Top 100 Energy Stories (July 20th – 26th)

radbullI’m still on vacation… Having a wonderful time doing other things for a rare moment.  I’m a history buff, and like tracking down old historic stuff, especially materials that have been lost.  I promise to do a bit better cleanup of editing of stories when I come back.  For now, they are there… Just not quite as many stories, but hopefully most of the major ones.

Top Nuclear Stories Index

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


Nuclear Reactor News

San Antonio on center stage in nuclear power debate – San Antonio Business Journal:

With its recent recommendation to move forward with construction of two new nuclear power units in South Texas, the staff of CPS Energy has placed San Antonio at the forefront of a national debate that has been raging for more than two dozen years.

There hasn’t been a new nuclear power reactor constructed in the U.S. since the 1970s, but now there are five potential units on the horizon, including two that would be located in South Texas supplying power for CPS Energy — which serves San Antonio and Bexar County.

Former New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman came to San Antonio recently as co-chair of a group advocating for the expansion of nuclear energy nationwide and acknowledged the Alamo City’s central role in the debate.

Exelon not seeking new merger targets after failed NRG bid

Exelon is not seeking new merger targets in the near term after its failed bid to acquire NRG Energy, Exelon Chairman and CEO John Rowe said on a July 24 conference call to discuss Exelon’s second-quarter earnings. Market power issues would rule out any deal with another independent power producer while regulatory issues would likely hamper any merger with most acceptable utilities, he said. Rowe also said Exelon will not be building any new nuclear power plants, believing that uprating the power capacity of its current 17-unit nuclear fleet is a better value. The company last month postponed indefinitely its plans to build two new nuclear units at a greenfield site in Victoria County, Texas and announced plans for up to 1,500 MW of nuclear upgrades over the next eight years. Uprates for current nuclear units cost about half as much as building a new plant and the execution risk is “substantially lower,” Rowe said. Exelon on July 24 announced second-quarter income of $657 million, down from $748 million in second-quarter 2008.

Mountain Home News: Story: AEHI is not who you think they are; project designed for sale

It’s too bad that the State of Idaho doesn’t have an energy siting committee like a lot of other states.

Their duty would be to separate the wheat from the chaff and present to the public and local officials the true facts of any energy project proposed in the state.

The purpose of this letter is to present my concerns on the proposed nuclear plant in Elmore County.

While I don’t hold myself out as an expert in the nuclear power business, I have had some experience in contract negotiations and purchasing power from nuclear facilities. I was the CEO/General Manager of two electric power cooperatives, one in Washington and the other in Oregon, for more than 30 years. With that introduction, let me add my take on the project proposed by AEHI.

Bruce Power pulls plug on new reactors

Citing falling demand for electricity in Ontario, Bruce Power announced Thursday it has cancelled plans to build two new nuclear generating stations at Nanticoke on Lake Erie and in Bruce County.

Instead, the Bruce Power said in a statement that it will refurbish the two plants it currently leases from the provincial government in Port Elgin on Lake Erie.

These are business decisions unique to Ontario and reflect the current realities of the market,” said Duncan Hawthorne, Bruce Power’s president and chief executive. Our focus has always been to find the best way to provide Ontario with a long-term supply of 6,300 megawatts. For more than five years, we’ve examined our options and refurbishing our existing units has emerged as the most economical.”

Atomic Folly | Rowell Hoff’s Blog

On May 26, 1958, President Eisenhower waved a wand with a little light bulb on the end of it in front of an electric eye, starting up the first commercial reactor, located three hundred miles away at Shippingport, Pennsylvania.

That was as close to it as he wanted to be.

We are told that nuclear power is being used to generate electricity. That is not correct. Nuclear power is being used to boil water, and the resulting steam is being used to generate electricity in variants of the same way it has always been generated. What the enormously expensive nuclear plants do is generate heat in the most dangerous way imaginable, with waste products that are, so far, unmanageable. Conversion of the energy of nuclear fission or fusion directly into usable power would be a new and different kind of process. Perhaps it can be done; maybe people are working on it; but the present system is not it. The present system is a fancy steam engine.

