From Portsmouth Patch:
Seven people were injured in a fire on a nuclear submarine at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard on Wednesday night.
The fire occurred in a forward compartment of the USS Miami SSN 755 that is primarily used for living areas and command and control spaces. The ship's reactor was not operating at the time and was reportedly not affected. Navy officials say it's too soon to tell if the $900 million submarine will be salvageable.
The cause of the fire remains unknown. An investigation into the cause has been launched, but is expected to take a long time to complete. Officials aren't saying if human error has been ruled out or if the focus is on mechanical issues.
The fire was reported at 5:41 p.m. Wednesday, and was extinguished about 10 hours later at 3:48 a.m. on Thursday, according to the shipyard. The nuclear propulsion spaces were physically isolated early in the event from the forward compartment fire and remained safe and stable throughout the event.
Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station, Units 2 and 3 - Request for Additional Information Regarding License Amendment Request for Use of Neutron Absorbing Inserts in Spent Fuel Pool Storage Racks (TAC Nos. ME7538 and ME7539)
Remember when Pennsylvania consumers were promised rate relief and economic prosperity as a result of electric deregulation? On August 4, 2000, Secretary of Revenue Robert A. Judge Sr. predicted future electric bills would be a costs savings’ bonanza.
"We expect electric competition will help create more than 36,000
From Pilgrim Coalition:
Today the NRC Commissioners voted to give Entergy its license to run Pilgrim for another 20 years. The NRC Chairman Greg Jaczko blasted his fellow Commissioners, saying this bad decision is “unprecedented” and tramples the rights of Massachusetts residents to have their concerns over safety and the environment resolved before relicensing.
Make no mistake: this fight has just begun!
Despite what the regulators in Washington, D.C. say, our state and local communities have independent powers over what happens at Pilgrim. We are organized, committed, and have the power of the grassroots. We will continue to fight the NRC and Entergy’s high paid lobbyists and lawyers with people power, backed up by our squadron of talented volunteers that includes experts, lawyers and people from all walks of life.
The NRC has backed us into a corner by denying our request for safety and environmental fixes. Its time for Plan B: decommissioning.
Call Governor Patrick and tell him: “We the people of Massachusetts do not want the Entergy-Louisiana’s dangerous reactor and its high level radioactive waste dump in our back yard. It’s time to decommission.”Here's the Governor's phone number: 617-725-4005
Spread the word, stay tuned and get in touch to find out how you can help.
Call us at 781-585-2322 or send us an email by visiting www.pilgrimcoalition.org click on contact.
Thank you for your continued support!
From Rep. Markey:
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- In an unprecedented move to end-run the rules allowing for full resolution of outstanding issues at America’s nuclear power plants before renewal of licenses, a vote released today by Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Chairman Greg Jaczko indicates that his was the only dissenting vote against granting the staff’s request to move forward to authorize relicensing the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station. Congressmen Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) decried the move by the Commission to approve the staff recommendation to bypass outstanding administrative proceedings and judicial appeals related to nuclear and environmental safety.
The current license for Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station expires in June 2012, and Entergy Nuclear Operations, Inc. has requested permission to continue operating the plant for another 20 years. Some of the pending proceedings and appeals include those referred by the NRC to its own advisory board for resolution, while others were brought forward by members of the public and the Massachusetts Attorney General.
“This vote is an unprecedented subversion of the rules governing relicensing of the nation’s nuclear reactors. It is the latest in a long series of votes that demonstrate a reckless disregard for safety and the public on the part of Commissioners Magwood, Svinicki, Ostendorff and Apostolakis," said Rep. Markey, dean of the Massachusetts Congressional delegation and senior member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over the NRC. “The NRC shouldn’t be short circuiting the process and short-changing residents by moving forward with license approval before all the efforts to improve nuclear and environmental safety at Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station have been resolved. Pilgrim’s history of safety and security issues demands full transparency and accountability in the decisions affecting its relicensing so residents can be assured that the process is fair and serves the public interest.”
Reps. Markey and Keating sent a letter to the NRC on May 4 urging the Commission not to move forward with its decision on whether to issue the twenty-year license extension for the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station until final resolution on all related administrative proceedings and judicial appeals. Reps. Markey is also the author of H.R. 1242, The Nuclear Power Plant Safety Act. The legislation calls for a moratorium on nuclear power plant licenses, license extensions, and new nuclear reactor designs until an overhaul of nuclear safety to address the inadequacies exposed by the Fukushima meltdowns is completed. Rep. Markey has additionally sent two other letters related to the apparent failure of the NRC to properly consider all potential environmental impacts associated with continued operation of the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station.
From Richard Watts:
I thought you might find this new book useful and a good read...Back in 2010 Vermont legislators voted to close the state's nuclear power plant, putting the state at odds with the federal government and the plant's owner--the Louisiana-based Entergy Corporation. Entergy sued in federal court and today the case is under appeal. Many think it will end up at the U.S. Supreme Court.
In Public Meltdown: The Story of the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant I spotlight the role of citizens and activists in forcing the vote to close the plant and look at the role of state governments in the decisions about the nation's aging nuclear power fleet.
Greenpeace's Jim Riccio said "This book should be read by all who care about their communities and the health of the planet." Vermont's former Governor, Howard Dean called it "A terrific and well-written look at what really happened in the Vermont Yankee debacle..."
See what you think. At (Amazon) http://amzn.to/w8YorsOr your local bookstore. Comments welcome...
Best wishes, Richard Watts, University of Vermont
From PA DEP:
The Department of Environmental Protection will begin a three-month amnesty program on June 1 to help identify unregistered X-ray machines and bring operators into compliance.
