Vermont delegation to NRC: Don’t delay Vermont Yankee cleanup

From vtdigger.org:

The Vermont congressional delegation today urged the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to ensure a swift cleanup at Vermont Yankee after the license to run the nuclear power plant runs out.

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) signed a letter that was drafted by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). Sanders sits on the Senate panel that oversees the NRC, which regulates commercial nuclear plants in the United States.

The lawmakers called it “unacceptable” that Entergy, which owns the Vermont plant, could engage in “decades of delay” before cleaning up the site along the Connecticut River at Vernon, Vt. “Immediate decommissioning will assure Vermonters that the plant is being disassembled safely,” the delegation wrote. An immediate cleanup and shutdown of the site also would allow the plant operator to take advantage of the skills of many long-term Yankee employees who otherwise would lose their jobs.

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Peach Bottom: Relief Request Concerning Weld

PEACH BOTTOM ATOMIC POWER STATION, UNIT NOS. 2 AND 3: RELIEF REQUEST 14R-52 CONCERNING NOZZLE-TO-VESSEL WELD AND INNER RADII EXAMINATIONS (TAC NOS. ME5394 AND ME5395)

Download ML110590472 (PDF)

TMI: Request for Information on Weld Overlay

Three Mile Island Nuclear Station, Unit 1 - Request for Additional Information Regarding Relief Request RR-10-02, Weld Overlay of the Pressurizer Spray Nozzle to Safe-End and Safe-End to Elbow Dissimilar Metal Welds (TAC No. ME4795)

ADAMS Accession No.: ML110340246 (PDF)

Unit 1 HPCI Inoperable Due to Steam Leak

Event Number: 46644
Facility: SUSQUEHANNA
Event Date: 02/25/2011

"At 2027 EST, Unit 1 HPCI system was declared inoperable due to a steam leak on HV155F002, HPCI Steam Supply Inboard Isolation Valve. Engineering evaluation determined that the valve actuator will not close the valve fully under design basis conditions, due to the impingement of steam from the valve packing region on the valve stem. The penetration flow path has been isolated and the outboard isolation valve has been deactivated.

"HPCI is a single train ECCS safety system, This event results in the loss of an entire safety function which requires an 8 hour ENS notification in accordance with 10CFR50.72(b)(3)(v) and the guidance provided under NUREG-1022, rev. 2.

"There are no other ECCS systems presently out of service.

Unit 1 is in a 14 day LCO 3.5.1. EDG's are operable, and offsite power is normal. There is no increase in plant risk, and the licensee will notify the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA).

The NRC Resident Inspector has been notified.

Manual Scram Due to Recirculation Pump Trip

Event Number: 46641
Facility: LIMERICK
Notification Date: 02/25/2011

"Limerick Unit 2 was manually scrammed from 100% power on 2/25/11 at 0910 EST in accordance with plant procedure OT-112 'Recirculation Pump Trip', when both the '2A' and '2B' recirculation pumps tripped. Preliminary indication of why the recirculation pumps tripped is due to main generator stator water coolant runback. The cause of the stator water coolant runback is currently under investigation at this time.

"All control rods inserted as required. No ECCS or RCIC initiations occurred. No primary or secondary containment isolations occurred. The plant is currently in HOT SHUTDOWN maintaining normal Reactor Water Level with Feedwater in service."

Primary plant pressure and temperature is 600 psia and approximately 485 degrees F. All unit safety related equipment is operable and available, if needed. The decay heat path is via turbine bypass valves. There is no affect on Unit 1. The licensee informed Montgomery, Chester, Burks Counties and the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA). The licensee intends to issue a press release.

The NRC Resident Inspector has been notified.

Chernobyl, 25 Years Later

From CounterPunch:

April 26, 2011 will mark the 25th Annivesary of the Chernobyl catastrophe, and for more than 50 years, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have abided by an agreement that in essence, covers each other’s back  – sometimes at the expense of public health. It’s a delicate balance between cooperation and collusion. Signed on May 28, 1959 at the 12th World Health Assembly, the agreement states:

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Anatomy of a Right-Wing Ambush - and taxpayer-funded, to boot!

