The following list of terms and acronyms may facilitate your reading of the events that have taken place at nuclear power plants on the Susquehanna River and elsewhere.


Accident Generated Water - In 1980, the Susquehanna Valley Alliance, based in Lancaster, successfully prevented GPU/Met Ed from dumping 700,000 gallons of radioactive water into the Susquehanna River. Ten years later, in December 1990, despite legal objections by TMI-Alert and the Susquehanna Valley Alliance, GPU began evaporating 2.3 million gallons of accident-generated radioactive water (AGW). 


AEC - Allegheny Electric Cooperative.


AGW - Accident Generated Water.


Allegheny Electric Cooperative - Rural electric cooperative that owns 10% of the Susquehanna Steam Electric Station (SSES).


ALARA - An acronym for "as low as is reasonably achievable." According to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and the National Energy Institute (NEI), it means making every reasonable effort to maintain exposures to radiation as far below federal dose limits as is practical.


AmerGen - On July 17, 1998, AmerGen Energy (British Energy and Exelon) announced that it reached an agreement with GPU to purchase Three Mile Island’s Unit 1 reactor for $100 million. The proposed sale includes $23 million for the reactor, and $77 million, payable over five years, for the nuclear fuel. On December 20, 1999, TMI-’s license was transferred from GPU Nuclear to AmerGen.


                  On September 5, 2002 , Exelon announced that it was putting its share (50%) of  AmerGen up for sale. British Energy’s share was also up for sale.  British Energy, which was bankrupt, owns the other 50% of AmerGen.


                   “Exelon was British Energy's (BE) partner in the AmerGen joint venture that bought three U.S. nuclear plants – Clinton, Oyster Creek and Three Mile Island-1. As expected, BE received about (U.S.) $277 million prior to various adjustments. BE said it will pay a break fee of $8.29 million to FPL Group, following termination of the original sale agreement between BE and FPL after Exelon exercised its right of first refusal and matched FPL's offer to become the sole owner of the AmerGen plants.” (Platts Nuclear News)


Alpha, beta, and gamma radiation – Types of radiation: Alpha radiation is the least penetrating of the three types. Beta radiation may cause skin burns; beta-emitters are harmful if they enter the body. Beta particles are easily stopped by a thin sheet of metal. Gamma radiation (gamma rays) is very penetrating and is best stopped or shielded against with dense material, such as lead.


AO - Auxiliary Operator.


ASLBP -Atomic Safety & Licensing Board Panel.


ASME - American Society of Mechanical Engineers.


Appendix R - Refers to NRC’s fire control regulations. On October 1, 1996, the NRC fined Thermal Science, Inc. (TSI) $900,000 for “deliberately providing inaccurate or incomplete information to the NRC concerning TSI’s fire endurance and ampacity testing programs.” (James Lieberman, Director of Enforcement.) The fine was the largest assessed against a nuclear contractor and the second highest in the agency’s history. In 1992, the NRC declared TSI’s fire barrier, Thermo-Lag, “inoperable.” 


Atomic Safety & Licensing Board Panel - Adjudicatory arm of the NRC.


Atomic Energy Act - Created the Atomic Energy Commission in 1946. In 1974, the Energy Reorganization Act created the NRC, which came into operation in 1975.


Atomic Energy Commission - The Atomic Energy Commission was created in 1946 by the Atomic Energy Act. Eight years later, Congress replaced that law with the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, which for the first time made the development of commercial nuclear power possible. The act assigned the AEC the functions of both encouraging the use of nuclear power and regulating its safety. An increasing number of critics during the 1960s charged that the AEC's regulations were insufficiently rigorous in several important areas, including radiation protection standards, reactor safety, determining plant sites, and environmental protection.


BE - British Energy.


