NRC Seeks Comment on Extended Storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel

No. 12-001
January 3, 2012

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission seeks public comment on a report updating preliminary assumptions for an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) the agency will develop to analyze the effects of storing spent nuclear fuel from the nation’s commercial power reactors for as much as 200 years.
The EIS will be part of the agency’s effort to update its Waste Confidence Decision and Rule, last updated in 2010. The report being made available for comment is an early effort to obtain public input about the general scope of the EIS before the NRC formally initiates the EIS “scoping” process. The EIS will include analyses of environmental impacts that are directly related to the long-term handling, storage and transportation of commercial spent fuel and high- level waste.
The report discusses several storage scenarios, including at nuclear power plants, regional or centralized storage sites or a combination of storage and reprocessing of spent fuel. A key assumption is that extended storage would be managed under a regulatory program similar to current regulation of spent fuel. To analyze the impacts associated with the scenarios, the staff will develop generic, composite sites for each scenario, and these sites will account for a range of characteristics of actual reactor and storage sites.
The report, entitled “Background and Preliminary Assumptions for an Environmental Impact Statement – Long-Term Waste Confidence Update,” was posted Jan. 3 on the NRC website. The report updates assumptions first laid out in SECY-11-0029, dated Feb. 28, 2011.
As revised in 2010, the Waste Confidence Decision and Rule included the Commission’s confidence that spent fuel can be safely managed until it undergoes final disposition. At the same time, the Commission directed the staff to prepare a long-term update to the Waste Confidence Decision and Rule that would cover extended storage of spent fuel. This long-term update is to
be informed by the analysis and conclusions of the EIS anticipated in the current report.

Comments on the report may be filed by email to or by U.S mail to Christine Pineda, Project Manager, Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards, Mailstop EBB-2B2, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001.


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TMI: Summary of Conference Calls with Exelcon (ML113550167)

(TAC NO. ME7229)

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PPL nuclear plant cited again for failing to follow safety rules

•    January 3, 2012: Notice of Violation. (Enclosed)

•    On November  8, 2011 – The NRC issued a severity level IV violation  against the plant operator for failure to notify the  NRC of the change  in medical  status of a licensed reactor operator. It was determined that the operator  needed to wear eyeglasses as early as April 2009, but plant licensee PPL  “did not inform the NRC or request an amended license” for the operator  until August 2011.

“Therefore,” the NRC said, “the reactor operator performed license duties  without an NRC-approved, amended license from April 2009 through August 2011, until the NRC identified the issue.”

The NRC noted that this is a “repetitive” issue. (See report dated Jan. 28, 2010, in which a senior reactor  operator continued to conduct NRC-license activities after not meeting a specific medical prerequisite and there was no notification to NRC to ensure the person’s license was conditioned to require  corrective lenses.) In that Jan. 28, 2010, report, the NRC noted that a civil penalty would not be proposed, but “significant violations in the future could result in a civil penalty.”

•     The NRC issued a report on May 12, 2010, covering a three-month inspection ending on March 31, 2010

The report also discusses the previously discussed failure of two senior reactor operators to meet specific medical requirements for performing their duties. PPL submitted a written response on Dec. 10, 2009 describing its action to restore compliance and prevent recurrence. The NRC said it again reviewed PPL’s plan of action and determined that “PPL’s response and corrective actions were reasonable and appropriate” to address the notice of violation and it “does not require any additional information for these issues and considered these issues to be closed.” (Details of this issue are contained in prior reports from the NRC.)

•    In letter dated Nov. 13, 2009, the NRC noted that it completed an inspection of units 1 and 2 on Sept. 30, 2009. It said the inspection uncovered two examples of an apparent violation. The apparent violation is being considered for escalated enforcement action in accordance with NRC Enforcement Policy, the letter said.

The incidents involved a failure to ensure that individual license holders, on shift in the capacity of senior reactor operators (SRO), met the medical prerequisites required for holding a license prior to performing the duties of a licensed operator.

On one occasion in August 2009, a person performed as an SRO during three watches with a license “that was not appropriately conditioned to require that corrective lenses be worn.” In the second incident, a different SRO performed licensed operator duties 52 times between April 1, 2009, and July 22, 2009 - after the deadline for his biennial (every two years) medical examination.

Upon discovery, plant owner PPL removed both individuals from watch-standing duties pending follow-up medical evaluations.

The latest NRC report does not mention any possible civil penalty for the level IV violation.


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2012 Is the Year to Finally Bury Nuke Power

From the Huffington Post:

The year 2012 has opened with news that Fukushima's radioactive cloud may already have killed some 14,000 Americans, according to a major study just published in the International Journal of Health Services.

Germany and Japan, the world's third and fourth largest economies, along with numerous others countries, have definitively turned away from the "Peaceful Atom."

But it hasn't yet been buried. That's up to us. And 2012 is the year to do it.

