From Fake Rob Williams:
It's so cool. You know, one of the things that people don't really appreciate about Vermont Yankee is how much fun we have around here forgiving each other for our blunders and mistakes. It's really a "peace, man" and "no worries" kind of place. Another very cool fact about us: Our employees are happy, picturesque people with good singing voices.
From the Philadelphia Inquirer:
A state law designed to shield people from lawsuits when they try to protect the environment suffered a blow Wednesday when the state Supreme Court ruled in a long-running case involving a Chester County development.
The court ruled, in part, that the Environmental Immunity Act does not shield parties who may have already reached a court-approved agreement on an issue.
"It looks like, environmentally, we took one on the chin," said State Rep. Camille "Bud" George (D., Clearfield), who led the effort to pass the Environmental Immunity Act in 2001.
A study released by the Environmental Law Institute, a nonpartisan research and policy organization, shows that the federal government has provided substantially larger subsidies to fossil fuels than to renewables. Subsidies to fossil fuels totaled approxi- mately $72 billion over the seven-year study period, while subsidies for renewable fuels totaled $29 billion over the same period. The vast majority of subsidies support energy sources that emit high levels of greenhouse gases when used as fuel. Moreover,
just a handful of tax breaks make up the largest portion of subsidies for fossil fuels, with the most significant of these, the Foreign Tax Credit, supporting the overseas production of oil. More than half of the subsidies for renewables are attributable to corn-based ethanol, the use of which, while decreasing American reliance on foreign oil, has generated concern about climate effects.These figures raise the question of whether scarce government funds might be better allocated to move the United States towards a low-carbon economy.
From the New York Times:
Described simply, “Radioactive” is an illustrated biography of Marie Curie, the Polish-born French physicist famous for her work on radioactivity — she was the first person to win the Nobel Prize twice — and her equally accomplished husband, Pierre. It lays bare their childhoods, their headlong love story, their scientific collaboration and the way their toxic discoveries, which included radium and polonium, poisoned them in slow motion.
Described less simply, it’s a deeply unusual and forceful thing to have in your hands. Ms. Redniss’s text is long, literate and supple. She catches Marie Curie’s “delicate and grave” manner as a young student, new to Paris; she notes the “luminous goulash” of radium and zinc that one chemist prepares; she observes with pleasure another man’s “thriving mustache.” She has a firm command of, but an easy way with, the written word.
The electricity in “Radioactive,” however, derives from the friction between Ms. Redniss’s text and her ambitious and spooky art. Her text runs across and over these freewheeling pages, the boundaries between word and image constantly blurring. Her drawings are both vivid and ethereal. Her people have elongated faces and pale forms; they’re etiolated Modiglianis. They populate a Paris that’s become a dream city.
Plans to build underwater civilian nuclear reactors are in the works in France, with a prototype expected to be rolled out in 2016, officials said.
DCNS, the French state-controlled naval company, said it will work in partnership with French companies Areva, EDF, and the French Atomic Energy Commission to build small- and medium-sized underwater reactors to provide electricity to consumers on land, Radio France Internationale reported Wednesday.
The company said its Flexblue project, expected to enter the building phase in 2013, is in response to global energy challenges and renewed interest in nuclear power.
FirstEnergy Corp. reported to federal regulators today that a small electrical fire erupted overnight at the Davis-Besse nuclear power plant near Toledo.
An apparent short about 2:30 a.m. in 480-volt temporary power cable running on the ground to a building under construction sparked the blaze in plastic and rubber material covering the cable.
A plant fire brigade put the fire out in 10 minutes, using two dry powder fire extinguishers. There were no injuries and operations at the power plant were not disrupted.
"We are investigating the cause and will be meeting with the contractor," said Todd Schneider, company spokesman.
Event Number: 46551
Event Date: 01/19/2011
Facility: DAVIS BESSE
NOTIFICATION OF UNUSUAL EVENT DUE TO A FIRE AND EXPLOSIONS IN THE PROTECTED AREA
"An electrical fire and explosions were reported near the Containment Access Facility construction area. An Unusual Event was declared based on HU4. Temporary electrical power at service disconnect DSLM3-3 was isolated. The fire was out at 0243 EST. The fire was extinguished using dry chemical. The fire was reported at 0232 EST on 1/19/11. The cause of the fire has not been determined at this time."
The fire and explosions were initially reported by site security personnel. The licensee declared the NOUE at 0243 EST based on criteria HU4. The licensee initially called for offsite assistance in putting out the fire, however, the fire was extinguished by plant personnel and the offsite assistance was turned back. The licensee posted a reflash watch. The fire reportedly involved temporary cables and possibly a transformer supplying power to the construction area which is located inside the protected area outside the auxiliary building.
The licensee notified the NRC Resident Inspector.
* * * UPDATE FROM TOM PHILLIPS TO DONALD NORWOOD AT 0405 EST ON 1/19/2011 * * *
The licensee terminated the Notification of Unusual Event at 0358 EST. No additional information is available at this time.
Notified R3DO (Bloomer), NRR EO (Skeen), IRD (Gott), DHS (Stringfield), and FEMA (Casto).
From the Brattleboro Reformer:
A nuclear decommissioning expert says estimates to dismantle the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant are too old and don’t reflect the current state of the economy.
According to study released Thursday from Fairewinds Associates, a consultancy hired by the state Legislature to analyze the decommissioning fund, the documents created in 2006 are "technically and economically outdated."
New technology has been developed "which may dramatically decrease the cost of decommissioning, and those options have not been analyzed for their application to the decommissioning of Vermont Yankee," the report states.
All decommissioning options need to be explored, Arnie Gundersen, chief engineer for Fairewinds Associates, said.
During the previous decommissioning fund update of the nuclear plant in Vernon, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission reviewed the plan and required Entergy to provide a $40 million parent company guarantee to address a shortfall, Neil Sheehan, spokesman for the NRC, wrote in an e-mail to the Reformer.
"Looking ahead, nuclear power plant owners will be required to submit new updates on their decommissioning trust funds in March, providing us with another opportunity to scrutinize them," he wrote.
Press Conference: 11 a.m., Monday, January 10, 2011
Nuclear Containment Failures and Ramifications for the AP1000 Containment Design
Dial: 1-800-860-2442 and ask for the AP1000 call
Hosted by: AP1000 Oversight Group, represented by Attorney John Runkle and Expert Witness Arnie Gundersen, Chief Engineer Fairewinds Associates, Inc
Three Mile Island Nuclear Station, Unit 1 – Issuance of Amendment Re: Request to Relocate Surveillance Frequencies to a Licensee-Controlled Program (TAC No. ME3587)
ADAMS Accession No.: ML103120069 (Download PDF)