Top 100 Energy Stories (July 13th-19th)

radbullI’m kind of back… Had a great event. With lots of help and a good turnout. The event was all about the 75th anniversary of the 1934 general strike in SF.  It had major impacts on the city and the national labor scene.  An old labor historian had been prodding me for several years to do something… Wow… Now its hard to stop as I can actually see the benefits up close!

This is a rough poorly cleaned up newsletter.  I hope to get catched up soon.

Top Nuclear Stories Index

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


Nuclear Reactor News

London Free Press – Reactor shut down over lack of demand

The Bruce Power nuclear generating station has shut down one of its reactors.

The problem isn’t mechanical — it’s because there isn’t enough demand for the electricity generated by the station.

Spokesperson Steve Cannon says the manufacturing slowdown caused by the recession and a cooler summer have left Bruce Power with a surplus.

Cannon says a 795-megawatt reactor will be offline for at least a few more days and follows a brief shutdown in June for similar reasons.

He says it’s not something they like to do because nuclear plants are designed to run 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Cannon says the shutdown doesn’t affect any jobs and that all other units at Bruce Power remain online and available for service.

Warning signs on nuclear power – Telegraph

When in trouble the nuclear industry has traditionally sought government support and tried to stifle rival technologies. That seems to be happening again, says Geoffrey Lean.

Is the long-awaited “nuclear renaissance” starting to run out of steam even before it has got under way? It is too early to be sure, but there are disconcerting signs. Intriguingly, the nuclear industry itself is beginning to behave as if it is in trouble.

At first sight everything in the garden is growing if not glowing splendidly. On Wednesday, ministers reaffirmed atomic power as central to their strategy for building a low-carbon Britain. EDF (chief spin doctor, first sibling Andrew Brown) wants to build four reactors in Suffolk and Somerset the first for over 20 years and other companies are also drawing up plans. | Ontario | Province still mum on cost of new nuclear plant
It took three days to respond, but the government has challenged a report in the Star that pegged the cost of building a new nuclear plant in Ontario at between $23.6 billion and $26 billion.

Infrastructure Ontario, the agency responsible for procuring a reactor technology for the multibillion-dollar project, issued a statement Friday calling the Star report “inaccurate” because it “does not reflect the evaluation and/or analysis of the bids performed by Infrastructure Ontario.”

When asked about the degree of inaccuracy – for example, whether the reported bids were off by $1 million, $1 billion or more – agency spokeswoman Diane Flanagan would not say.

“We’re far from getting close to the end of the process, where there is a finalization of a deal. To comment specifically on a hypothetical number or numbers really wouldn’t serve anyone’s interest at this point,” she said.

Shawn-Patrick Stensil, a spokesman for Greenpeace Canada, asked how a figure could be called inaccurate if there’s nothing accurate with which to compare it.

AFP: US hopes India will reveal sites for nuclear plants
The United States hoped India would soon announce the location of two sites for US firms to build multi-billion dollar nuclear power plants, in line with a landmark deal struck last year.

The announcement could be made when US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visits Mumbai and New Delhi from Friday through Monday, according to Robert Blake, her point man for relations with India and neighboring countries.

Economist files opposition to Progress Energy nuclear reactors – St. Petersburg Times
Opposition to Progress Energy’s proposed rate increases continued bubbling up this week amid public hearings across the state. Among the latest opponents: Mark Cooper, an economist and author on the financing of nuclear power reactors. Cooper told the Florida Public Service Commission that it is “not prudent” to proceed with plans for building new Progress Energy nuclear reactors in Levy County and a similar Florida Power & Light project near Miami. Cooper estimated it would cost $1.9 trillion to $4.1 trillion more over the life of 100 new nuclear reactors than it would to generate the same electricity from a combination of more energy efficiency and renewables. Separately, the business-affiliated group Associated Industries of Florida intervened for the first time on a rate case, backing Florida Power and Light’s base rate increase. Associated Industries did not take a stance “at this time” on Progress Energy’s filings. Progress is seeking to raise its base rates 30 percent and wants to add roughly $3 to the average monthly bill to help pay for its planned nuclear plant. On Thursday, community hearings were held in St. Petersburg and Clearwater. Hearings continue Friday in Inverness and Ocala and wrap up next week before the issue heads to the PS | Opinion | Soaring nuclear costs make green option more attractive
Back in 2005, the Ontario Power Authority began drafting the province’s long-term electricity plan on the assumption that nuclear costs would be low and electricity demand
would be high.

Four years later, nuclear costs have nearly tripled and electricity demand is dropping, not growing as was assumed when the province decided it needed additional nuclear plants. Last year, the OPA admitted that nuclear had exceeded the threshold where it is no longer a cost-effective energy option.

Environmentalists seek to bar TVA nuclear reactor ::
Five environmental groups petitioned federal regulators Wednesday to block the only commercial nuclear reactor now under construction in the United States – an unfinished 1970s-era reactor the Tennessee Valley Authority is working to complete after three decades in mothballs.

The groups claim TVA failed to consider the impact on the Tennessee River, public health and safety and the utility’s need for more electricity when it revived a 1976 application for an operating license for the Watts Bar Plant Unit 2 reactor near Spring City, Tenn.

“TVA keeps pushing for more nuclear reactors in spite of the massive cost overruns they always have when they build them,” said Bill Reynolds, the nuclear committee chairman for the Sierra Club’s Tennessee chapter.

Associated Press: Entergy pushes to get spinoff of reactors done
Entergy Corp. has filed a proposal with utility regulators in New York state in a push to get approval of its long-running plan to spin off some of its nuclear power plants into a separate company.

Under a plan announced in late 2007, Entergy would spin off six nuclear reactors involved in the wholesale power business into a separate publicly traded company called Enexus Energy Corp.

Enexus would control five nuclear operations: Pilgrim Nuclear Station near Plymouth, Mass.; the James A. Fitzpatrick station in Oswego County, N.Y.; two units at the Indian Point Energy Center in Westchester County, N.Y.; Vermont Yankee in Vernon, Vt.; and Palisades Power Plant in Covert, Mich.

Aid cuts spark debate over Prairie Island nuclear plant
As Xcel Energy pushes plans to extend the life of the Prairie Island nuclear plant, Red Wing officials say that Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s state aid cuts have made them less confident in their longterm ability to protect it.

City officials, in an unusual step, have intervened in Xcel’s proposal before the state public utilities commission — a sign that Pawlenty’s budget cuts may have unintended consequences.

Cooper: Escalating Nuclear Reactor Costs Seen in Major Reversals for Industry on Wall Street and in Canada, Texas
Three major developments in the nuclear power industry in late June underscore the key findings of the The Economics of Nuclear Reactors, a report released on June 18, 2009 by economist Dr. Mark Cooper, a senior fellow for economic analysis at the Institute for Energy and the Environment at Vermont Law School. The Cooper report finds that it would cost
$1.9 trillion to $4.1 trillion more over the life of 100 new nuclear reactors than it would to generate the same electricity from a combination of more energy efficiency and renewables.

Piketon cool to nuke plan | Cincinnati.Com
Despite the promise of thousands of jobs in this hard-hit part of Appalachia, some community members are skeptical as Duke Energy considers building a nuclear power plant at a former uranium enrichment plant here.

“Myself and a few other members are disillusioned and upset,” said Lorry Swain, a South Shore, Ky., resident who serves on a 20-member community panel formed last year to give the Department of Energy environmental cleanup advice at the site.

She said the panel, created under federal law to increase local input around decisions at the 3,700-acre Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion plant, didn’t learn about Duke’s proposal until a few days before it was announced on June 18.

With a great deal of fanfare, Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, U.S. Sen. George Voinovich and Duke Energy Chairman James Rogers announced the formation of the Southern Ohio Clean Energy Park Alliance to pursue development of the Midwest’s first nuclear power plant in decades. The plan comes under an Energy Department initiative to convert former government weapons sites to clean-energy alternatives.

100 New Reactors Would Result In Up To $4 Trillion in Excess Costs for U.S. Taxpayer, Rate PayersThe likely cost of electricity for a new generation of nuclear reactors would be 12-20 cents per kilowatt hour (KWh), considerably more expensive than the average cost of increased use of energy efficiency and renewable energies at 6 cents per kilowatt hour, according to a major new study by economist Dr. Mark Cooper, a senior fellow for economic analysis at the Institute for Energy and the Environment at Vermont Law School. The report finds that it would cost $1.9 trillion to $4.1 trillion more over the life of 100 new nuclear reactors than it would to generate the same electricity from a combination of more energy efficiency and renewables.

