News

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Peach Bottom: Mid-Cycle Assessment Letter

Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station Units 2 and 3:  Mid-Cycle Performance Review and Inspection Plan

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Peach Bottom: NRC Inspection Report

PEACH BOTTOM ATOMIC POWER STATION, UNIT 1 - NRC INSPECTION REPORT NO. 05000171/2010007

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NRC Finalizes License Transfer for Zion Nuclear Power Station

NRC News
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
No. III-10-035

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has finalized the transfer of the possession license for the Zion Nuclear Power Station from Exelon Generating Company LLC to ZionSolutions LLC. The license transfer is effective as of today. The two unit plant is located about 40 miles north of Chicago.

The Zion station has been shut down since 1998. The NRC modified the original operating and possessing of radioactive materials license to a possession-only license for the purposes of storage and decommissioning activities.

On Jan. 25, 2008 Exelon submitted an application to the NRC requesting approval for a transfer of the possession license, management authorities and decommissioning trust fund to ZionSolutions, a subsidiary of EnergySolutions LLC. ZionSolutions was formed for the purpose of decommissioning the Zion site.

On May 4, 2009 NRC staff issued an order approving the license transfer. Some of the major issues NRC staff reviewed included financial qualifications, license procedures, transfer and maintenance of decommissioning funds and the assurance of dedicated disposal space.

“The NRC will continue its regulatory oversight of the decommissioning activities, from start to finish,” said NRC Region III Administrator Mark Satorius. “NRC staffers will conduct frequent inspections, review the performance of activities and help ensure the high safety standards set forth by the agency are maintained by the company.”

Under the license transfer, Exelon will retain ownership of the real estate and spent nuclear fuel. ZionSolutions will construct a dry cask storage facility and transfer the spent fuel to dry cask storage as part of the decommissioning plan. Following decommissioning, currently scheduled for 10 years, the license for the spent fuel will be transferred back to Exelon.

Nuclear Plant's Tear-Down Is Template

From the Wall Street Journal:

Exelon Corp. shut its Zion nuclear power plant 12 years ago rather than make costly repairs. Now, after spending more than $132 million babysitting it on the shore of Lake Michigan, the big nuclear operator is ready to have it torn down.

On Wednesday, Chicago-based Exelon, the nation's largest owner of nuclear plants, is expected to transfer its Zion nuclear licenses to EnergySolutions Inc., a nuclear waste storage and services firm in Salt Lake City, Utah, giving it full control of the Illinois site so it can oversee the demolition.

Both companies say the arrangement could provide utilities with a template for disposing of nuclear plants past their useful lives. It lets a utility focus on its business and puts a contractor in charge of demolition. The contractor receives government-mandated funds set aside years ago for plant closures.

Most of the recent focus on nuclear energy has concerned the cost of building new plants. But there's anxiety about dealing with old plants, too. Plant demolition poses a challenge because some equipment is radioactive and requires special handling. Radioactive waste must be sent to licensed sites or put in special storage, at the site.

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French Nuclear Watchdog Says EDF Has Problems With Flamanville EPR Liner

From Bloomberg:

Electricite de France SA, Europe’s biggest power producer, experienced renewed problems with welding quality at the EPR nuclear reactor being built in Normandy, according France’s nuclear safety agency.

Faults in welds of the containment liner of the Flamanville EPR, the utility’s first in France, were found during an inspection in July, the Autorite de Surete Nucleaire said in an Aug. 27 report on its website. EDF officials weren’t immediately available for a comment.

“Welding difficulties caused by the ergonomics of the welder’s post” were the cause of similar problems at the building site in 2008 and 2009 and treatment by EDF “was not performed correctly,” according to the report. The agency also said EDF was slow in detecting “inferior weld quality.”

EDF’s EPR, which was designed by Areva SA, is considered key to the utility’s ability to export nuclear technology to other countries. Earlier this month, EDF was asked for modifications of the control platform on the reactor, which is delayed and will cost more than expected.

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Peach Bottom: Relocate Surveillance Frequencies to Licensee Control

Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station, Units 2 and 3 – Issuance of Amendments Re: Adoption of Technical Specification Task Force (TSTF) Traveler 425, Revision 3, Relocate Surveillance Frequencies to Licensee Control (TAC Nos. ME2184 and ME2185)

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Exelon Expanding Into Wind Generation with Acquisition of John Deere Renewables

CHICAGO (Aug. 31, 2010) – Exelon Corporation today announced an agreement to acquire John Deere Renewables, a leading operator and developer of wind power, in a transaction that will add 735 operating megawatts of clean, renewable energy to Exelon’s generation portfolio, as well as an additional 230 megawatts in advanced stages of development.
 
