Top Nuclear Stories (July 31st – Aug 3rd)

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Wow! the top stories are flopping all over the place! The UK nuclear plan just took a major dive as a $12 billion pound deal between France’s EDF and British Energy collapsed. Greenpeace is sueing France. Then the Brits acknowledged that 1950′s nuclear weapons tests hurt veterans in Australia. A U.S. sub accident off Japan, an accident at an IAEA facility in Austria, accidents at DOE’s ORNL, Praire Island… New cost estimtes, MOX test failures, and something about other energy issues? Wall Street wants more money to join the weenie roast, GNEP is dead, lawsuits against more uranium mining (deep breath here) and we now know that the number one issue in this country is the price of oil and the MSM’s push to get everybody lined up for drilling to hide the real plan to steal Iraq’s 100 billion plus barrels of oil… New Fuel cell discoveries, new led discoveries and the push for solar collectors!

And this was a slow news week? Enjoy!


Top Nuclear Stories Index

Reactors Security Safety Fuel Cycle N-Waste
Policy Weapons DOE Energy News OpEd

Nuclear Reactor News

col Progress applies for COL for new Florida plant
Progress Energy has submitted an application to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for a combined construction and operating licence (COL) for a potential new nuclear power plant in Levy County, Florida.

Green Party Energy Expert: ‘The Nuclear Industry Has Invented the Energy Shortfall’ -  – SPIEGEL ONLINE 
BÃrbel HÃhn, 56, deputy leader of the German Green Party’s parliamentary group, discusses her party’s opposition to nuclear energy, the market power of the major energy companies, and why she rejects warnings of a shortfall in energy supplies.

Xcel’s Prairie Island Nuclear Plant Goes On Alert | AHN
Xcel Energy issued an elevated alert level Sunday after traces of hydrazine were discovered in the turbine building at its Prairie Island Nuclear Plant in Red Wing, Minnesota. Hydrazine, an ammonia-like chemical used to avoid corrosion and rusting in pipes, was reported higher than normal levels.

Legislative committee supports Bellefonte nuke plan:Huntsville Times
A joint legislative committee Monday urged the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Tennessee Valley Authority to move forward with building a new twin-reactor plant next to the unfinished Bellefonte nuclear plant in Jackson County. The Permanent Joint Legislative Committee on Energy Policy unanimously adopted a resolution sponsored by Sen. Parker Griffith, D-Huntsville, supporting the action.

Lawmakers to probe Yankee decision: Times Argus Online
Change in radiation monitoring wasn’t approved by rules committee MONTPELIER — A legislative committee is investigating whether the Department of Health violated the law when it failed to get lawmakers’ approval for changing the way it calculates radiation emissions from the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant. The decision comes 10 days after the Department of Health announced in its annual report that Vermont Yankee was releasing 30 percent more radiation than the year before under the new method for calculating radiation emissions.

Oyster Creek foes appeal to force NRC review of metal fatigue  Asbury Park Press
Opponents of the relicensing of the Oyster Creek nuclear power plant in Lacey have filed an appeal of a ruling that rejected their efforts to have the issue of metal fatigue of the plant’s recirculation’s nozzles reconsidered by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Earlier this year a coalition of groups asked the Atomic Safety Licensing Board to reopen the relicensing record to reanalyze whether five recirculation outlet nozzles on the reactor vessel will sustain too much stress over an additional 20 years. The 38-year-old plant’s operating license is due to expire next April.

Investors who triggered a nuclear meltdown – Times Online
The grand plan for nuclear power in the UK has come to a grinding halt with EDF’s decision to abandon buying British Energy It’s not often that the blocking of a single deal brings a whole area of national policy to a grinding halt. Yet that is what has happened with the failed (for the moment) auction of British Energy (BE), our sole nuclear-power provider. When its sale to EDF, the French utility group, was halted on Thursday, government energy policy was derailed at the same moment.

Centrica plots £22bn British Energy deal – Telegraph
Centrica, Britain’s biggest gas and electricity supplier, is to sound out institutional shareholders about reviving plans for a £22.5bn all-share merger with British Energy, The Sunday Telegraph has learned. Centrica, which owns British Gas, will gauge the appetite of City investors for a paper deal following the last-minute hitch in British Energy’s takeover by EDF, the French government-controlled energy group, last week.

Indian Point Faulted on Siren-Upgrade Effort – NYTimes.com
THE panel of outside experts hired by Entergy Nuclear to review operations at Indian Point, part of the company’s campaign to improve its image as it seeks a 20-year license extension, found generally that the plant complied with minimum standards, but picked out one “very visible exception,” the emergency sirens.