Titled “The Economics of Nuclear Reactors,” Cooper’s analysis of over three dozen cost estimates for proposed new nuclear reactors shows that the projected price tags for the plants have quadrupled since the start of the industry’s so-called “nuclear renaissance” at the beginning of this decade — a striking parallel to the eventually seven-fold increase in reactor costs estimates that doomed the “Great Bandwagon Market” of the 1960s and 1970s, when half of planned reactors had to be abandoned or cancelled due to massive cost overruns.

David Fiderer: Lamar Alexander’s $750 Billion Flimflam Plan on Nuclear Energy
Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., has a “Low-cost Clean Energy Plan” being marketed to people with substandard reading skills. His press release claims his plan to build 100 nuclear power plants will “lower utility bills,” though it “should not add to the federal budget since ratepayers will pay for building the plants.” In other words, the people in Missouri, Ohio, Michigan and elsewhere who get their electricity from coal-fired power plants should see their utility bills skyrocket. Here’s a reality check on Alexander’s flimflam.

The Republican plan proposes to double the level of U.S. nuclear energy generation in 20 years. How much would that cost? We currently have about 100,000 megawatts of nuclear generating capacity, and the cost of building a nuclear plant is about $7.5 million per megawatt, according to Moody’s. So the cost would be about $750 billion. On a per megawatt basis, a nuclear plant costs five times as much to build and 10 times as much to operate as a natural gas plant. The $750 billion cost excludes the cost of shutting down the CO2 emitting coal-fired plants.


Nuclear Health and Safety News

Radioactive leak is feared : The Buffalo News
An underground container that holds about half of the world’s supply of radium may be leaking into groundwater in northwestern Niagara County, an advisory group to federal regulators warns.

The Army Corps of Engineers, the federal agency responsible for investigating an area in the towns of Lewiston and Porter holding leftovers from the Manhattan Project, has found uranium contamination beneath ground level in portions of a former federal weapons site.

But corps officials insist there are no leaks in a 10-acre cell, known as the Interim Waste Containment Structure, constructed in the mid- 1980s on the 191-acre Niagara Falls Storage Site as a temporary container for various radioactive wastes and other radiological materials.

Flawed program for protecting Livermore lab workers from beryllium comes under federal scrutiny –
Kelye Allen still speaks with pride about her 18-year career with Lawrence Livermore
Laboratory, where she worked as a machinist helping to build components for nuclear

A feeling of patriotism and duty animates the workforce there, Allen said.

“You want to protect the country,” she said. “Stuff we do there directly affects national security.”

Along with her enduring pride, however, Allen is left with a permanent health condition from her work with a prized but hazardous metal called beryllium.

The Department of Energy, which oversees the lab, is currently conducting an enforcement investigation into whether the lab violated health and safety regulations related to its chronic beryllium disease prevention program.

Piketon plant blaze results in no injuries, minor damage | Chillicothe Gazette
No injuries and minor damage were reported in a Thursday fire in an inactive cooling tower at the Piketon uranium enrichment plant.

According to the Department of Energy, the fire was reported at 4:30 p.m. on the east side of the plant. At 5:15 p.m., the fire was said to have no off-site impact.

The fire broke out in some decking of the cooling tower, which was being removed after high winds in Saturday’s storms damaged the tower. The cooling tower is one of several at the site scheduled to be decontaminated and decommissioned in the coming months with aid from American Reinvestment and Recovery Act funds.

Branson Daily News: Atomic testing left marks on McCarty, other veterans
Don McCarty has witnessed what many have only seen in photographs.

The 85-year-old Navy veteran from Sparta was aboard the USS Albemarle during the first post-World War ll nuclear testing in the Bikini Islands.

McCarty, a gunners mate, was on deck when an atomic bomb was detonated 7 miles away.

We didn’t even hear it, said McCarty who was in Branson on Thursday for the 64th National Day of Atomic Remembrance.

Officials: No radiation threats in Henan —
The leakage of radiation at a factory that sterilizes various foods has not polluted the environment in Kaifeng, Henan province, nor does it threaten public health, according to local environmental protection authorities.

Officials are responding to widespread panic in the online community, who question the circumstances surrounding last month’s leak of radioactive isotope cobalt-60 at the Limin Radiation Factory in Qi county of Kaifeng.

The radioactive leak, which occurred on June 7, caused a fire at the factory a week later because workers were unable to control the radiation source.

“The news of the harmful radiation leak, which caused panic among some residents, is a rumor and untrue,” said an official of the Kaifeng Environmental Protection Bureau, who refused to be named.

“Even furniture gives out some level of radiation,” he added.

The factory uses cobalt60 for the sterilization of pepper and the containers for the spice.

Feds investigate uranium accident at Lynchburg B&W plant | WSLS 10
A trace of uranium found in a container of oil Wednesday night prompted several hours of concern at the Babcock & Wilcox facility on Mt. Athos Road.

The company notified the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that it had found uranium in an unexpected location and began emergency procedures around 7:45 p.m., according to an NRC event report. At 12:35 a.m. today B&W said the situation was safe.

Roger Hannah, spokesman for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, said a B&W employee saw traces of uranium in a container of oil. The oil had been used in a saw that cuts fuel components.

Damaged rod found at crippled German nuclear site : Energy Environment
Berlin- A damaged fuel rod sought since last week has been located inside one of Germany’s 12 nuclear power stations, regulators said Wednesday. The jinxed plant at Kruemmel
near Hamburg was shut down for two years by a transformer fire. It was crippled again July 4 by a short circuit and was then reported to have a problem in one
or more of its 80,000 fuel rods.

Engineers took the lid off the reactor to find the damaged uranium rod. The problems at Kruemmel have led to calls to retire the station and re-ignited debate in Germany about nuclear power as an election approaches.

Anti-nuclear activists are also highlighting mismanagement of nuclear waste dumps in old salt mines.

Wolfram Koenig, president of the Federal Radiation Safety Agency (BfS), said radioactive contaminated fluid had been found to have seeped to the bottom of one such dump, the Asse mine.

July 15, 1999: Hey, Sorry About the Beryllium Poisoning | This Day In Tech |
1999: After five decades of denial, the U.S. government owns up to poisoning thousands of defense, aerospace and atomic energy workers by exposing them to beryllium.
President Bill Clinton asks Congress to enact legislation to compensate the sickened
workers and their survivors.

The element beryllium (Be, atomic number 4) is a Group 2 alkaline earth metal, the lightest of the family that includes magnesium, calcium, strontium, barium and radium. Because of its low weight, high melting point, resistance to corrosion, great strength and good electrical conductivity, it’s widely used in electronics, aerospace, atomic energy and defense. Other applications are in precision machining and die casting, molding plastics, and making dental plates and X-ray tubes.

Richert: Idaho and Montana downwinders have a case | Opinion | Idaho Statesman
Idaho’s nuclear downwinders have earned their right to cynicism.

The federal government has ignored them. Their elected officials – namely Larry Craig and Dirk Kempthorne – had the chance to press the downwinders’ case while serving in the U.S. Senate, but didn’t do nearly enough.

The downwinders believe their elevated cancer rates are linked to nuclear weapons tests conducted on the Nevada desert during the 1950s and 1960s. The Cold War has ended but the bureaucratic battle continues.

Senators are taking a third run at expanding a federal program that provides payments to downwind cancer victims. Previous efforts have failed.

Marking the 50th anniversary of the first U.S. nuclear meltdown – Los Angeles Times
On the morning of July 14, 1959, Sodium Reactor Experiment trainee John Pace received
the bad news from a group of supervisors who had, he recalled, “terribly worried expressions on their faces.”

A reactor at the Atomics International field laboratory in the Santa Susana Mountains had experienced a power surge the night before and spewed radioactive gases into the atmosphere.

“They were terrified that some of the gas had blown over their own San Fernando Valley homes,” recalled Pace, who was 20 at the time. “My job was to keep radiation out of the control room.”

Radioactive and toxic exposure screening program expands to Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory –
Former employees of Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory are eligible for free confidential medical screening to determine if they have any health problems related to on-the-job exposure to radioactive or toxic substances such as beryllium, the universities running the program announced Monday.

