PEACH BOTTOM ATOMIC POWER STATION - NRC INTEGRATED INSPECTION REPORT 05000277/2012005 AND 05000278/2012005Submitted by webEditor on Tue, 01/29/2013 - 20:21
PEACH BOTTOM ATOMIC POWER STATION - NRC INTEGRATED INSPECTION REPORT 05000277/2012005 AND 05000278/2012005
Idaho may have to accept changes to its landmark 1995 nuclear waste agreement with the federal government if the state wants to continue reaping the benefits of nuclear research. Such is the assessment of a preliminary report released on December 3 by Idaho's Leadership in Nuclear Energy (LINE) Commission.
Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station, Unit 2 and 3 – Issuance of Amendments Re: Inoperability of Snubbers (TAC Nos. ME9443 and ME9444)Submitted by webEditor on Mon, 01/28/2013 - 20:56
Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station, Unit 2 and 3 – Issuance of Amendments Re: Inoperability of Snubbers (TAC Nos. ME9443 and ME9444)
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
Dept. of Environmental Protection
Commonwealth News Bureau
Room 308, Main Capitol Building
Harrisburg PA., 17120
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Kevin Sunday, Department of Environmental Protection
DEP Announces Comprehensive Oil and Gas Development Radiation Study
HARRISBURG -- At the direction of Governor Corbett, the Department of Environmental Protection announced today it will undertake a study to look at naturally occurring levels of radioactivity in by-products associated with oil and natural gas development.
In the coming weeks, DEP will seek a peer review of its study plan and begin to sample and analyze the naturally occurring radioactivity levels in flowback waters, treatment solids and drill cuttings, as well as associated matters such as the transportation, storage and disposal of drilling wastes.
DEP routinely reviews radioactivity data in wastes the oil and natural gas industry and other industries generate, and the information the agency has obtained to date indicates very low levels of natural radioactivity. This study, which is expected to take 12 to 14 months, is aimed at ensuring that public health and the environment continue to be protected.
“This administration is undertaking what will be the most comprehensive study of its kind anywhere, and Gov. Corbett has directed us to do so in order to be proactive for the future and to continue Pennsylvania’s leadership in responsible development of domestic natural gas resources,” DEP Secretary Mike Krancer said. “This thorough and rigorous study, which will focus on conditions here in Pennsylvania, is further demonstration that states are best suited to responsibly oversee the natural gas exploration and production activities taking place in our respective borders.
“DEP’s current regulations and monitoring networks are designed to protect the public from exposure to unsafe levels of radiation, and our regulations in this field have led the nation for years,” Krancer said.
The agency will collect samples of flowback water, rock cuttings, treatment solids and sediments at well pads and wastewater treatment and waste disposal facilities. The study will also analyze the radioactivity levels in pipes and well casings, storage tanks, treatment systems and trucks.
Throughout the study, DEP will provide progress reports to its water, waste, radiation and citizens’ advisory councils.
Pennsylvania is the only state that requires through regulation that landfills monitor for radiation levels in the incoming wastes. Should waste trigger a radiation monitor, the landfill must use a conservative and highly protective protocol that DEP developed to determine if the amount and concentration of the radioactive material can be accepted. This protocol ensures that the materials, such as Marcellus Shale drill cuttings and other sources of naturally occurring radiation in the waste stream, do not pose a risk to public health during disposal.
Drill cuttings and other materials associated with oil and gas have occasionally triggered radiation monitors at landfills. DEP’s data indicates that less than half a percent of all drill cuttings produced by the Marcellus Shale industry in 2012 that were disposed of in landfills triggered radiation monitors. The cuttings did not contain levels of radioactivity that would be harmful to the public, and they were safely disposed of in the landfills.
In 2011, DEP announced the results of in-stream radiation water quality monitoring for seven rivers in Pennsylvania. The monitors were placed downstream of treatment plants that had been discharging treated Marcellus Shale wastewater, a now defunct practice as a direct result of DEP’s call to industry to cease delivery of wastewater to plants that were not equipped to fully treat it. The in-stream monitoring results showed that radioactivity levels in all seven rivers were at or below normal background levels and below federal safe drinking water standards.
