DEP Orders Radon Contractor to Surrender Certification, Pay $43,750 Penalty

Dept. of Environmental Protection

Commonwealth News Bureau
Room 308, Main Capitol Building
Harrisburg PA., 17120


Lynda Rebarchak, Department of Environmental Protection Southeast Regional Office
DEP Orders Radon Contractor to Surrender Certification, Pay $43,750 Penalty

NORRISTOWN -- The Department of Environmental Protection today ordered William Wright, of Springbrook Township, Lackawanna County, to surrender his state radon mitigation certification and pay $43,750 in civil penalties for numerous violations of the Radon Certification Act and Radiation Protection Act.  

“Our inspectors noted nearly 40 violations at four radon mitigation systems installed by Mr. Wright and his company, Tru Pro Remediation Services Group,” DEP Southeast Regional Director Joseph A. Feola said. “We have a responsibility to make sure that this type of work is done properly.”

DEP first received a complaint from a Montgomery County Tru Pro customer in May 2011. During a June 6 inspection of the system, staff found numerous violations, including improperly sealed radon vent pipe, perimeter drain channel, floor cracks and sump pits.

The agency received additional complaints and inspected the remaining three systems Wright and his company installed in Northampton County, finding similar violations at each residence.

DEP sent an initial notice of violation to Wright and Tru Pro on June 21, 2011, followed by a Sept. 2 violation notice and enforcement meeting request. Despite numerous attempts, Wright failed to meet with agency representatives to discuss the violations.

DEP is seeking surrender of Wright’s and Tru Pro’s radon mitigation certification, issued Dec. 27, 2010. 

For more information, visit or call 484-250-5900.


Entergy demands $4.6 million from the state

From the Brattleboro Reformer:

Entergy wants the state to pay it "in excess of" $4.62 million.

In a filing submitted to the United States District Court for the District of Vermont, Entergy, which owns and operates Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in Vernon, stated it is entitled to be reimbursed for the money it spent presenting its case in Entergy v. Shumlin et al.

"(The $4.62 million) amount is likely to increase if the fee petition is extensively litigated and/or Defendants appeal the Judgment," wrote Entergy's attorneys.

On Jan. 20, Federal District Court Judge J. Garvan Murtha ruled in favor of Entergy, finding the state Senate had overstepped its bounds when it prohibited the Public Service Board from issuing a certificate of public good for the continued operation of Yankee. Though the Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved Yankee's relicensing, allowing it to operate for another 20 years past its original license expiration date of March 21, 2012, Entergy must still receive a CPG from the state to keep the plant operating. After his ruling, Murtha reaffirmed the PSB's role in deciding whether the plant should receive a certificate.

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High levels of radioactive cesium detected in Yokohama

From Kyodo News:

High levels of radioactive cesium were found in an area that used to be used as a waterway near an elementary school in Yokohama's Seya Ward, Yokohama city officials said Friday.

Local officials detected 6.85 microsieverts per hour of radioactive cesium in the air about 1 centimeter above the ground and found that nearby soil contained 62,900 becquerels of the element per kilogram.

The city government sees the high radiation levels to be likely caused by the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant and plans to decontaminate the area, the officials said.

While the area is close to the elementary school, it is closed off by a fence, the officials said. "The radiation dose on the elementary school premises is not high but we will examine the situation in detail," an official said.

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The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is seeking public comment on the draft report for the State-of-the-Art Reactor Consequence Analyses (SOARCA) research study. The SOARCA team will meet in late February with residents near the two plants analyzed in the effort.

SOARCA analyzed the potential consequences of severe accidents at the Surry Power Station near Surry, Va. and the Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station near Delta, Pa. The project, which began in 2007, combined up-to-date information about the plants’ layout and operations with local population data and emergency preparedness plans. This information was then analyzed using state-of-the-art computer codes that incorporate decades of research into severe reactor accidents.

SOARCA’s main findings fall into three basic areas: how a reactor accident progresses; how existing systems and emergency measures can affect an accident’s outcome; and how an accident would affect the public’s health. The project’s preliminary findings include:

  • Existing resources and procedures can stop an accident, slow it down or reduce its impact before it can affect the public;

  • Even if accidents proceed uncontrolled, they take much longer to happen and release much less radioactive material than earlier analyses suggested; and

  • The analyzed accidents would cause essentially zero immediate deaths and only a very, very small increase in the risk of long-term cancer deaths.

    The SOARCA team will meet with the public on Tuesday, Feb. 21 from 5 to 9 p.m. at the Surry County Courthouse, 45 School St. in Surry, Va. The team will also meet with the public on Wednesday, Feb. 22 from 5 to 9 p.m. at the Peach Bottom Inn, 6085 Delta Road in Delta, Pa. The team will present the project’s findings, answer questions and take comments on the draft report.

    The main SOARCA report, including an appendix discussing the accident at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant in Japan, is available in the NRC’s electronic documents database, ADAMS, by entering ML120250406 in the ADAMS search engine. Supporting technical information regarding the Peach Bottom analysis is available by entering ML120260675, and supporting technical information regarding the Surry analysis is available by


entering ML120260681. A brochure that describes the research for a general audience is available by entering ML12026A470.

The NRC will take comments on the draft SOARCA report through March 1. Comments can be submitted using the website, using Docket ID NRC-2012-0022. Comments can also be mailed, referencing the Docket ID, to Cindy Bladey, Chief, Rules, Announcements, and Directives Branch (RADB), Office of Administration, Mail Stop: TWB-05- B01M, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001. Comments can also be faxed to RADB at 301-492-3446, referencing the Docket ID.

Comments submitted in writing or in electronic form will be posted on the NRC Web site and on The agency will not edit or remove any identifying or contact information; the NRC cautions commenters against including any information they wish to keep private.