Experts from UC San Francisco and Boston University School of Public Health will do the evaluations of workers at Kaiser Permanente occupational medicine facilities in Northern California.

Residents Of Irradiated Russian Village To Be Relocated By Year’s End – Radio Free Europe
CHELYABINSK, Russia Resident of Muslimovo, in Russia’s Chelyabinsk Oblast, will be fully relocated by the end of the year because of nuclear contamination in the village, RFE/RL’s qatar-Bashkir Service reports.

The ethnic Tatar-populated village and much of the surrounding region was heavily contaminated in 1957 by the infamous explosion at the nearby Mayak nuclear station.

Russia’s oversight body for nuclear power, the Rosatom Nuclear Energy State Corporation, and Chelyabinsk Oblast authorities agreed on the village’s relocation in 2006, and some 690 families have been relocated since then. About 150 families still live there.

Local authorities plan to plant trees where the village stood after residents have been fully relocated and the village has been decontaminated by the end of 2009.

An estimated 500,000 people have been affected by radiation from Mayak, and large tracts of land have been polluted.

A brush with nuclear disaster
According to Daniel Ellsberg, the weapon could have accidentally fired because
“five of the six safety devices had failed.” Nuclear physicist Ralph E. Lapp supported this assertion, saying that “only a single switch”
had “prevented the bomb from detonating and spreading fire and destruction over a wide area.”

It (a B-52 bomber) was carrying two nuclear weapons, each 1,000 times as powerful as the Hiroshima bomb. One of the bombs dropped on the countryside and didn’t explode. It had six safety locks on, and when it was found, five of them had flipped. It would have destroyed all housing within a circle of 25 miles and ignited all things burnable within a 75-mile radius. –Lloyd J. Dumas, author of Lethal Arrogance: Human Fallibility and Dangerous

Nuclear reactor accident in 1959 remains vivid for former Field Lab worker : Simi Valley : Ventura County Star
Santa Susana Field Laboratory history

* Data fuzzy on severity of two U.S. accidents

Rocketdyne Propulsion and Power became one of the nation’s main builders of rocket engines during the Cold War, and later became a major producer of Star Wars defense technology. Atomics International, a separate division of Rocketdyne’s parent corporation, also set up shop at the 2,850-acre Santa Susana Field Laboratory south of Simi Valley, where it operated 10 small nuclear test reactors.

The legacy of technological innovations at the Field Lab co-exists with a reality of chemical and nuclear contamination over a period of more than 50 years:

Three more “special exposure cohorts” for EEOICPA |
The Labor Dept. today released information on three more employee groups with “special exposure cohort” designations, which should make it easier for them to gain compensation under the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act.

In statements distributed to the news media, the Labor Dept. said it had notified the employees or their survivors of the designation, which includes a “presumption” that workplace explosure caused their illness if they were diagnosed with any of the 22 specified cancers.

The newly designated special exposure cohorts were:

Isotope reactor not needed
A new face of nuclear medicine; Other materials may be able to take the place of isotopes (SP, July 4). These “other materials” are also radioisotopes, not substitutes for them.

The difference is that they are produced in cyclotrons rather than in nuclear reactors. In fact, the first technetium-99m (the favoured isotope mentioned) was produced in a cyclotron about 12 years before the first reactor was built.

Fuel rods damaged at jinxed German nuclear plant – Summary : Europe World
Berlin – Swedish electricity giant Vattenfall admitted Thursday to additional problems at one of its German nuclear power stations, which caught fire several days ago
just after a two-year refit from a previous fire. Blunders at the Kruemmel power
station have turned nuclear safety into an election issue in Germany.

Though neither of the fires was in the reactor itself, Vattenfall said it had also discovered at least one of the 80,000 rods of uranium inside the reactor was “defective.”

The defect was not connected to the shutdown of the reactor during an electrical transformer fire on Saturday. Engineers are to take the lid off the idled reactor on Friday to search for the rods, Vattenfall said.

Tuoma Hatakka, chief executive of Vattenfall Europe, the German subsidiary which runs several of the 12 nuclear power stations in Germany, insisted in Berlin, “My summary is simple: Kruemmel is safe.”

Brendan DeMelle: ‘Justice for Vieques’: Resolutions Passed by Both Houses of Puerto Rican Legislature
The United Nations and both houses of the Puerto Rican Legislature have now passed resolutions supporting the people of Vieques in their struggle with disease, contamination and neglect from the United States Navy’s 60-year bombardment of the island.

When will the Obama Administration follow through on Obama’s campaign promise to clean up the island and provide justice for the Vieques residents sickened by the Navy’s actions?

FR: NIOSH public hearings on radiation safety
Advisory Board on Radiation and Worker Health (ABRWH or Advisory Board), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) In accordance with section 10(a)(2) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (Pub. L. 92-463), and pursuant to the requirements of 42 CFR 83.15(a), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), announces the following meeting of the aforementioned committee: Board Public Meeting Times and Dates: (All times are Eastern Time): 1:30 p.m.-5:45 p.m., July 27, 2009. 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m., July 28, 2009. 9 a.m.-3 p.m., July 29, 2009. Public Comment Times And Dates: (All times are Eastern Time): 7 p.m.-8 p.m., July 27, 2009. 5:45 p.m.-6:30 p.m., July 28, 2009.


NRC News

NRC: NRC Activates Incident Response Centers After Alert Declared at B&W in Lynchburg, Va.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission manned Incident Response Centers in Atlanta and Rockville, Md., Wednesday night, dispatched its resident inspector and called in criticality safety experts to monitor an alert declared at B&W Nuclear Operations Group in Lynchburg, Va. An alert is the lowest level of NRC emergency classifications for fuel facilities such as B&W.

The NRC staff continued to monitor the incident, which began at 7:45 p.m. Wednesday until its successful resolution at 12:35 a.m. Thursday.

B&W staff activated the facility’s Emergency Operations Center after identifying a potential criticality issue in the Uranium Recovery area. A criticality can occur when highly enriched uranium comes together in sufficient quantity or in a container of correct shape to initiate a chain reaction resulting in either a burst or a sustained release of radiation.

NRC – NRC Begins Special Inspection at Oyster Creek Nuclear Plant

The NRC has initiated a Special Inspection at the Oyster Creek nuclear power plant in response to a shutdown of the reactor early on July 12. The inspection got under way today at the plant, which is located in Lacey Township (Ocean County), N.J., and operated by Exelon.

Among other things, the team of four NRC inspectors will be tasked with reviewing whether any equipment issues, design deficiencies, communication challenges and/or operator performance issues complicated the event. The Special Inspection will expand on reviews conducted by the NRC Resident Inspectors assigned to Oyster Creek immediately after the shutdown. Assisting the team on a part-time basis will be the NRC’s Senior Resident Inspector at the plant.

While the plant was safely removed from service during the event, several equipment issues arose during the shutdown that we believe bear closer examination, NRC Region I Administrator Samuel J. Collins said. Through this Special Inspection we intend to gain a better understanding of these issues, including the actions taken by plant operators in response.

Sloppy work at Perry nuclear power plant worries NRC –

Nuclear Regulatory Commission is concerned about sloppy workmanship and employee
inattention to detail at the Perry nuclear power plant.

The NRC wants plant-owner FirstEnergy Corp. to explain how it plans to correct these problems at a public meeting Tuesday night in Mentor. The agency will also take questions from the public.

Perry’s troubles cropped up more than a year ago, NRC records show, and despite the Akron-based utility’s efforts, have continued this year, said the agency.

Perry is operating safely, the NRC stressed, but workers have continued to make small mistakes on routine, day-to-day jobs, in a number of unrelated areas.

NRC – Turkey Point Application for New Reactors in Florida Available on NRC Website

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has made available the public version of a combined license (COL) application for two new reactors at the Turkey Point site near Miami.