IAEA chief calls on African countries to explore nuclear energy via regional approach_English_Xinhua

African countries can make use of the valuable nuclear technique to ensure better productivity via exploring a regional approach, the visiting UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief said here on Wednesday.

IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei made the remarks at a joint press conference with Tanzanian Communication, Science and Technology Minister Peter Msolla in responding to a question from Xinhua about his comments on the increasing efforts of African countries to pursue nuclear energy for peaceful purpose.

“We have many programs in all our member states in the African continent in using nuclear techniques. These are the valuable techniques in increasing food production, extending people’s life, making varieties through natural breeding and nutrition to ensure you have better productivity,” ElBaradei said.

PG&E to replace Calif. Diablo reactor vessel heads | Markets | Markets News | Reuters

PG&E Corp plans to replace the reactor vessel heads at both reactors at the 2,240-megawatt Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant in California during the next refueling outages, a company spokeswoman said Tuesday.

PG&E plans to shut Diablo Unit 2 for refueling in the autumn of 2009 and Unit 1 during the autumn of 2010.

The PG&E spokeswoman could not discuss the cost of the replacements or say how long the project would take. A usual refuel lasts about a month.

Nuclear future dims for Ontario | Canada | News | Toronto Sun

Cheap, reliable hydroelectric power once helped make Ontario rich, powering the factories and foundries that created wealth for the province.

But it’s now 18 aging nuclear reactors that keep the lights on, providing half the power used in Ontario. Most are closer to the end of their working lives than the beginning, and many have a record of costly overruns, inefficiency or both.

Despite that history, the Liberal government of Premier Dalton McGuinty has enthusiastically backed a nuclear future for Ontario, planning to renew the aging fleet to maintain its half of provincial generation with an ambitious, 20-year, $26-billion plan.

But in June, when the bill for replacing just two of those reactors came in so startlingly high — “several billions” too high in Energy Minister George Smitherman’s words — that he simply pulled the plug on the project, suspending it and leaving open the question once again: Can Ontario keep splitting the atom without breaking the bank?

Associated Press: Exelon-NRG fight comes to head, maybe

After a nine-month fight, Exelon’s $7.4 billion, all-stock bid to create the nation’s largest power generator by buying NRG Energy is coming to a head, maybe.

NRG shareholders on Tuesday will vote on Exelon’s proposal to increase the size of NRG’s board and with it, a group that would be more open to a deal. NRG has rejected two previous offers.

NRG repeatedly has said a deal isn’t being ruled out, but that Exelon has to bring more to the table. Many industry experts agree.

London Free Press – Reactor shut down over lack of demand

he 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

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

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.

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 PSC.

Damaged rod found at crippled German nuclear site : Energy Environment

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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.

Marking the 50th anniversary of the first U.S. nuclear meltdown – Los Angeles Times

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.”

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:


Nuclear Health and Safety News

BBC NEWS | UK | Uranium claim sparks safety alert

woman sparked an alert when she went into Suffolk’s fire service headquarters
with a test tube she said contained uranium oxide.

Firefighters put on air-tight suits and breathing apparatus to take the tube from the woman so it could be locked away in a secure place.

Experts from Sizewell nuclear power plant tested the substance and said it had a low level of radioactivity.

Dave Pedersen from Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service said it was low risk.

BBC NEWS | UK | Sellafield admits exposure case

has pleaded guilty to health and safety breaches after two contractors were exposed
to radiation.

The workers were refurbishing a floor at the site’s plutonium finishing and storage plant in July 2007 when they were exposed to airborne contamination.

Sellafield Ltd admitted failing to discharge its duty under the Health and Safety Act 1974 at Whitehaven Magistrates’ Court on Friday.

