On a flat, low-lying island nestled in crisp waters off the west coast of Finland, the first nuclear power plant ordered in Western Europe since 1986 is inching toward start-up.
Over 4,000 builders and engineers are at work on the sprawling Olkiluoto 3 project, whose turbine hall is so cavernous it could house two Boeing 747 jets stacked on top of each other.
When it is dark, which in winter is most of the day, enormous spotlights throw into focus scores of scaffolding towers and the red hauling equipment that encircle the grey, unfinished reactor building.
From the Herald News:
Five years after radioactive tritium leaks from the Braidwood Nuclear power station became public, suspicion and frustration continue to fester among some of the people who live in the shadow of the Exelon plant.
The latest concern is for area ponds that are drying up. When Exelon Nuclear pumps water from a pond contaminated with tritium, water levels go down in nearby privately owned ponds, plant neighbors say. Coincidence?
Tom Zimmer doesn’t think so. When the Exelon pumping first started a couple of years ago, the water level in Zimmer’s nearby pond dropped about five feet. In recent months it has gone down even more, so much so that his fishing dock sits high above the water.
From the Daily Hampshire Gazette:
Brattleboro-based New England Coalition on Nuclear Pollution has called on federal regulators to require the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant's owners to do a complete analysis of connections between leaks of the Vernon reactor's feedwater piping system earlier this month and similar leaks at the plant in January 2009.
The coalition filed a petition with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to require and fully supervise a "thorough root-case analysis" of the system's inspection-port leak, and also a "comprehensive extent-of-condition review" of feedwater piping.
The UK Energy Secretary Chris Huhne has apologized for 40 years' worth of clandestine, illegal mutilation of the corpses of British nuclear energy workers. When these workers died, pathologists and coroners colluded with the energy authority to remove their organs without the consent or knowledge of their families, in part to remove the possibility of a lawsuit for cancer caused by their work environment, but partly out of a seeming cavalier, better-safe-than-sorry approach that had them scooping out organs that had no diagnostic value. The corpses were then stuffed with random detritus from around the shop to disguise their mutilation; for example, broomsticks were used in place of bones removed from workers who'd died of leukemia.
As the United States continues to look for clean, reliable energy to cut emissions and continue to provide power for the growing country, the nuclear power industry is making plans to expand. On Feb. 16, 2010, President Obama awarded the first loan guarantee for a nuclear plant under provisions of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The award of $8.3 billion for two additional reactors at Southern Co.’s Vogtle plant in Georgia is conditional until the plant receives a combined construction and operating license from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which is expected in 2011.
Southern is not the only energy provider looking to build new nuclear reactors in the U.S. And modular designs and the battle to finance new construction means nuclear power has been grabbing headlines across the globe.
In a series of interviews, Power Engineering magazine Associate Editor Brian Wheeler moderated this year’s Nuclear Power Executive Roundtable.
Participants included John Herron, president, CEO & chief nuclear officer of Entergy Nuclear; Mark Marano, Areva senior vice president of U.S. new build operations; Danny Roderick, GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy’s senior vice president for new plant projects; Christofer Mowry, president & CEO, Babcock & Wilcox Modular Nuclear Energy LLC; and Deva Chari, Westinghouse senior vice president of Nuclear Power Plants.
From Nuclear Street:
Operators at Exelon Nuclear’s Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station safely shutdown the Unit 3 reactor yesterday at 8 a.m. ET to allow workers to replace one of the station’s main power transformers. Station operators, who continuously monitor plant performance, made the determination to replace the transformer this weekend as a precaution.
Peach Bottom has six main power transformers, four of which have already been replaced as part of Exelon’s $87 million investment to ensure long-term equipment reliability at the station. The station’s Unit 3 ‘B’ transformer, one of two remaining units that have been in service since 1974, will be replaced with a spare unit of similar vintage that is currently on site. Both older transformers are scheduled for replacement next fall.
Station operators will take advantage of the outage to complete a host of other maintenance tasks that can only be performed while the unit is offline.
From Pioneer Press:
Xcel Energy took Monticello Nuclear Generating Plant off the electrical grid early Sunday so workers can repair one of 10 water heaters that feeds the reactor.
The feed water heaters heat incoming water before it is routed through the reactor. The water is boiled into steam that turns the turbine that generates electricity.
From the Huffington Post:
The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission has made it clear that America's 104 licensed atomic power reactors are not accidents waiting to happen.
They are accidents in progress.
And proposals to build a "new generation" of reactors are not mere scams. They comprise a predictable plan for permanent national bankruptcy.
On November 10, the USNRC delivered a stunning reprimand to Japanese-owned Westinghouse, which proposes building new atomic reactors here and around the world. The commission warned that the containment design for the new AP1000 did not include a "realistic" analysis of its ability to withstand a jet crash.
From Beyond Nuclear:
The Vermont Yankee nuclear plant, up for sale and scheduled to close in 2012, was shut down Sunday evening after radioactive water escaped from a pipe leading to the reactor. Meanwhile, half an hour earlier, at Unit 2 of the Indian Point nuclear power plant in Buchanan, NY, a transformer exploded causing the shutdown of that reactor. Both plants are owned by Entergy and have been plagued by leaks, mainly of tritium. Vermont Yankee has also endured a fire and the collapse of its cooling towers (pictured). Newly-elected Vermont Governor, Peter Shumlin, a former State Senator, led the charge to get the plant closed on schedule in March 2012, a move the State Senate approved last February. The State of Vermont's Public Oversight Panel on Vermont Yankee warned of Entergy Nuclear's neglect of maintenance last July. View more coverage from TIME; Wall Street Journal; Bloomberg; Los Angeles Times; Mid Hudson News; Reuters UK; AP Google; Brattleboro Reformer; Maine Public Broadcasting Network; Vermont Public Radio (1); Vermont Public Radio (2); Vermont Public Radio (3). The Diane Rehm Show on National Public Radio will air a live nationwide call-in show on the subject of nuclear power's future in light of these two Entergy shutdowns on Tuesday morning, Nov. 9th at 10 am Eastern; you can call into the Diane Rehm Show at (800) 433-8850, or email a question or comment to email@example.com.
Every operating US nuke was ordered before 1973. With one exception, all have run more than twenty years. Heavy doses of heat and radiation have embrittled metals and weakened concrete throughout. At Yankee, New York’s Indian Point, North Anna in Virginia and quite possibly all the rest, underground pipes continually leak radioactive tritium and other lethal isotopes.