The applicant, Florida Power & Light (FP&L), submitted the application and associated information June 30. The application, minus proprietary and security-related details, is available on the NRC Web site at:

FP&L’s COL application seeks approval to build and operate two AP1000 reactors at the site, approximately 25 miles south of Miami. The AP1000 is a Westinghouse 1,100 MWe pressurized-water reactor design the NRC certified in 2006. Westinghouse submitted an application in May 2007 to amend the certified design. The design certification amendment application (minus proprietary and security-related details) is available on the NRC Web site at:

NRC: Report to Congress on the Security Inspection Program for Commercial Power Reactor and Category I Fuel Cycle Facilities: Results and Status Update – Annual Report for Calendar Year 2008 (NUREG-1885, Revision 2)

This report fulfills the requirements of Chapter 14, Section 170D, of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 (42 U.S.C. 2201 et seq.), as amended by the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which states, not less often than once each year, the Commission shall submit to the Committee on Environment and Public Works of the Senate and the Committee on Energy and Commerce of the House of Representatives, a report, in safeguards form and unclassified form, that describes the results of each security response evaluation conducted and any relevant corrective action taken by a licensee during the previous year. This is the fourth annual report, which covers calendar year (CY) 2008. In addition to information on the security response evaluation program (force-on-force (FOF) inspections), the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is providing additional information regarding the overall security performance of the commercial nuclear power industry and Category I (CAT I) fuel cycle facilities to keep Congress and the public informed of the NRC’s efforts to protect the public health and safety, the common defense and security, and the environment, through effective regulation of the Nation’s electric power infrastructure and strategic special nuclear material (SSNM).

NRC: NRC Publishes Annual Security Inspection Report to Congress

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has made available to the public an unclassified version of an annual report to Congress outlining the previous year’s security inspection program. The report is required under the Energy Policy Act of 2005.

The report covers the NRC’s security inspection program, including force-on-force exercises, for commercial nuclear power reactors and certain nuclear fuel cycle facilities for calendar year 2008.

It is my pleasure to submit this report to our congressional oversight committees, NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko said. At the NRC we take our mission to protect public health and safety very seriously, and we want to share our efforts with the public as much as possible

According to the report, the NRC conducted 182 security inspections at nuclear power plants and Category I fuel cycle facilities with spent nuclear material in 2008. Of those inspections, 24 were force-on-force inspections, which use a well-trained mock adversary force to test a facility’s ability to respond to threats.

The security inspections identified a total of 133 findings, of which 125 were of very low security significance and eight were of low-to-moderate security significance. All were corrected immediately or compensatory measures put in place, if necessary. Details of the findings are considered sensitive and not released to the public.

NRC security inspection report for 2008 identifies 133 findings

NRC security inspections identified 133 findings in 2008, the agency said in a public version of an annual report to Congress released July 10. NRC said in a July 10 statement that “the report covers the NRC’s security inspection program, including force-on-force exercises, for commercial nuclear power reactors and certain nuclear fuel cycle facilities for calendar year 2008.” Of the 133 findings from a total of 182 security inspections conducted last year, the NRC said “125 were of very low security significance and eight were of low-to-moderate security significance. All were corrected immediately or compensatory measures put in place, if necessary. Details of the findings are considered sensitive and not released to the public.” The public version of the report is on NRC’s web site at r-06-30-2009.pdf.

The Atomic Safety and Licensing Board ruled that the Green Party of Florida and two other environmental groups could challenge Progress Energy’s plan for two new nuclear reactors. | | Star-Banner | Ocala, FL

Progress Energy’s road to building its proposed nuclear power plant in Levy County northwest of Dunnellon is becoming anything but smooth.

On Wednesday, the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board – an arm of the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission – ruled that the Green Party of Florida and two other environmental groups could challenge the utility company’s plan for two new nuclear reactors and had successfully raised major concerns about the plant’s potential environmental impact.

That means Progress Energy will have to argue its case about those environmental issues during a legal hearing, including in oral arguments, or change some of its construction plans.

FR: NRC: NRG Exelon proposed merger

Exelon Corporation and NRG Energy, Inc.; South Texas Project, Units 1 and 2; Notice of Consideration of Approval of Application Regarding Proposed Merger of NRG Energy, Inc. and Exelon Corporation, and Indirect Transfers of NRG South Texas LP’s Facility Operating Licenses, and Opportunity for a Hearing The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (the Commission, NRC) is considering the issuance of an order under Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR) Section 50.80 approving the indirect transfer of control of the Facility Operating Licenses, which are numbered NPF-76 and NPF-80, for the South Texas Project (STP), Units 1 and 2, respectively, to the extent held by NRG South Texas LP (NRG South Texas).


Nuclear Fuel Cycle News

Colorado Independent » Udall hearing examines 1872 mining law; reform pits Reid against Salazar, Obama admin.

oil and gas extraction, pulling hard-rock minerals like uranium, gold and copper
out of the ground is a royalty-free proposition in the United States, despite
the often enormous costs of cleaning up public lands after the fact.

The Environmental Protection Agency in a filing on Monday noted that hard-rock mining has impacted 40 percent of all western watersheds and that nationwide 28 percent of the toxic pollution generated in the United States comes from the mining industry – the most of any sector. The EPA also concluded mining represents a major taxpayer burden because of cleanup costs.

Associated Press: Navajos mark 30th anniversary of uranium spill

The leader of the Navajo Nation marked the 30th anniversary of a massive uranium tailings spill by reaffirming the tribe’s ban on future uranium mining.

Speaking in Navajo and English, President Joe Shirley Jr. addressed about 100 people who made a seven-mile walk to the site of the July 16, 1979 spill and to the land of Navajo ranchers who live near another contaminated site.

What Shirley called “the largest peacetime accidental release of radioactive contaminated materials in the history of the United States” occurred when 94 million gallons of acidic water poured into the north fork of the Rio Puerco after an earthen uranium tailings dam failed.

Within days, contaminated tailings liquid was found 50 miles downstream in Arizona.

Public Citizen – Congress, Obama Urged to Address Mountain of Unheard Mining Safety Cases

Thousands of Safety Violations Still Pending Because of Lack of Funding; Agency Needs New Leadership

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Facing a backlog of more than 13,000 unheard safety cases, the federal agency responsible for ruling on mine safety violations is in urgent need of more resources and new leadership, Public Citizen said in letters sent today to President Obama and members of Congress.

Agency officials estimate that under the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission’s current funding level, the commission will need at least five years to address its existing case backlog, excluding any new cases that arise during that time, according to Public Citizen’s letter.

Public Citizen is calling on Congress to increase the budget of the mine safety commission to bring it in line with other agencies that fill similar roles. For example, the mine commission’s budget is $2 million lower than that of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, despite having 6.5 times as many outstanding cases. The public interest group also is calling for Obama to replace the current chairman, a Bush administration holdover and a former attorney for the mining industry’s lobbying organization, who has done little to garner additional resources for the mining commission.

Deseret News | Decision tabled on uranium disposal

Members of the state’s Radiation Control Board have tabled for now any decision to impose a moratorium on the storage of depleted uranium at EnergySolutions’ Clive facility.

The 6-4 decision to further delay giving a definitive answer on the issue came after more than three hours of presentations on the ability or inability to safely dispose of the Class A radioactive material at the Tooele County site.

Instead, the majority of board members want to wait until a Sept. 22 meeting with representatives from the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission, who will be in town that week for two days of public hearings.

The Associated Press: Interior secretary: Mining reform a top priority

The Obama administration will make reforming the nation’s 137-year-old hardrock mining law a top priority despite a full plate of higher profile issues, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said Tuesday.

Salazar told a Senate committee considering reform legislation that “it is time to ensure a fair return to the public for mining activities that occur on public lands and to address the cleanup of abandoned mines.”

The General Mining Act of 1872, which gives mining preference over other uses on much of the nation’s public lands, has left a legacy of hundreds of thousands of abandoned mines that are polluting rivers and streams throughout the West. Mining companies also don’t pay royalties on gold, silver, copper and other hardrock minerals mined on public land.

Reform bills have been introduced in the House and Senate, but past attempts at reform have foundered in the face of opposition from industry and many Western lawmakers.

Deseret News | Mine reform burdensome, attorney says

A Salt Lake attorney was among those who testified at a U.S. Senate hearing Tuesday morning on proposed legislation that would reform a 127-year-old law governing the nation’s mining industry.

Jim Butler, from the law firm of Parsons Behle & Latimer, told committee members that a provision in a Senate bill that would impose additional requirements on mineral exploration would be overly burdensome and without environmental benefit.

As it stands now, mineral-exploration efforts on areas 5 acres or less are subjected to a “notice” process with the Bureau of Land Management that is much less time-consuming than the more comprehensive permitting requirements.