Environment Analyst | No of nuclear incidents almost doubled in 08/09

Significant progress in the restructuring of the UK nuclear industry and an increasing regulatory focus on high hazard” issues are among the highlights of a lengthy annual report published by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA). The report also provides details about the NDA’s finances and some information about the environmental and safety performance of the UK nuclear industry ” including an increase in radiological incidents.

Evacuation proposal has some skeptical| Asbury Park Press

and State Police discuss status of plan

TOMS RIVER Despite assurances by representatives of the State Police Office of
Emergency Management, not everyone at a public hearing Tuesday night was convinced
that a radiological emergency evacuation plan could be safely implemented.

State Department of Environmental Protection officials and representatives of the State Police discussed the status of the evacuation plan during an annual public hearing that followed a one-hour informal session concerning what would happen if a nuclear incident occurred at Oyster Creek Generating Station in the Forked River section of Lacey.

Jill Lipoti, DEP director of environmental safety and health, served as hearing officer for the proceeding. A number of booklets and fact sheets were on hand for residents to review.

Associated Press: Chinese villagers flee county in radiation scare

fled a central Chinese county at the weekend over rumors of a radiation leak at
a factory but most had returned by Monday after government assurances it was safe.

The exodus was sparked Friday, when bystanders saw government workers at a factory using robots to examine a cobalt-60 irradiator that had malfunctioned. The irradiator is used mainly for sterilizing pepper powder, flavoring used in instant noodles and garlic.

“There was chaos on the streets from about 2:30 p.m. until dark,” Zhu Zhihai, manager of a different factory that processes garlic, told The Associated Press by telephone Monday. “All kinds of vehicles were going out of the county — farm vehicles, motorcycles and cars.”

He estimated that a third of the population of about 1 million in Qi county, Henan province, fled, many because they had heard rumors of explosions. Officials have not estimated the number who fled.

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.

Piketon plant blaze results in no injuries, minor damage | | Chillicothe Gazette

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.

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.

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.

July 15, 1999: Hey, Sorry About the Beryllium Poisoning | This Day In Tech |

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.

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.

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.

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.

Of Irradiated Russian Village To Be Relocated By Year’s End – Radio Free Europe
/ Radio Liberty

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 Tatar-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

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


NRC News

Diane Forkel: The costs and risks of nuclear energy | | The Gainesville Sun | Gainesville, FL

People are conserving energy and GRU revenues are declining, except during periods of extreme weather conditions. However, electric battery-charged cars are on the horizon. They will likely take up any slack in energy use, and then some.

Progress Energy is looking ahead to increasing energy use. Their plans are to build two new nuclear power plants. However, electric customers beware, excessive cost overruns (and defects and deficiencies) at a Finnish power plant have been reported in the New York Times. If Progress Energy experiences similar problems, utility customers should brace for a double-cost whammy in their electric bills.

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:

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.

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.


Nuclear Fuel Cycle News

Green Left – AUSTRALIA: Fremantle residents rally against uranium

Fifty people rallied outside the Fremantle Esplanade Hotel on July 22. The hotel was the venue of the Australian Uranium conference. The protest was organised by the Fremantle Anti-Nuclear Group.

The protest was addressed by mayor of Fremantle, Peter Tagliaferri, who denounced the Western Australian Coalition government’s support for uranium mining as a short-sighted and costly policy. He reaffirmed the Fremantle City Council’s commitment to keeping Fremantle a nuclear-free zone.

Greens parliamentarian Lynn MacLaren denounced the federal environment minister Peter Garrett for his approval of the Four Mile uranium mine in South Australia. She called for the state government to invest in renewable energy rather than uranium mining which is dirty and dangerous.

News & Star | Mox ‘under scrutiny’

THE future of Sellafield’s controversial under-achieving Mox plant which support around 1,000 jobs on the site is still on the line.

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority says in its annual report out this week that on a less positive note the performance of the Sellafield mixed oxide plant (SMP) remains under close scrutiny by the NDA Board.

