(TAC NO. ME7229)

Download ML113550167


From The Economist:

There is a breathtaking serenity to the valley that winds from the town of Namie, on the coast of Fukushima prefecture, into the hills above. A narrow road runs by a river that passes through steep ravines, studded with maples. Lovely it may be, but it is the last place where you would want to see an exodus of 8,000 people fleeing meltdowns at a nearby nuclear-power plant.

Along that switchback road the day after the earthquake and tsunami on March 11th 2011, it took Namie’s residents more than three hours to drive 30km (19 miles) to what they thought was the relative safety of Tsushima, a secluded hamlet. What they did not know was that they were heading into an invisible fog of radioactive matter that has made this one of the worst radiation hotspots in Japan—far worse than the town they abandoned, just ten minutes’ drive from the gates of the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant. It was not until a New York Times report in August that many of the evacuees realised they had been exposed to such a danger, thanks to government neglect.

Read article


From Environment News Service:

In the context of Indian Point's relicensing, the attorney general's office argued that the NRC has the obligation to require Entergy to complete analyses of cost-beneficial measures, or to require that the measures be adopted - consistent with NRC's own regulations, as well as those of the National Environmental Policy Act and the Administrative Procedure Act.

On July 15, the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board issued a decision, agreeing with the attorney general that Indian Point cannot be relicensed without completing the legally-required analyses of its severe accident mitigation measures.

Now, Schneiderman says, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission must require Indian Point's owner, Entergy, to either adopt cost-effective upgrades that would improve responses and control the impact of a severe accident, or provide a compelling reason why it will not do so.

Read article


Franklin Delano Roosevelt, before he died, said that December 7th would live in infamy.
He certainly won't say the same about December 15th, since he's dead, but if he weren't he might.
Attached are two licensee event reports both dated December 15, 2011.
One is for Peach Bottom in Pennsylvania and the other is for Perry in Ohio. Both involve violations of federal safety regulations (Criterion 17 in Appendix A to 10 CFR Part 50) requiring two or more connections between a nuclear power plant and its offsite electrical grid. Both times, there were one or fewer connections.
On October 18, 2011, Perry was preparing to restart from an outage. At 12:12 am (way early in the morning), workers performed a surveillance test to verify that two or more connections to the offsite power grid were available and operable. At 4:19 pm that afternoon with the reactor being started up, workers found that one of the required offsite power connections had been disconnected and Danger tags hung. Workers fixed that illegal configuration within an hour or so.
On November 16, 2011, workers at Peach Bottom belatedly figured out that a modification installed at the plant in the mid-1990s to "upgrade the reliability of the offsite sources" actually failed to do so due to "an inadequate design of the auxiliary power" to the new transformer. Basically, that new transformer used the same auxiliary power source as another transformer, such that failure of that auxiliary power source disabled both transformers. [The transformers in questions were connections between the offsite electrical grid and the plant --- they increased the voltage of outgoing electricity to that of the grid and decreased the voltage of incoming voltage to that of the plant.] The LER was submitted because Peach Bottom had counted operability of these two transformers as satisfying the federal safety regulation for two or more offsite power sources, when in fact they were but a single source due to their lack of separation/independence.
Where's the beef?
Safety studies generally rely on the backup power supply from onsite emergency diesel generators and take little credit for the normal power provided by the electrical grid. But there's a caveat --- the reliability of the offsite electrical grid is a factor in the safety studies. The less reliable the offsite grid, the more reliability the emergency diesel generators must be. Also, the now well-known station blackout event (e.g., the Fukushima script) ends when either an onsite emergency diesel generator is recovered or offsite electrical power is restored. Having two or more connections to the offsite power grid BEFORE the station blackout event is considered in determining how long it'll take to restore one of them.
Once again, U.S. federal safety regulations protect Americans from disasters such as that occurring at Fukushima last March.
Or rather, these regulations would provide that protection if only they were met.
Dave Lochbaum