Manchester Report: Thorium nuclear power | Environment |

The uranium that makes conventional nuclear power possible has a number of significant disadvantages. For one thing, uranium reactors generate large quantities of waste. Much of this remains dangerous for thousands of years, and a proportion of it can be used to produce weapons-grade plutonium. A second issue is that uranium is a comparatively scarce material, which exists in significant quantities in only a small number of countries. The theoretical risk of giant explosions caused by uranium reactors is a further concern.

For all of these reasons, a growing number of scientists and energy experts believe that the world should switch from uranium to thorium as its primary nuclear fuel

The Associated Press: EPA writing rules for hardrock mine cleanups

The Environmental Protection Agency, complying with a court order, will develop a rule to guarantee companies that mine everything from copper to uranium will pay for needed environmental cleanup, not taxpayers.

The announcement on Monday comes in the wake of a federal judge’s order in February requiring the EPA to close loopholes that allow some companies to get out of paying for such costly cleanups when they file bankruptcy.

The agency said it will develop similar financial responsibility requirements for other types of operations but started with hardrock mining because of the size of the operations, the amount of waste and the number of mining sites on its Superfund’s national priorities list.

High hopes for uranium miners | The Australian

Explorer Uranium Equities (UEL) has just signed its third deal with global uranium giant Cameco, a joint venture over the Rudall River uranium project in Western Australia, which happens to be just 25km from the huge Kintyre deposit now owned by Cameco (in partnership with Mitsubishi). This comes just a month after UEQ announced the start of drilling at Lake Blanche, South Australia, where Cameco is earning 51 per cent; there is a third joint venture between the companies in the Northern Territory.

Portsmouth Daily Times – 3 2b Piketon D D May Take 10 Years Decontamination Decommission Will Remove Older Buildings Use For Some Still Possible

As announced at the beginning of the month the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) for the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant Decontamination and Decommissioning (D&D) Project at a price tag of up to $3.2 billion.

Now, a DOE official has responded to specific questions posed by the Portsmouth Daily Times concerning the details of the project including the involvement of the immediate community surrounding the Piketon reservation.

Would the D&D project mean the dismantling of all buildings and facilities under the project title? Or just cleaning those properties up?


Nuclear Waste News

Tallevast cleanup may take 50 years | | Sarasota Florida | Southwest Florida’s Information Leader

Residents in Tallevast will have to live with contaminated ground water for almost 50 years, according to a revised cleanup plan submitted to the state by Lockheed Martin.

But the aerospace giant, which is responsible for cleaning up the pollution in this small southern Manatee County community, hopes that the majority of the contaminants will be cleaned up in five years. A previous plan estimated the cleanup could take 100 years.

Lockheed is planning to build a new, larger water treatment facility on the site of the former beryllium plant on Tallevast Road that caused the contamination.

Radioactive brine found in Asse nuclear dump – The Local

Radioactive brine has been found at the controversial salt-mine nuclear waste storage facility in Asse, Lower Saxony, the Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS) confirmed on Tuesday.

A routine check turned up the contaminated liquid at depths of 950 and 925-metres deep, the BfS said, adding that the level of contamination remains below levels allowed by the Radiation Protection Ordinance.

Five-year Tallevast cleanup proposed: Lockheed submits new plan, replacing interim system – Top Stories –

long-awaited revise of a plan for the cleaning up of toxic groundwater in this
southern Manatee County community was submitted Tuesday to the state environmental

Lockheed Martin officials delivered the Remedial Action Plan Addendum to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection offices in Temple Terrace late Tuesday afternoon.

The addendum was a response to the DEP’s March review of the revisions of a proposed clean-up plan Lockheed submitted more than a year ago.

Nuclear critics: Is Illinois the new Yucca Mountain?

Chicago area nuclear critics say recurring tritium leaks like the one at the Dresden
Nuclear facility near Morris last month muddy the picture of nuclear plants as
a clean energy source.

Is a June 2009 tritium leak at the Dresden NPP 150 times higher than the EPA water standard

henceforth to be considered “clean”? David Kraft, with the Nuclear
Energy Information Service asks in a detailed critique the Sense of Congress Regarding
the Strategic Role of Nuclear Energy (and Spent Nuclear Fuel Reprocessing)
approved in June by the Senate Energy Committee.

But local critics of nuclear power say it is more non-sense than sense; and it could lay the groundwork to turn Illinois into the de facto Yucca Mt. of the Great Lakes.

EnergySolutions Awarded Liquid Waste Contract

EnergySolutions, Inc. announced today the award of the first of two contracts from Savannah River Remediation (SRR), LLC. Together these contracts will provide funding up to $56 Million over the next 8 years. EnergySolutions was named a subcontractor to the URS led SRR team, which won the Liquid Waste Operations contract at the Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site.

“We appreciate the confidence the Savannah River Remediation (SRR) team has in EnergySolutions to perform this work,” said Steve Creamer, CEO and Chairman of EnergySolutions. “We look forward to utilizing our vitrification technology to progress the clean up of the Savannah River site.”

The Associated Press: Moratorium sought in Utah on depleted uranium

State regulators will consider whether federal rules for disposing of depleted uranium are adequate to protect health and safety in Utah or if the waste should be banned until more stringent procedures are put in place.

The Utah Radiation Control Board will meet Tuesday to discuss a disposal moratorium sought by the Healthy Environment Alliance of Utah, an environmental watchdog group.

“Utah is vulnerable,” said Christopher Thomas, public policy director of the group.

Depleted uranium is classified as the least dangerous type of low-level radioactive waste and has been disposed of for 18 years at the EnergySolutions Inc. facility in the Utah desert 70 miles west of Salt Lake City.

Yucca transport safety study will proceed – Salt Lake Tribune

Las Vegas » Clark County officials are moving forward with a $200,000 study evaluating risks for transporting nuclear waste to a repository that has yet to open and has had its funding cut numerous times.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu has declared that the Yucca Mountain project 90 miles from Las Vegas is no longer considered an option for radioactive waste storage, but county officials say they want to be armed with as much information as possible to keep the dump from ever opening.

The study will examine rail and truck corridors that could be used to haul high-level nuclear waste and spent nuclear fuel to Yucca Mountain, which is the site legally designated to hold the nation’s high-level radioactive waste. found at Peach Bottom

Levels of tritium six times higher than federal standards were identified at Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station in Delta earlier this week.

Exelon Nuclear reported Friday that tritium had been discovered in a localized area on the nuclear plant’s property by plant workers performing environmental monitoring.

The tritium, which at high levels has been linked to cancer, was identified Wednesday from a sample taken Monday.

The highest sample concentration showed tritium levels of approximately 123,000 picocuries per liter of water, a news release from Exelon said. A picocurie is one-trillionth of a curie, a measurement of radioactivity.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s standards allow no more than 20,000 picocuries per liter in the environment.

“This is not a public or employee health and safety issue, but we are committed to being open about the status of our plant operations,” Peach Bottom site vice president Bill Maguire said in the news release.

Storing Nuclear Waste Above Ground May Be Most Viable Solution –

Storing nuclear waste above ground at atomic power plants for as long as six decades may be the best temporary solution in the U.S. for the dangerous refuse, university researchers say.

Leaving spent fuel on the site after the stations close may be the most viable and safe, short-term option, University of Michigan researcher Rodney Ewing and Princeton University’s Frank von Hippel wrote in Science. In the longer term, the U.S. will need several geological dumps, von Hippel said in yesterday’s report.

WIPP Tides

Geologist points to holes in the thinkingand the landscapearound waste burial in

For years, Richard Hayes Phillips has carried in his mind awful visions of what it would be like to see the Pecos River contaminated with radioactive material. “People fish there, and it flows into the Rio Grande at Amistad Reservoir, which is actually the Spanish word for ‘friendship,’ he says.

He’s envisioning a day when the Waste Isolation Pilot Plantthe waste burial ground 26 miles east of Carlsbadbreaches. Above WIPP are cavernous groundwater aquifers. Below it are brine reservoirs so pressurized that the saltwater gushes to the land’s surface every time they’re punctured by drillers, Phillips says. And underneath it all, oil and gas fields wait to be harvested. A thousand drill holes pepper the landscape. “All the geologic mechanisms necessary for a catastrophic breach are there,” he says.


Nuclear Policy News

Greens make nuclear shutdown a coalition condition – The Local

party top candidate JÃrgen Trittin told Sunday newspaper Bild am Sonntag that
shutting down old nuclear power stations would be a condition of entering a government
coalition following September’s election.