The NRC staff will consider the comments in finalizing the SOARCA report for submission to the Commission later this year.



NOTE: Anyone wishing to take photos or use a camera to record any portion of a NRC meeting should contact the Office of Public Affairs beforehand.

News releases are available through a free Listserv subscription or by clicking on the EMAIL UPDATES link on the NRC homepage ( E-mail notifications are sent to subscribers when news releases are posted to NRC's website. For the latest news, follow the NRC on


Susquehanna: Branch Chief Reassignment



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DEP Seeks Information about Antique Medical Kit Containing Radium-226

Dept. of Environmental Protection

Commonwealth News Bureau
Room 308, Main Capitol Building
Harrisburg PA., 17120


Deborah Fries, Department of Environmental Protection Southeast Regional Office
DEP Seeks Information about Antique Medical Kit Containing Radium-226

NORRISTOWN -- The Department of Environmental Protection is asking anyone who knows the history of an antique medical kit found in a Chester County trash bin to contact the agency’s Bureau of Radiation Protection.

“The radioactive material may have been contained in the kit for more than 80 years,” Bureau Director David Allard said. “The metal box likely came from a basement, an attic or a collector’s stash. Anyone who tampered with it or stored it for a long time may have been exposed to high levels of radiation.”

The material was found Jan. 19, when a load of construction debris set off radiation alarms at Waste Management Inc.’s Norristown transfer station. The company deployed a health physicist to recover the radioactive material, identified as approximately one curie of radium-226. Exposure to one curie of radium-226 is equivalent to having more than 100 CT scans at once, and it has the potential to create skin burns within a few hours of contact.

DEP health physicists worked with Waste Management to properly evaluate and store the radium, and traced its source to a roll-off container that had come from the Hershey’s Mill retirement community in West Chester. 

The radium-226 was contained in four capsules inside a small lead safe marked “Radium Chemical Co., Inc.” The safe and some antique surgical equipment were stored inside a larger, locking metal box, which had been pried open.

“Although the capsules do not appear to be leaking, we believe that someone could have had direct contact with these sources of radium-226,” Allard said. “The radioactive radium they contain is about five times the amount found in modern medical sources, and we are concerned about the health of anyone who may have handled them.”

Anyone with information about the kit is asked to contact Allard at 717-787-2480. All calls are confidential. To view photos of the lead safe and other contents of the box, visit and click on “Bureau of Radiation Protection.”

Revealed: secret evacuation plan for Tokyo after Fukushima

From the Independent:

The Japanese government feared that millions of Tokyoites might have to be evacuated during the worst of last year's nuclear crisis, but kept the scenario secret to avoid panic in some of the world's most crowded urban areas, according to an internal report.

The 15-page report, by the Japanese Atomic Energy Commission, was delivered to the then-Prime Minister, Naoto Kan, two weeks after the 11 March earthquake and tsunami triggered the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

It warned that if the situation spiralled out of control, compulsory or voluntary evacuation orders would have to be issued to residents living within 250 kilometres (155 miles) of the damaged facility, a radius that would have included the Tokyo metropolitan area that is home to around 30 million people.

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Upgraded TMI Emergency Warning Sirens to Be Tested



Contact: Ralph DeSantis  Exelon Nuclear — Three Mile Island


Upgraded TMI Emergency Warning Sirens to Be Tested

Exelon continues to invest in state-of-the-art emergency preparedness equipment

LONDONDERRY TWP., PA. (Jan 27. 2012) – Exelon Nuclear will begin testing the new sirens that are being installed in the area around the Three Mile Island Generating Station on Monday, Jan. 30. The new sirens use state- of-the-art technology and are part of a comprehensive emergency preparedness program designed to protect the health and safety of the public during all types of events. .

The tests will be conducted on individual sirens over the next three months. Exelon Nuclear is replacing all 96 emergency sirens in the 10 miles around TMI with sirens that include a redundant back-up power supply (batteries) to ensure they can operate even during a blackout condition. Personnel began installing the new sirens in October, 2011.

This $2.8 million investment around Three Mile Island is part of Exelon Nuclear’s commitment to replace and upgrade the emergency sirens at all of the sites in the mid-Atlantic including Limerick Generating Station, Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station, and Oyster Creek Generating Station. This project will involve a total investment of more than $9 million and the replacement of 400 sirens.

The typical duration of the siren testing around TMI will be between 30 and 60 seconds and could occur several times in a row at each siren. The siren acoustics will be similar to those of the current emergency sirens.

The testing is being coordinated with county emergency management officials. Residents may contact the counties at the following numbers if they have questions during the testing:

Cumberland County: (717) 238-9676 Dauphin County: (717) 558-6900 Lancaster County: (800) -808-5236 Lebanon County: (717) 272-7621 York County: (800) 427-8347

The new and existing sirens will operate concurrently for a period of time to ensure the new system is operating properly. Completion of the project and removal of the existing sirens is scheduled for 2013.

The upgraded warning sirens are one of several methods used by county emergency management authorities to provide notification of emergencies. The sounding of the sirens is not a signal to evacuate, but to tune to the local Emergency Alert Broadcast Station.


Three Mile Island nuclear plant finds unexpected flaws in new steam generators

From the Patriot News:

After just one operating cycle, inspectors at Three Mile Island nuclear facility have detected unexpected flaws in the facility’s new steam generators.

There’s no indication radiation was released.

Officials say the flaws are well below regulatory thresholds, but the Nuclear Regulatory Commission held a meeting Thursday morning to get more information.

The two 70-foot, 510-ton “once-through” generators sit on either side of the nuclear core, and were installed at TMI in 2009.

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Exelon: Branch Chief Reassignment



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