The NDA is in the process of examining options for the future of the plant in conjunction with Sellafield Ltd,” reports acting chief executive Richard Waite.

Against a target of eight Mox fuel assemblies, only two had been produced.

Both the Thorp and Magnox reprocessing plants also failed to meet targets.

Mine evaporation pond capping project explained, but residents express concerns | | Reno Gazette-Journal

Over 25 people attended a two-hour meeting Tuesday night to discuss a planned evaporation capping project and other issues of concern to residents regarding the Yerington Mine.

The meeting was called by the Yerington Community Action Group and featured U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officials and a pair of EPA consultants who gave presentations on the mine’s evaporation pond removal project.

Nadia Hollan Burke, Remedial Project Manager with EPA Region 9 (Superfund) over the Yerington Mine remediation project, was joined by her superior, Roberta Blank, as EPA representatives. Also giving a presentation was Victor Early, senior engineering geologist wih Tetra Tech, a consultant for EPA, who was joined by Tetra Tech’s Doug Herlocker, an air quality specialist/environmental project manager.

Areva, Northrop Grumman break ground on Virginia nuclear facility

Areva and Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding broke ground Wednesday on the first manufacturing facility for heavy commercial nuclear reactor components to be built in the US in 35 years. Michael Rencheck, CEO of Areva NP, said in an interview that once operational in mid-2012, the plant will turn out all of the heavy components needed for one Evolutionary Power Reactor a year. That involves a reactor vessel, four steam generators, and four reactor coolant pumps, he said. The plant will be built on Northrop Grumman property in Newport News, Virginia. The joint venture represents a $360 million investment and will have a global market, supplying heavy components for future EPR reactors in the US and other EPR projects, according to Rencheck. UniStar Nuclear Energy, a joint venture of Constellation Energy and France’s EDF Group, is seeking a license from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission to build and operate an EPR at the Calvert Cliffs nuclear power plant in Maryland.

AdelaideNow… Rio ignites nuke power debate

the Federal Government is not happy that uranium miner Rio Tinto has launched
an attack on its recently stated opposition to nuclear power.

But publicly, Government ministers were polite yesterday in responding to a pro-nuclear submission made by Rio Tinto over a white paper on government energy policy.

Treasurer Wayne Swan moved quickly to ground debate, declaring yesterday: “We don’t agree with Rio Tinto on that point.”

Climate Change Minister Penny Wong was equally dismissive, but civil: “Rio Tinto is entitled to their view.”

After lobbing the hand grenade which has reignited the nuclear debate, the uranium mining giant ran for cover yesterday.

No new mining claims for 2 years near Grand Canyon – Salt Lake Tribune

of mining claims dot 1 million acres near the Grand Canyon, and Interior Secretary
Ken Salazar says his department has a responsibility to ensure those resources
are developed in a way that protects communities, treasured landscapes and watersheds.

The Interior Department announced Monday that it is barring the filing of new mining claims, including for uranium, on the acreage for two years. Meanwhile, his department will study whether the land should be permanently withdrawn from mining activity.

USEC loan app stirs support, opposition | | Chillicothe Gazette

USEC Inc. eagerly awaits word from the U.S. Department of Energy on approval of
its loan request, local elected officials have been working hard to lobby on behalf
of the company.


Thursday, Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland, Sen. George Voinovich, R-Ohio, sent a letter to Steven Chu, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy requesting a meeting to ask him to approve the loan.

“We are writing to express our concern that the loan guarantee application made by USEC Inc. for the American Centrifuge Plant has not received a conditional commitment,” the letter read.

USEC Inc. is a private company leasing land owned by the Department of Energy in Piketon. The company is constructing the American Centrifuge Plant with the intent of enriching uranium for energy. Last summer, it applied for a $2 billion loan guarantee. With the loan guarantee, the company hopes to continue construction efforts to have the plant operational by 2011.

