TMI Update: Jan 14, 2024

Did you catch "The Meltdown: Three Mile Island" on Netflix?
TMI remains a danger and TMIA is working hard to ensure the safety of our communities and the surrounding areas.
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US House passes bill banning uranium imports from Russia
By Timothy Gardner
December 11, 2023
"...The House bill contains waivers allowing the import of low-enriched uranium from Russia if the U.S. energy secretary determines there is no alternative source available for operation of a nuclear reactor or a U.S. nuclear energy company, or if the shipments are in the national interest...
U.S. nuclear power plants imported about 12% of their uranium from Russia in 2022, compared to 27% from Canada and 25% from Kazakhstan, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The United States was the source of about 5% of uranium used domestically that year, the EIA said.
Allowed imports of Russian uranium under the waiver would be gradually reduced to 459 metric tons in 2027 from about 476.5 tons in 2024.” ​​​​​​​
Nuclear Regulatory Commission - News Release
No: 23-079 December 13, 2023
CONTACT: David McIntyre, 301-415-8200
NRC Ends Probation of Mississippi’s Agreement State Regulatory Program; Heightened Oversight to Continue
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is discontinuing probation on Mississippi’s program for regulating the use of radioactive materials. This decision is the result of an NRC review earlier this year, which found that the state has made significant progress in addressing several areas of unsatisfactory performance.
The NRC placed Mississippi’s program on probation in September 2022, marking the second time the agency has taken such action.
Mississippi’s “Agreement State” program will remain under heightened oversight, which involves frequent interaction with the NRC staff, including bimonthly conference calls and periodic status reports. The NRC will formally review Mississippi’s progress again in approximately two years.
Mississippi is one of 39 states that have entered into agreements with the NRC to provide them with the regulatory authority to license and regulate certain nuclear materials users within their borders. The NRC retains an oversight role and periodically assesses the states’ programs for adequacy and compatibility with NRC regulations. The NRC also maintains responsibility for regulating commercial nuclear power plants.
Last year’s NRC review of Mississippi’s program concluded it was “adequate to protect public health and safety but needs improvement and not compatible with the NRC’s program.” This year’s review noted significant improvements in inspection, licensing, staff training, and incident and allegation handling.
The NRC staff’s 2023 report on Mississippi’s program, the Commission’s approval of the staff’s recommendation to discontinue probation, and NRC Chair Christopher Hanson’s letter to Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves are available on the NRC website.
Document Title:
Master Decommissioning Trust Agreement changes for Indian Point Nuclear Generating Units 1, 2 and 3, Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station, Palisades Nuclear Plant and the Non-Qualified Trust for Big Rock Point
Document Type:
Decommissioning Funding Plan DKTs 30, 40, 50, 70
Document Date:


                         FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
                  The Ohio Nuclear Free Network (ONFN)          
                             and Beyond Nuclear  
are not-for-profit research and education organizations concerned with the health, safety, environmental and accident risks posed by commercial nuclear power plants.                            
                                                                              Contact: Terry Lodge, esq.                            
                                                                                                 Kevin Kamps, Beyond Nuclear       240-462-3216 
                                                                                                 Julie Weatherington-Rice               614-436-5248 
                                               Connie Kline                     440-946-9012
On Tuesday November 28, 2023, these groups filed with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to intervene and requested an adjudicatory hearing in opposition to a 20-year license extension for the Perry Nuclear Power Plant. The petitioners raised three contentions regarding the inadequacy of Energy Harbor's (EH) License Renewal Application (LRA).  
CONTENTION 1: The Severe Accident Mitigation Analysis Is Inadequate. The Declaration on Perry Geological Problems by Julie Weatherington-Rice shows immediate as well as future risk due to: 
  • failure to undertake a thorough level of review of the structural integrity of the facility;  
  • an outdated geotechnical analysis of the Perry site that is not predictive of actual site conditions including earthquakes, lake erosion, and leaks from wet and dry storage moving to the lake; 
  • heat from the plant that could expand underlying shale and structurally undermine the facilities; 
  • solution of the underlying Salina (salt) Formation that could destabilize the entire site; 
  • landslides developing behind the rock shield of the bluff, dumping the rocks into the lake and exposing new faces of the bluff; 
  • known and unknown oil/gas and water wells threatening the integrity of nearby rock and soils. 
CONTENTION 2: The power generated by Perry is redundant; the plant can be permanently shut down without consequence to regional power availability. Energy Harbor exaggerates and misrepresents the importance of Perry as part of the post-2026 energy mix by: 
  • failing to provide projections, pricing information or assessment of incoming new generation resources; 
  • failing to provide statistical or factual analyses of electric overcapacity within Ohio, or from multiple neighboring states; 
  • neglecting to consider that Perry's generation is and will be too expensive; and 
  • failing to offer its customers voluntary energy efficiency programs. 
CONTENTION 3:  Perry's Tritium Problem 
Tritium is radioactive hydrogen.  It bonds easily with oxygen to form radioactive water.  Once tritium becomes part of the water molecule, it cannot be removed. Tritium readily crosses the placental barrier, resulting in significant biological consequences, including: 
  • damage to DNA; 
  • impaired physiology and development; 
  • reduced fertility and longevity; and 
  • can lead to elevated risks of diseases including cancer. 
     Yet over the proposed 20-year extension, Perry will routinely release all tritium in the primary coolant to the environs, either as water vapor or gas to the atmosphere. In addition, there have been numerous tritium spills and leaks of considerable concern over the past decade. 
The Petition for Leave to Intervene can be found here: 
Docket NRC-2020-0034-0008  
Increased Enrichment of Conventional and Accident Tolerant Fuel Designs for Light-Water Reactors
Capitol News Illinois | By Jerry Nowicki Andrew Adams
Published December 10, 2023 at 6:00 AM CST

A nuclear reactor

Andrew Adams Capitol News Illinois

While large-scale nuclear facilities like the Byron Generating Station won’t be allowed under a new law signed by Gov. JB Pritzker Friday, smaller-scale modular reactors are authorized under the plan.

Gov. JB Pritzker on Friday signed into law a measure that will allow for the limited development of new nuclear power generation technology in the state.

The measure, House Bill 2473, does not allow new large-scale power generation facilities like the six plants that are already operational in the state, but rather allows for new smaller-scale emergent technology.

Since 1987, the state has had a moratorium on any new nuclear power construction until the federal government designates a long-term disposal site for nuclear waste — something that has never occurred. The new law will take effect on June 1, 2024, but because permitting nuclear energy takes many years at the federal level, the earliest a nuclear project could be brought online in Illinois would be in the 2030s.

HB 2473 creates a regulatory structure for the construction of small modular nuclear reactors, or SMRs. The bill limits the nameplate capacity of such reactors to 300 megawatts, about one-third the size of the smallest of the six existing nuclear power plants in Illinois. It also requires the state to perform a study that will inform rules for regulating SMRs, which must be adopted by the Illinois Emergency Management Agency by January 2026.

The bill’s proponents say it’s a necessary step as Illinois tries to end its reliance on carbon-emitting power sources over the next two decades. But its opponents say it distracts from Illinois’ efforts to deploy 100 percent renewable energy production and is an endorsement of unproven technology.

The bill passed with bipartisan support in the Senate, 44-7, and the House, 98-8, on the final day of the fall veto session last month. The opposition came exclusively from Democrats. Pritzker vetoed an earlier version of the measure but helped usher the compromise through the legislature.

The bill’s sponsors said after its passage that it has the potential to bolster Illinois’ electric grid reliability as the state’s energy mix becomes increasingly reliant on intermittent technologies such as wind and solar.

Sen. Sue Rezin, R-Morris, sponsored the bill in the Senate, while Rep. Lance Yednock, D-Ottawa, was its House sponsor. Rezin noted last month that she is particularly interested in the potential for SMRs to be developed at the sites of former coal plants, avoiding the need to build new transmission lines, although that process could take many years.

