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“Standards: An Integral Part of Regulating for Safety

Prepared Remarks for The Honorable Gregory B. Jaczko Chairman, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

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In-Ground Wall to Filter Water at NY Nuke Site

From WGRZ:

Contaminated water inching through the ground at a New York nuclear cleanup site is about to hit a wall.

And if all goes as planned, it will seep through and come out clean on the other side.

Crews at the West Valley Demonstration Project in western New York are digging a three-foot wide trench as deep as 30 feet and filling it with volcanic material called zeolite.

The in-ground zeolite wall is meant to decontaminate groundwater as it filters through.

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Suspicious Package Found at Nuke Plant Near Phoenix

From Fox News:

Maricopa County Sheriff's spokesman Brian Lee says security officers at the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station called them at about 5 a.m. after they found the suspicious package. A second call initially led to confusion that a second device may have been found, but that was quickly discounted.

Lee says a sheriff's bomb squad is investigating.

A spokesman for plant operator Arizona Public Service Co. says security guards
found the suspicious package during a search of a vehicle at a checkpoint about a mile from the plant.

The plant is operating normally, but traffic in and out is stopped.

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Who rules Yankee?


Last week’s discovery of tritium in a well that until last February supplied drinking water to a building at the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant is again raising questions about who has authority to oversee the plant’s safety and reliability.

Vermont’s two candidates for governor have staked out starkly different positions on the plant’s continued operation beyond its 2012 scheduled closing date. Republican Lt. Gov. Brian Dubie supports relicensure by the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Sen. Peter Shumlin, the Democrat, spearheaded a vote in the state Senate last spring to deny Yankee an opportunity to seek a 20-year extension of its license.

Despite news reports to the contrary, those basic positions haven’t changed since last week’s new revelations that extremely low-level amounts of tritium have been found in a well connected to a “fractured” bedrock aquifer that flows toward the river, according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

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Shumlin, Dubie weigh in on Vermont Yankee

From the Brattleboro Reformer:
Vermont’s top two gubernatorial candidates weighed in on an already controversial issue this election cycle when Republican Brian Dubie and Democrat Peter Shumlin both released statements regarding the recent detection of tritium in a decommissioned drinking water well at the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant.
Dubie, the state’s incumbent lieutenant governor from Essex Junction, said he was troubled by the latest reports at the Vernon-based facility after state health officials reported a sample taken from a former drinking water well was contaminated with tritium on Friday.
Earlier this year, engineers at the plant traced tritium leaks to an old system of pipes. No tritium -- a radioactive byproduct of nuclear power as well as a naturally-occurring isotope -- was detected at the deepest range of the closed well, however.
Yankee opponents have deemed the nuclear plant unsafe with the radioactive material findings while advocates consider the tritium issue over-politicized because the concentration detected is relatively low when compared to Environmental Protection Agency drinking water standards.
"I’ve always said that the health and safety of Vermonters comes first. [Friday’s] discovery demonstrates the plant has much more work to do in order to regain the trust and confidence of Vermonters," Dubie said last week in a release. "I am calling on plant management to be open and forthright with information about the latest discovery. Questions must be answered. Trust must be rebuilt."
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Latest Discovery At Vermont Yankee Becomes Campaign Issue

From Vermont Public Radio:

Yankee was already front and center in this year's gubernatorial contest. As leader of the Senate, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Peter Shumlin organized a legislative vote against allowing regulators to extend Yankee's license for another 20 years.

Republican Brian Dubie opposed the Senate vote. He's talked repeatedly about the hundreds of jobs that could be lost if the plant shuts down as scheduled in 2012.

Entergy, security union reach agreement

From Wicked Local Plymouth:

 Security officers at Pilgrim Station Nuclear Power Plant have negotiated a new contract with Entergy Nuclear Operation – just in the nick of time.

The collective bargaining agreement between Entergy and the union expired at midnight Friday, Oct. 1, the same day negotiations took a turn for the better and heads began nodding.

“The fact is, we reached an agreement that was satisfactory to both parties,” Pilgrim Spokesman David Tarantino said this Friday. “We reached an agreement with local #25, the union for security officers, and they were scheduled to ratify it today. Membership has to accept it as well.”

Days prior to reaching an agreement, Jonathan Brain, president of United Government Security Officers of America (UGSOA), Local #25, said the negotiations had not been going well.

“The company refuses to acknowledge the ongoing problems concerning the officers as they relate to safety, harassment and intimidation of employees in the workplace by their managers, poor morale and the chilled environment created by management’s failure to appropriately address problems with their supervisors, and the quality of life of the workers in general,” Brain wrote in an e-mail to the paper.

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Constellation shelves proposal for Calvert Cliffs reactor

From the Washington Post:

Constellation Energy has shelved its proposal to build a new reactor at its Calvert Cliffs nuclear power plant, Obama administration officials said Friday, even though the administration had decided to award the project a $7.5 billion loan guarantee.

Senior administration officials said Constellation's decision was "a surprise," but a Constellation Energy spokesman Larry McDonnell said that the administration's loan guarantee terms were "unworkable" and that Constellation had told the Energy Department "we can't move forward."

The decision by Constellation deals a blow to the idea of a U.S. nuclear renaissance. Constellation and French power company Electricite de France are partners in Unistar, a joint venture that had intended to make the new Calvert Cliffs reactor the first of a fleet of identical units around the country. They filed the loan guarantee application in July 2007.

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Met-Ed Files 2011 Generation Prices

Met-Ed has  filed new generation prices that will go into effect on January 1, 2011. The full release is available here.

Nuclear renaissance (what renaissance?) continues to crash and burn

From Beyond Nuclear:

Anti-nuclear activists can be forgiven for launching into a chorus of "na na hey hey" today as another new U.S. reactor project bites the dust. The latest Nuclear Retreat comes from Constellation Energy which has ditched plans for a third reactor in Maryland at the Calvert Cliffs site. Constellation was looking at a $880 million price tag even with a federal loan guarantee from the Obama administration. Constellation's withdrawal is another blow for its French partner, EDF, already struggling with its reactor project on the French Normandy coast which is over-budget, behind schedule and beset with technical problems. It also deals a further blow to Areva whose flagship EPR reactor was destined for Calvert Cliffs. Beyond Nuclear also released a press statement on the Constellation decision.

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