Monroe Evening News: NRC to hold meeting at MCCC on licensing proces for Fermi
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will hold an open house and public meeting Aug. 20 at Monroe County Community College to discuss the licensing process for DTE Energy’s proposed new Fermi 3 nuclear plant. The “public outreach” meeting will start with an open house from 6 to 7 p.m., followed by a public meeting from 7 to 9:30 p.m. at the La-Z-Boy Center. The public will be invited to comment on and ask questions about the process.

Hearings Set on Building Reactor – washingtonpost.com
The Maryland Public Service Commission is holding several public meetings this month, beginning tomorrow, about whether a third reactor should be built at the Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant in Lusby.

Two new reactors at Vogtle could cost up to $14 billion
Two new reactors at the Vogtle site could cost up to $14 billion, Georgia Power said in an integrated resource plan filed August 1 with the Georgia Public Service Commission. Georgia Power said in the filing that its 45.7% share of the new reactors would cost about $4.4 billion if the PSC allows it to include the costs in its rate base as construction progresses. The Southern Co. subsidiary added, however, that if it is not allowed to do that, its costs for the two AP1000s would increase almost 30% to $6.4 billion.

British Energy bid reflects high risk | Markets | Reuters
It might be brinkmanship which caused key shareholders to reject EDF’s bid for British Energy at the last minute, but the move also highlights the difficulty seen in valuing the future of the nuclear power industry. After months of talks EDF’s board agreed on Thursday to make a full cash offer of around 765-775 pence a share, valuing the owner of most of Britain’s existing nuclear power plants at around 12 billion pounds.

Timeline: A history of British nuclear energy – Times Online
Labour’s forced sale of British Energy’s former Westinghouse unit (with its Nuclear Power division) to Japan’s Toshiba 2 years ago- against the loud objections of BE’s management- resulted in much of the mess of today.

Greenpeace to sue French Nuclear Industry | Greenpeace International
Over the last month there have been a catalogue of accidents at the French nuclear site Tricastin-Pierrelatte. We’ve followed all the breaking stories on our new weblog ‘Nuclear Reaction’. Now Greenpeace France has launched two court cases in an effort to find out what’s really been going on at the site.

British Energy blame game begins as EDF deal collapses – Telegraph
Recriminations over who was to blame for the collapse of the £12bn British Energy takeover deal have begun in earnest with questions raised over the credibility of the nuclear generator’s board and the Government’s entire energy policy. The deal fell apart late on Thursday evening when Sir Adrian Montague, chairman of BE, informed EDF shortly after 10pm that his board would be unable to recommend the French utility’s offer as a number of shareholders, including Invesco and M&G, felt it was too low.

Nuclear loan guarantees ‘undersized’: Goldman Sachs banker
At $18.5 billion, the US Department of Energy’s loan guarantee program for new nuclear reactors is “undersized,” John Gilbertson, a managing director at investment bank Goldman Sachs said Thursday. That would only be enough for about three new reactors, Gilbertson said at a Center for Strategic and International Studies meeting on the business case for nuclear power.

NRC to allow debate on license challenges | The Journal News
The lines in Indian Point’s relicensing battle were more clearly drawn yesterday and a few combatants were eliminated. A special board of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced that it would entertain debate on 15 of the 154 separate challenges to the nuclear plant’s application to keep making electricity in Buchanan until 2035.

Desoto Times: Entergy eyes nuclear, may ask you to help foot bill
Entergy, Mississippi’s largest utility provider, is asking federal officials to allow it to build a new nuclear power plant, and ratepayers could be asked to help pay for it.\n\nSix weeks into his job as Entergy’s new president and chief executive officer, Haley Fisackerly says with rising energy prices — especially the high cost of natural gas — Entergy is proposing the construction of the first nuclear power plant in the Louisiana-Mississippi region in more than 30 years.

Whitehaven News: Chapelcross closure moves a step closer
The Nuclear Installations Inspectorate (NII) has given formal consent for a three-and-a-half year programme to remove all fuel from the Scottish plant to commence. Chapelcross ceased generation in 2004 and preparations for de-fuelling the reactors including design, manufacturing, installation and the commissioning of a £30m upgrade to the de-fuelling route have now been completed.

Bloomberg: EDF May Sell U.K. Nuclear Sites to Win British Energy
Electricite de France SA, the world’s largest owner of nuclear power stations, may sell U.K. atomic sites to gain approval for the purchase of British Energy Group Plc, two people with knowledge of the talks said.

Brazil revives nuclear power plant – CNN.com
The Brazilian government has authorized the company, Electronuclear, to go back to work on the nation’s third nuclear power plant. Work on the Angra 3 reactor, near Rio de Janeiro, has been stalled for 22 years by a lack of money and political issues.

