Entergy Leaving Gotham Behind

From Energy Matters:

Entergy Nuclear has dropped its share of electricity supporting New York City and Westchester County to about 4 percent of the area’s power needs while selling increasing portions of its juice in an open market stretching from Maine to Delaware.

The company is spending millions of dollars on an extensive campaign to convince the public that the region would suffer if the nuclear plants at Indian Point were shut and its 2,100 megawatts were withdrawn.  Simultaneously, however, Entergy is withdrawing all but 560 megawatts and is selling the rest elsewhere through the interconnecting New England, New York, Mid-Atlantic, Quebec and Ontario power grids.

In its search for the highest profit margins, industry analysts and power operators say Entergy may well opt to sell nearly all of its electricity from Indian Point 2 and 3 in Buchanan to customers outside the New York City/Westchester County service area.  And because of the success of the wholesale power markets and transmission networks run by the non-profit Independent System Operators, the absence of Indian Point’s megawatts has no effect on the region’s electricity needs or power system reliability.

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Commodity prices show nuclear renaissance is underway

From the Vancouver Sun:

A renaissance in nuclear energy is underway as China doubles its target for nuclear power output and as major orders flow in from the Middle Kingdom, Scotiabank declares in its monthly commodity price report.

The news has not been lost on stock market players who have bid up prices of Canadian uranium producers like Cameco and Uranium One in recent months.

Uranium prices hit $61 US in mid-November after bottoming in March at $40.50 US, after China announced in its new five-year plan that it was doubling it target for nuclear power production to a level to 80 gigawatts, the equivalent of five per cent of the county's electrical output.

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Reversal of fortune

From commonnews.org:

“Why Entergy thinks they can sell it is hard to see. Putting it up for sale is a sign of desperation. That’s the last thing you do before you give up and walk away.”

Walking away is not an option Entergy Corp. will comment on — yet. Nor will they declare that option off the table.

“For now we are just exploring the potential sale of the plant,” said Entergy spokesman Alex Schott. “It is one option that we feel is in the best interests of the shareholders and the 650 employees that work there.”

The company does not have a lot to explore. The plant recently shut down while Entergy officials plugged a leak of radioactive fluid from 40-year-old pipes serving the reactor.

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Special Report: Nuclear's lost generation

From Reuters:

On a flat, low-lying island nestled in crisp waters off the west coast of Finland, the first nuclear power plant ordered in Western Europe since 1986 is inching toward start-up.

Over 4,000 builders and engineers are at work on the sprawling Olkiluoto 3 project, whose turbine hall is so cavernous it could house two Boeing 747 jets stacked on top of each other.

When it is dark, which in winter is most of the day, enormous spotlights throw into focus scores of scaffolding towers and the red hauling equipment that encircle the grey, unfinished reactor building.

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Are ponds near nuclear plant disappearing?

From the Herald News:

Five years after radioactive tritium leaks from the Braidwood Nuclear power station became public, suspicion and frustration continue to fester among some of the people who live in the shadow of the Exelon plant.

The latest concern is for area ponds that are drying up. When Exelon Nuclear pumps water from a pond contaminated with tritium, water levels go down in nearby privately owned ponds, plant neighbors say. Coincidence?

Tom Zimmer doesn’t think so. When the Exelon pumping first started a couple of years ago, the water level in Zimmer’s nearby pond dropped about five feet. In recent months it has gone down even more, so much so that his fishing dock sits high above the water.

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Activists push for analysis of leaks at Vermont Yankee

From the Daily Hampshire Gazette:

Brattleboro-based New England Coalition on Nuclear Pollution has called on federal regulators to require the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant's owners to do a complete analysis of connections between leaks of the Vernon reactor's feedwater piping system earlier this month and similar leaks at the plant in January 2009.

The coalition filed a petition with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to require and fully supervise a "thorough root-case analysis" of the system's inspection-port leak, and also a "comprehensive extent-of-condition review" of feedwater piping.

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UK gov't apologizes for decades of secret nuclear power industry corpse-mutilation

From BoingBoing:

The UK Energy Secretary Chris Huhne has apologized for 40 years' worth of clandestine, illegal mutilation of the corpses of British nuclear energy workers. When these workers died, pathologists and coroners colluded with the energy authority to remove their organs without the consent or knowledge of their families, in part to remove the possibility of a lawsuit for cancer caused by their work environment, but partly out of a seeming cavalier, better-safe-than-sorry approach that had them scooping out organs that had no diagnostic value. The corpses were then stuffed with random detritus from around the shop to disguise their mutilation; for example, broomsticks were used in place of bones removed from workers who'd died of leukemia.

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SPECIAL REPORT: Nuclear Executive Roundtable

From PennEnergy:

As the United States continues to look for clean, reliable energy to cut emissions and continue to provide power for the growing country, the nuclear power industry is making plans to expand. On Feb. 16, 2010, President Obama awarded the first loan guarantee for a nuclear plant under provisions of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The award of $8.3 billion for two additional reactors at Southern Co.’s Vogtle plant in Georgia is conditional until the plant receives a combined construction and operating license from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which is expected in 2011.

Southern is not the only energy provider looking to build new nuclear reactors in the U.S. And modular designs and the battle to finance new construction means nuclear power has been grabbing headlines across the globe.

In a series of interviews, Power Engineering magazine Associate Editor Brian Wheeler moderated this year’s Nuclear Power Executive Roundtable.

Participants included John Herron, president, CEO & chief nuclear officer of Entergy Nuclear; Mark Marano, Areva senior vice president of U.S. new build operations; Danny Roderick, GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy’s senior vice president for new plant projects; Christofer Mowry, president & CEO, Babcock & Wilcox Modular Nuclear Energy LLC; and Deva Chari, Westinghouse senior vice president of Nuclear Power Plants.

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Peach Bottom Enters Outage to Replace Main Power Transformer

From Nuclear Street:

Operators at Exelon Nuclear’s Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station safely shutdown the Unit 3 reactor yesterday at 8 a.m. ET to allow workers to replace one of the station’s main power transformers. Station operators, who continuously monitor plant performance, made the determination to replace the transformer this weekend as a precaution.

Peach Bottom has six main power transformers, four of which have already been replaced as part of Exelon’s $87 million investment to ensure long-term equipment reliability at the station. The station’s Unit 3 ‘B’ transformer, one of two remaining units that have been in service since 1974, will be replaced with a spare unit of similar vintage that is currently on site. Both older transformers are scheduled for replacement next fall.

Station operators will take advantage of the outage to complete a host of other maintenance tasks that can only be performed while the unit is offline.

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Monticello nuclear plant offline for repair

From Pioneer Press:

Xcel Energy took Monticello Nuclear Generating Plant off the electrical grid early Sunday so workers can repair one of 10 water heaters that feeds the reactor.

The feed water heaters heat incoming water before it is routed through the reactor. The water is boiled into steam that turns the turbine that generates electricity.

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