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UCS annual NRC and nuclear safety report

Good Day:

Attached is the stand-alone executive summary and full report for "The NRC and Nuclear Power Plant Safety in 2012: Tolerating the Intolerable." They are being released on Thursday, March 7, 2013 at noon eastern time and we ask that the information be embargoed until then.

 

On March 11, 2011, I was on Capitol Hill to brief Congressional staffers on what was then the first in an annual series of reports on the NRC and nuclear safety. Since then, I've learned two things:

1) Try not to schedule briefings a few hours after major international nuclear disasters.

2) An annual series of reports means you gotta do one every year.

 

As in past reports, this year's report contains a section summarizing the "near-misses" last year - times when an event or discovery at a plant prompted the NRC to dispatch a team to investigate what happened and why. The NRC reported on 14 such near-misses in 2012.

Our report also contains a section on commendable outcomes achieved by the NRC last year. The NRC's hosting an international conference on security last December tops the list in our book.

We also have a somewhat longer section detailing bad outcomes last year. Topping, or bottoming, that section was the latest safty culture survey of the NRC's work force. The survey revealed a huge gap between how NRC's senior managers viewed things and how the NRC's rank and file viewed them --- the senior managers seeing no problems across the board. Could explain why the NRC "tolerates the intolerable" - nothing is intolerable when you don't give a damn.

For the first time, this year's report contains a trending section with observations from the three annual reports. Special recognition goes out to the Wolf Creek nuclear plant with four near-misses in three years - it hasn't missed a year yet. Like the Wizard of Oz being re-run every year, Wolf Creek having a near-miss each year has become tradition.

 

Thanks,

Dave Lochbaum
UCS

Download PDF

UCS annual NRC and nuclear safety report

Good Day:

Attached is the stand-alone executive summary and full report for "The NRC and Nuclear Power Plant Safety in 2012: Tolerating the Intolerable." They are being released on Thursday, March 7, 2013 at noon eastern time and we ask that the information be embargoed until then.

 

On March 11, 2011, I was on Capitol Hill to brief Congressional staffers on what was then the first in an annual series of reports on the NRC and nuclear safety. Since then, I've learned two things:

1) Try not to schedule briefings a few hours after major international nuclear disasters.

2) An annual series of reports means you gotta do one every year.

 

As in past reports, this year's report contains a section summarizing the "near-misses" last year - times when an event or discovery at a plant prompted the NRC to dispatch a team to investigate what happened and why. The NRC reported on 14 such near-misses in 2012.

Our report also contains a section on commendable outcomes achieved by the NRC last year. The NRC's hosting an international conference on security last December tops the list in our book.

We also have a somewhat longer section detailing bad outcomes last year. Topping, or bottoming, that section was the latest safty culture survey of the NRC's work force. The survey revealed a huge gap between how NRC's senior managers viewed things and how the NRC's rank and file viewed them --- the senior managers seeing no problems across the board. Could explain why the NRC "tolerates the intolerable" - nothing is intolerable when you don't give a damn.

For the first time, this year's report contains a trending section with observations from the three annual reports. Special recognition goes out to the Wolf Creek nuclear plant with four near-misses in three years - it hasn't missed a year yet. Like the Wizard of Oz being re-run every year, Wolf Creek having a near-miss each year has become tradition.

 

Thanks,

Dave Lochbaum
UCS

Download PDF

TMIA Hosts Documentary from Sundance on March 27, 2013

Three Mile Island Alert
315 Peffer Street Harrisburg, PA 17102

 

NEWS RELEASE
For Immediate Release March 4, 2013

 

For more information:

Tickets: Kay Pickering 717-233-7897

Issues: Eric Epstein 717-541-1101

Film: Don Argott or Sheena M. Joyce

215-238-0707 http://914pictures.com

The Atomic States of America to Play in Harrisburg

The directors of a documentary that garnered rave reviews at last year’s Sundance Film Festival will bring their film to Harrisburg’s Midtown Cinema to benefit Three Mile Island Alert (TMIA) on at 6PM on Wednesday, March 27.

The Atomic States of America journeys to nuclear reactor communities around the country to provide a comprehensive exploration of the history and impact of nuclear power and to investigate the truths and myths about nuclear energy. The film introduces people who have been on the front lines of this issue for decades, including community advocates, journalists, physicists, nuclear engineers, NRC inspectors, and former government officials. Prominently featured is TMIA’s Eric Epstein, who shares insights about the industry gained over his decades of activism.

Co-directors Don Argott and Sheena M. Joyce will be on hand to answer questions about the film.