Bell Bend - PPL is seeking approval to build and operate an Evolutionary Power Reactor approximately seven miles northeast of Berwick, Pa. On December 22, 2008, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission accepted the PPL Bell Bend LLC, Combined License Application (“COL” or "COLA") for an Evolutionary Power Reactor (“EPR”) at the Bell Bend Nuclear Power Plant Docket No. 52-039. On March 18, 2009, the NRC announced the opportunity for public participation in a hearing on a Combined License application for a new reactor at the Bell Bend site near Berwick. The site is adjacent to the existing two-reactor Susquehanna Steam Electric Station (SSES).


Berwick  - Refers to the Susquehanna Steam Electric Station (SSES).


BRP -  Bureau of Radiation Protection, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.


B&W - Babcock & Wilcox, the company that supplied the two reactors to Three Mile Island, the second of which had a partial meltdown in 1979. B&W is now known as Framatome.


 BWR - Boiling Water Reactor.


BWST - Borated Water Storage Tank.


CAP - Corrective Action Program.


COLA - Combined License Application.


Combined License Application - Combined License Application for a new nuclear power plant. This “streamlined” process minimizes public participation and allows technical issues, e.g., “ EPR” reactor design, to be addressed after the COL is issued. Since the first complete COL was submitted in September 2007, the NRC has received 15 COL applications for up to 25 reactors through November 2008.


Corrective Action Program -  A voluntary industry program in which the NRC encourages the licensee to prioritize and correct self-identified challenges, problems and incidents.


CRDM - Control Rod Drive Mechanism


CRO - Control Room Operator.


Demand-Side Management - Activities designed to encourage consumers to modify patterns of electricity usage that are undertaken in response to utility-administered programs.    


DEP - Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.


DHS - Department of Homeland Security.


Distribution System - The portion of an electric system that is dedicated to delivering electric energy to an end user.


DOE - The Department of Energy was created in 1977 and charged with managing high level radioactive waste.


                  On November 6, 1984, research conducted by the Department of Energy (DOE) on reactor damage during the accident, indicates temperatures may have reached in excess of 4,800 degree


EFP -  Emergency Feedwater Pump


EFW - Emergency Feedwater.


EDG -Emergency Diesel Generator.


Energy efficiency- Programs to reduce overall electricity consumption, by using, for example, high-efficiency appliances, efficient lighting programs, high-efficiency heating and air conditioning (HVAC) systems or control modifications, and LED building design.


EOF - Emergency Operations Facility.


EP - Emergency Preparedness.


EPA - The United States Environmental Protection Agency, created in 1970.


EPD - Electronic Pocket Dosimeter.


EPR - Evolutionary Power Reactor.


EQ - Environmental qualification.


ERO - Emergency Response Organization.


Evolutionary Power Reactor  - An Areva-designed pressurized water nuclear reactor, with a nominal output of approximately 1,600 megawatts of electricity.


EPZ - Emergency Planning Zones. The area surrounding a nuclear power plant site designated for emergency planning purposes. The EPZ encompasses a radius of about 10 miles for the plume exposure pathway and about 50 miles for the ingestion exposure pathway.




ERPA - Emergency Response Planning Area. A subdivision of the plume exposure emergency planning zone; an EPZ is made up of several ERPAs.


EPZ Ingestion - For planning purposes, the area surrounding the site – within approximately a 50-mile radius – where the principal source of exposure from an accident would be the ingestion of contaminated water or food.


Exelon - Corporate entity created by the merger of PECO Energy and Commonwealth Edison. This company is licensed to operate nuclear generating stations in Illinois and Pennsylvania including Peach Bottom and Three Mile Island-1.


FE - FirstEnergy.


                    “Exelon was British Energy's (BE) partner in the AmerGen joint venture that bought three U.S. nuclear plants – Clinton, Oyster Creek and Three Mile Island-1. As expected, BE received about (U.S.)$277 million prior to various adjustments. BE said it will pay a break fee of $8.29 million to FPL Group, following termination of the original sale agreement between BE and FPL after Exelon exercised its right of first refusal and matched FPL's offer to become the sole owner of the AmerGen plants.” (Platts Nuclear News)


FE - FirstEnergy.