Environmentalists hope to stop TVA’s Bellefonte expansion: Knoxville News Sentinel
TVA should not be allowed to expand its fleet of nuclear reactors at the Alabama site where two partly completed reactors now stand, according to environmental groups who made their case Wednesday before an oversight board of the nation’s nuclear regulatory agency.


safety Nuclear Health and Safety News

Accidents Tarnish Nuclear Dream By Angelique Chrisafis
Sylvie Eymard’s Provence farmhouse kitchen should be the picture of French rural calm. But the stockpiles of bottled water, disinfectant rinse and disposable paper plates hint at something strange.

iaeaBBC NEWS | Europe | Plutonium leaks at Austrian plant
There has been a plutonium leak at a site run by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Austria. UN nuclear monitors said pressure had built up and plutonium had contaminated a storage-room at the Seibersdorf laboratory, south of Vienna.

Britain admits dangers of 1950s nuclear tests – World – smh.com.au
British defence chiefs have admitted servicemen were exposed to dangerous radiation during nuclear tests in Australia and the South Pacific in the 1950s. The admission, made after years of denials, is in papers filed with the High Court in London by Ministry of Defence lawyers.

Defence chiefs admit to nuclear deaths | NEWS.com.au
* Admission servicemen exposed to nuclear danger * Defence belives bomb tests led to deaths * Australian victims preparing to sue government BRITISH Defence chiefs have admitted servicemen were exposed to dangerous radiation levels during nuclear tests in Australia and the South Pacific in the 1950s. The dramatic admission, made after years of denials, features in papers filed with the High Court in London by Ministry of Defence lawyers.

Radiation exposed | Gristmill| Grist
The effect of radiation is not a subject I blog on a great deal, although it is a subject I have studied a great deal. Indeed, my uncle, a former nuclear physics professor at MIT, started our family Radon testing business, which was sold off years ago.

How much radiation is too much? (phillyBurbs.com) | Courier Times
The 750 tons of radioactive sludge that Waste Management agreed to accept at its local municipal landfills would expose the public to less radiation annually than watching TV, according to a U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission assessment.

Associated Press: Japan warned of possible nuclear leak from US sub
The U.S. Navy has warned that a nuclear submarine may have had radioactive leaks during recent port calls in Japan’s south, the country’s Foreign Ministry said Saturday. Japan’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it was informed by the U.S. Navy that a small amount of radiation might have leaked from the nuclear-powered USS Houston as it traveled around the Pacific.

Calls for change in nuke program: The Rocky Mountain News
The time has come for change in the federal compensation program for sick nuclear weapons workers, two men who have held key roles in the program said this week. More than 165,000 sick workers or their survivors – including more than 10,000 from the former Rocky Flats site near Denver – have applied to the eight-year-old compensation program. The aid program, which has been subject to multiple congressional hearings, also was the subject of a three-part investigative series in the Rocky Mountain News last week called “Deadly denial.”

Russian wreck radioactive – Aftenposten.no
The wreck of the Russian cruiser Murmansk was pronounced safe and free from radioactivity by government inspectors. However, equipment from the ship caused alarm when it triggered Geiger counters.

Public: Is nuclear plant safe? – OCRegister.com
One San Clemente resident wanted to know how area schoolchildren would be evacuated in case of an emergency at the San Onofre nuclear plant.

Karl Grossman: Nuclear-Powered Amphibious Assault Ships?
Most new large U.S. Navy amphibious assault ships would be required to be nuclear powered under the National Defense Authorization Act for 2009 which the House of Representatives has passed by a vote of 384 to 23. It now goes to the Senate where many senators are uneasy about the scheme as is the Navy and the shipbuilding industry in the U.S.

Group cites cancer risks in fight to halt nuke plant- al.com
But TVA lawyers say no evidence to support claim SCOTTSBORO – An environmental group cited cancer risks, an unstable terrain, Guntersville Lake’s diminishing aquatic life and several other reasons in its opposition Wednesday to building a second nuclear plant near here. Louis Zeller, director of the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League, presented information at a public hearing that he says shows exposure to low levels of radiation in a nuclear plant over its typical 40-year lifetime will lead to about 100 people getting cancer and about half of them dying from it.


Nuclear Security News

BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | Japan raid over ‘nuclear exports’
Police in Japan have raided the premises of a company suspected of illegally exporting machinery that could be used to make nuclear weapons. Officers targeted the headquarters of Horkos Corp and several related sites in the southern city of Fukuyama.


Nuclear Fuel Cycle News

Failed MOX test at Catawba may have implications for Oconee | GreenvilleOnline.com | The Greenville News
Officials have interrupted the multiyear test of converted plutonium fuel at a South Carolina nuclear reactor after the discovery of “excessive growth” in the fuel assemblies, two nuclear watchdog groups said Monday. Advertisement Officials with the two groups said the discovery has implications for other reactors, including Oconee Nuclear Station, where similar types of fuel assemblies using different fuel have produced “the same flaw.”