The Green party will not sign any coalition contract that softens the withdrawal from nuclear power. On the contrary, we will insist that older nuclear power stations are shut down ahead of schedule, he said.

In an interview spelling out the Green party’s position ahead of the election campaign, Trittin also effectively ruled out any cooperation with the hard-line socialist Left party on a national level.

House defeats amendment to energy appropriations bill

The House of Representatives defeated an amendment July 17 to the fiscal 2010 energy and water appropriations bill that would have eliminated funding for the Yucca Mountain waste repository project. Representative Mike Simpson, an Idaho Republican, offered the amendment but voted against it, saying his goal was to put his colleagues on the record about taking away Yucca’s funding. Simpson said in a floor statement that President Barack Obama’s decision to suspend the Yucca Mountain program was “a political bow” to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, not a decision “that is based on sound science and sound policy.” The amendment was defeated overwhelmingly. Overall, the bill, which was approved by the House 320-97, would provide DOE with $26.9 billion in fiscal 2010, $1.52 billion below the Obama administration’s budget request. The Senate Appropriations Committee passed a $27.4 billion measure on July 8, but it was unclear July 17 when it would receive a floor vote.

Constellation appeals decision on PSC investigating EDF nuke deal

Constellation Energy Group said Tuesday that it has appealed a Baltimore judge’s decision to dismiss the company’s request for review of a plan by the Public Service Commission to investigate the proposed sale of half the company’s nuclear operations. The PSC said in June that it has jurisdiction to review the sale plan to French firm EDF because it would give EDF major control over Baltimore Gas and Electric, Constellation Energy’s regulated utility. The PSC is considering whether the proposed $4.5-billion transaction is in the public interest. Baltimore Circuit Court Judge Stuart Berger on July 2 said the court lacked the jurisdiction to hear the appeal of the PSC decision because the commission’s decision to review the sale was not a final decision and therefore not subject to review. The company filed the appeal Monday to the Maryland Court of Special Appeals. “We are taking this step to preserve our legal rights in the future,” spokesman Robert Gould said.

and EDF have drawn the battle lines between renewables and nuclear | Jeremy Leggett
| |

2003, the nuclear industry was very nearly killed off in Britain. In 2009, it
is so resurgent that captains of the energy industry are arguing it is renewables
that should be killed off, or at least kept on a starvation diet.

Today, the Confederation of British Industry has thrown its weight behind the nuclear industry’s calls for the government to scale back “overambitious” wind power targets in favour of atomic energy. Two foreign-owned energy giants, E.ON and EDF, have recently told the government it must essentially choose between new nuclear and major renewables developments. With global warming, energy security and fuel poverty all rendering energy policy a matter of life and death today, in their own ways, this new polarisation in the nuclear debate is a desperately dangerous development.

Energy white paper is set to shake up green industry | Politics | The Guardian

the US political drama the West Wing one night, Ed Miliband found he had something
in common with Josh Lyman, who plays the deputy White House chief of staff. Both,
Miliband says, have been exasperated by the infighting within the energy industry.

The energy and climate change secretary recounts the episode in which Lyman crashes his SUV into a Prius, symbol of the environmentally conscious. As penance for such sacrilege, the White House staffer has to attend an industry summit where people are promoting different low-carbon technologies. “They end up having a big fall-out with each other,” Miliband says. “Sometimes the UK debate feels a bit like that: the renewables lot say you should only do renewables and shouldn’t do nuclear or coal. Nuclear people say all this wind will lead to big problems. Coal people say, ‘Why are you going on about renewables and nuclear?'”

BBC NEWS | Europe | Nuclear dawn delayed in Finland

it is finished, Finland’s Olkiluoto 3 (OL3) nuclear reactor will be the biggest
the world has ever seen, the excavation site alone is the size of 55 football

It was to have been a pilot project for bigger, better, cleaner, Generation III reactors, which would lead the charge back to nuclear power in a continent which had gone cold on atomic energy after the accidents at Chernobyl and Thee Mile Island. – Court bans nuclear power station plan

Energy company Essent cannot transfer economic ownership of its half of the Netherlands only nuclear power station to Germany’s RWE, a court in Arnhem ruled on Friday.

Essent and RWE came up with the plan as part of Essent’s €9.3bn takeover by RWE. According to its statutes, the Borssele plant cannot be owned by a foreign listed company.

So Essent suggested giving economic ownership to RWE while its current shareholders – local and provincial councils – would retain legal ownership of the Zeeland facility.

Power firm Delta, which owns the other half of Borssele, went to court to have the transfer stopped. It wants to take over Essent’s 50% share in the plant and refuses to amend the statutes.

Reactor debate has many facets – The Daily Observer – Ontario, CA

When most people get into a discussion about Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. and the future prospects of its nuclear reactors, quite often the rhetoric is laced with emotion because (i) most people don’t fully understand the dynamics of nuclear reactors and (ii) barring such an in-depth understanding, the topic polarizes public reaction between those fully in support of all things nuclear and those adamantly opposed to the same.

Therefore it comes as no surprise that the conference call AECL officials held with members of the media (including the Observer’s Stephen Uhler) Wednesday elicited varying reports, often depending upon the level of knowledge of the reporter, his or her predisposition to the topic and the “angle” they were directed to take on the story.

Vt. Yankee clears another hurdle to 20 year extension: Times Argus Online

The Atomic Safety and Licensing Board has knocked down one of the last hurdles to final federal approval for another 20 years of operation of the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant.

The quasi-judicial board held hearings last summer in Newfane on environmental and safety concerns raised by environmental groups. It ruled Wednesday it had dismissed the final challenge by the New England Coalition, an anti-nuclear group.

Minn. Regulators Approve Xcel Long-term Plan –

Minnesota regulators have signed off on Xcel Energy’s plan for the future, which could include expanding generation capacity and storage at one of its nuclear power plants.

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission approved the plan on Thursday. It covers how the utility proposes to meet demand for power 15 years into the future, and what specific steps it will take in the next five years.

The plan includes increasing generation capacity and dry cask storage at the Prairie Island nuclear plant near Red Wing.

Tanner: 350 US Navy ships powered by nuclear energy on NWTNTODAY.COM

Congressman John Tanner uses the U.S. Navy as an example of how nuclear energy can help wean America from dependence on foreign oil.
Nuclear energy is our most viable source of alternative energy to our over-dependence on foreign oil that we have, said the Union City native and Navy veteran in a recent interview.
It is clean and it is renewable. The only problem with it is what to do with the waste. If we can get that worked out with the Yucca, Nev., situation, I think the U.S. Navy has proved the worth of nuclear energy. Yucca Mountain is the proposed site for a nuclear waste repository.
Recently, Tanner and an eight-member House delegation were in Europe to participate in ceremonies commemorating the 60th anniversary of North American Treaty Organization, a mutual defense league comprised of 28 nations.


My personal opinion is that with the approval of the bill on development and energy the Government has gone down the wrong road, and taking the return to nuclear power as a given, which could be a dangerous step backwards, in particular in terms of the environment, as the problem of disposal of radioactive waste is still unresolved, while it would have been better to make a comparative study of the research related to the new generation of nuclear power. Aside from my personal convictions there is still the fact that we are proceeding in a unilateral approach in a sensitive area”, said President of the Conference of the Regions, Vasco Errani, in comments on the definitive approval by the Senate over the “measures for development and the internationalisation of businesses including in energy matters.

3 groups oppose nuclear plant

The federal Atomic Safety and Licensing Board on Wednesday granted standing to three petitioners who challenged the proposed Progress Energy Florida nuclear power plant in Levy County and will hear arguments on three of their legal arguments on why the plant shouldn’t be built.

The Green Party of Florida, the Ecology Party of Florida and the Nuclear Information and Resource Service argue::

•Progress Energy’s environmental report inappropriately characterized as small certain impacts in building and operating the facility, including impacts to wetlands, the underlying Floridan aquifer system and the Withlacoochee and Waccasassa rivers, among other issues.

•The environmental report assumes certain radioactive waste will be promptly shipped offsite and fails to address the environmental impacts if waste must be managed for a longer period.

•The safety analysis report makes the same assumption about shipping and handling radioactive waste.