FFD - Fitness For Duty.


FEMA - Federal Emergency Management Agency. In December 1979, due to the meltdown at Three Mile Island Unit-2, President Jimmy Carter issued Executive Order 112148. The Order directed the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the NRC to implement Radiological Emergency Response Plans for all populations living around nuclear power plants.


FERC - Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.  


Federal Energy Regulatory Commission - A quasi-independent regulatory agency within the Department of Energy having jurisdiction over interstate electricity sales, wholesale electric rates, hydroelectric licensing, natural gas pricing, oil pipeline rates, and gas pipeline certification.


FirstEnergy – An electric company based in Akron, Ohio, FirstEnergy (FE) is licensed to operate nuclear power plants in Ohio and Pennsylvania. FE and General Public Utilities merged in 2001. In November, 2001, TMI-2 was formally transferred from GPU Nuclear to FirstEnergy. This company is responsible for decommissioning Saxton and TMI-Unit 2, where the accident of 1979 happened. GPU contracts with AmerGen to maintain a skeletal staff presence at TMI-2.


FPL Group - Florida Power & Light.


Fossil Fuel - Any naturally occurring organic fuel, such as petroleum, coal, and natural gas.


Framatome – Formerly Babcok & Wilcox (See B&W).


Fuel - Any substance that can be burned, or otherwise used to produce heat; including materials used for nuclear fission in a chain reaction to produce heat.


General Public Utilities - General Public Utilities Nuclear (GPUN) sold TMI-1 and Oyster Creek plants to AmerGen in 1999. GPUN maintains a POL at TMI-2. General Public Utilities, GPUN's parent, merged into FirstEnergy into 2001.


Gigawatt (GW) - One billion watts.


Gigawatthour (GWh) - One billion watthours.


GM-EV-2 - On November 3, 1986, this federal regulation Guidance Memorandum EV-2 “Protective Actions for School Children” (GM EV-2) was put in place. It requires appropriate state and local government agencies to provide all licensed childcare facilities residing in Emergency Planning Zones  with pre planned radiological emergency services including.


GPU - General Public Utilities.


GPU Nuclear - In September, 1980, Metropolitan Edison (MetEd) renamed itself GPU Nuclear in an effort to disassociate itself from itself following the accident at Three Mile Island. MetEd continued operate as a 50 percent owner of GPU both before and after the accident and name change.


General Public Utilities - Holding company that owned Three Mile Island. At the time of the accident in March 1979, Three Mile Island’s Units I and 2 were owned by three utilities operating in two states; Metropolitan Edison (50%), Jersey Central Power & Light (25%) and Pennsylvania Electric (25%). The companies were organized under the General Public Utilities holding company umbrella. The operator of both plants was MetEd.


Grid - The layout of an electrical distribution system.


GW - Gigawatt.


GWh - Gigawatthour.


gph  - gallons per hour.


HP - health physics.


HPI - high-pressure injection.


HLW or HLWR - High-level Radioactive Waste. The average nuclear power reactor creates 30 tons of high-level radioactive waste every year. Isolation of high-level radioactive waste, which is primarily composed of uranium or plutonium fuel, has not been resolved by the NRC or industry. In other words, the technology to safely manage this waste for an indefinite period does not exist. Nuclear decommissioning studies presume the eventual existence of a facility for permanent storage of high-level radioactive waste.


ICS - Integrated Control System.


INPO - Institute for Nuclear Power Operations.

IR – Inspection Report prepared by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.


IST - Inservice Test.


JCP&L - Jersey Central Power & Light.  


Jersey Central Power & Light - Owned 25% of TMI at the time of the accident. JCP&L was part of GPU.


KI - Potassium Iodide.


Kilowatt (kW) - One thousand watts.


Kilowatt-hour (kWh) - One thousand watt-hours.


kW - Kilowatt.


kWh - Kilowatt-hour.


