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Solar in Pennsylvania

Bills proposed to aid solar industry
January 22. 2013 9:00AM - Last modified: January 22. 2013 9:38AM
Tim Stuhldreher

The Democratic chairman of the state House Environmental Resources & Energy Committee is introducing two bills aimed at strengthening Pennsylvania's commitment to green energy, particularly solar.

House Bill 100 would increase the amount of electricity the state's utilities must obtain from renewable sources, according to information from the office of state Rep. Gregory Vitali of Delaware County.

Pennsylvania's alternative energy portfolio standard requires 8 percent of utilities' electricity to come from renewable sources by 2021; Vitali's bill would raise that to 15 percent by 2023.

A second bill, House Bill 200, would provide $25 million per year to the PA Sunshine solar program, which gives rebates for small businesses and residences that install solar systems.

Advocates see measures such as H.B.100 and H.B. 200 as important tools for returning the state's solar installation industry to health. Solar installations expanded rapidly in Pennsylvania in the late 2000s, supported by state and federal subsidies, but the exhaustion of the PA Sunshine program's rebate funds and the collapse of the state's market for SRECs have hit the industry hard.

The Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry has opposed previous proposals to increase the state's green energy requirements, arguing they raise energy prices and give solar energy unjustified preferential treatment.

Vitali will host a Democratic Policy Committee hearing at 10 a.m. Jan. 29 in Bryn Mawr to discuss the proposed bills.

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NRC Determines Exelon "Deliberately Provided Incomplete and Inaccurate" Decommissioning Estimates; Enforcement Action Pending (January 31, 2013)

EXELON GENERATION CO., LLC - U.S. NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION (NRC) OFFICE OF INVESTIGATIONS (01) INVESTIGATION; SUMMARY OF 01 REPORT NO. 3-2010-034; NRC INSPECTION REPORT 05000456/2012012,05000457/2012012,05000454/2012012, 05000455/2012012,05000461/2012012,05000010/2012012, 05000237/2012012,05000249/2012012,05000373/2012012, 05000374/2012012, 05000352/2012012, 05000353/2012012, 05000219/2012012,05000171/2012012,05000277/2012012, 05000278/2012012, 05000254/2012012, 05000265/2012012, 05000272/2012012,05000311/2012012,05000289/2012012, 05000295/2012012, 05000304/2012012

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TMIA February 2013 Newsletter

This issue's articles include:

  • TMIA Advocates Revision of Evacuation Plans
  • NRC Suspends Decisions on Licensing
  • New Reactor at Susquehanna on Hold
  • Susquehanna Units Log Frequent Outages
  • PPL Rates Climb $71 Million on 1/1/13
  • NRC Gets New Chairwoman
  • Retiring Exelon CEO Says New Nukes Not Viable
  • Around the Nation
  • TMIA Friend John Hanger Seeks to Replace Corbett
  • Mangano’s Book Exposes the Risks of Nuclear Power

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TMIA February 2013 Newsletter

Incident Chronology at Susquehanna Steam Electric Station in Berwick: 1982- 2011

This chronology does not include the cost to the rate payer
to build Susquehanna-1 and -2. PP&L asked the Public Utility
Commission (PUC) for $315 million to recover the cost of
building Unit-1. The PUC granted $203 million on August 22,
1983, or a 16% increase to the customer. The company asked for
$330 million for Unit-2 but was allowed $121 million in April,
1985; an 8% increase to rate payers. In addition, PP&L
consumers have “contributed”  approximately $4.6 million
annually (since 1985) to the decommissioning fund.
(Also,  refer  to  May  15  and  August  13,  1998,  for  information
          on  “stranded  costs” passed on to  “hostage” PP&L  rate payers.)
Moreover, in the Winter 1999/2000, PPL unilaterally
devaluated the combined PURTA and Real Estate tax
assessments for the SSES. Prior to the Negotiated Settlement,
the nuclear power generating stations were assessed by PP&L at
approximately $1 billion. PPL is now claiming that the the SSES
is only worth $74 million or the same amount as the valuation of
the Columbia Hospital. If PPL prevails, the Berwick School
District and Luzerne County will experience revenue shock. PPL
is not paying or escrowing any moneys they owe to Luzerne
County and the Berwick School District.
    (See  April  23,  2001  and  July  13,  2003,  for  related  development).
The Susquehanna Steam Electric Station is owned by PP&L (90%)
and  the Allegheny Electric Cooperative (10%). The Allegheny Electric
Cooperative (AEC) is responsible for 10% of the cost of decommissioning.
PP&L’s consultant, TLG, estimated PP&L’s decommissioning share to be
$724 million. Therefore, the AEC is responsible for the remaining 10%, or
$79 million, of the $804 million projected funding  “target” for nuclear

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Incident Chronology at TMI from NRC: 1979-2012

March 28, 1979, 4:00 a.m. - Beginning of the Three Mile Island (TMI) Unit-2 loss-of-coolant, core melt accident. The plant came within 30 minutes of a full meltdown. The reactor vessel was destroyed, and large amounts of unmonitored radiation was released directly into the community.

