By CHRISTINE LEGERE
June 21, 2014
Last week, Allison Macfarlane, chairwoman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, responded to a March letter from Gov. Deval Patrick, in which he expressed concern over Pilgrim's recent performance downgrade as well as the absence of a "viable evacuation plan," in case of an accident.
"The unique geographical relationship between Pilgrim and the communities comprising Cape Cod and Southeastern Massachusetts could put those residents at serious risk should there be an accident," Patrick wrote.
The governor called for closing the plant if it failed to comply with "all health, safety and environmental regulations."
In her letter, Macfarlane assured him Pilgrim's performance complies with public health and safety standards. And she reiterated that the responsibility for an evacuation plan is on Patrick's shoulders.
"The commonwealth of Massachusetts has the overall authority for making protective action decisions (e.g., sheltering and evacuation) to ensure the safety of Massachusetts residents during a radiological event," Macfarlane said.
Plant critics say that authority would allow the governor to demand Pilgrim be closed because it's impossible to come up with a viable evacuation plan should the plant have an accident.
"The current evacuation plan for Pilgrim nuclear power plant is highly unrealistic, discounting the impacts of such basics as weather, traffic and human behavior," wrote Giselle Barry, a spokeswoman for Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass., in an email.
Until the plan is revised, Barry called it "a disaster waiting to happen."
Diane Turco, founder of the Pilgrim watchdog group Cape Downwinders, said Macfarlane's statement has exciting ramifications.
"She identifies the state as responsible for the public safety," Turco said. "Now the governor needs to reject the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency's evacuation plans because the plans have the Cape trapped."
Currently the emergency response plan developed by local and state emergency management officials covers only the 10-mile radius around the Pilgrim plant, the area defined by the NRC as the Emergency Planning Zone. Under that plan at least one of the Cape's two bridges would be closed in a nuclear accident to stop an exodus of Cape residents from slowing the evacuation from the 10-mile zone.
The only plan developed for the Cape is a generic traffic plan MEMA has put together for all emergencies, such as floods, hurricanes and severe storms.
Meanwhile, Cape leaders and Pilgrim watchdogs have clamored for years for an evacuation study.
Seth Rolbein, senior adviser for state Sen. Daniel Wolf, D-Harwich, noted that MEMA officials have said sheltering in place would likely be "the best and maybe the only option" for the Cape.
"Given that, from a public safety point of view, the responsible position is to begin on a plan for the decommissioning of the Pilgrim plant, that transitions the workforce and revenue, and protects the public safety," Rolbein said.
Last summer, KLD Engineering, a New York firm specializing in traffic patterns and evacuation planning, was hired by Entergy, Pilgrim's owner, and MEMA to survey Cape residents to determine how many would try to evacuate in a nuclear incident. They found more than half would race for the bridges.
MEMA spokesman Peter Judge said Wednesday that nothing has been done since KLD completed its survey last summer.
"Obviously there has been concern about the folks on the Cape," Judge said. "We're meeting with the Barnstable County Regional Emergency Planning Committee to discuss what the next steps in the traffic plan should be, and we'll go forward in conjunction with them, working on a plan if the worst case did occur."
Kevin Morley, public information officer for the county emergency planning committee, confirmed the plan for a meeting, but added solutions to the "no escape from the Cape" won't easily be found.
"The physical limitations of the geography make it a difficult situation," Morley said.
Follow Christine Legere on Twitter: @ChrisLegereCCT
Three Mile Island, Unit 1 - Staff Assessment of the Flooding Walkdown Report Supporting Implementation of Near-Term Task Force Recommendation 2.3 Related to the Fukushima Dai-Ichi Nuclear Power Plant Accident (Tac No. MF0290)Submitted by webEditor on Fri, 06/20/2014 - 20:19
Susquehanna Steam Electric Station, Units 1 and 2, Staff Assessment of The Flooding Walkdown Report Supporting Implementation of Near-Term Task Force Recommendation 2.3 Related to The Fukushima Dai-Ichi Nuclear Power Plant Accident (MF0288 and MF0289)Submitted by webEditor on Fri, 06/20/2014 - 20:12
Susquehanna Steam Electric Station, Units 1 and 2, Staff Assessment of The Flooding Walkdown Report Supporting Implementation of Near-Term Task Force Recommendation 2.3 Related to The Fukushima Dai-Ichi Nuclear Power Plant Accident (MF0288 and MF0289)
THREE MILE ISLAND NUCLEAR STATION, UNIT 1 – NRC CYBER SECURITY INSPECTION REPORT 05000289/2014405
The NRC has added your submission to the hearingdocket “TMI-Alert’s Testimony, June 10, 2014,” to the ADAMS public library, and it can be located as accession number ML14169A487, or by using the hyperlink listed below.
