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Nuclear Regulatory Commission - News Release
No: II-23-004 April 3, 2023
Contact: Dave Gasperson, 404-997-4417
NRC Proposes $70,000 Fine to Urenco USA Uranium Enrichment Facility
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has proposed a $70,000 civil penalty for Urenco USA for two violations of agency requirements related to improperly implementing safety controls at its Eunice, New Mexico, plant.
The first violation occurred during a March 2022 event when plant staff found three construction vehicles parked near a building that handles uranium hexafluoride without physical barriers in place. The company notified the NRC as required and the agency launched a special inspection in response and documented its findings in a May 10, 2022, report.
The second violation occurred during a June 2022 event when plant management observed an employee not following established safety procedures for trucks entering an area near a building containing uranium hexafluoride cylinders. The company notified the NRC and the agency conducted a follow-up inspection Aug. 24, 2022.
During that inspection, NRC inspectors found that Urenco USA failed to implement adequate safety measures during both incidents. Specifically, the company did not take enough precautions to prevent a potential accident sequence involving construction vehicles damaging the facility or the uranium hexafluoride inside – increasing the risk to plant workers and the public.
Urenco USA was notified of the apparent violations Dec. 8, 2022. The company submitted a written response to the NRC Feb. 8, 2023, admitted the violations, and discussed their plans for corrective actions.
The NRC reviewed Urenco USA’s response and determined that while the incidents did not result in the release of radioactive material, the potential safety consequences of the violations warrant the proposed fine.
The company has 30 days to pay the proposed penalty or contest it. The NRC will consider any response from the company before making a final determination on the matter.

Plymouth nuclear power plant testimony–re-proposed Holtec tritiated hydrogen
Subject: Letter - Susquehanna Steam Electric Station, Units 1 and 2 and Associated Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation - Order Approving Indirect Transfer of Licenses and Draft Conforming License Amendments (EPID L-2022-LLM-0003)
ADAMS Accession No.: ML23073A068
Using Web-based ADAMS, select “Advanced Search”
Under “Property,” select “Accession Number”
Under “Value,” enter the Accession Number
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Subject: Enclosure 1 - Order - Susquehanna Steam Electric Station, Units 1 and 2 and Associated Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation - Order Approving Indirect Transfer of Licenses and Draft Conforming License Amendments (EPID L-2022-LLM-0003)
ADAMS Accession No.: ML23073A071
Using Web-based ADAMS, select “Advanced Search”
Under “Property,” select “Accession Number”
Under “Value,” enter the Accession Number
Click Search
Subject: Enclosure 2 - Draft Conforming Amendments - Susquehanna Steam Electric Station, Units 1 & 2 & Associated Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation- Order Approving Indirect Transfer of Licenses & Draft Conforming License Amendments EPID L-2022-LLM-0003
ADAMS Accession No.: ML23073A082
Using Web-based ADAMS, select “Advanced Search”
Under “Property,” select “Accession Number”
Under “Value,” enter the Accession Number
Click Search
Subject: Enclosure 4 - Safety Evaluation NonProprietary Susquehanna Steam Electric Station, Units 1,2 & Associated Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation-Order Approving Indirect Transfer of Licenses & Draft Conforming License Amendments EPID L-2022-LLM-0003
ADAMS Accession No.: ML23073A107
Using Web-based ADAMS, select “Advanced Search”
Under “Property,” select “Accession Number”
Under “Value,” enter the Accession Number
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Susquehanna Steam Electric Station, Units 1 and 2 - Integrated Inspection Report 05000387/2022002 and 05000388/2022002
BASELINE INSPECTION REPORT 05000277/2023401 AND 05000278/2023401
Settlement of Fraud Allegations Involving NRC Contractor
ROCKVILLE, Md.— Yesterday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia announced the settlement of fraud allegations involving a contractor to the NRC and other federal agencies.  The settlement will recover $742,500 to the benefit of the national treasury, and culminates years of coordinated effort between the Nuclear Regulatory Commission Office of the Inspector General (NRC OIG) and four other agencies.
“I am proud of the work our OIG Special Agents performed on this case to produce such a favorable result,” said NRC Inspector General Robert J. Feitel.  Mr. Feitel also commended Assistant Special Agent in Charge Erika Keyes, Special Agent in Charge Nathaniel Smith, and Assistant Inspector General for Investigations Malion Bartley “for their investigative talents navigating this complex case, and for so deftly coordinating with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia, the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service’s Mid-Atlantic Field Office, and the Defense Contract Audit Agency.”
The U.S. Attorney’s Office provides more information on this case in its press release.  As stated in the press release, the claims resolved by the settlement are allegations only, and there has been no determination of liability.
NRC Ordered Updated Environmental Review for Reactors Seeking Subsequent License Renewals—Reversing Four Previously Extended Licenses

On February 24, 2022, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) issued three unusual decisions pertaining to the agency’s review of subsequent license renewal (SLR) applications. The Commission orders reversed a previous Commission decision—CLI-20-03—pertaining to environmental reviews conducted by the NRC under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) for SLRs.