The event at the Midtown Cinema starts with a wine and cheese reception at 6PM, followed by the showing of the film at 6:30, and concludes with Argott, Joyce, and Epstein fielding questions from the audience. Tickets are $10 each and available from TMIA.

WHAT:        Showing of the film The Atomic States of America to benefit Three Mile Island Alert

WHEN:       6:00PM, Wednesday, March 27, 2013

WHERE:    Midtown Cinema, 250 Riley Street, Harrisburg

WHO:         Don Argott and Sheena M. Joyce, co-directors

FOR TICKETS:     Kay Pickering at 717-233-7897
                              Or purchase online at www.TMIA.com
                              Tickets also on sale at Transit News at the Harrisburg Transportation Center

 

Download Release Information

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Status of 60-Day Response to Issuance of Flooding Integrated Assessment Guidance Related to the Near-Term Task Force Recommendation 2.1, Flooding Reevaluations

Status of 60-Day Response to Issuance of Flooding Integrated Assessment Guidance Related to the Near-Term Task Force Recommendation 2.1, Flooding Reevaluations

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Supplemental Information Related to Request for Information Pursuant to Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations 50.54(f) Regarding Flooding Hazard Reevaluations for Recommendation 2.1 of the Near-Term Task Force Review of Insights From the Fukushima

Supplemental Information Related to Request for Information Pursuant to Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations 50.54(f) Regarding Flooding Hazard Reevaluations for Recommendation 2.1 of the Near-Term Task Force Review of Insights From the Fukushima Dai-Ichi Accident

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NRC Regulatory Issue Summary 2013-02 Impact of Sequestration on NRC Activities and NRC Stakeholders

NRC Regulatory Issue Summary 2013-02 Impact of Sequestration on NRC Activities and NRC Stakeholders

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Three Mile Island Nuclear Station, Unit 1 - Review of Steam Generator Tube Inspection Report for Fall 2011 Outage (TAC No. ME8735)

Three Mile Island Nuclear Station, Unit 1 – Review of Steam Generator Tube Inspection Report for Fall 2011 Outage (TAC No. ME8735)

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5 Top Dems to NRC: Fukushima-style Reactors in U.S. Need Upgrades--filters for vents

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Eben Burnham-Snyder, Rep. Ed Markey, 202-225-2836

5 Top Dems to NRC: Fukushima-style Reactors in U.S. Need Upgrades to Prevent Hydrogen Explosions and Radiation Exposure

WASHINGTON (February 27, 2013) -- Five House Democrats who lead their respective committees today pressed the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to require that all U.S. nuclear reactors of the same design as the ones that melted down at the Fukushima nuclear facility in Japan install vents to help prevent hydrogen explosions in the event of a severe accident and reduce exposure to radiation when they are used.

The letter was sent to the NRC by Reps. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), the Ranking Member of the Natural Resources Committee, Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.), the Ranking Member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), Ranking Member of the Appropriations Committee, Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) Ranking Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee. The letter can be found HERE and is pasted below.
 
 
The Honorable Allison M. Macfarlane
Chairman
Nuclear Regulatory Commission
11555 Rockville Pike
Rockville, MD 20852

 

Dear Chairman Macfarlane:

            We are writing to urge the Commission to vote to adopt the recommendations of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) staff and require that all nuclear reactors that utilize a Mark I and Mark II boiling water reactor (BWR) design in the U.S. install filters on their hardened containment vents and ensure that these vents would be operable under severe accident conditions.

            On March 11, 2011, a powerful earthquake occurred near Japan and launched a tsunami that inundated the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. As a result, the nuclear reactors lost off-site power and several also lost backup power. With no power, cooling of the reactor cores failed and the cladding on the overheated fuel reacted with steam to produce hydrogen gas. This gas together with the steam created excessively high pressure in the reactor vessel. At this point in such a severe nuclear accident there are no good choices, but there are ways to make the consequences less severe. Venting the containment to relieve the pressure buildup and to remove the hydrogen can prevent damage to the containment and reduce the likelihood of a hydrogen explosion like the ones that occurred at Three Mile Island and several of the reactors at Fukushima.

            In the 1980s, NRC encouraged owners of all Mark I BWRs to install vents that are hardened to be able to withstand the pressures and conditions likely to be present when venting the containment during a nuclear accident. The reactors at Fukushima installed such vents as well, although the loss of power at the reactor site impaired the ability of the reactor operators to successfully use these vents. In the aftermath of Fukushima, the Commission rightly voted to require owners of all Mark I and Mark II BWRs to have hardened containment vents and to ensure that those vents would be reliable in an accident.