Area should celebrate death of GNEP | Chillicothe Gazette
Remember Global Nuclear Energy Partnership, the Bush nuclear wonder-program supposed to bring us “6,000 local jobs?” A jobs bonanza was promised at Piketon, so worthwhile as to warrant the postponement of public oversight and major site cleanup. Now the GNEP dinosaur is dead. In October, the National Academy of Sciences slammed the program as a hugely expensive exercise in sci-fi fantasy. In June, the House Appropriations Subcommittee provided “no funding for the Administration’s counterproductive, poorly designed, and poorly executed Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP)” in its markup of the 2009 budget. In July, the Department of Energy canceled the siting process for GNEP “facilities,” and tossed away the “candidate list” on which Piketon was included.

Bangkok Post  | The Rockefeller of nuclear power
Flame-licked doors of a hydrogen furnace clatter open at a Cold War bomb factory in the Altai Mountains of Kazakhstan, spilling a tray of baked metal capsules into the pale winter light. Each enriched-uranium pellet the size of a Brazil nut packs almost as much energy as a ton of coal. Former cognac and car salesman Mukhtar Dzhakishev says he plans to triple production at the Ulba Metallurgical Plant in Oskemen, a formerly secret city south of Siberia known in Russian as Ust Kamenogorsk.

NT uranium mine a vote-changer: Greens(Australian Broadcasting Corp)
The leader of the Greens Party says the prospect of a uranium mine going ahead near Alice Springs is a vote-changing issue for central Australians in the Northern Territory election. The Greens have candidates in six of the 25 seats across the Territory for next Saturday’s election.

Khaleej Times Online – Australia will not sell uranium to countries not party to NPT
Australia on Friday said it will support the safeguards agreement between the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and India, but has reaffirmed that it will not sell uranium to India or any other country that is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). “After careful consideration, the Australian government has formed the view that the safeguards agreement is a positive step which will strengthen nuclear non-proliferation efforts and is consistent with the non-proliferation objectives of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty,” Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said in a statement here.

TheChadronNews.com – Foreign ownership at issue in NRC hearing on mine
An attorney for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission faced tough questioning about foreign ownership of nuclear production facilities last week during a hearing in Chadron on the proposed expansion of the Crow Butte Resources uranium mine near Crawford. Acting as hearing officer for NRC’s Atomic Safety and Licensing Board, adminstrative judge Ann Young appeared unwilling to accept the interpretation of NRC staff attorney Andrea Jones that the ownership of the Crow Butte Mine by Canadian firm Cameco, Inc. should not be considered in the decision about whether to approve the mine expansion.

Durango Herald: Four groups sue over uranium leases
Conservation groups filed a lawsuit Thursday in federal court claiming that the Department of Energy needs to do more analysis on the impacts of proposed uranium mines near the Dolores River Canyon. The department is considering approving 38 uranium mines on 42 square miles of public lands in the area. The lawsuit claims that the department failed to adequately evaluate soil, water and habitat contamination threats as required by federal law.

42-Square-Mile Federal Uranium Program Challenged
DURANGO, Colo.— A coalition of conservation groups filed suit in federal court today, challenging the Department of Energy’s decision to vastly expand its uranium mining program on 42 square miles of public land near the spectacular Dolores River Canyon, a tributary to the Colorado River in southwest Colorado. The latest chapter in a Western uranium saga with a deadly legacy, the Department’s decision opens the door for the agency to approve up to 38 uranium mines. The decision, and the analysis upon which it relies, fails to adequately evaluate soil, water, and habitat contamination threats as required by federal law.

Santa Barbara News-Press: Environmentalists sue over Colo. uranium program
Environmental groups have filed a federal lawsuit claiming that a program clearing the way for uranium mines in western Colorado is illegal. The lawsuit filed Thursday in U.S. District in Denver says the Department of Energy’s environmental analysis of the leasing program on federal land last year was inadequate. The groups want the court to make DOE do a more comprehensive analysis of the impacts of past uranium mining and potential impacts of new mines.


Nuclear Waste News

Plutonium shipments halted – Fleetwood Today
Top-secret shipments from Sellafield of weapons-ready plutonium through British waters have been stopped. The Department for Transport has taken “regulatory action” to prohibit the shipments to Normandy on a ferry with few safety or security features.

BBC NEWS | UK |  Cumbria | Nuclear waste site plan opposed
Plans to dispose of radioactive waste at the site of a former opencast pit in Cumbria have met with opposition. Recycling and waste management firm Sita UK wants to buy land at Keekle Head, near Whitehaven, for the disposal of low level radioactive waste.

Developer won’t sue ABC over radioactive site – BrisbaneTimes
The developer of a commercial precinct at Newstead has ruled out suing the ABC after the national broadcaster ditched plans to build its new Queensland headquarters on the site following the discovery of high levels of radioactive material.

glowThe Trentonian – Tullytown fights to keep radioactive waste out of landfill
TULLYTOWN, Pa. – Borough leaders want “Trash Mountain” to grow green, not glow green. Thats why they’re fighting a plan to bring radioactive sludge to the Tullytown Landfill.