LER - Licensee Event Report (submitted to the NRC).


LLW or LLRW - Low-level Radioactive Waste. Most nuclear generating stations currently serve as a temporary repository for low-level radioactive waste. The term “low-level” is not analogous to low-risk. The radioactivity can range from just above the background radiation levels found in nature, to highly radioactive in cases of parts removal from inside the reactor vessel of a nuclear power plant. The Barnwell facility stopped receiving most wastes, including from Pennsylvania in June 2008.


Load (Electric) - The amount of electric power delivered or required at any specific point or points on a system.     


LOCA – Loss-of-Coolant Accident (as in 1979 TMI meltdown).


LOOP - Loss of Off-Site Power.


LRO- Licensed Reactor Operator.


Megawatt (MWe) -  One million watts.


Megawatt hour (MWh) -  One million watt-hours.

Met Ed -  Metropolitan Edison.


Metropolitan Edison - The original operator of  Three Mile Island. Met Ed owned 50% of TMI in 1979 and was part of GPU.


MOV – Motor-Operated Valve Program.


MOX (Mixed Oxide) - Reactor fuel in which plutonium-239 is mixed with natural or reprocessed uranium.


MWe – Megawatts.


NEI - The Nuclear Energy Institute is the industry’s lobby arm.


NEPA - National Environmental Policy Act.


NCV - Non-Cited Violation issued by the NRC in place of a more severe penalty (See Risk-Informed Approach)


Non-Cited Violations - Since the advent of the ROP, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has issued Non-Cited Violations rather than Violations. Based on calculations prepared by the Nuclear Energy Institute, the average cost to a company to respond to a Notice of Violation is $50,000 so each NCV saves the industry at least $50,000.


NRC - Nuclear Regulatory Commission, an agency of the federal government. The Atomic Energy Act created the Atomic Energy Commission in 1946. By 1974, the AEC's regulatory programs had come under such strong attack that Congress decided to abolish the agency. Supporters and critics of nuclear power agreed that the promotional and regulatory duties of the AEC should be assigned to different agencies. The Energy Reorganization Act of 1974 created the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; it began operations on January 19, 1975.


NRR - Nuclear Reactor Regulations, a division of the NRC.


Nuclear Fuel - Fissionable materials that have been enriched to support a self-sustaining fission chain reaction.


OGC - NRC’s Office of General Counsel.


OTSG – Once-Through Steam Generator.


Outage - The period during which a generating unit, transmission line, or other facility is out of service.


PAR - Protective Action Recommendation.


PBAPS - Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station.


PDMS - Post-Defueling Monitored Storage.


Peach Bottom - The Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station. This plant, in Delta, Pa., has two large General Electric Boiling Water Reactors that began operating in 1974 and are licensed to operate until 2034. Peach Bottom 1 was a high-temperature, graphite-moderated 40 MW reactor that operated from 1966-1974, but which has not been decommissioned.


                  In 1987, Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station became the first nuclear power plant shut down by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission due to operator malfeasance. Operators were found sleeping on the job, playing video games, engaging in rubber band and paper ball fights, and reading unauthorized material.


PDMS - Post-Defueled Monitored Storage.


PEMA - Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency.


Peak Demand - The maximum load during a specified period of time.


Penn Elec - Pennsylvania Electric, company which owned 25% of TMI at the time of the accident. Penn Elec was part of GPU.


PID - Partial Initial Decision.


Plume Exposure Pathway - The area surrounding a nuclear facility site (usually a radius of approximately 10 miles) where the principal exposure would occur: (a) whole body exposure to gamma radiation from the plume and from deposited material, and (b) inhalation exposure from the passing plume.


POL – Possession-Only License, issued by the NRC for a non-operating nuclear reactor, such as TMI Unit 2.


POLR - Provider of Last Resort. Refers to the role an incumbent electric utility must serve if its former customer elects to “default” or not choose a new generation supplier after electric rate caps expire.



