Every operating US nuke was ordered before 1973. With one exception, all have run more than twenty years. Heavy doses of heat and radiation have embrittled metals and weakened concrete throughout. At Yankee, New York’s Indian Point, North Anna in Virginia and quite possibly all the rest, underground pipes continually leak radioactive tritium and other lethal isotopes.
From the Hong Kong Standard:
Workers of the Daya Bay Nuclear Power Station were exposed to "unacceptable" levels of radiation last month, an environmental campaigner warned, and a legislator is calling for a special meeting to discuss the incident.
Operator CLP Power, however, said the radiation leak did not cause any harm and was rated at level one on the seven- scale international nuclear incident rating system.
The latest incident at the station just 50 kilometers from Hong Kong follows a scare on May 23. In the latest incident, on October 23, a flaw was observed in a water pipe section of a residual heat removal system. The company admitted several workers were exposed to radiation - less than two millisieverts - carried by the liquid. This is less than what an average person in Hong Kong would be exposed to every year, it said.
Radiation that leaked from Daya Bay nuclear power station, China’s first large-scale atomic generator, poses no danger to the environment, the public or plant workers, said China Guangdong Nuclear Power Group Co.
The leak, detected on Oct. 23, was caused by a fault at a pipeline bearing coolant from the No. 1 reactor, the state-owned company said on its website today. The fault has been fixed since it was found on Oct. 26, Guangdong Nuclear said.
The leak is Daya Bay’s second following a leakage from a fuel rod in May. The No. 1 reactor has been shut since Oct. 22 for scheduled maintenance, Guangdong Nuclear, which owns 75 percent of the plant, said today.
From the Scotland Herald:
Radioactive waste has leaked into the Firth of Clyde from a defunct nuclear power station at Hunterston in North Ayrshire, the Sunday Herald can reveal.
Heavy rain caused contaminated silt from the site to flood onto the foreshore, in breach of safety procedures. The Government’s environmental watchdog is now investigating whether to take legal action.
The revelation has prompted condemnation from politicians and local residents, who are critical of Hunterston’s safety record. They want tough action to prevent any further leaks from the site.
“Time and again we have had leaks of low-level radioactive material into the Clyde in recent years,” said Kenneth Gibson, the Scottish Nationalist MSP whose constituency includes Hunterston.
Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station - NRC Integrated Inspection Report 05000277/2010004 and 05000278/2010004
ADAMS Accession No. ML103140643
From the Wall Street Journal:
Big French companies have a poor investment record in the U.S.: think Crédit Lyonnais in financial services, the former Suez in water and Vivendi in entertainment.
Will Electricité de France join the hall of shame? That partly depends on the outcome of a tricky negotiation with Constellation Energy Group, which wants to exercise a $2 billion put option that would require its French nuclear joint-venture partner to buy 11 coal-fired power stations. With EDF threatening to walk away from the U.S. market, its international strategy could unravel.
EDF paid a big price to buy its foothold in the U.S. Constrained by foreign-ownership rules, it paid $4.5 billion for half of Constellation's nuclear business in 2008, outbidding Warren Buffett's MidAmerican Energy Holdings, which offered $4.7 billion for the whole company. EDF also acquired an 8.4% stake in Constellation. With Constellation in dire financial straits at the time, EDF offered a backstop financing facility in the form of the put option. Despite improved cash and credit lines valued at $3.8 billion as of June 30, Constellation wants to exercise the put before it expires at year-end.
From the New York Times;
With the so-called “nuclear renaissance” looking smaller and slower than predicted, some in the nuclear industry are focusing on running existing plants longer — not only for their initial 40-year licensing period and the 20-year extension already allowed, but for a second 20-year extension.
“If you would have looked five years ago at the number of plants people were intending to construct and then you look today, it’s clear with the economic conditions we face in our nation, they’re pushing the builds out there,’’ said Maria Korsnick, the chief nuclear officer with Constellation Energy Group. (In industry-speak, that means delaying construction.)
In fact, her own company dropped out of a partnership to build a third reactor at its Calvert Cliffs site, 50 miles south of Washington, last month.
From Physics Central:
A radioactive rabbit that was on the loose this week in the Hanford former nuclear reactor site in Washington state prompted state Department of Health workers to hunt for contaminated rabbit droppings in the area.
The radioactive rabbit was among several bunnies captured over the last few days (a scene which calls to mind an iconic moment in Monty Python and the Holy Grail) at the site near Richland, Wash. The hopping critters were rounded up for testing after contaminated rabbit droppings were found last week. Only one rabbit tested positive for radiation contamination.
State department of health workers used hand-held radiation-detecting instruments to look for contaminated droppings. After capturing the afflicted rabbit, the amount of tainted droppings they found decreased, leading them to believe only one rabbit was affected. None of the droppings, so far, have been found in areas accessible to the public.
Oyster Creek Generating Station employees will continue working on replacing underground pipes during a planned outage as part of the state's tritium remediation project.
The power plant entered its planned refueling outage program on Monday morning.
More than 5,000 gallons of water have been pumped to date as part of the remediation project. Exelon Corp., the owner and operator of the Forked River-based power plant, shut down the reactor at 12:01 a.m. for a scheduled refueling and maintenance outage.
According to a statement Monday from Exelon Communications Manager David Benson, throughout the outage, workers will perform approximately 9,500 activities on a variety of plant components and systems, including replacing both of the station's main transformers, as well as finishing the majority of a 16-month, $13.3 million project to move pipes containing tritium above ground or into monitored vaults.
From the Chattanooga Times Free Press:
The Tennessee Valley Authority will spend up to $160 million here over the next three years, trying to stay out of hot water at its biggest nuclear power plant.
TVA Chief Operating Officer Bill McCollum Jr. said the federal utility will add another cooling tower and expand four of the six existing towers to better cool water from the Tennessee River that's used for power generation at the Browns Ferry Nuclear Power Plant.
The work should be done by 2013, TVA officials said.
TVA rejected a similar proposal in 2005 when officials projected that the extra cooling capacity was not needed to keep the river within thermal limits set by state regulators. But hot weather forced TVA to limit Browns Ferry generation during two of the past four summers when river water temperatures approached allowable limits.