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Storm knocks out power plant's warning system

From ABC27:

A thunderstorm in southern York County knocked down trees Wednesday night. But that storm posed a much greater threat - it knocked out the warning system from a nearby nuclear power plant.

Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station is in Delta, York County. The towers that surround it are topped by emergency sirens. If there's a problem at the plant, they will sound the alarm - but a strong storm that knocked down trees and knocked out power also knocked out this first line of defense.

"There are more sirens, they are louder, the system's better than it was before," said nuclear watchdog Eric Epstein. "But the system has no value if it's not operating."

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Sept. 29th is International Radioactive Waste Action Day!

From Beyond Nuclear:

Beyond Nuclear, in coalition with allies which organized the grassroots radioactive waste policy summit in Chicago in early June, have declared Sept. 29th an international day of action and awareness raising on radioactive waste issues. The date was chosen to commemorate the worst known radioactive waste disaster -- a reprocessing storage tank explosion in the Ural Mountains of Siberia on Sept. 29, 1957, which contaminated an entire region, immediately killed hundreds, and undoubtedly has sickened and even killed many more since, due to the lingering radioactive contamination of a vast area of the environment. Please help spread the word by sharing the flyer and invitation to take action. Also check out the Facebook page.

NRC plays "Nuclear Waste Con Game" on the American people

From Beyond Nuclear:

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission yesterday updated its "Nuclear Waste Confidence Rule," expressing "confidence" that commercial irradiated nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste (implying reprocessing) can be stored safely and securely, either on-site or off-site, for 60 years after operation licenses have expired at atomic reactors. Added to 60 years of operations (40 year original licenses plus 20 years of extended operations -- NRC has rubberstamped approval for all 59 such license extensions applied for thus far), that adds up to a whopping 120 years of on-site storage, in pools and/or dry casks. That's over half the age of the United States as a country, going backwards in time! But the "first cupful" of high-level radioactive waste, generated by Enrico Fermi in 1942 during the Manhattan Project, has not been "safely and securely" dealt with in nearly 70 years! And suitable geology for a "safe and secure" permanent dumpsite has not been found in over 50 years of searching!

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Nuclear plant looks less likely

From the News & Observer:

After years of talking up the nuclear renaissance, Progress Energy concedes it may never build new nuclear reactors in North Carolina.

The Raleigh electric utility told state regulators this week that it is considering nuclear payment alternatives that include joint financing and co-ownership with other power companies. Progress is reassessing its nuclear options as consumer energy demand remains slack in the wake of the recession while construction costs remain high.

In one possible scenario, Progress could own a stake in a nuclear plant built by another regional utility. Such an option would not require building the reactors that Progress proposed two years ago at its Shearon Harris nuclear complex in Southwestern Wake County.

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Global Wind Power Capacity May Rival Nuclear Within Four Years

From Bloomberg:

Installed power capacity from wind turbines around the world will probably rival the potential generation of electricity from nuclear plants within four years, the Global Wind Energy Council said.

Installed wind capacity by 2014 will probably reach 400 gigawatts, Steve Sawyer, secretary-general of the council, said in an e-mailed statement. Current nuclear power capacity is about 376 gigawatts, according to the World Nuclear Association.

Investments in wind power last year exceeded money spent on all other energy technologies including nuclear power, according to the International Energy Agency. Fifty-nine reactors are presently under various stages of construction globally, the World Nuclear Association said on its website.

Growth of wind power in China and elsewhere is offsetting a decline in the U.S. and is little changed in Europe this year, GWEC said. China, the world’s most populous nation and second- biggest economy, will likely more than double the amount of wind power potential this year to about 18 gigawatts, Bloomberg New Energy Finance estimates.

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Peach Bottom: Sirens Unavailable due to Inclement Weather

Event Number: 46269
Event Date: 09/22/2010
Emergency Class: NON EMERGENCY


"During a thunder storm that extended across southern Pennsylvania and northern Maryland, 21 emergency sirens lost power in York County Pennsylvania and 8 emergency sirens lost power in Harford County Maryland. Exelon is communicating to the appropriate utilities to make emergent repairs to restore these sirens."

In accordance with Peach Bottom plant specific procedures because greater than 25% of sirens were unavailable, the licensee contacted the following: Pennsylvania and Maryland Emergency Management; Harford and Cecil counties in Maryland and Lancaster, Chester and York counties in Pennsylvania.

The licensee notified the NRC Resident Inspector.

Susquehanna: Coolant Injection System Inoperable

Event Number: 46268
Event Date: 09/22/2010
Emergency Class: NON EMERGENCY


"At 0830 [EDT] on 09/22/2010, the Unit 2 High Pressure Coolant Injection (HPCI) system was determined to be inoperable due to a minor lube oil leak on the 'A' supply filter. LCO 3.5.1 for the HPCI system was entered at 0830 [EDT] on 09/22/2010.

"The leak on the 'A' filter could not be immediately corrected. The 'B' filter was placed in service and leak checked satisfactorily. The LCO 3.5.1 action statements were closed at 1454 [EDT] on 09/22/2010.

"This incident is being reported as an event or condition that could have prevented fulfillment of a safety function required to mitigate the consequences of an accident in accordance with 10CFR50.72(b)(3)(v)(D)."

The licensee notified the NRC Resident Inspector.

Electrical glitch takes TMI offline

From the Press and Journal:

A faulty electrical device knocked Three Mile Island off-line for about 24 hours from Sunday, Sept. 19 to Monday, Sept. 20, halting the production of power.

The reactor did not shut down, but the malfunction, which affected the plant’s turbine generator, forced the unit off the grid.

The plant resumed producing electricity around 11 p.m. Monday, Sept. 20, officials said. It is the second time in six months that electric generation at the plant was interrupted by a mechanical problem. In March, oil leaking from two reactor coolant pumps forced the shutdown of the reactor for 31 hours.

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Educating students on Shale becoming focus

From the Times Leader:

A new teaching resource on one of the hottest topics in the region – natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale – hit the Internet on Tuesday.

Eric Epstein, founder of the nuclear energy watchdog group EFMR (the initials of family members) and the political forum, announced at a press conference at the state Capitol on Tuesday that the two organizations have produced “nonjudgmental” educational lesson plans and a resource guide entitled “Marcellus Shale: Natural Gas Energy.”

Because teachers often incorporate current community issues into their classroom lessons, Epstein thought it important to provide such a resource. His groups put out lesson plans on coal, nuclear, wind and solar energy in the past.

He hired educational consultant Diane Little, a former science teacher, to draw up the lesson plans and resource guide, which provide outlines and potential sources of information for lessons at the elementary, middle and high school levels.

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Long-term problem

From the Patriot News:

In response to a lack of long-term options, nuclear plants will be allowed to store high-level radioactive spent fuel on-site for up to 60 years after the plant stops operating, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has ruled.

Previously, nuclear plants were only allowed to store the waste on site for up to 30 years.

Neil Sheehan, a NRC spokesman, said the decision is in response to the lack of a national nuclear waste storage site.

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