Electricity producers such as NRG Energy Inc. and Southern Co. will benefit as Republicans who won control of the U.S. House yesterday promote nuclear power as part of clean-energy legislation.
Requirements for the use of renewable power to reduce carbon emissions and encourage U.S. energy independence may win passage if nuclear plants are added to the wind turbines and solar panels favored by environmentalists, said David Crane, chief executive officer of Princeton, New Jersey-based NRG.
“A lot of the things we’re trying to do in Washington to move forward with zero- and low-carbon generation is something that at least the mainstream of the Republican Party wants to support -- nuclear power in particular,” Crane said in an interview. “It’s not just California and Oregon tree-huggers.”
Senator Harry Reid of Nevada won reelection yesterday in a race with major ramifications for nuclear power politics.
Reid's victory over Tea Party favorite Sharron Angle not only helped the Democrats retain their majority—allowing him to retain his position as Majority Leader but also lets the Obama Administration continue moving forward with its plan to abandon a proposed nuclear waste-disposal project at Yucca Mountain, Nevada.
One of Reid's big promises to Nevada voters was that this waste site would never be developed on his watch. The Obama Administration has cooperated closely with Reid in closing down the 20-year-old project. And despite efforts by Republicans to embarrass the Department of Energy (DOE) over its apparent deference to Reid in pulling its application for a license, DOE seems likely to stay the course. As a Reid spokesperson commented to the Las Vegas Review-Journal a few weeks before the election: "As long as Senator Reid is majority leader, there will not be a Yucca Mountain. …Yucca Mountain will be dead."
From the York Daily Record:
Soon, workers at the nuclear-powered plant will unload more than 60 spent fuel assemblies from a 18-foot cask into the grid-like racks of the power station's spent fuel storage pool, said Neil Sheehan, a spokesman for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
The assemblies are bundled fuel rods that have been removed from the reactor and replaced with fresh alternates.
Last month, workers found a small amount of the inert gas had leaked from the system on the cask, which is designed to prevent helium inside the 115-ton container from escaping.
Entergy Corp. will announce this week that it plans to sell the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant, confirming months of speculation and perhaps beginning a new chapter in the contentious relationship between the plant and the state, according to a top Vermont utility regulator.
David O'Brien, commissioner of the Department of Public Service, said Entergy Corp. officials told him they planned to announce that they were seeking a buyer for the 650-megawatt reactor.
"My understanding is that there is an impending announcement that they are in fact pursuing a sale of the plant," O'Brien said in a telephone interview Wednesday.
Dominion Virginia Power said Monday it is seeking the source of low-level groundwater radiation detected by one of its monitoring stations at its twin-reactor nuclear power plant in North Anna.
The utility said the elevated levels did not pose a health hazard to plant workers or residents, according to a filing with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
The elevated reading was detected in April by one of eight monitoring stations and has since returned to acceptable levels.
Three Mile Island Station, Unit 1 - NRC Integrated Inspection Report 5000289-2010004
Release date: 11/01/2010
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is releasing its list of the top 50 organizations using the most renewable electricity. The Green Power Partnership’s top purchasers use more than 12 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power annually, equivalent to avoiding the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the electricity use of more than 1 million average American homes. Green power is generated from renewable resources such as solar, wind, geothermal, biogas, and low-impact hydropower.
The Intel Corporation tops the list as the Partnership’s largest single purchaser of green power and was recently honored with a 2010 EPA Green Power Leadership Award for green power purchasing. The company uses more than 1.4 billion kWh annually, equivalent to avoiding the CO2 emissions from the electricity use of nearly 125,000 average American homes. Both Kohl’s Department Stores and Whole Foods Market received the 2010 EPA Green Power Partner of the Year Awards, and came in as second and third this quarter in purchasing green power. Reaching the top five for the first time, Starbucks (No. 4) more than doubled its annual green power purchase to more than 573 million kWh of green power equivalent to avoiding the CO2 emissions from the electricity use of nearly 50,000 average American homes annually. Also in the top five is the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, which increased its green power purchase to 500 million kWh of green power annually. Rounding out the top 10 are the City of Houston, Dell Inc., Johnson & Johnson, the U.S. Air Force, and the City of Dallas.
EPA’s Green Power Partnership works with nearly 1,300 partner organizations to voluntarily purchase green power to reduce the environmental impacts of conventional electricity use. Overall, EPA’s Green Power Partners are using nearly 18 billion kWh of green power annually, equivalent to avoiding the CO2 emissions from the electricity use of more than 1.5 million average American homes.
Green power resources produce electricity with an environmental profile superior to conventional power technologies and produce no net increase to greenhouse gas emissions. Purchases of green power also help accelerate the development of new renewable energy capacity nationwide.
More information on the top 50 list:
More information on EPA’s Green Power Partnership:
From the Burlington Free Press:
The Democratic Governors Association, in a letter sent to representatives of the nuclear industry last month, said the party group’s funding of ads detailing problems at the Vermont Yankee facility in Vernon does not mean it opposes nuclear power.
"I understand that our sponsorship of these ads could have given the impression that we are against nuclear power," Nathan Daschle, executive director of the Democratic Governors Association, wrote in a letter dated Sept. 10. "I want to assure you that this is not the case."
"These ads are meant to be statements about the candidates we oppose, not about the use of nuclear power in general," Daschle’s letter continued. "It is not our practice to adopt policy positions, but as you know many of our governors are ardent supporters of nuclear energy."
From the Brattleboro Reformer:
Entergy came one step closer to receiving its approved license renewal for Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant on Thursday when the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board rejected an appeal from the New England Coalition on Nuclear Pollution.
The contention dealt with NEC's assertion that Entergy did not have an adequate aging management program in place to deal with the effects of moist or wet environments on buried, below-grade, underground or hard-to reach safety-related electrical cables.
The submittal cited an NRC inspection finding from last May that dealt with this issue.
The ASLB based its denial on three factors: The motion was not timely because the issue of submergence of electrical cables at nuclear power plants has been known for years and could have been questioned in a contention before this past August; the motion does not address a "significant" safety or environmental issue; and because NEC was unable to demonstrate that a materially different result would be or would have been "likely" had the newly proffered evidence been considered initially.
Event Number: 46374
Event Date: 10/28/2010
OFFSITE NOTIFICATION DUE TO SODIUM HYPOCHLORITE LEAK FROM UNDERGROUND PIPING
"On October 28, 2010, at 1740 hours, the plant entered the Off-Normal Instruction for spills and unauthorized discharges. At 1751 hours, notification of a sodium hypochlorite spill was made to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Response Center. At the time of the event, the plant was in Mode 1 at 100% power. The sodium hypochlorite spill is believed to be the result of a leak in an underground piping supply line to the Emergency Service Water pump house. The leak is estimated to be approximately 130 gallons of a 12.5% Sodium Hypochlorite (Bleach) solution (80 gallons in a 24 hour period is the reportable quantity). The associated chlorination systems have been isolated, and current storage tank level is stable, indicating no more leakage in progress.
"Additionally, the Ohio EPA: State Emergency Response Commission, Perry Township Fire Department, Lake County Emergency Planning Committee, and the U.S. Coast Guard were notified in accordance with plant procedures. This event is also being reported in accordance with the Operating License, Appendix B, Environment Protection Plan, which states in part, 'Any occurrence of an unusual or important event that indicates or could result in significant environmental impact causally related to plant operation shall be recorded and reported to the NRC within 24 hours followed by a written report ..' Specifically, ' ..unanticipated or emergency discharge of waste water or chemical substances.' The NRC Resident Inspector has been notified."