Post-Defueling Monitored Storage - TMI- Unit 2’s current state of nuclear limbo. The reactor where the 1979 accident occurred is not decontaminated or decommissioned. GPU contracts with AmerGen to maintain a skeletal staff presence at TMI-2. According to the NRC, "The current radiological decommissioning cost estimate is $805 million and $27 million for non-radiological funds. The current amount in the decommissioning trust fund is $601 million, as of December 31, 2007.


Potassium Iodide - These tablets - also known as KI - can reduce the risk of thyroid cancer in radiation emergencies involving the release of radioactive iodine.


POL - Possession-Only License. A POL is issued by the NRC for a non-operating nuclear reactor, such as TMI-2.


PORV - Pilot-Operated Relief Valve.


Power Pool - An association of two or more interconnected electric systems having an agreement to coordinate operations and planning for improved reliability and efficiencies.


Price-Anderson Act  - First enacted in 1957, established a system of indemnification for legal liability resulting from a nuclear incident in connection with contractual activity for DOE.


PPL – Pennsylvania Power & Light; the parent holding company of PPL Electric, PPL Energy Funding and other subsidiaries. PPL Electric is a regulated utility subsidiary of PPL that transmits and distributes electricity in it service territory and provides electric supply to retail customers in this territory as a Provider of Least Resort (“PLR”), (PPL 2008 Annual Report, p. i.).


                      PPL Electric Utilities Corporation engages in the transmission and distribution of electricity to retail customers in eastern and central Pennsylvania. It also supplies electricity to retail customers. As of December 31, 2008, the company provided services to approximately 1.4 million customers in a 10,000 square mile territory in 29 counties of eastern and central Pennsylvania. (Business Week, May 12, 2009)


                    PPL Energy Supply LLC, is a subsidiary of PPL Energy Funding 

and the parent of PPL Generation, PPL Energy PLus , PPL Global 

and other subsidiaries.


                  PPL Energy Funding Corporation is a subsidiary of PPL and 

the parent company of PPL Energy Supply. 


PPL Bell Bend, LLC’s - Company created to build the Bell Bend nuclear power plant. Bell Bend’s parent is  PPL Energy Supply, LLC, which will provide the parent financial guarantee method adopted by PPL Bell Bend, LLC, consistent with the requirements of 10 CFR 50.75(e) (iii)(B) (CFR,2007). PPL Energy Supply will also provide an ultimate guarantee that decommissioning costs will be paid in the event the PPL Bell Bend is unable to meet its decommissioning obligations  at the time of decommissioning. (BBNPP, 1-12, Rev. 1)


PUC - Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.


PWR - Pressurized Water Reactor.


Rate Base - The value of property upon which a utility is permitted to earn a specified rate of return as established by a regulatory authority.  


Rate Caps - Beginning on January 1, 2009, caps on PPL’s electric rates will be lifted in Pennsylvania and PPL’s residential customers will pay an estimated average increase of 32%, or more.


RCB - Reactor Containment Building.


RCDT - Reactor Coolant Drain Tank.


RCS - Reactor Coolant System.


Residential customer - Defined as private household establishments which consume energy primarily for space heating, water heating, air conditioning, lighting, refrigeration, cooking, and clothes drying.    


ROP - Revised Reactor Oversight Process. A regulatory protocol instituted by the NRC in 1998 at the behest of the Nuclear Energy Institute. The process has produced “deregulated regulation,” and was implemented despite findings that suggested a need for more rigorous oversight and better training for licensee staff:  “[The] NRC allowed safety problems to persist because it was confident that redundant design features kept nuclear plants inherently safe and because it relied heavily on assurance from operators about their intentions to make changes. Moreover, NRC lacks a process for ensuring the plant operator uses competent managers.” Nuclear Regulation: Preventing Problem Plants Require More Effective NRC Action, GAO/RCED-97-145, May 30, 1997. (See Risk-Informed Approach.)


