August 28, 2009
No safety issues found to prevent reactors from running another 20 years.
By Rory Sweeney
Times Leader Staff Writer
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission concluded that there are no safety issues that would stop PPL Corp. from relicensing its Susquehanna nuclear station for another 20 years, according to a report released by the agency on Thursday.
Who should be considered an affected person or party, and allowed standing, when it comes to challenging the licensing of nuclear power plants?
Three Mile Island-Alert Chairman and Harrisburg resident Eric Epstein lives just over 50 miles -- and downriver near the Susquehanna -- from the Bell Bend site where PPL is seeking to place a new nuclear reactor. He was told he is not entitled to the legal standing to challenge the operating license, but he is appealing that decision.
To read his appeal, open pdf:
Rutland Herald Aug. 20, 2009
Entergy: Yankee shortfall less short
By Susan Smallheer STAFF WRITER
BRATTLEBORO — Entergy Nuclear has claimed the $87 million gap between what it has saved for the decommissioning of Vermont Yankee and what it needs to do the job has shrunk to $58 million.
In a filing with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the owner of the Vernon reactor said it would provide federal regulators with an unspecified "financial assurance mechanism" later this year to prove it was good for the money.
Three Mile Island-Alert News Report
By Marlene Lang
August 19, 2009
Changed F.B.I. Agents’ Role Shown When Radioactive Material Went Missing
By ERIC SCHMITT
NORWALK, Calif. — The report last month was chilling: a 55-gallon drum of radioactive material had gone missing during shipment from North Carolina to California. Even worse, the person who signed for the cargo was not an employee of the company that ordered the load.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation here ramped up, consulting health officials, questioning radiation specialists and tracking down the trucker who dropped off the material, which could be used in a radioactive-bomb attack. Three hours later, the shipper found the drum — still sitting on a loading dock 20 miles from its destination in the Los Angeles area — having confused it with a similar shipment sent to a different company on the same day.
For an F.B.I. team here that vets tips and threats about possible terrorist activity, it was yet another false alarm in a job largely defined by hoaxes and bogus leads that must still be run to ground.
“A lot of time we are chasing shadows,” said Lee Ann Bernardino, a 20-year F.B.I. special agent who handled the case, “but it’s better to do that than find out later you let something get by.”
Article published Aug. 13, 2009
NRC: Dry cask test was eliminated
By Louis Porter Vermont Press Bureau
MONTPELIER – The concrete-and-steel "dry casks" used at the Vermont Yankee plant to store spent nuclear fuel were not tested as completely as they should have been, according to federal regulators.
But the decision by Holtec International, the New Jersey company that built the casks, to omit one set of tests does not pose a safety risk, Nuclear Regulatory Commission officials said Wednesday. That's because there were other kinds of inspections done on those casks, and the waste stored in the casks is not as hot as allowed, meaning they are safe even though they were not tested with pressurized helium as required under a federal licensing agreement.
About 109 of the casks that were not completely tested are in use nationwide, including five at Vermont Yankee, regulators say.
By ANDREW MIGA (AP)
BETHESDA, Md. — Federal regulators said Thursday they hope to resolve funding shortfalls with the owners of 26 nuclear plants, who aren't saving enough money to dismantle them when they've run their course.
Nuclear Regulatory Commission officials are reviewing action plans owners were asked to submit, explaining how they'd address funding shortfalls for shutting down reactors. NRC officials in June notified owners of the shortfalls, caused in part by the nation's financial meltdown.
Aug. 12, 2009
BY ROD SMITH Special to Hometown Gazette
COVERT TOWNSHIP -- A second radioactive leak at the Palisades nuclear plant has been fixed.
``I'm happy to say we have found the source of the leak, and have repaired that.'' said Mark Savage, the public-affairs and communications director for Palisades.
The new leak was at a turn in a pipe and happened because of the failure of a weld, Savage said. The pipes and welds are stainless steel.
``We think it was during original construction,`` Savage said.
Eric Epstein has submitted a memo challenging sections of the petition of PPL Electric Utilities Corporation for Approval of an Energy Efficiency and Conservation Plan.
As a PPL customer, Epstein questions "the legality and appropriateness of PPL’s Time of Use programming," among other issues.
July 23, 2009
HARRISBURG – According to an audit report released today by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC), PPL Electric Utilities Corp. (PPL) may realize yearly savings up to $1.9 million and one-time savings of $9.8 million by implementing recommendations contained in the audit.
The Commission voted 5-0 to make the audit report and the company’s implementation plan public. The Focused Management and Operations Audit analyzed and evaluated management performance in 12 areas. The audit was conducted by the PUC’s Bureau of Audits Staff.
The audit makes 23 recommendations to the company for improvement. The company’s implementation plan accepted all 23 of the recommendations.