EPA ex-chief here pushing nuclear

There’s no way the nation can meet its future appetite for energy and fight climate change without significantly expanding its supply of nuclear reactors, former Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Christine Todd Whitman told several audiences in San Antonio on Wednesday.

You cannot have a growing, thriving economy if you are subject to brownouts and blackouts, Whitman told the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.


Nuclear Weapons News

Ex-bureaucrat blows whistle on secret Japan-U.S. agreement breaking non-nuclear policy – The Mainichi Daily News

original document of a secret Japan-U.S. agreement to allow U.S. military vessels
carrying nuclear weapons to call at Japanese ports was kept at the Foreign Ministry
until around 2001, a former high-ranking ministry official has revealed.

The agreement was signed by then Foreign Minister Aiichiro Fujiyama and then U.S. Ambassador to Japan Douglas MacArthur II on Jan. 6, 1960, when the two countries were negotiating revisions of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty.

AFP: British PM says Libya offers nuclear lesson to world

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Friday that Libya’s renunciation of weapons of mass destruction offered an “important lesson” amid fears over North Korea and Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

Brown was speaking to reporters at the G8 summit after his first meeting with Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi.

He said Libya’s announcement in 2003 showed that the world must construct a “bargain or a deal or a compact” in negotiations.

Group of Eight leaders meeting at their summit in Italy agreed to US President Barack Obama’s proposal that a nuclear security summit should be held in Washington ahead of the planned review of the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Medvedev threatens U.S. over missile shield | Politics | Reuters

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev warned the United States Friday that if it did not reach agreement with Russia on plans for missile defense systems, Moscow would deploy rockets in an enclave near Poland.

In sharp contrast to his positive words during President Barack Obama’s visit to Moscow earlier this week when the two reached broad agreement on nuclear arms cuts, Medvedev used a news conference at the G8 summit to return to Russia’s earlier tough rhetoric on arms control.

Referring to an order he gave earlier this year to prepare deployment of short-range Russian missiles in the western enclave of Kaliningrad to answer to any U.S. deployment of a missile shield in central Europe, Medvedev said:

WRS | Federal judges seize key to nuclear files

Federal judges have raided government offices and seized the key which gives access to sensitive documents in the Tinner nuclear smuggling case.

The documents, which are believed to contain nuclear warhead designs, are at the centre of a tug of war between the judiciary and the state. Judges investigating the Tinner case want access to the papers, but the government wants them destroyed.

Earlier this week Swiss President Hans-Rudolf Merz said the government had the right to do so under the Swiss constitution, but federal judges have challenged this decision. Earlier today the Federal Criminal Court advised judges to ensure the safekeeping of the documents.

Why do we have so many nuclear weapons? Part two

In yesterday’s post, I provided a little background and explained that how the question of why we have so many nuclear weapons, and why we had even more back in the day, is not a very simple question. But I’ve learned a few things about this issue that I never knew before, and hopefully you didn’t know them either.
In the Cold War, especially the earlier years, the world was a much different place. There was no internet, no cell phones, very few satellites (the first satellite went up in 1957 and didn’t do anything), no GPS systems, and a much more limited ability to fly over enemy air space to take pictures. We certainly didn’t have stealth planes or UAV’s. Today, we have all these things, and the US uses them to spy on its enemies. In the Cold War, the USSR resided behind the so-called Iron Curtain of secrecy and suspicion. In short, we couldn’t see them, and they couldn’t see us.

Investigators have raided federal offices in a fight over documents in the Tinner family nuclear smuggling case. – swissinfo

A fight over explosive documents in a nuclear-smuggling case escalated on Thursday when investigators raided a federal building and seized a safe and key.

Lawyers, parliamentarians and the federal government are all locked in a showdown over what should happen to documents related to the Tinner affair, particularly those that contain plans for a nuclear bomb.

Urs, Marco and Friedrich Tinner, engineers with ties to a centrifuge business, have been the subject of allegations that they contributed to a nuclear smuggling ring run by Abdul Qadeer Khan, the father of Pakistan’s nuclear programme. The Tinners have maintained their innocence

Why do we have so many nuclear weapons? Part one

I’ve always been interested in nuclear weapons. They are a small device that can cause a disproportionally large effect. Not only the sheer power of a nuclear explosion, but their role as a deterrent, the formation of the nuclear club, and the political psychology that goes along with them are all aspects about nuclear weapons that fascinate me. It’s kind of a morbid fascination, I know. But cut me some slackwhat red-blooded guy doesn’t like big explosions?
I have read criticisms before of America’s large nuclear arsenalthe largest in the world, and predictably so. I have never been in favor of complete nuclear disarmament, partially because there are many nuclear weapons out there that are unaccounted for that could end up in the hands of the bad guys, and partially because I think they could have their uses in a conventional conflict. I’m sure we’ve all heard, though, the quips that the US has the power to destroy the entire world X times over if we used every weapon in our nuclear arsenal. If that’s true, I think it’s a fair question to ask why it is so, when just one nuclear weapon is so effective.

Peace activists mark anniversary of World Court opinion | Frank Munger’s Atomic City Underground |

The Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance will hold a public reading this Sunday (July 12) on the lawn of the UT College of Law, marking the 13th anniversary of the World Court’s opinion on “Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons.”

According to info distributed by OREPA, fourteen community leaders — including members of local churches — will participate in a public reading of the court ruling. It’s expected to take about three hours. The event is scheduled to start at about 1 p.m.

Ralph Hutchison, coordinator of the peace alliance, said in a statement:


Department of Energy News

SRS set to give huge construction contract | Aiken Standard | Aiken, SC

The National Nuclear Security Administration recently announced that a team led by Baker Concrete Construction Inc. of Monroe, Ohio, has been awarded a $91.5 million contract for the construction of NNSA’s Waste Solidification Building at the Savannah River Site.

The Waste Solidification Building will process waste streams from the NNSA’s plutonium disposition efforts at SRS – principally wastes from the Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility and from weapons pit disassembly operations – by converting them to a cement-like material for off-site disposal.

“This announcement is an important step forward for our plutonium disposition program,” said Ken Baker, principal assistant deputy administrator for defense nuclear nonproliferation. “The Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility and the supporting Waste Solidification Building are key elements in this important nonproliferation effort to eliminate surplus plutonium in a transparent and irreversible manner.”

The MOX program, a critical part of NNSA’s nuclear nonproliferation efforts, will take at least 34 metric tons of surplus weapon-grade plutonium – enough material for about 8,500 nuclear weapons – and use it to create mixed-oxide fuel for use in nuclear power plants to generate electricity and render the plutonium unusable for nuclear weapons.

Tenn-Ohio delegation prods Chu on USEC loan guarantee | Frank Munger’s Atomic City Underground |

USEC is threatening to begin demobilizing its American Centrifuge Project in August if the Dept. of Energy doesn’t move forward with a commtiment on a loan guarantee, and elected officials from Tennessee and Ohio are asking Energy Secretary Steven Chu to intervene directly in the matter.

A letter signed by Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen, Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, and U.S. Sens. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and George Voinovich, R-Ohio, was sent to Chu this week.

The officials said the American Centrifuge project would solidify American’s leadership in uranium-enrichment technology and create about 8,000 jobs across the country. All that is being threatened because of delays on the loan guarantees, they wrote.

Four security guards at Y-12 fired for steroids » Knoxville News Sentinel

Four security guards at the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant were fired after testing positive for steroids, a spokeswoman for Wackenhut Services Inc., the government’s security contractor, confirmed today.

The guards union, however, is challenging two of the cases, claiming the positive readings were linked to use of over-the-counter supplements.

Security police officers at Y-12 are subject to regular and random drug testing, but those tests are typically for Schedule I and II drugs such as cocaine and marijuana. Courtney Henry of Wackenhut said the company began testing some guards for anabolic sterioids, a Schedule III drug, “for probable cause.”

Hanford News: DOE raises more safety concerns at vit plant

Two accidents at the Hanford vitrification plant construction project this month prompted the Department of Energy to send a second letter to its contractor outlining safety concerns.

In one incident a worker fell 4 feet off a ladder and broke his arm and elbow. In the other, a worker needed 19 stitches after being cut with a saw.

In early May, DOE told Bechtel National that it was concerned about an increase in accidents requiring medical attention and other safety-related incidents at the plant.

Bechtel redoubled safety efforts then and succeeded in accumulating almost 900,000 employee work hours at the site without a worker accident that required medical attention.