Risk-Informed Approach - The NRC's "revised" oversight program for nuclear generating stations. This new protocol was implemented on April 2, 2000 and was designed to "reduce unnecessary regulatory burden" on the nuclear industry (See NCV).


RPS - Reactor Protection System.


Rural Electric Cooperative - An electric utility legally established to be owned by and operated for the benefit of those using its service. Most electric cooperatives have been initially financed by the Rural Electrification Administration, U.S. Department of Agriculture. For example, 10% of the Susquehanna Steam Electric Station is owned by the Allegheny Electric Cooperative.


SALP - Systematic Assessment of Licensee Performance, prepared by the NRC prior to implementing the Reactor Oversight Process.


SFP - Spent fuel pools - Spent fuel “disposal” is the unresolved riddle of nuclear power generation. Each reactor produces approximately 30 metric tons of toxic, high-level radioactive waste (HLRW) per year. The technology to safely manage HLRW for an indefinite period – or at least for the recommended 10,000 years, does not exist.


SG & SGT - Steam Generator and Steam Generator Tubes.


SR - Secondary River water.


SRO - Senior Reactor Operator.


SSES - The Susquehanna Steam Electric Station, a power plant near Berwick, Pa., comprised of two large Bechtel Boiling Water Reactors (BWRs). In June 1983, Susquehanna Unit-1 came on line. PPL’s estimate of $650 million cost rate payers $2.05 billion. In February 1985 Susquehanna Unit-2 came on line. PPL’s estimate of  $720 million cost rate payers  $2.05 billion. 


Scheduled Outage - The shutdown of a generating unit, transmission line, or other facility, for inspection or maintenance, in accordance with an advance schedule.


Spot Purchases - A single shipment of fuel or volumes of fuel, purchased for delivery within 1 year.      


Steam Electric Plant - A plant in which the prime mover is a steam turbine. The steam used to drive the turbine is produced in a boiler where fossil fuels are burned.


Tech Specs - Technical Specifications.


TSI - Thermal Science Incorporated. On October 1, 1996, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission fined Thermal Science, Inc. $900,000 for “deliberately providing inaccurate or incomplete information to the NRC concerning TSI’s fire endurance and ampacity testing  programs.” (James Lieberman, Director of Enforcement.) The fine was the largest assessed against a nuclear contractor and the second highest in the agency’s history. In 1992, the NRC declared TSI’s fire barrier, Thermo-Lag, “inoperable.”


Three Mile Island Nuclear Generating Station - In  September, 1974, Three Mile Island-Unit 1 (819 MW) PWR designed by Babcok & Wilcox, came on line.  Two years behind schedule and two times over budget .


                  In December, 1978, Three Mile Island Unit-2  (900 MW)  PWR designed by Babcok & Wilcox came on-line three-times over budget, five years behind schedule, and built at a cost to rate payers of $700 million                                    


                  On  March 28, 1979, 4:00 a.m., the Three Mile Island (TMI) Unit-2 core melt began. On March 30, 1979 - Governor Richard Thornburgh recommended an evacuation for preschool children and pregnant women living within five miles of the plant. Schools in the area closed. Out of a target population of 5,000, over 140,000 Central Pennsylvanians fled the area.


                   TMI-2 remains  in Post-Defueling Monitored Storage in 1992. GPU contracts with AmerGen to maintain a skeletal staff presence at TMI-2.


TMI - Three Mile Island.


Transmission System - An interconnected group of electric transmission lines for moving  electric energy between points of supply and points at which it is transformed for delivery over the distribution system lines to consumers.


Tritium - A hydrogen isotope and a byproduct of nuclear reactions. Tritium has recently be found in plume pathways at nuclear power plants including Three Mile Island and was released during the evaporation of AGW. It was also found in July 2009 in wells at the Peach Bottom plant.


UCS - Union of Concerned Scientists.