Deseret News | Stimulus is speeding tailings removal

A new report by the Department of Energy on the Moab tailings project says an average of 12,000 tons of contaminated dirt are being shipped to a nearby disposal site each week and by late June, more than 100,000 tons have been removed.

Federal stimulus money and an extra allocation from the Omnibus Appropriation Act infused an additional $118 million to the project to accelerate the timeline of the cleanup.

Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, said the funding boost is critical, given the severity of contamination at the former Atlas mine northwest of Moab.

“The danger posed by this unstable site is clear,” he said. “It is a risk not only to Moab but to millions of downstream water users. It’s important that this threat is removed as quickly as possible.”

Associated Press: Interior to halt uranium mining at Grand Canyon

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar will announce Monday that his department is temporarily barring the filing of new uranium mining claims on about 1 million acres near the Grand Canyon, an Obama administration official said.

The land is being “segregated” for two years so that the department can study whether it should be permanently withdrawn from mining activity, said the official, who requested anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

The announcement comes ahead of Tuesday’s congressional hearing on a bill to set aside more than 1 million acres of federal lands north and south of the canyon. The bill’s sponsor, Democratic U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva of Arizona, and environmental groups had been looking to Salazar for temporary protections at the Grand Canyon while the legislation is pending.

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.

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.

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.

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.


Nuclear Waste News

Is There a Place for Nuclear Waste?: Scientific American

Mountain was supposed to be the answer to the U.S.’s nuclear waste problem, but
after 22 years and $9 billion, that vision is dead. Now, some say that doing nothing
in the near term may be the smartest solution

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.

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.


Nuclear Policy News

nuclear debate reignites after more reactor problems | Deutsche Welle

education and research minister has warned against demonizing nuclear power after
two more reactors were temporarily taken offline, adding to the controversy over
the future of atomic energy in the country.

German Minister of Education and Research Annette Schavan has cautioned against
a demonization of nuclear power following the shutdown of multiple reactors
across the country due to technical malfunctions.
Wind farms a better option than nuclear reactors – Belleville Intelligencer – Ontario, CA

Re: Wind farm foes should look to Wolfe Island

Several years ago, while en route to Nova Scotia, my wife and I toured a wind farm near Matane, Que. Having read horror stories about the noise and bird deaths caused by these giant windmills we were both greatly surprised by what we found.

Not only were the windmills not noisy, they were nearly silent. The only sound to be heard was a gentle ‘swoosh’ as the blades went around.

The structures were actually quite elegant and I had a notion that these were among mankind’s better ideas.

As for bird deaths, I believe the numbers have been greatly exaggerated. The blades are allowed to rotate to a maximum of 22 revolutions per minute.

Seminar stirs anxieties over nuclear power –

Last weekend I came face to face with the promise and pitfalls of nuclear energy.

Along with more than a dozen other journalists, I toured the facilities at Oak Ridge National Laboratory near Knoxville, Tenn. We were part of a conference on nuclear power put on by the University of Tennessee.

Tucked into the emerald foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Oak Ridge is home to one of the world’s fastest supercomputers, which churn data at the unfathomable speed of a thousand trillion operations per second, called a petaflop.”

The computer is used to generate rainbow-hued mockups of Earth and project what it might feel like during global warming. The lab is also home to a particle accelerator that, like a giant indoor racetrack, hurls ions at 86 percent of the speed of light to produce the world’s most intense neutron beams.

Basically, Oak Ridge is Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory for nerds.

The Free Press – Walter Cronkite, 3 Mile Island & “Lamar’s Folly” in the Climate Bill

The accolades are still pouring in for departed anchorman Walter Cronkite. Few mention his critical “that’s the way it is” reporting on the atomic melt-down at Three Mile Island.

Yet Cronkite and TMI are at the core of today’s de facto moratorium on new reactor construction—which the industry’s new champion, Senator Lamar Alexander, now wants to reverse through the proposed federal Climate Bill.

