From the Press and Journal:
A design flaw that left the Three Mile Island nuclear plant vulnerable to damage from the severest of floods was corrected by plant engineers last week.
The flaw had existed since the plant was built in the 1970s, officials said.
It was found by engineers on Aug. 21 in an air intake tunnel sump deep inside the Londonderry Twp. plant and reported by plant owner Exelon Nuclear to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
What engineers discovered was a 6-inch diameter pipe that could have allowed flood water into the plant, possibly damaging crucial systems used to keep the reactor from overheating.
The absence of a flood barrier on the pipe “could have prevented the fulfillment of the safety function of structures or systems that are needed to remove residual heat,’’ said an NRC event report. “This condition could have resulted in the unavailability of equipment in the Auxiliary Building.”
From Vermont Public Radio:
An anti-nuclear group says federal regulators need to address a potential safety problem at Vermont Yankee.
The New England Coalition says Yankee's electric cables could get wet and disable safety equipment.
As VPR's John Dillon reports, the coalition has asked the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to reopen hearings on Yankee's request for a new, 20-year license.
(Dillon) Back in May, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission conducted a routine inspection at Vermont Yankee and noted that a number of electric cables at the plant were submerged in water. The inspectors said it's a potential safety problem because the cables aren't designed to work when wet.
Now the New England Coalition has asked the federal agency to include the cables in its review of Yankee's request for a new 20-year license. Ray Shadis is technical advisor to the New England Coalition.
Tennessee Valley Authority's 1,065-megawatt Browns Ferry 1 and 1,104-MW Browns Ferry 2 nuclear power reactors in Alabama had increased output by early Tuesday, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said in its power reactor status report.
From the New York Times:
Facility: THREE MILE ISLAND
Event Number: 46194
Event Date: 08/21/2010
FLOOD BARRIERS NEEDED TO PROTECT SAFETY RELATED EQUIPMENT MISSING
"On August 21, 2010 an inspection of the Air Intake Tunnel (AIT) sump identified missing flood barriers needed to protect safety related equipment in the plant. If enough flood water had entered into the AIT, water could have entered into the Auxiliary Building (AB) through the ventilation ductwork that connects the AIT and the AB. If flood water continued to enter the AB, then safety related equipment in the AB could have been affected.
"This condition could have resulted in the unavailability of equipment in the Auxiliary Building including the 1A and 1B Decay Heat pumps, the 1A and 1B Building Spray pumps and 1A, 1B and 1C Make-up Pumps. This is reportable as an 8 hour ENS notification under 10CFR50.72(b)(3)(v)(B) and 10CFR50.72(a)(1)(ii) as a condition that at the time of discovery could have prevented the fulfillment of the safety function of structures or systems that are needed to remove residual heat.
"Flood protection barriers have been established for the affected penetrations. Inspections of the flood protection barriers are ongoing. Further engineering review is being performed to determine the impact of the potential water intrusion into the AIT and AB."
The licensee notified the NRC Resident Inspector. The licensee will notify the Pennsylvania Bureau of Radiation Protection.
From the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission:
This letter is in response to your letter to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) dated June 14, 2010, concerning prevention of safety problems at coastal nuclear plants that could be caused by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico (Gulf oil spill). In your June 14, 2010, letter, you sought assurances that the proper federal and state agencies are working in a coordinated and comprehensive effort to prevent safety problems at coastal nuclear plants related to the Gulf oil spill. We understand your inquiry regarding the monitoring of subsurface oil plumes has been addressed in a letter from Captain Kevin C. Kiefer, Staff Director of the U. S. Coast Guard (USCG), National Incident Command (NIC) to TMI Alert, Attn: Scott Portzline, dated July 21,2010.
Download ML1022300609 to read more
Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station, Unit 2 - Request for Additional Information Regarding License Amendment Request for Safety Limit Minimum Critical Power Ratio Change (TAC No. ME3994)
Download ML102150140 (PDF)
From the Rutland Herald:
In the Aug.10 public radio program “Vermont Edition,” the three Republican candidates to the U.S. House of Representatives discussed briefly our energy policy. Two candidates voiced a strong, but misguided support for the fast breeder nuclear reactors, and the statement was made that “we should build fast breeders, recycle the nuclear waste and get rid of it, instead of leaving it to our children.”
Nothing is farther from the truth. Although we hear it often, fast breeders cannot recycle waste and get rid of it. Nuclear power is generated by the fission of nuclear fuel, and each fission creates two radioactive fission products. Therefore, the fission products accumulate during the reactor operation, regardless of the type of reactor or the type of fuel considered. The more reactors operate, the more fission products we will have to deal with. There is no physical way to “burn” or recycle this waste. Fission products are here to stay until their natural decay transmutes them into something else. Unfortunately, this decay process can last for thousands of years.
From the Brattleboro Reformer:
In its report to the Legislature's Joint Fiscal Committee, submitted on July 26 and released to the public on Aug. 12, Fairewinds Associates, which is operated by Arnie and Maggie Gundersen, wrote that state agencies conspired to "belittle the accurate analysis of Fairewinds Associates, Inc. rather than investigate the existence of underground pipes at (Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant)."
Fairewinds Associates was commissioned to perform a number of assessments of Yankee for the JFC.
Arnie Gundersen was a member of the Public Oversight Panel that reviewed a reliability assessment of Yankee commissioned by the state. The assessment was meant to inform the state on whether the power plant should gain approval to continue its operation past 2012, its license expiration date. Entergy, which owns and operates Yankee, has applied to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to extend its license. The NRC has yet to issue its decision, but the state Legislature voted earlier this year against Yankee's continued operation.
Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station, Units 2 and 3: Acceptance of License Amendment Request Related to Extending Completion Time for Technical Specification 3.1.7, "Standby Liquid Control system" (TAC Nos. ME3598 and ME3599)
Download ML102180338 (PDF)