David Kraft, an outspoken critic of nuclear energy and head of the Chicago-based advocacy group Nuclear Energy Information Service, testified against the measure at several points during the legislative process.

Kraft said he was concerned about the lack of existing SMR installations and the unproven nature of the technology. While some nuclear reactors of this scale exist in other countries, no commercial SMRs have ever been built in the United States.

Counting Illinois, 11 states currently have some level of nuclear construction bans on the books. Since 2016, five other states have either repealed or weakened their bans. Several of the states that have lifted their bans have done so to pave the way for SMR technology.

But the biggest U.S. player in that industry has seen several recent setbacks.

In November, NuScale Power – the only company with a federally approved SMR design – announced that it was canceling its highly watched “Carbon Free Power Project” in Utah, which would have been the first commercial project with a NuScale reactor. Still, its leaders say the company will continue with its other projects, which are at varying steps of regulation and planning.

Rezin told Capitol News Illinois last month she hopes Illinois’ and other states’ moves to reverse their construction bans will encourage nuclear energy development in the U.S.

Pritzker did not issue a statement but signed the bill along with 15 others that were sent to his desk following November’s fall veto session. That included a measure a that would require the state to purchase exclusively “zero-emission vehicles,” such as electric vehicles, after Jan. 1, 2030.

Senate Bill 1769 excludes law enforcement vehicles and vehicles purchased by the Illinois Department of Transportation as part of a program that provides buses to some mass transit systems.

Capitol News Illinois is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news service covering state government. It is distributed to hundreds of newspapers, radio and TV stations statewide. It is funded primarily by the Illinois Press Foundation and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, along with major contributions from the Illinois Broadcasters Foundation and Southern Illinois Editorial Association.

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Subject: NRC Request for Additional Information re. Susquehanna Relief Request RR-01 (EPID L-2023-LLR-0043)
ADAMS Accession No.: ML23334A168
Using Web-based ADAMS, select “Advanced Search”
Under “Property,” select “Accession Number”
Under “Value,” enter the Accession Number
Click Search 
Subject: NRC Request for Additional Information re. Susquehanna Relief Request RR-02 (EPID L-2023-LLR-0044)
ADAMS Accession No.: ML23334A150
Using Web-based ADAMS, select “Advanced Search”
Under “Property,” select “Accession Number”
Under “Value,” enter the Accession Number
Click Search
The State, Columbia, SC
Westinghouse official who helped SCANA fool the public on nuclear project to plead guilty 
By John Monk   Updated December 07, 2023 12:44 PM
The last defendant in the six-year-plus financial and nuclear construction scandal involving the now-defunct SCANA utility has agreed to plead guilty. 
The defendant, Jeffrey Benjamin, a former top executive at Westington Electric Co., is scheduled to plead guilty next Thursday in federal court in Columbia to the felony charge of “aiding and abetting the failure to keep accurate corporate records” — an action that in turn helped allow SCANA officials to lie to the public and regulators about the perilous state of its ongoing nuclear construction project in Fairfield County, according evidence in the case and documents filed Thursday in U.S. District Court. 
A plea deal says that Benjamin will be sentenced to between probation and 12 months in prison. He could also have a financial penalty of up to $100,000.
Had Benjamin been found guilty in a trial, the maximum penalty he would have been exposed to is 20 years in prison and a $5 million fine. However, as a first time offender with no criminal history, his sentence would have been much less than the maximum.
A statement issued Thursday through Benjamin’s attorney, William Sullivan of Washington, said, “When Mr. Benjamin became aware in late 2016 that SCANA’s securities disclosures were misrepresenting the risk of further construction delays, he regrettably allowed Westinghouse to continue to primarily focus on the potential for the construction schedule being achievable, rather than delivering a clear and specific message emphasizing the likelihood of further delays that would force SCANA to correct its securities disclosures.”