authorize the transfer of spent fuel from the spent fuel pool at Indian Point Nuclear Generating Unit NO.3 (IP3) to the spent fuel pool at Indian Point Nuclear Generating Unit No.2 (IP2) using a newly designed transfer canister. From there, Entergy intends to transfer the spent fuel to the independent spent fuel storage installation which already exists at the site.

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