The acquisition, valued at approximately $860 million with a provision for up to an additional $40 million upon commencement of construction on the advanced development projects, is an economically sound transaction that builds on the company’s commitment to renewable energy as part of Exelon 2020, a business and environmental strategy to eliminate the equivalent of Exelon’s 2001 carbon footprint. Exelon already is the least carbon-intensive of the large U.S. electric utilities, and this transaction marks its entry into owning and operating wind projects. Exelon will finance the transaction using Exelon Generation debt.
 
“Not only does this acquisition add value for Exelon shareholders, providing incremental earnings in 2012 and cash flows in 2013, but it also is one more way to implement a clean energy future,” said John W. Rowe, Exelon chairman and CEO. “Whether harmful emissions are priced or regulated, our combined capacity of nearly 19,000 megawatts of zero-emission wind, solar, hydro, landfill gas and nuclear power remains a clear competitive advantage that will only become more valuable.”
 
Under the terms of agreement, Exelon will acquire John Deere Renewables’ 735 megawatts of installed, operating wind capacity—enough to power 160,000 to 220,000 households—spread across 36 projects in eight states. Approximately 75 percent of the operating portfolio is already sold under long-term power purchase arrangements. As part of the acquisition, Exelon also has the opportunity to pursue 1,468 megawatts of new wind projects that are in various stages of development, including the 230 megawatts in advanced stages of development.
 
“We expect to see increasing demand for clean, efficient wind power at a national level and in the 29 states that already have a renewable energy standard,” Rowe said. “This acquisition gives Exelon a strong position in the wind generation business that adds diversity to our generation fleet and provides more options for future growth.”
 
The acquisition will become part of the Exelon Power division of Exelon Generation, which already includes more than 1,000 megawatts of owned and contracted renewable power, including hydroelectricity, wind, landfill gas and solar. Before this acquisition, Exelon was already the largest wholesale marketer of wind energy east of the Mississippi, with 352 megawatts of wind power capacity from five wind projects in Illinois, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Exelon Power also owns and operates a 10-megawatt solar plant in Chicago, the largest urban solar plant in the country.
 
Exelon expects to close the transaction with John Deere Renewables in the fourth quarter of 2010.
 
Barclays Capital acted as financial advisor to Exelon. Foley & Lardner served as legal advisors to Exelon and McDermott Will & Emery advised for certain tax matters.

Do-it-yourself solar power for your home

From CNN Tech:

Imagine outfitting your house with small, affordable solar panels that plug into a socket and pump power into your electrical system instead of taking it out.

That's the promise of a Seattle, Washington-based start-up that is working to provide renewable energy options -- solar panels and wind turbines -- for homes and small businesses. The panels cost as little as $600 and plug directly into a power outlet.

The company, Clarian Power, aims to be the first to bring a plug-in solar power system to the market, in 2011.

Clarian's president, Chad Maglaque, says the company's product is different from existing micro-inverters, which convert solar panels' power into AC current. Maglaque says his system has built-in circuit protection, doesn't require a dedicated electrical panel and plugs directly into a standard electrical outlet.

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Emergency Preparedness & Response News - Summer 2010

Emergency Preparedness & Response News is a quarterly newsletter that is published by NSIR/DPR to highlight recent and upcoming events of interest to the radiological emergency preparedness community.

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Is Entergy trying to sell Yankee?

From the Brattleboro Reformer:

According to Energy Daily, Entergy is looking for a buyer for its Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in Vernon. Two potential buyers -- Exelon Corp. and NRG Energy Inc. -- have already show an interest in the power plant, according to Jeff Beattie, a writer for Energy Daily.

"Apparently fed up with the troublesome investment -- and the difficult political environment it faces in the state -- Entergy Corp. has begun shopping its Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant to potential buyers," wrote Beattie.

Entergy declined to comment on the information given to Beattie by his sources because it's not company policy to discuss market rumors or speculation.

"But we have said that as part of Entergy's ongoing point-of-view based strategy, we would consider buying or selling any asset or business depending on what option creates the most value," Entergy spokesman Mike Burns, told Beattie.

Exelon, the nation's largest nuclear operator has performed at least a preliminary round of investigation into the possibility of buying Yankee, according to Beattie's sources. NRG Energy, which owns 44 percent of a pair of reactors in Texas, has also conducted preliminary reviews, wrote Beattie.

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