In 2011, DEP also required 14 public water suppliers to report early the results of routine monitoring for radioactivity in drinking water. Such monitoring is required as part of the state’s oversight of public water supplies. Most results showed no detectable levels of radioactivity, and the levels that were detectable did not exceed safe drinking water standards.
DEP will work on the study with Perma-Fix Environmental Services of Pittsburgh, which has worked with the agency as a consultant on health physics and radiological issues and has assisted DEP for more than a decade with radioactivity monitoring and assessments.
The agency will consult with independent members of academia to peer review the project’s detailed study plan. Once the peer review is complete, DEP will publish the study plan on its website, where the agency’s proposal for the study is currently viewable.
For more information and to view the study proposal and a summary of the study, visit www.dep.state.pa.us and click the “Oil and Gas Development Radiation Study” button on the front page.
Follow-Up Letter on Technical Issues For Resolution Regarding Licensee Communication Submittals Associated with Near-Term Task Force Recommendation 9.3Submitted by webEditor on Fri, 01/25/2013 - 22:24
FOLLOW-UP LETTER ON TECHNICAL ISSUES FOR RESOLUTION REGARDING LICENSEE COMMUNICATION SUBMITTALS ASSOCIATED WITH NEAR-TERM TASK FORCE RECOMMENDATION 9.3 (TAC NO. ME7951)
Wyden joins three senators in nuclear waste policy group
By Zack Colman - 01/23/13 03:57 PM ET
Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) will participate in an ad hoc Senate nuclear waste management group, signaling the topic could get attention this Congress.
Wyden will join committee ranking member Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) in the group. He replaces retired former Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.)
Murkowski had hoped Wyden would fill Bingaman’s vacancy. She expressed optimism that earlier negotiations, combined with Wyden’s interest, portend positively for nuclear waste management legislation. “I’m hoping that we will resume kind of where we left off at the end of last Congress, where we were having some kind of regular meetings to discuss the next set of ideas,” Murkowski told reporters Wednesday.
File photo. Casks like this storing spent nuclear fuel at the Limerick nuclear plant may soon be guarded with more powerful guns.
LIMERICK — Machine guns may be coming to a nuclear plant near you.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has proposed a rule that would allow security guards to wield machine guns and “enhanced weapons” to guard spent fuel rods being stored at nuclear power plants.
The cost of the weapons upgrade, training and background checks envisioned in the NRC rule could cost the industry between $26.5 million and $34.7 million, according to NRC estimates.
The new rule, if made final, could be used by Exelon Nuclear’s Limerick Generating Station to upgrade weaponry if needed, according to NRC spokesman Neil Sheehan.
Any upgrades, and subsequent costs, would be voluntary but in making industry costs estimates “NRC staff assumed that all licensees and certificate holds who fall within the proposed designated classes of facilities would take advantage of making us of enhanced weapons protection,” according to the announced of the proposed rule in the Jan. 10 edition of the Federal Register.
“We can’t provide specific details on the types of weapons our security officers carry or the extent of Exelon’s background investigations (for safeguard reasons),” Dana Melia, communications manager for the nuclear plant, wrote in an e-mail response to a Mercury inquiry.
“But Limerick already receives the highest level of security and protection as mandated by the Nuclear Regulation Commission,” Melia wrote.
Markey: Maintain Construction Ban at Hanford Nuclear Site to Avoid Hydrogen Explosions, Dangerous Nuclear AccidentsSubmitted by webEditor on Sun, 01/20/2013 - 23:02
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Eben Burnham-Snyder, Rep. Ed Markey
Markey: Maintain Construction Ban at Hanford Nuclear Site to Avoid Hydrogen Explosions, Dangerous Nuclear Accidents
Release of GAO report, leak of internal DOE memo raise questions about DOE decision to ‘ramp up’ construction at troubled site
WASHINGTON (January 18, 2013) -- Congressman Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), a senior Member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, today sent a letter to Energy Secretary Steven Chu urging him to implement the recommendations made in a new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on the troubled Hanford nuclear site that was requested by Reps. Upton, Waxman, DeGette, Markey and former Rep. Stearns. That report, along with a leaked memo written by the nuclear project’s former director of engineering, found that the technical problems associated with the project were so severe that all construction on the troubled facilities should cease until they are suitably resolved.