Download ML11356A077
Download ML11356A089


No. 12-001
January 3, 2012

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission seeks public comment on a report updating preliminary assumptions for an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) the agency will develop to analyze the effects of storing spent nuclear fuel from the nation’s commercial power reactors for as much as 200 years.
The EIS will be part of the agency’s effort to update its Waste Confidence Decision and Rule, last updated in 2010. The report being made available for comment is an early effort to obtain public input about the general scope of the EIS before the NRC formally initiates the EIS “scoping” process. The EIS will include analyses of environmental impacts that are directly related to the long-term handling, storage and transportation of commercial spent fuel and high- level waste.
The report discusses several storage scenarios, including at nuclear power plants, regional or centralized storage sites or a combination of storage and reprocessing of spent fuel. A key assumption is that extended storage would be managed under a regulatory program similar to current regulation of spent fuel. To analyze the impacts associated with the scenarios, the staff will develop generic, composite sites for each scenario, and these sites will account for a range of characteristics of actual reactor and storage sites.
The report, entitled “Background and Preliminary Assumptions for an Environmental Impact Statement – Long-Term Waste Confidence Update,” was posted Jan. 3 on the NRC website. The report updates assumptions first laid out in SECY-11-0029, dated Feb. 28, 2011.
As revised in 2010, the Waste Confidence Decision and Rule included the Commission’s confidence that spent fuel can be safely managed until it undergoes final disposition. At the same time, the Commission directed the staff to prepare a long-term update to the Waste Confidence Decision and Rule that would cover extended storage of spent fuel. This long-term update is to
be informed by the analysis and conclusions of the EIS anticipated in the current report.

Comments on the report may be filed by email to or by U.S mail to Christine Pineda, Project Manager, Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards, Mailstop EBB-2B2, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001.


News releases are available through a free Listserv subscription or by clicking on the EMAIL UPDATES link on the NRC homepage ( E-mail notifications are sent to subscribers when news releases are posted to NRC's website. For the latest news, follo


(TAC NO. ME7229)

Download ML113550167



•    January 3, 2012: Notice of Violation. (Enclosed)

•    On November  8, 2011 – The NRC issued a severity level IV violation  against the plant operator for failure to notify the  NRC of the change  in medical  status of a licensed reactor operator. It was determined that the operator  needed to wear eyeglasses as early as April 2009, but plant licensee PPL  “did not inform the NRC or request an amended license” for the operator  until August 2011.

“Therefore,” the NRC said, “the reactor operator performed license duties  without an NRC-approved, amended license from April 2009 through August 2011, until the NRC identified the issue.”

The NRC noted that this is a “repetitive” issue. (See report dated Jan. 28, 2010, in which a senior reactor  operator continued to conduct NRC-license activities after not meeting a specific medical prerequisite and there was no notification to NRC to ensure the person’s license was conditioned to require  corrective lenses.) In that Jan. 28, 2010, report, the NRC noted that a civil penalty would not be proposed, but “significant violations in the future could result in a civil penalty.”

•     The NRC issued a report on May 12, 2010, covering a three-month inspection ending on March 31, 2010

The report also discusses the previously discussed failure of two senior reactor operators to meet specific medical requirements for performing their duties. PPL submitted a written response on Dec. 10, 2009 describing its action to restore compliance and prevent recurrence. The NRC said it again reviewed PPL’s plan of action and determined that “PPL’s response and corrective actions were reasonable and appropriate” to address the notice of violation and it “does not require any additional information for these issues and considered these issues to be closed.” (Details of this issue are contained in prior reports from the NRC.)

•    In letter dated Nov. 13, 2009, the NRC noted that it completed an inspection of units 1 and 2 on Sept. 30, 2009. It said the inspection uncovered two examples of an apparent violation. The apparent violation is being considered for escalated enforcement action in accordance with NRC Enforcement Policy, the letter said.

The incidents involved a failure to ensure that individual license holders, on shift in the capacity of senior reactor operators (SRO), met the medical prerequisites required for holding a license prior to performing the duties of a licensed operator.

On one occasion in August 2009, a person performed as an SRO during three watches with a license “that was not appropriately conditioned to require that corrective lenses be worn.” In the second incident, a different SRO performed licensed operator duties 52 times between April 1, 2009, and July 22, 2009 - after the deadline for his biennial (every two years) medical examination.

Upon discovery, plant owner PPL removed both individuals from watch-standing duties pending follow-up medical evaluations.

The latest NRC report does not mention any possible civil penalty for the level IV violation.