3 guards at Y-12 suspended – The Oak Ridger

Three guards have been suspended for bringing video game devices, including one with transmitting capability, into the heart of a high-security nuclear weapons plant in Tennessee.

Wackenhut Services spokeswoman Courtney Henry tells The Knoxville News Sentinel that the three security police officers were suspended without pay for an incident three weeks ago at the Department of Energy’s Y-12 nuclear weapons plant in Oak Ridge.

She said the guards brought electronic game devices into the plant’s “protected area” where warhead parts are made, dismantled and recycled. Not even cell phones are permitted there, yet one of the players was a portable Sony PlayStation with transmission capability.

Hanford workers to learn more about radioactive sludge – Mid-Columbia News | Tri-City Herald : Mid-Columbia news

Hanford workers have collected a first batch of samples of radioactive sludge from Hanford’s K Basins to help design the system that will be used to get the sludge out of the basins and treat it.

New contractor CH2M Hill Plateau Remediation Co. wants to know as much as possible about the sludge as it prepares to treat it, hoping to avoid the sort of false starts and technical problems that have plagued earlier work with the sludge for the Department of Energy.

CH2M Hill has submitted a plan for treatment of the sludge to DOE, which assembled a team of technical experts to review the proposal. The team’s report is now being reviewed by DOE officials in Washington, D.C., who have not released information on the proposed plan.

Hanford News: Work to start on K reactors burial ground at Hanford

Work should begin this month to dig up another Cold War burial ground at Hanford used to dispose of boron balls once employed to soak up radioactive neutrons.

The boron balls were part of a backup emergency system at Hanford reactors starting in the 1950s to slow down or stop nuclear reactions.

The burial ground, which holds assorted wastes from Hanford’s K reactors, includes 16 unlined trenches and 11 silos. The silos contain the boron balls, radiation-contaminated reactor equipment and pieces, and ash from burning radiation-contaminated waste.

Washington Closure announced Thursday that it has awarded a $9 million subcontract to Dance Designs of Pocatello, Idaho, for the work. Watts Construction Inc. of Kennewick and Babcock Services Inc. of Richland are major subcontractors to Dance Designs, which also has offices in Richland.

During the Cold War, K East and K West were among nine reactors along the Columbia River at Hanford that produced plutonium for the nation’s nuclear weapons program. The K Reactors operated from 1954-71 and waste from them was buried nearby in the 118-K-1 Burial Ground until 1973.


Other Energy News

Number of wind turbines to quadruple under Renewable Energy Strategy – Times Online

number of wind turbines is set to quadruple over the next decade under government
plans to force through wind farm planning applications.

Ministers have put wind power at the heart of a Renewable Energy Strategy, which is due to be released on Wednesday. It will outline how Britain is to meet its target of a 34 per cent cut in CO2 emissions by 2020.

Spain pushes ahead with renewables in quest to finish with nuclear power

RWE Innogy and a consortium will build a solar power plant called Andasol 3 in
southern Spain, developed by Solar Millennium AG, the parties said in a statement
on Friday Spain pushes ahead with renewables in quest to finish with nuclear power

RWE Innogy and a consortium will build a solar power plant called Andasol 3 in southern Spain, developed by Solar Millennium AG, the parties said in a statement on Friday.
It said that Stadwerke Munich, MAN Ferrostaal, RheinEnergie and Solar Millennium would form a consortium with RWE Innogy for the unit, which is planned to come on stream in 2011.

Mercury News Interview: A chat with UC-Berkeley energy expert Dan Kammen – San Jose Mercury News

UC-Berkeley professor of energy Dan Kammen is well-known around the country and throughout the world for his work in renewable energy science and policy.

Recently, he and a team of academics, entrepreneurs, business leaders and policymakers released a 141-page report, 18 months in the making, called “The Gigaton Throwdown” that outlines a path for a dramatic expansion in the development and deployment of renewable and low-carbon energy. The team focused on what it would take for nine different technologies to reduce the annual emissions of carbon dioxide and equivalent greenhouse gases by a least 1 billion metric tons, or one gigaton, by 2020. A copy of the report has been widely distributed on Capitol Hill, and has been presented to Energy Secretary Steven Chu, a colleague of Kammen’s.

The Mercury News talked to Kammen about the report, some of its conclusions and whether it can have an impact on U.S. energy policy. The interview was edited for clarity.

Renewable energy outperforms nuclear

the industry hype about a nuclear renaissance. Renewable energy is becoming the
leading source of new power capacity. Remarkably, it is likely to overtake nuclear
as a source of power in the not too distant future.

In 2008, nuclear power capacity experienced zero growth, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Meanwhile, solar power capacity grew 62 per cent, while wind capacity rose 29 per cent. While no new nukes went on line, solar and wind added 5,600 megawatts (MW) of capacity and wind added 27,000 MW, the equivalent of about 32 new 1,000-MW nuclear reactors.

Senate Climate Change Bill Delayed Until September

Controversial climate change legislation will not move out of a key Senate committee until September, after lawmakers return from their summer recess, U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer told reporters today.

Just two days after the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee opened hearings aimed at quick passage of climate legislation, Senator Boxer, the California Democrat who chairs the committee, said she has changed the target date for mark up of the bill from August 7 to sometime in early September.

The Great Beyond: Holdren meets the Brits

Holdren, science advisor to President Barack Obama, swung by Blighty today for
some tea and crumpets with the Brits. But before embarking on a who’s who tour
of UK science policymakers, he joined the press in the basement of the US embassy
for some all-American cookies and black coffee.

Most of his hour-long round table was spent discussing climate change. He expressed some disappointment with the climate change legislation winding its way through the US Congress, but sees it as a make-or-break step for getting an effective international accord out of the UN’s Copenhagen conference, which will take place in December. Some of the reporters expressed scepticism that a bill could be passed in time, but Holdren was optimistic, noting that the administration only needed around 12-15 additional votes in the Senate to pass the legislation. “I would still bet that it will happen, but I have to admit that it’s going to be a challenge,” he said.


Nuclear Editorial and Opinions

Deseret News | Too hot for nuke power

Proponents of nuclear power in Utah probably have not noticed an article in the UK Times (July 13, 2009) regarding the problems France is having with its nuclear-power plants, problems that bear on the feasibility of nuclear power in Utah.

France is in the grips of another hot summer, with air temperatures in the 80s. Water temperatures have exceeded the limits under which plants cooled by river water can safely operate.

As a result of the heat, France has had to reduce power generation by one-third and is now importing power from England. Much the same thing happened during the heat wave of 2003.

Reading this, I couldn’t help thinking about the nuclear plant proposed for Green River, where summer temperatures are regularly in high 90s. The water temperature of the Green River at Jensen on July 13, 2009, was 23.5 degrees Celsius, almost as high as the maximum allowed for water returned to rivers from France’s nuclear plants. During the drought of 1999-2005, Green River water temperatures reached 25.4 degrees.

Neils S. Nokkentved: Nuclear power isn’t clean or cheap | Opinion | Idaho Statesman

An Eagle-based company wants to build a 1,600-megawatt nuclear power plant in Elmore County.

The U.S. Congress is considering a bill that proposes the nation build 100 new nuclear power reactors over the next 20 years.

Idaho Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson has embraced nuclear power, and like others, promotes it as cheap and clean. They argue also that nuclear energy emits no greenhouse gases. But it is unclear which part of the nuclear energy cycle they’re referring to. Nuclear power is neither cheap nor clean.

The two main reasons no new power plants have been built in the United States since the late 1970s are the high cost of construction and the uncertainty of the regulatory approval process. Only federal subsidies make nuclear power “cheap.”

Darren Johnson: No rationale to nuclear power | MayorWatch

Darren Johnson, Green Party spokesman on trade and industry and member of he London Assembly, has published a new report which claims there’s no rationale in looking to nuclear power to help the country’s economy or tackle climate change.

In Nuclear Power? No Point! Johnson argues that the 4% of power provided by the UK’s nuclear capacity is far less than could be saved by energy-efficiency measures that would cut people’s fuel bills.

He also claims that the time needed to construct a new generation of nuclear power stations means they will not help the fight against climate change because major CO2 reductions are needed in the next ten years.

The Top Nuclear Stories is published twice weekly. It is a produced
using a combination of social bookmarking and programming.
You can view or join the public group and add your own stories
by going here ->

Leave a Reply