“The Department of Energy’s recent announcement that it may ramp up construction at Hanford flies in the face of the reasoned recommendations to suspend it that are made in this report and by the project’s own top staff,” said Rep. Markey. “From hydrogen explosions to dangerous nuclear chain reactions, the potential consequences of continuing with these misguided plans prematurely could be devastating to the project, the workers, the environment and maybe even the public.”
The Hanford Waste Treatment Project is a Washington State facility that is supposed to treat millions of gallons of high level nuclear waste left over from Cold War nuclear weapons production that is being stored in 177 aging underground tanks, 70 of which have already leaked about 1 million gallons of waste into the groundwater, which feeds the Columbia River about 12 miles away.
The challenges identified in the GAO report released today, as well as by other experts, include the stunning possibility that the nature of the waste as well as the engineering of the facility could result in both nuclear criticalities (which are the chain reactions that are exploited during the detonation of a nuclear weapon) and hydrogen explosions (which occurred during the 2011 Fukushima meltdowns) if the project proceeds as it is currently designed.
The report also notes that the costs of the project have ballooned from $4.3 billion in 2000 to a staggering $13.4 billion today, and that additional cost increases and delays are likely to occur because the underlying technical challenges have yet to be resolved. Yet despite these glaring deficiencies, the report also found that DOE has prematurely provided financial performance awards to Bechtel, its contractor, for resolving technical issues associated with the project that later turned out to be unresolved.
But instead of maintaining the suspension on construction recommended by GAO and the project’s former director of engineering, earlier this week, the Department of Energy announced that it is ready to ramp up construction and that it may do so by bypassing the most problematic so-called “Pretreatment facility,” entirely, and instead feed waste directly to the high and low-level waste treatment facilities without first separating the types of waste.
Rep. Markey first wrote DOE about the problems at the Hanford site in November 2011 following reports that several senior scientists and safety officials had repeatedly raised concerns about the potential for catastrophic failures of the technologies to be used for the handling of high-level nuclear waste at the Hanford site, as well as about the potential for hydrogen explosions and radioactive releases in the event of a serious accident. For their efforts, staff were demoted, reprimanded or ignored.
In the letter sent today, Rep. Markey reiterated his requests for additional materials related to these alleged acts of retaliation, and requested numerous additional materials related to the budget projections for the WTP, the justification for ignoring the recommendations to solve the serious technical challenges associated with the project before resuming construction, and for information on how DOE planned to recoup the payments it made to Bechtel, its contractor, for work that turned out to be incomplete.
NRC Seeks Public Comment on Possible Changes to Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage and Transportation Regulatory FrameworkSubmitted by webEditor on Sun, 01/20/2013 - 22:56
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is asking the public for input as the agency considers changes to the regulatory framework for spent nuclear fuel storage and transportation. The request for comment, published in the Jan. 17 Federal Register, is the first in a series and will inform the NRC’s effort to improve how it regulates after more than 20 years of experience approving dry casks for spent fuel storage and transportation.
The NRC is specifically looking at how it could better integrate the requirements for spent fuel storage under 10 CFR Part 72 with those for spent fuel transportation under 10 CFR Part 71. As part of this evaluation, the NRC is looking at the potential need for changes to policy, guidance, or regulatory requirements for retrievability, cladding integrity, and safe handling of spent fuel. The public will have another opportunity to comment on any proposed changes, should the NRC decide to revise its guidance or regulations on these issues. More information is available in the Federal Register notice and on the NRC website.