We are already very close. The mythical "Nuclear Renaissance" has been gutted by Fukushima, low gas prices and the escalating Solartopian revolution in green energy. Solar panels, wind turbines, sustainable bio-fuels, geo-thermal, ocean thermal, increased efficiency and much more have simply priced atomic energy out of the market.

There is virtually no private money to build new reactors -- except where there are huge government subsidies and guarantees. In 2012 we must make those all go away.

Likewise, there are increasingly powerful grassroots movements focused on shutting reactors that still operate. Germany has shut 7, and the rest will be gone by 2022, if not earlier. In Japan, just 11 of more than 50 reactors now operate. Because local governments can prevent nukes from re-opening once they go down for refueling, Japan could emerge from 2012 without a single nuke on line.

The biggest US battle is at Vermont Yankee. March 21 is D-Day for forcing a nuclear corporation to honor a solemn contract it signed with a sovereign state, agreeing to shut down if the state doesn't approve continued operations. The legislature wants the reactor shut, which Entergy now refuses to do.

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Renewable Sources Continue Explosive Growth



For Immediate Release:  Tuesday - January 3, 2012
Contact:  Ken Bossong, 301-270-6477 x.11
Washington DC – According to the most recent issue of the "Monthly Energy Review" by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), with data through September 30, 2011, renewable energy sources continue to expand rapidly while substantially outpacing the growth rates of fossil fuels and nuclear power.
For the first nine months of 2011, renewable energy sources (i.e., biomass/biofuels, geothermal, solar, water, wind) provided 11.95% of domestic U.S. energy production. That compares to 10.85% for the same period in 2010 and 10.33% in 2009. By comparison, nuclear power provided just 10.62% of the nation's energy production in the first three quarters of 2011 -- i.e., 11.10% less than renewables.
Looking at all energy sectors (e.g., electricity, transportation, thermal), renewable energy output, including hydropower, grew by 14.44% in 2011 compared to 2010. Among the renewable energy sources, conventional hydropower provided 4.35% of domestic energy production during the first nine months of 2011, followed by biomass (3.15%), biofuels (2.57%), wind (1.45%), geothermal (0.29%), and solar (0.15%).
(On the consumption side, which includes oil and other energy imports, renewable sources accounted for 9.35% of total U.S. energy use during the first nine months of 2011.)
Looking at just the electricity sector, according to the latest issue of EIA’s "Electric Power Monthly," with data through September 30, 2011, renewable energy sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, solar, water wind) provided 12.73% of net U.S. electrical generation. This represents an increase of 24.73% compared to the same nine-month period in 2010. By comparison, electrical generation from coal dropped by 4.2% while nuclear output declined by 2.8%. Natural gas electrical generation rose by 1.6%.
Conventional hydropower accounted for 8.21% of net electrical generation during the first nine months of 2011 - an increase of 29.6% compared to 2010. Non-hydro renewables accounted for 4.52% of net electrical generation (wind - 2.73%, biomass - 1.34%, geothermal - 0.40%, solar - 0.05%). Compared to the first three quarters of 2010, solar-generated electricity expanded in 2011 by 46.5%; wind by 27.1%, geothermal by 9.4%, and biomass by 1.3%.
“Notwithstanding the recession of the past three years, renewable energy sources have experienced explosive rates of growth that other industries can only envy,” said Ken Bossong, Executive Director of the SUN DAY Campaign. “The investments in sustainable energy made by the federal government as well as state and private funders have paid off handsomely underscoring the short-sightedness of emerging proposals to cut back on or discontinue such support.”


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The U.S. Energy Information Administration released its most recent "Monthly Energy Review" on December 23, 2011.  It can be found at:  The relevant charts from which the data above are extrapolated are Tables 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, and 10.1.  EIA released its most recent "Electric Power Monthly" on December 16, 2011; see: The relevant charts are Tables 1.1, ES1.A, ES1.B, and 1.1.A.

Agency Smackdown, Round 2: A Critique of ‘the Nuclear Party’

From the New York Times:

The chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, whose four fellow commissioners complained about him to the White House, saying that he had been withholding information from them and wielding too much power, drew a spirited defense on Wednesday from a predecessor at the agency.

Peter A. Bradford, who was a commission member from 1977 to 1982, was speaking with reporters in a conference call on another topic, whether the recent approval of a new reactor design by the commission represented a major step toward a “nuclear renaissance.” (It doesn’t, he said.)

Mr. Bradford never led the Nuclear Regulatory Commission but can be considered an expert on multimember agencies; he later served as the chairman of the public utility commissions of New York State and Maine.

In the course of the call, Mr. Bradford said that the four commissioners were trying to give the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s chairman, Gregory B. Jaczko, “a push toward the door.”

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Letter Regarding Petiton from Paul Gunter to Suspect OLs of BE BWR Mark I Units

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