            While venting can protect the containment, in nearly all severe accident scenarios (where the vents are most desperately needed) there would be radiological materials in the vented gasses. To avoid unnecessary exposure of the public to radiological materials and to minimize land and water contamination, the gasses vented from the containment must be filtered. This is the practice in Canada and in many European countries. Recently, the NRC staff strongly recommended that the Commission similarly require the installation of filters engineered to work in severe accident conditions on the hardened containment vents of Mark I and Mark II BWRs.

            This common-sense measure to protect the public from radiological exposure should be implemented as soon as possible, and we encourage you and your colleagues to resist pressure to ignore the NRC staff recommendations.

            Thank you very much for your consideration of this important matter.

 

Sincerely,

 

Edward J. Markey                                                       Henry A. Waxman                
Ranking Member                                                         Ranking Member
House Committee on Natural Resources                    House Committee on Energy and Commerce
 
 
Nita M. Lowey                                                            Elijah E. Cummings  
Ranking Member                                                        Ranking Member
House Committee on Appropriations                         House Committee on Oversight & Government Reform
 
 
Eliot L. Engel
Ranking Member
House Committee on Foreign Affairs
 

# # #

NEWS ADVISORY: Year-End EIA Report Documents Strong Growth for Renewable Electricity

SUN DAY CAMPAIGN
6930 Carroll Avenue, Suite #340; Takoma Park, MD 20912
301-270-6477 x.11
sun-day-campaign@hotmail.com

News Advisory

EIA's YEAR-END ELECTRICAL GENERATION REPORT FOR 2012
REVEALS SOLAR GROWING BY 138.9%
WIND UP 16.6%, GEOTHERMAL UP 9.6%, BIOMASS UP 1.6%

WHILE NUCLEAR, COAL, AND OIL ALL DECLINE

For Immediate Release: Wednesday - February 27, 2013 
Contact:  Ken Bossong, 301-270-6477 x.11

Washington DC – According to the latest issue of the U.S. Energy Information Administration's (EIA) "Electric Power Monthly," with preliminary data through to December 31, 2012, non-hydro renewable sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, solar, wind) increased by 12.8% last year compared to 2011 and provided 5.4% of net U.S. electrical generation. Solar increased by 138.9% while wind grew 16.6%, geothermal by 9.6%, and biomass (i.e., wood, wood-derived fuels, and other biomass) by 1.6%. Moreover, since 2007, non-hydro renewables have more than doubled their contribution to the nation's electrical supply.

At the same time (2012 compared to 2011), total net U.S. electrical generation dropped by 1.1% with petroleum coke & liquids down by 24.1%, coal by 12.5%, and nuclear by 2.6%. In fact, coal, which only a decade ago provided more than half the nation's electricity, fell to 37.4% of net electrical generation while nuclear, for the first time in many years, slipped below 19.0%. Conventional hydropower also declined by 13.4% due to last year's drought and lower water flows, but natural gas expanded by 21.4% to provide 30.3% of net electrical generation.

Conventional hydropower and non-hydro renewable sources combined accounted for 12.22% of net U.S. electrical generation: hydropower - 6.82%, wind - 3.46%, biomass - 1.42%, geothermal - 0.41%, and solar - 0.11%. However, as EIA has noted in the past, these figures do not comprehensively reflect distributed, non-grid connected generation and thereby understate the full contribution of renewables to the nation's electrical supply. **

EIA's report also reveals the top renewable-electricity generating states for 2012:

Top Five Hydropower States: Washington, Oregon, California, New York, Idaho

Top Five Non-Hydro Renewables States: Texas, California, Iowa, Minnesota, Oklahoma

Top Five Wind States: Texas, Iowa, California, Oklahoma, Illinois

Top Five Biomass States: California, Florida, Maine, Georgia, Alabama

Top Five Geothermal States: California, Nevada, Utah, Hawaii, Idaho

Top Five Solar States: California, Arizona, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico

“Technical advances, falling costs, and the desire to address climate change have combined to rapidly expand the contribution of renewable energy to the nation's electrical generation,” said Ken Bossong, Executive Director of the SUN DAY Campaign. “With the right policy incentives, one can foresee these cleaner energy sources providing the bulk of the nation's electrical needs within a generation.”

Susquehanna – Request for Additional Information Regarding Request for Changes to Technical Specification Surveillance Requirements to Increase Diesel Generator Minimum Steady State Voltage (TAC Nos. ME9607 and ME9608)

Susquehanna Steam Electric Station, Units 1 and 2 – Request for Additional Information Regarding Request for Changes to Technical Specification Surveillance Requirements to Increase Diesel Generator Minimum Steady State Voltage (TAC Nos. ME9607 and ME9608)

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