Technicians who knew what was happening shook with terror as Cronkite opened his March 28, 1979, newscast with “the world has never known a day quite like today. It faced the considerable uncertainties and dangers of the worst nuclear power plant accident of the Atomic Age. And the horror tonight is that it could get much worse..” ( ) .

Greens make nuclear shutdown a coalition condition – The Local

party top candidate Jürgen 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.

AFP: US hopes India will reveal sites for nuclear plants

he 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.

100 New Reactors Would Result In Up To $4 Trillion in Excess Costs for U.S. Taxpayer, Rate Payers

The 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 Weapons News

Britain’s nuclear policy condemned by Jonathon Porritt – Telegraph

Mr Porritt, who steps down as Chairman of the Government’s Sustainable Development Commission on Monday, said that years had been wasted in pursuit of the the building of new nuclear power stations.

In a parting interview with The Daily Telegraph, he also condemned a succession of transport secretaries for failing to understand the green agenda and singled out a junior minister as a “spoiler” who had been “deeply unhelpful”in a number of posts.

“I am deeply disappointed that we have a Government position on nuclear power that is pretty unreconstructed,” Mr Porritt said after nine years in his post.


On August 6, 1945, the United States of America dropped an atomic bomb fueled by enriched uranium on the city of Hiroshima. 70,000 people died instantly. Another 70,000 died by the end of 1945 as a result of exposure to radiation and other related injuries. Scores of thousands would continue to die from the effects of the bomb over subsequent decades. Despite the fact that the U.S. is the only nation to have used atomic weapons against another nation, Americans have had little access to the visual record of those attacks. For decades the U.S. suppressed images of the bomb’s effects on the residents of Hiroshima, and as recently as 1995, on the fiftieth anniversary of the bombing, the Smithsonian Institution cancelled its exhibition that would have revealed those effects and settled for the presentation of a single exhibit: the Enola Gay, the plane that dropped the bomb on Hiroshima.

Belgian lawmaker seeks to outlaw nuclear arms – The Mainichi Daily News

member of the Belgian Federal Parliament is preparing a bill that would ban the
use, production and stockpiling of nuclear weapons, it has been learned.

Belgium has already gained prominence in the arms control community as the first country to ban cluster and depleted uranium munitions. Belgian Senator Philippe Mahoux may add to that reputation when he presents his nuclear weapons ban to the Senate, which he plans to do in early September, he has revealed to the Mainichi.

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.


Department of Energy News

$35 million expansion of DOE nuclear landfill starts » Knoxville News Sentinel

A $35 million expansion of the Department of Energy’s nuclear landfill is under way, and at least three Knoxville firms will work on the yearlong project, which is being funded with federal money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

DOE announced Wednesday construction had started and named some of the subcontractors, who will report to Bechtel Jacobs Co., DOE’s environmental manager in Oak Ridge. The landfill endeavor is part of dozens of projects funded with Oak Ridge’s stimulus allotment of $755 million for environmental activities.

As previously announced, Avisco, a woman-owned small business based in Oak Ridge, will provide construction labor and equipment for earthwork for the landfill expansion under a contract valued at $10.5 million.

Deseret News | EnergySolutions to manage Idaho N-waste

A Utah-based nuclear services company has been awarded a contract from Battelle Energy Alliance to manage waste from Battelle’s lab operations at the Idaho National Laboratory in eastern Idaho.

EnergySolutions, of Salt Lake City, will treat, package and transport radioactive, hazardous and industrial waste from several INL facilities, including the Advanced Test Reactor site and the Materials and Fuels Complex.

Company spokesman Mark Walker says the $19 million contract will run for five years, with work beginning this summer. Approximately 20 workers will be employed under the contract.

Flawed program for protecting Livermore lab workers from beryllium comes under federal scrutiny –

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.

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.


Other Energy News

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

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?'”

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

The 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.


Nuclear Editorial and Opinions

Deseret News | Too hot for nuke power

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. | 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.

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.

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