Bradenton.comm | Tallevast water treatment leaks
Polluted water in a treatment system leaked and filled secondary containment before residents of the beleaguered neighborhood said they heard and saw it pouring over the top onto the ground Sunday.

San Bernardino County gets EPA bill for radium cleanup at Chino Airport | Press Enterprise
he U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is billing San Bernardino County nearly a half-million dollars to pay for removing vintage aircraft gauges adorned with radioactive-laced paint from a hangar at Chino Airport. The county, which owns and operates the airport, and the federal agency made the agreement official last week although the cleanup was conducted in 2005, said Taly Jolish, assistant regional counsel for the EPA.

Bradenton.com | Tallevast death sets off autopsy struggle
The death of a Tallevast resident has set off a struggle between the family, the county, the health department, the medical examiner’s office and Manatee Memorial Hospital over an autopsy. Bobby Pitts, 54, died Sunday at Manatee Memorial Hospital after a weeklong battle with an infection that required surgery, according to family. Pitts was the son of Zasu Pitts and lived with his mother in a house that sits right next to the old beryllium plant that is the source of a 200-acre toxic underground spill beneath Tallevast.

Board to allow questions in nuke-dump licensing – Salt Lake Tribune
A state board decided Friday to let Charles Judd pose a few questions to EnergySolutions Inc. before the board decides whether he can appeal the radioactive waste company’s license renewal. A majority of Radiation Control Board members agreed that, since they had granted EnergySolutions attorneys the right to limited “discovery” in June, Judd ought to have similar access to relevant documents and interviews.

Italians to build transport vessel for spent nuclear fuel
The Russian state company on nuclear energy Rosatom this week signed an agreement with the Italian Ministry of Economic Development over the construction of a vessel for transports of spent nuclear fuel from bases on the Kola Peninsula.

Radioactive waste storage plan for mine – Fleetwood Today
Radioactive waste could be stored in a former opencast mine near Whitehaven. Recycling and waste management firm Sita UK said it is in discussions with Copeland Council about buying the site at Keekle Head. The company wants to re-use the derelict site for the “disposal of very low level radioactive construction and demolition wastes from Sellafield”.

TheDay.com – Nuke proponent seeks communities for waste sites
The Nuclear Energy Institute has located two communities interested in hosting commercial interim nuclear waste storage facilities, but it won’t identify them. The towns of Haddam and Waterford, past and present homes to nuclear-power facilities here in Connecticut, are not among several towns that have approached NEI voluntarily, said Marshall Cohen, NEI’s senior director for government affairs.

WIPP resumes waste intake from Los Alamos lab – Las Cruces Sun-News
The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant has resumed accepting shipments of radioactive waste from Los Alamos National Laboratory. The shipments from the northern New Mexico lab were stopped in June when a transuranic waste drum with prohibited levels of liquid was sent to the waste repository. The drum was later recovered and removed from the site. Shipments from sites other than Los Alamos resumed in June, but an investigation had to be done before the lab’s shipments would be allowed to continue.


Nuclear Policy News

FR: NRC: Entergy: Palisades license transfer
Entergy Nuclear Palisades, LLC (Palisades Nuclear Plant); Order Approving Indirect Transfer of Facility Operating License

FR: NRC: Pilgrim operating license transfer
In the Matter of: Entergy Nuclear Operations, Inc.; Entergy Nuclear Generation Company (Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station); Order Approving Indirect Transfer of Facility Operating License

TECO Seeks A Nuclear Partner
Tampa Electric Co. is shopping around for nuclear power, a source of carbon-free energy that will become increasingly valuable should regulators follow through with promises to limit carbon emissions.

The American Liberalism Project:: Silly Questions (nuclear india)
What are they thinking in Washington? Here is the Bush Administration pushing and some in Congress pulling for a nuclear sales deal with India in direct violation of international nuclear laws and strictures against selling nuclear technology and materials to a (nuclear) state which has not signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty. (India has 60 bombs.) The International Atomic Energy Agency gets to inspect 14 of India’s existing or planned 22 reactors, all “civilian facilities.”

FR Doc:NRC: New Performance-Based Emergency Core Cooling System Requirements
Notice of Availability and Solicitation of Public Comments on Documents Under Consideration To Establish the Technical Basis for New Performance-Based Emergency Core Cooling System Requirements AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission. ACTION: Notice of availability and request for public comment.

