Hazards of Storing Spent Fuel

From the New York Times:

Dangerous conditions can occur if water drains from pools storing radioactive fuel rods.

Japan adds four new areas to radiation threats

From CNN:

Four new areas in northern Japan have been added to the list of places affected by radiation originating from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, authorities said Friday.

Three of the four are in the Ryozenmachi area, including about 180 households some 50 kilometers (31 miles) from the Fukushima plant, said Takayuki Sato, a Date city official

Government data of the three hot spots showed an estimated radiation level between 20.1 to 20.8 millisieverts per year.

By comparison, the average resident of an industrialized country receives a dose of about 3 millisieverts per year.

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June 10, 2011: Markey Statement on NRC IG Report

WASHINGTON (June 10, 2011) -- Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), the Ranking Member on the Natural Resources Committee and a senior member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, released the following statement on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's Inspector General report:

“The NRC Inspector General report is a vindication for Chairman Jaczko and confirms that his decision to close out the Yucca Mountain program was consistent with both the law and his authority, contrary to accusations made during a Republican witch-hunt that his actions were 'illegal.'

Japan cites ‘lessons’ of nuclear accident

From boston.com:

Japan admitted yesterday that it was unprepared for a severe nuclear accident like the tsunami-caused Fukushima disaster, and said damage to the reactors and radiation leakage were worse than it previously thought.

In a report being submitted to the UN nuclear agency, the government also acknowledged reactor design flaws and a need for greater independence for the country’s nuclear regulators.

The report said the nuclear fuel in three reactors probably melted through the inner containment vessels, not just the core, after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami knocked out the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant’s power and cooling systems. Fuel in the Unit 1 reactor started melting hours earlier than previously estimated.

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NRC: May 17 Meeting with Exelon

Summary of May 17, 2011, Meeting with Exelon Re: Proposed Amendment Request to Modify Spent Fuel Pool Storage Racks at Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station, Units 2 and 3
ADAMS Accession No.: ML111540243

Exelon: Meeting Regarding Spent Fuel Pool Storage Racks

Summary of May 17, 2011, Meeting with Exelon Re: Proposed Amendment Request to Modify Spent Fuel Pool Storage Racks at Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station, Units 2 and 3
ADAMS Accession No.: ML111540243

Nuclear Update

Peach Bottom:


May 13, 2011 – The NRC said there would be no significant environmental impact with the transfer of low-level radioactive waste from the Limerick Generating Station in southeastern Pennsylvania to a storage facility at the Peach Bottom plant.


Peach Bottom officials initially requested a license amendment to allow the transfer of the waste on Jan. 6, 2010. The waste does not include any transfer of spent nuclear fuel from Limerick.


Exelon operates both nuclear power plants.


The Limerick plant does not have the capacity to store all of the low-level radioactive waste it generates. The NRC noted that the Barnwell disposal facility in South Carolina is no longer available for Limerick, but Peach Bottom has the ability to store a large amount of low-level waste on an interim basis.


In its environmental analysis, the NRC noted that there would be two or three shipments a year from Limerick to Peach Bottom. “The distance between the plant sites is less than the distance that was previously traveled to the Barnwell disposal facility in South Carolina,” the NRC noted.


“The staff concludes that the radiological impacts associated with the transportation, handling and storage of low-level radioactive waste at Peach Bottom will not result in a significant impact to plant workers and members of the public,” the NRC said.


“The proposed action will not significantly increase the probability or consequences of accidents. No changes are being made in the types of effluents that may be released offsite. There is no significant increase in the amount of any effluent released offsite. There is no significant increase in occupational or public radiation exposure. Therefore, there are no significant radiological environmental impacts associated with the proposed action.”



Berwick plant


May 16, 2001 – Operators of the Susquehanna nuclear plant near Berwick shut down the Unit 1 reactor for an inspection of the main turbine.


The precautionary shutdown was done to inspect the blades of the turbine. Workers detected defects on similar blades in the Unit 2 turbine during a routine inspection as part of a refueling and maintenance outage.


Officials said the defective turbine blades on Unit 2 are being replaced. Unit 1 will be returned to service when the inspection and any needed repairs are completed, PPL officials said.



Peach Bottom to store low-level nuclear waste from Montgomery County

From the York Dispatch:

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Tuesday approved an Exelon Nuclear application to store low-level radioactive waste from Montgomery County at a facility in Peach Bottom Township.

Under the amendment to Peach Bottom's operating license, Exelon can immediately begin transporting the waste from Limerick Generating Station to a containment building at Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station, said NRC spokesman Neil Sheehan.

He said Limerick is running out of space for the waste, while Peach Bottom has excess capacity.

The waste includes items - such as discarded clothing, equipment, tools, and filters - that were exposed to radiation. The authorization does not include the transfer of spent nuclear fuel, Sheehan said.

The NRC reviewed Exelon's proposal, submitted in January 2010, to make sure exposure levels for workers and the public and all are within allowable levels, Sheehan said.

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What’s wrong with this picture?

Entergy’s CEO’s total annual compensation, 2010, was $27.32 million.

Pilgrim is the same design as the failed Fukushima reactors – all are GE, Mark I, BWRs.  Almost forty years ago, the NRC identified a serious design flaw in these reactors - in certain accident scenarios the containment would fail in the event of pressure build up. A supposed “fix” was recommended, and put into place – a direct torus vent (DTV) to relieve pressure in order to save the containment by releasing unfiltered material directly into the air.

At Fukushima’s three sister reactors to Pilgrim, they had installed the same unfiltered vents.

Because the Japanese reactor operators were reluctant to vent fearing contaminating the area, they waited too long – and the 3 units melted.

Entergy estimated the cost to put a filter on the vent in their 2006 license renewal application  at $3,000,000 – it was deemed too expensive. (LRA, Appendix E, pgs., E-2-15, E-2-24).

Would it be too much to ask Entergy’s CEO to only take home $24.32 million a year so we could have a filtered vent here?

This article was first published by
Pilgrim Watch.

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