Download PDF


From the Huffington Post:

The year 2012 has opened with news that Fukushima's radioactive cloud may already have killed some 14,000 Americans, according to a major study just published in the International Journal of Health Services.

Germany and Japan, the world's third and fourth largest economies, along with numerous others countries, have definitively turned away from the "Peaceful Atom."

But it hasn't yet been buried. That's up to us. And 2012 is the year to do it.

We are already very close. The mythical "Nuclear Renaissance" has been gutted by Fukushima, low gas prices and the escalating Solartopian revolution in green energy. Solar panels, wind turbines, sustainable bio-fuels, geo-thermal, ocean thermal, increased efficiency and much more have simply priced atomic energy out of the market.

There is virtually no private money to build new reactors -- except where there are huge government subsidies and guarantees. In 2012 we must make those all go away.

Likewise, there are increasingly powerful grassroots movements focused on shutting reactors that still operate. Germany has shut 7, and the rest will be gone by 2022, if not earlier. In Japan, just 11 of more than 50 reactors now operate. Because local governments can prevent nukes from re-opening once they go down for refueling, Japan could emerge from 2012 without a single nuke on line.

The biggest US battle is at Vermont Yankee. March 21 is D-Day for forcing a nuclear corporation to honor a solemn contract it signed with a sovereign state, agreeing to shut down if the state doesn't approve continued operations. The legislature wants the reactor shut, which Entergy now refuses to do.

Read article




For Immediate Release:  Tuesday - January 3, 2012
Contact:  Ken Bossong, 301-270-6477 x.11
Washington DC – According to the most recent issue of the "Monthly Energy Review" by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), with data through September 30, 2011, renewable energy sources continue to expand rapidly while substantially outpacing the growth rates of fossil fuels and nuclear power.
For the first nine months of 2011, renewable energy sources (i.e., biomass/biofuels, geothermal, solar, water, wind) provided 11.95% of domestic U.S. energy production. That compares to 10.85% for the same period in 2010 and 10.33% in 2009. By comparison, nuclear power provided just 10.62% of the nation's energy production in the first three quarters of 2011 -- i.e., 11.10% less than renewables.
Looking at all energy sectors (e.g., electricity, transportation, thermal), renewable energy output, including hydropower, grew by 14.44% in 2011 compared to 2010. Among the renewable energy sources, conventional hydropower provided 4.35% of domestic energy production during the first nine months of 2011, followed by biomass (3.15%), biofuels (2.57%), wind (1.45%), geothermal (0.29%), and solar (0.15%).
(On the consumption side, which includes oil and other energy imports, renewable sources accounted for 9.35% of total U.S. energy use during the first nine months of 2011.)
Looking at just the electricity sector, according to the latest issue of EIA’s "Electric Power Monthly," with data through September 30, 2011, renewable energy sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, solar, water wind) provided 12.73% of net U.S. electrical generation. This represents an increase of 24.73% compared to the same nine-month period in 2010. By comparison, electrical generation from coal dropped by 4.2% while nuclear output declined by 2.8%. Natural gas electrical generation rose by 1.6%.
Conventional hydropower accounted for 8.21% of net electrical generation during the first nine months of 2011 - an increase of 29.6% compared to 2010. Non-hydro renewables accounted for 4.52% of net electrical generation (wind - 2.73%, biomass - 1.34%, geothermal - 0.40%, solar - 0.05%). Compared to the first three quarters of 2010, solar-generated electricity expanded in 2011 by 46.5%; wind by 27.1%, geothermal by 9.4%, and biomass by 1.3%.
“Notwithstanding the recession of the past three years, renewable energy sources have experienced explosive rates of growth that other industries can only envy,” said Ken Bossong, Executive Director of the SUN DAY Campaign. “The investments in sustainable energy made by the federal government as well as state and private funders have paid off handsomely underscoring the short-sightedness of emerging proposals to cut back on or discontinue such support.”


# # # # # # # #

The U.S. Energy Information Administration released its most recent "Monthly Energy Review" on December 23, 2011.  It can be found at:  The relevant charts from which the data above are extrapolated are Tables 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, and 10.1.  EIA released its most recent "Electric Power Monthly" on December 16, 2011; see: The relevant charts are Tables 1.1, ES1.A, ES1.B, and 1.1.A.