SUMMARY: The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is announcing the availability of Research Information Letter (RIL) 0801, “Technical Basis for Revision of Embrittlement Criteria in 10 CFR 50.46” and NUREG/CR-6967, “Cladding Embrittlement During Postulated Loss-of- Coolant Accidents,” and is seeking public comment on these documents. The NRC is soliciting comment on the subject documents to confirm that a sufficient technical basis exists to proceed with new performance- based regulations on emergency core cooling system (ECCS) acceptance criteria, and to identify issues that may arise with respect to experimental data development or regulatory costs or impacts of new requirements.

FR Doc:NRC: Eric Epstein; Denial of Petition for Rulemaking
AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission. ACTION: Petition for rulemaking: Denial. SUMMARY: The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is denying a petition for rulemaking submitted by Eric Epstein (PRM-54-5). The petition requests that the NRC amend its regulations that govern renewal of operating licenses for nuclear power plants. Specifically, the petitioner requests that the NRC conduct a comprehensive review of U.S. nuclear power plant licensees’ emergency planning during the license renewal proceedings. The NRC is denying the petition because the petition presents issues that the Commission carefully considered when it first adopted the license renewal rule and denied petitions for rulemaking submitted by Andrew J. Spano, County Executive, Westchester County, New York (PRM-54-02), and Mayor Joseph Scarpelli of Brick Township, New Jersey (PRM-54-03). The Commission’s position is that the NRC’s emergency planning system is part of a comprehensive regulatory process that is intended to provide continuing assurance that emergency planning for every nuclear plant is adequate. Thus, the Commission has already extensively considered and addressed the types of issues raised in the petition. Also, the petition fails to present any significant new information or arguments that would warrant the requested amendment.

The Times Herald – Peco predicts double-digit rate hike
Contrary to earlier projections, Peco customers can expect rate hikes of 19 to 20 percent when artificial price caps on utilities expire over the next few years, a company official revealed Wednesday. Until now, Peco held the somewhat envious position among Pennsylvania utilities as the only provider expected to raise electricity rates by single digits come January 2011. Those figures were according to estimates released by the state’s utility consumer advocate in May. Other companies such as Allegheny Power and PPL are expected to hike rates by 63 percent and 37 percent – respectively – when the Pennsylvania price caps expire.


Nuclear Weapons News

Associated Press: A look at nuclear programs in Iran, NKorea, India
President Bush has pursued nuclear containment deals with Iran and North Korea and a nuclear cooperation pact with India. None of the deals will be complete when he leaves office. Here is a look at the nuclear programs in each nation:

OpEdNews: 63 Years after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, “The Last Best Chance”
Sixty-three years ago this week war became obsolete in man’s quest to resolve conflict. On August 6, 1945 and three days later August 9, 1945 the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan were destroyed by the first atomic weapons used in war. The weapons, small and crude weapons by todays standards killed 90,000 and 40,000 people instantly and caused the deaths of 200,000 by the end of 1945 and an additional tens of thousands more over the next years.

Nuclear ban? Start with U.S. — Times Union – Albany NY
Wednesday is the 63rd anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, and an appropriate time to reflect upon the persistence of nuclear danger. The world’s nine nuclear powers continue to cling to some 27,000 nuclear weapons, almost all of them more deadly than that first atomic bomb, which annihilated an estimated 140,000 Japanese men, women, and children. They do so even as most people recognized long ago that nuclear war spells doom.

The Hindu : Hyde Act will determine path of deal: CPI(M)
The Communist Party of India (Marxist) on Saturday said the safeguards agreement approved by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) showed that the Hyde Act of the U.S. would determine the path of the India-US nuclear deal through the various stages. “The provisions of the Hyde Act and not the assurances made by the Indian Prime Minister in Parliament are shaping the course of the Indo-U.S. nuclear deal through the various stages,” the Polit Bureau of the party said in a statement here.


doe

Operational emergency terminated at ORNL : Local News : Knoxville News Sentinel
About 30 employees were evacuated this morning because of elevated radiation readings inside the Holifield facility.

Department of Energy – Department of Energy Awards $15 Million for Nuclear Fuel Cycle Technology Research and Development
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced it will award up to $15 million to 34 research organizations as part of the Department’s Advanced Fuel Cycle Initiative (AFCI). AFCI is the Department’s nuclear energy research and development program supporting the long-term goals and objectives of the United States’ nuclear energy policy. These projects will provide necessary data and analyses to further U.S. nuclear fuel cycle technology development, meet the need for advanced nuclear energy production and help to close the nuclear fuel cycle in the United States.

Y-12 fire results in evacuation of 95 employees – The Oak Ridger
A Monday morning fire at the Y-12 National Security Complex resulted in the evacuation of 95 employees, including two who were taken to Y-12 Occupational Health Services and released. “Emergency response personnel at the Y-12 National Security Complex are responding to a fire at the Oak Ridge facility,” stated a 10:24 a.m. e-mail from the Y-12 Site Office.

knoxnews.com | Nuke companies bond together
Oak Ridge-area companies in the nuclear services business have come together for their common good and formed the Tennessee Radioactive Material Processors and Brokers Association. According to a statement distributed by EnergySolutions, one of the members, the association was created “to provide a public forum for discussing national, state and local policies that may affect the nuclear industry.”