From Green Mountain Daily:

Arnie Gundersen, on the other hand came fully prepared.  Launching a well-planned slide presentation, he began by saying that the purpose of the forum was not to argue the pros and cons of nuclear energy, but rather to discuss why VY should or should not specifically be shut-down.  He then proceeded to explain, in a relaxed and articulate manner, all of the technical issues, managerial issues and some of the ethical issues that have lead him to believe that VY must not be allowed to operate beyond it's planned expiry. Arguing that closure of VY will have much less  of an economic impact than is projected by VY supporters, Mr. Gundersen described the manner in which pricing and supply works on the New England Grid, and said that hundreds of jobs will be created after VY closes; first, to keep the plant safe and secure while it awaits decommissioning, and later to carry out the actual dismantling and disposal operations.

Each speaker was allowed a brief rebuttal, during which Mr. Gundersen defused the "Exit" sign analolgy with a little science, and reminded the audience that tritium was just the fastest moving (and therefore most quickly identified) substance leached from the broken pipes.  He pointed out that additional radioactive substances of much more deadly portent, were released at the same time but hadn't yet travelled as far as the "plume" of tritium, which has already entered the Connecticut River.

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Nuclear units can operate beyond 60 years, with R&D: DOE official

From Platts:

No reason has yet been discovered why light-water power reactors could not operate beyond 60 years, but coordinated, near-term research efforts should address the issues, industry and government officials said Tuesday.

Co-sponsored by the US Department of Energy, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Nuclear Energy Institute, the three-day workshop in Washington examined "life beyond 60" issues for power reactors. The event followed on a DOE-NRC workshop held in February 2008.

NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko told the workshop that "it's very important that we guard against any potential sense of complacency about aging management and license renewal."

Some 61 of the 104 operating US power reactors have had their initial 40-year licenses renewed by NRC for an additional 20 years.

Jaczko said "the industry has done good work in developing effective aging management programs to meet NRC safety requirements. This is a track record that the industry can be proud of. But it's also important to recognize that we have very limited experience in seeing how aging management programs actually work after the initial 40-year period of operation."

Jaczko also said that "if the industry's research demonstrates that licensees can safely conduct extended operation beyond 60 years, the NRC has every reason to believe that the licensing reviews will proceed efficiently and effectively."

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Value of Subsidies Oten Exceed Market Price of Nuclear Energy Produced

NEWS MEDIA ADVISORY FOR  FEBRUARY 23, 2011
CONTACT: Elliott Negin, Union of Concerned Scientists, 202-331-5439

NATIONAL SCIENCE GROUP TO RELEASE REPORT CATALOGUING DECADES OF TAXPAYER SUBSIDIES TO NUCLEAR POWER AS THE INDUSTRY DEMANDS BILLIONS MORE

REPORT FINDS THE VALUE OF SUBSIDIES OFTEN EXCEED MARKET PRICE OF NUCLEAR ENERGY PRODUCED

The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) will hold a telephone press conference to release a new report detailing the full range of subsidies that have benefitted the commercial nuclear power industry in the United States over the last 50 years. The report found that subsidies for the entire nuclear fuel cycle -- from uranium mining to long-term waste storage -- have often exceeded the average market price of the power produced. In other words, if the government had purchased power on the open market and given it away for free, it would have been less costly than subsidizing nuclear power plant construction and operation.

Pending and proposed subsidies for new nuclear reactors would shift even more costs and risks from the industry to taxpayers and ratepayers. The president’s new budget proposal would provide an additional $36 billion in taxpayer-backed federal loan guarantees to underwrite the construction of new reactors. That would nearly triple the amount of loan guarantees already available to the industry.

WHO
Ellen Vancko, UCS Nuclear Energy & Climate Change Project manager, Washington, D.C.
Doug Koplow, founder, Earth Track, Inc., Cambridge, Mass. (report author)

WHEN
Wednesday, February 23, 2011, 1 p.m. EST

WHERE
The comfort of your own office. Call: 866-793-1307; Conference ID: UCS nuclear subsidies teleconference

###

The Union of Concerned Scientists is the leading U.S. science-based nonprofit organization working for a healthy environment and a safer world. Founded in 1969, UCS is headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and also has offices in Berkeley, Chicago and Washington, D.C. For more information, go to www.ucsusa.org.

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