March 28, 1979, 4:30 p.m. - Press conference of Lt. Governor William Scranton:
This is an update on the incident at Three-Mile Island Nuclear Power Plant today. This situation is more complex than the company first led us to believe. We are taking more tests. And at this point, we believe there is still no danger to public health. Metropolitan Edison has given you and us conflicting information. We just concluded a meeting with company officials and hope this briefing will clear up most of your questions. There has been a release of radioactivity into the environment. The magnitude of this release is still being determined, but there is no evidence yet that it has resulted in the presence of dangerous levels. The company has informed us that from about 11 a.m. until about 1:30 p.m., Three-Mile Island discharged into the air, steam that contained detectable amounts of radiation.

March 30, 1979 - Governor Richard Thornburgh recommended an evacuation for preschool children and pregnant women living within five miles of the plant. Out of a target population of 5,000, over 140,000 Central Pennsylvanians fled the area. Schools in the area closed... The U.S. House of Representatives committee examining reporting information during the accident concluded:
The record indicates that in reporting to State and federal officials on March 28, 1979, TMI managers did not communicate information in their possession that they understood to be related to the severity of the situation. The lack of such information prevented State and federal officials from accurately assessing the condition of the plant. In addition, the record indicates that TMI managers presented State and federal officials misleading statements (i.e. statements that were inaccurate and incomplete) that conveyed the impression the accident was substantially less severe and the situation more under control than what the managers themselves believed and what was in fact the case.

May 22, 1979 - Former control room operator Harold W. Hartman, Jr. tells Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) investigators that Metropolitan Edison- General Public Utilities (GPU) had been falsifying primary-coolant, leak rate data for months prior to the accident. At least two members of management were aware of the practice. NRC investigators do not follow-up or report the allegations to the Commission (See February 29, 1984, for first-ever criminal conviction of a nuclear utility for violating the Atomic Energy Act.)

June 22, 1979 - Governor Richard Thornburgh wrote to the NRC, expressing his "deeply felt responsibility for both the physical and psychological well being of the citizens of Pennsylvania." Thornburgh stated his "strong opposition to any plans to reactivate Unit -1 until a number of very serious issues are resolved."

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Incident Chronology at Peach Bottom Atomic Power Plant: 1974- 2012

Philadelphia Electric's (PECO) applied for a license to operate the
Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station in late-July, 1960. The application
was approved by the Atomic Energy Commission. Peach Bottom was a 40
megawatt, High Temperature Graphite Moderated reactor that operated
from 1966-1974.

Peach Bottom 2 & 3 , are 1,065 megawatt Boiling Water Reactor designed
by General Electric and engineered by Bechtel. Both reactors began
operation in July, 1974, but had their licensees extended by the Nuclear
Regulatory Commission (NRC) and are expected to operate though 2034.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and the Institute for
Nuclear Power Operations (INPO) have clearly demonstrated that
Philadelphia Electric's (PECO), renamed Exelon in 2000, performance has
historically been lackadaisical and sub-par. In order to put Peach Bottom's
operating history into perspective, it is necessary to review PECO's plant

According to Eric Epstein, Chairman, TMI-Alert: "Managerial
problems further aggravate and compound the inherent flaws with Peach
Bottom's reactor and containment structure." The reactors at Peach
Bottom are General Electric (GE) Boiling Water Reactors (BWR). Epstein
noted, "The GE-BWR is an obsolete design no longer built or constructed.
Many in the industry feel it is inferior to Pressurized Water Reactors.
Obviously the age of the reactors, and the subsequent embrittlement that
ensues, further erode the margin of safety."

Peach Bottom's Mark 1 containment structure has been
demonstrated by Sandia Laboratories to be vulnerable during a core melt
accident. Epstein explained: "The containment is likely to fail during a
core melt accident [like Three Mile Island] allowing radiation to escape
directly into the environment." Nuclear industry officials say the problem
with the Mark 1 is that it is too small and wasn't designed to withstand the
high pressure it is supposed to resist.

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Three Mile Island Nuclear Station, Unit 1 - Supplemental Information Needed for Acceptance of Requested Licensing Action Re: Proposed Revision to the Pressure and Temperature Limit Curves and the Low-Temperature Overpressure Protection Limits

Three  Mile Island Nuclear Station, Unit 1 – Supplemental Information Needed for Acceptance of Requested Licensing Action Re:  Proposed Revision to the Pressure and Temperature Limit Curves and the Low-Temperature Overpressure Protection Limits (TAC NOS. MF0424 and MF0425)

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SUSQUEHANNA STEAM ELECTRIC STATION, UNIT 1 - Follow-up Supplemental Inspection Report 05000387/2012011 with Assessment Follow-up Letter (ML13025A325)

SUSQUEHANNA STEAM ELECTRIC STATION, UNIT 1 – Follow-up Supplemental Inspection Report 05000387/2012011 with Assessment Follow-up Letter, dated Jan 25, 2013.

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