Amarillo.com |Pantex, Xcel water deal flushed
The plant is adding a second system in September to remove groundwater from a shallow aquifer and filter it to remove high explosives and chromium from earlier work there. With two systems in place, the plant will be pumping 850,000 gallons per day from 76 wells, said Dennis Huddleston, division manager of the projects division of Pantex.

Fluor, Honeywell team take over SC nuke complex
A partnership that includes Fluor Corp. and Honeywell International officially becomes manager and operator of the Savannah River Site. Savannah River Nuclear Solutions LLC says it takes over the Cold War-era nuclear weapons complex from Washington Savannah River Co. on Friday.


Other Energy News

A new Apollo project needed to solve the energy crisis – Salt Lake Tribune
Print Email Font Resize A new Apollo project needed to solve the energy crisis Pete Ashdown Article Last Updated: 08/02/2008 01:50:55 PM MDT Click photo to enlarge Pete Ashdown * « * 1 * » Last month we saw a Utah Republican congressional full-court press in favor of the oil and gas industries. Heir-apparent to the 3rd Congressional District Jason Chaffetz flew to Alaska and returned with the startling revelation that the energy crisis was solely the fault of Democrats. First Congressional District Rep. Rob Bishop notified his constituents via a slick newsletter that we need more oil, gas and coal.

Tide turns for wave power – Times Online
WIND POWER faces difficult obstacles, but its supporters can at least point to wind farms already in operation. By contrast, tidal power, often touted as an environmentally friendly alternative, has struggled. A firm quoted on London’s Alternative Investment Market believes it is on to the next big thing in carbon-neutral energy — wave power.

Lawsuit brings into the open TVA’s role as polluter | The Tennessean
There’s nothing like a trial to get a look at a large agency and its records that otherwise can be difficult to see. The lawsuit the state of North Carolina hit the Tennessee Valley Authority with to try to make it reduce air pollution wafting into that state has shone a rather large spotlight on the independent federal electricity producer. Advertisement What emerged over the 12 days of testimony included:

Senators unveil bipartisan energy plan – Los Angeles Times
In a possible breakthrough on energy, a bipartisan group of senators unveiled a compromise Friday that would preserve the oil-drilling ban off the West Coast while easing restrictions on exploration off the East Coast and in the Gulf of Mexico. The proposal also would provide billions to greatly expand the availability of vehicles powered by alternative fuels.

Daily Herald – Offshore drilling proposal includes nuclear interests
A Republican proposal to begin drilling for oil off the U.S. coast includes provisions that would significantly alter the country’s nuclear energy policy, potentially providing billions of dollars of profit for a nuclear waste disposal firm that the company’s former lobbyist-turned-congressman has inserted into the bill.

Don’t Be Misled On Energy And Taxes
The current discussion concerning offshore drilling is an example of how hard it is for our leaders to do the right things for the right reasons. If we Floridians are concerned about our pristine beaches, we should be more concerned about the use of septic tanks that are polluting our waters.

Associated Press: EPA approves air permit for Navajo power plant
Both environmentalists who have been fighting a proposed coal-fired power plant on the Navajo Nation and supporters of the project expected it: an air permit for the plant. On Thursday, the Environmental Protection Agency signed off on the permit for the Desert Rock Energy Project, which the agency says will set a new standard for coal-fired plants in the United States.

MIT Researchers Make Major Solar Power Breakthrough — Solar Energy — InformationWeek
Storing solar energy in batteries remains costly and inefficient. But that may not be true for much longer. MIT researchers have discovered a way to store solar energy that could make solar power in homes a mainstream energy option and might even make power companies obsolete, at least for residential needs.

The False Promise of Oil Shale’s Ability to Drop Energy Costs
With the continuing debate in Congress over the best way to rein in high energy prices, proponents of a full-scale commercial federal oil shale leasing program are hoping that consumer concerns about prices will translate into a windfall for major oil companies.

Newsvine – While Dems away, GOPers play  on oil drilling
About 20 House Republicans have cut short their August vacations, gathering on the floor to protest Democratic energy policy and demand that Speaker Nancy Pelosi call lawmakers back into session to vote on an energy package. The bill would include GOP demands for more domestic drilling.

t r u t h o u t | Kelpie Wilson | Birth of a New Wedge
The first meeting of the International Agrichar Initiative convened about 100 scientists, policymakers, farmers and investors with the goal of birthing an entire new industry to produce a biofuel that goes beyond carbon neutral and is actually carbon negative. The industry could provide a “wedge” of carbon reduction amounting to a minimum of ten percent of world emissions and possibly much more.

gasGasHole the Movie: History of Oil Prices and Alternative Energy
Auto and Oil Industries’ Impacts on Energy Has the United States government actually colluded with major auto manufacturers to keep fuel economy down over the past few to several decades? Has the government actually scratched backs with the oil industry in manipulating prices, alternating between wallet-crushing peaks and consumer-pacifying lulls in pricing?