View ADAMS P8 Properties ML14169A487
Open ADAMS P8 Document (Letter - Testimony of Eric Epstein, RE: NRC's Draft Safety Evaluation in Support of the Proposed Extended Power Uprate License Amendment for Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station, Units 2 & 3)
Thank you for your submission.
Rulemakings and Adjudications Staff
Office of the Secretary
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Giselle Barry (Markey) 202-224-2742
Markey Queries NRC About Unescorted Access to U.S. Nuclear Power Plants for Chinese Personnel
Documents indicate NRC was aware that Chinese personnel met unescorted access requirements
Washington (June 16, 2014) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, today queried the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) about a “job shadow” program with Westinghouse that placed dozens of Chinese personnel at U.S. nuclear reactors at the same time at which several members of the Chinese military who were recently indicted by the Department of Justice were allegedly engaged in hacking of Westinghouse and other U.S. companies’ systems to steal trade secrets. At a June 4 EPW Committee hearing, NRC Commissioner George Apostolakis testified that NRC regulations did not allow for such unescorted access. However, a Westinghouse document obtained by Senator Markey’s office indicates that the NRC was told that Chinese nationals participating in the job shadow program “will meet unescorted access requirements” before their arrival in the U.S. Senator Markey is asking the NRC to correct the Committee hearing record in writing and respond to other questions about how the Chinese personnel were found to have met the criminal and other background checks required by NRC regulations.
Earlier this month, Senator Markey sent a letter to the NRC requesting any and all documents related to this “job shadow” program.
“While the specific actions that might have been taken by the Chinese participants while they were in the U.S. as part of the ‘job shadow’ program may be under investigation by the Department of Justice, the NRC has responsibility for examining the adequacy of its regulations when circumstances may reveal weaknesses therein,” writes Senator Markey in the letter to NRC Chairman Alison Macfarlane. “NRC also has a responsibility to provide accurate information to Congress.”
A copy of Senator Markey’s letter to the NRC can be found HERE.
June 10, 2014
Before the Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards Re: Nuclear Regulatory Commission's Draft Safety
Evaluation in Support of the Proposed Extended Power Uprate License Amendment for the Peach Bottom Atomic
Power Station Units 2 & 3
Three Mile Island Emergency Siren Test Scheduled for June 5
Sirens to sound for three minutes at 12:15 p.m.
LONDONDERRY TWP., PA. (June 3, 2014) – Exelon Generation will conduct its semi-annual, full volume test of the Three Mile Island emergency warning sirens on Thursday, June 5 at 12:15 p.m. During the test the sirens will sound for three minutes.
The emergency warning siren system consists of 96 sirens located in parts of Cumberland, Dauphin, Lancaster, Lebanon and York counties that are located within a 10-mile radius of TMI. The purpose of the sirens is to alert residents to tune to an Emergency Alert Broadcast Station for information from Pennsylvania state officials. During the test the Emergency Alert Broadcast system will not be activated.
Financing 101 for Contractors: Making Energy Efficiency Improvements Affordable for Your Customers
Affordability is a key concern of many homeowners when it comes to installing high efficiency and other energy-saving improvements. As the price of energy efficiency improvement increases, more and more consumers are looking for simple fixed rate monthly payment plans that can be offset by energy savings. Most consumers want the stability and certainty of a fixed monthly payment and many are reluctant to make the investment in energy efficiency upgrade if the only financing option they are offered by a contractor is a large cash payment or the type of variable payment or "teaser" rate plan that converts to a much higher rate and payment when the promotional period is over. Attend this FREE session to learn about Keystone HELP, Power Saver Loans and AFC's National Energy Loan Program and strategies that will help you grow your business from Ken Yeager, AFC First's Vice President of National Accounts.
When: Friday, June 20th
9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.
Coffee will be served
Where: Albright College
(Science Center, Room #256)
1621 N. 13th Street, Reading, Pennsylvania
Who Should Attend: All contractors in the HVAC, insulation and energy efficiency home improvement business