“This initiative offers a limited-time opportunity for medical providers to come into regulatory compliance without suffering a penalty,” DEP Secretary Mike Krancer said. “The registration and inspection program is essential to safeguard all Pennsylvanians from unnecessary exposure to radiation while maintaining proper diagnostic quality.”
All health care providers with radiation-emitting equipment are required to register their machines with DEP. The providers are required to pay equipment-registration and inspection fees, which go toward Bureau of Radiation Protection operations.
The amnesty period will give unregistered medical facilities the opportunity to comply with current regulations. While they will be required to pay all delinquent and current fees, they will be absolved of any potential civil penalties related to registration.
The amnesty period will run from June 1 to Aug. 31. During that time, DEP’s Bureau of Radiation Protection will contact medical, dental, podiatric, chiropractic and veterinary associations to let them know about the amnesty program and reinforce details of the agency’s regulations.
Request for Withholding Information From Public Disclosure for Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station, Unit Nos. 2 and 3 (TAC No. ME7538 and ME7539)
One of the reactors at Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant has a hole in its main vessel following a meltdown of fuel rods, leading to a leakage of radioactive water, its operator said on Thursday.
The disclosure by Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) (9501.T: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) is the latest indication that the disaster was worse than previously disclosed, making it more difficult to stabilize the plant.
The discovery of the leak provides new insight into the sequence of events that triggered a partial meltdown of the uranium fuel in the No. 1 reactor at Fukushima after the plant was struck by a massive earthquake and tsunami on March 11, officials said.
The battle to bring Fukushima under control has been complicated by repeated leaks of radioactive water, threatening both the Pacific Ocean and nearby groundwater.
Workers at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant have been pumping water into at least three of the six reactors on the site to bring their nuclear fuel rods to a "cold shutdown" state by January.
But after repairing a gauge in the No. 1 reactor earlier this week, TEPCO discovered that the water level in the pressure vessel that contains its uranium fuel rods had dropped about 5 metres (16 ft) below the targeted level to cover the fuel under normal operating conditions.
"There must be a large leak," Junichi Matsumoto, a general manager at the utility told a news conference.
"The fuel pellets likely melted and fell, and in the process may have damaged...the pressure vessel itself and created a hole," he added.
Regardless of the outcome of the ongoing debate about the proposed Yucca Mountain geologicwaste repository in Nevada, the storage of spent nuclear fuel (SNF)—also referred to as “highlevelnuclear waste”—will continue to be needed and the issue will continue to be debated. Theneed for SNF storage, even after the first repository is opened, will continue for a few reasons.First, the Obama Administration terminated work on the only planned permanent geologicrepository at Yucca Mountain, which was intended to provide a destination for most of the storedSNF. Also, the Yucca Mountain project was not funded by Congress in FY2011 and FY2012, andnot included in the Administration’s budget request for FY2013. Second, even if the plannedrepository had been completed, the quantity of SNF and other high-level waste in storageawaiting final disposal now exceeds the legal limit for the first repository under the NuclearWaste Policy Act (NWPA). Third, the expected rate of shipment of SNF to the repository wouldrequire decades to remove existing SNF from interim storage. Accordingly, the U.S. NuclearRegulatory Commission (NRC) and reactor operators are considering extended SNF storagelasting for more than 100 years.
The debate about SNF typically involves where and how it is stored, as well as what strategiesand institutions should govern SNF storage. The earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and resultingdamage to the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, caused some in Congress and NRC toconsider the adequacy of protective measures at U.S. reactors. The NRC Near-Term Task Forceon the disaster concluded it has “not identified any issues that undermine our confidence in thecontinued safety and emergency planning of U.S. plants.” Nonetheless, NRC has accepted anumber of staff recommendations on near-term safety enhancement, including requirementsaffecting spent fuel storage and prevention and coping with station blackout. NRC is notrequiring accelerated transfer of SNF from wet pools to dry casks, but the SNF storage data fromthe last several years indicate that accelerated transfer has already been occurring.
As of December 2011, more than 67,000 metric tons of SNF, in more than 174,000 assemblies, isstored at 77 sites (including 4 Department of Energy (DOE) facilities) in the United States locatedin 35 states (see Table 1 and Figure 5), and increases at a rate of roughly 2,000 metric tons peryear. Approximately 80% of commercial SNF is stored east of the Mississippi River. At 9commercial SNF storage sites there are no operating nuclear reactors (so-called “stranded” SNF),and at the 4 DOE sites reactor operations largely ceased in the 1980s, but DOE-owned and somecommercial SNF continues to be stored at DOE facilities. In the United States, SNF is storedlargely at nuclear reactor sites where it was generated. Of the 104 operating nuclear reactors inthe United States, all necessarily have wet storage pools for storing SNF (wet pools are requiredto allow for a safe “cooling off” period of 1 to 5 years after discharge of SNF from a reactor). Wetstorage pools are used for storage of approximately 73% (49,338 out of 67,450 metric tons ofuranium, or MTU) of the current commercial SNF inventory, whereas the remaining 27% (18,112MTU) of commercial SNF is stored in dry casks on concrete pads or in vaults. As wet storagepools become filled to capacity using “dense packing” storage methods, dry storage isincreasingly being used, although there are 27 sites with 36 wet storage pools with no dry caskstorage capabilities.
This report focuses on the current situation with spent nuclear fuel storage in the United States. Itdoes not address all of the issues associated with permanent disposal of SNF, but rather focuseson the SNF storage situation, primarily at current and former reactor facilities for the potentiallyforeseeable future.