Who is behind climate change deniers? | watoday.com.au
When the tobacco industry was feeling the heat from scientists who showed that smoking caused cancer, it took decisive action. It engaged in a decades-long public relations campaign to undermine the medical research and discredit the scientists. The aim was not to prove tobacco harmless but to cast doubt on the science.

t r u t h o u t | “Major Discovery” From MIT Primed to Unleash Solar Revolution
Scientists mimic essence of plants’ energy storage system. In a revolutionary leap that could transform solar power from a marginal, boutique alternative into a mainstream energy source, MIT researchers have overcome a major barrier to large-scale solar power: storing energy for use when the sun doesn’t shine.

Mark Weisbrot: Offshore Drilling Won’t Help, But “Green Stimulus” Can
“Gas prices – $4, $5, no end in sight, because some in Washington are still saying no to drilling in America,” says the narrator in the TV ad that Republican presidential candidate John McCain played last week. “Who can you thank for rising prices at the pump?”

Decline and Fall of America’s Energy Empire | OurFuture.org
The current debate over offshore oil leases has put America’s gargantuan energy appetite back on the discussion table this week. I’ve tried to stay out of it so far for two reasons. The first is that (here comes the full disclosure) I married into a family that’s been making its modest fortune in the oil patches of the American West for over a century, so there’s some personal interest at stake here. (The upside: I’ve got a box seat from which to report on at least some of the festivities.) The second is that as a futurist — trained in America’s oil center, Houston, no less — I take a much longer and systemic view of the situation. And that view gives my thinking about our energy future a rather different shape and direction.

Technology Review: Cheaper White-Light LEDs
Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are better than compact fluorescent bulbs–LEDs use less energy, last longer, and contain no toxic mercury–but for general white-light illumination, they’re still far too expensive for mass adoption. Now, researchers at Purdue University have taken a step toward making white LEDs with cheaper materials.

Pelosi blocks offshore drilling vote GOP wants
For weeks, pressure has been mounting in Congress to approve more domestic oil drilling, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has held the line, using her power to block a vote on offshore drilling.

Newsvine – Lawmakers head home after impasse on gas prices
Lawmakers sped for the exits Friday as Congress was to begin a five-week recess after a summer session noteworthy for bitter partisanship and paralysis on the issue topmost in the minds of many voters: the cost of gasoline.

Wind overtakes water in Britain’s green energy mix | Reuters
Wind supplied more of Britain’s electricity that water for the first time last year, while power generators preferred gas to coal and nuclear output continued to decline, according to new government data. Five percent of Britain’s electricity came from renewable sources in 2007, up from 4.6 percent in 2006, as more wind farms started feeding clean electricity into the network, helping cut the country’s carbon emissions.


Nuclear Editorial and Opinions

Letters: The new boom in nuclear weapons  | The Guardian
The revelation that a senior defence official has told the arms industry that the government plans to spend £3bn to replace the UK’s 160 nuclear warheads is truly deplorable (Report, July 25). If the government has reached even a preliminary view on the matter this should first be made known to parliament, and not to industrial interests.

Nukes can’t work, Sen. McCain | Philadelphia Daily News
TODAY, nuclear power is being heavily touted as an answer to global warming, not only by the nuclear industry but by some political candidates, most notably John McCain, who advocates building 100 nuclear plants in the U.S., 45 in the next 22 years.

Entergy evading responsibility: Rutland Herald
For those Vermonters not living in the immediate vicinity of Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant, it is possible that the issues of safety and liability seem to be someone else’s problem. However, with the restructuring plan cooked up by Entergy and supported by Gov. Douglas, this will not be the case in the future.

Yankee inspections shut out ‘eyes, ears’ |The Burlington Free Press
Recent news that there was yet another leak in the 42-year-old Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant’s cooling system underscores the need for independent evaluation of the plant. The public has rightfully lost confidence in the ability of Entergy to maintain Vermont Yankee. More importantly, this latest failure has raised questions about the ability of the Department of Public Service to oversee Entergy’s maintenance program.

Opinion | A Northwest distaste for nuclear power | Seattle Times
Twenty-five years ago this summer, prospects for a nuclear-powered Northwest imploded. In what was then the nation’s largest municipal bond default, the Washington Public Power Supply System told creditors it could not make payment on a $2.25 billion debt it incurred to build two large nuclear plants. Today, as we contemplate regional energy options, the Supply System’s abandoned projects still cast a shadow.

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