In two of the orders the Commission reversed previously granted SLRs for four reactors—two reactors at Florida Power & Light Co.’s (FPL) Turkey Point nuclear power plant (CLI-22-02) and two reactors at Constellation Energy Corp.’s (Constellation) Peach Bottom nuclear power station (CLI-22-04). These orders, in part, moved the license terms back to their previous expiration dates and provided further direction to the NRC staff regarding next steps for the licenses.

The third Commission order provided further direction for conducting the environmental reviews for pending SLR proceedings, involving nine additional reactors at four more plants (CLI-22-03).

We walk through the three Commission decisions in more detail below, after providing a brief overview of SLRs and the regulations at issue.

1. What is Subsequent License Renewal?

Typically, at initial licensing, the NRC issues a license for commercial reactors to operate for up to 40 years. NRC regulations permit these licenses to be renewed beyond the initial 40-year term for an additional period of time, limited to 20-year increments per renewal There are no specific limitations in the Atomic Energy Act or the NRC’s regulations restricting the number of times a license may be renewed. Initial license renewal generally extends a plant operating license from 40-60 years, while so-called “subsequent license renewal”—or SLR—extends a plant operating license from 60-80 years.

In deciding whether to grant a renewed license, the NRC evaluates whether the nuclear facility can continue to operate safely during the period of extended operation. The review is conducted in accordance with both safety (10 C.F.R. Part 54) and environmental (10 C.F.R. Part 51) requirements.

a. Environmental Reviews During License Renewal

In addition to a safety review, the renewal of a nuclear power plant operating license requires the preparation of an environmental impact statement (EIS) to comply with the requirements of NEPA. The EIS includes the Staff’s analysis that considers and weighs the environmental effects of the proposed action. To support the preparation of EISs, the NRC published the Generic Environmental Impact Statement for License Renewal of Nuclear Plants(GEIS) in 1996, and updated the GEIS in 2013.

The GEIS for license renewal assessed the environmental impacts associated with the continued operation of nuclear power plants during the license renewal term. The NRC also promulgated a rule that codified the findings of the GEIS into its regulations in 10 C.F.R. Part 51, Subpart A, Appendix B, Table B-1 (“Table B-1”).

As explained in the Commission decision CLI-20-03 (at page 5), the intent of the GEIS was to improve the efficiency of license renewal by determining which environmental impacts would result in essentially the same impact at all nuclear power plants (i.e., generic or “Category 1” issues) and which ones could result in different levels of impacts at different plants and would require a plant-specific analysis to determine the impacts (“Category 2” issues). In developing the GEIS, the NRC relied on the following factors:

  • License renewal will involve nuclear power plants for which the environmental impacts of operation are well understood as a result of lessons learned and knowledge gained from operating experience and completed license renewals.
  • Activities associated with license renewal are expected to be within this range of operating experience; thus, environmental impacts can be reasonably predicted.
  • Changes in the environment around nuclear power plants are gradual and predictable.

For the issues that could not be generically addressed—the Category 2 issues—the Staff prepares plant-specific supplements to the GEIS, i.e., a plant-specific supplemental EIS, or “SEIS”.

While the NRC is responsible for complying with NEPA, the process of creating an EIS begins with the license renewal applicant. Under 10 C.F.R. §§ 51.45(a) and 51.53(c)(1), license renewal applicants must submit an environmental report to the NRC “to aid the Commission in complying with section 102(2) of NEPA.” See 10 C.F.R. § 51.14(a) (definition of “environmental report”). The NRC staff reviews the environmental report submitted by the applicant and uses it to draft the plant-specific SEIS. SeeCLI-20-03 at 6.

Under 10 C.F.R. § 51.53(c)(3), “[f]or those applicants seeking an initial renewed license…the environmental report…for the operating license renewal stage is not required to contain analyses of the environmental impacts of the license renewal issues identified as Category 1 issues in [Table B-1].” Therefore, applicants meeting this criteria may rely on the GEIS and Table B-1 in preparing their environmental reports, and the NRC staff may subsequently rely on the GEIS and Table B-1 when preparing its SEISs.

b. Status of License Renewal Reviews

As of January 2022, the NRC has completed initial license renewal for 94 commercial nuclear reactors—58 have entered their extended period of operation, while 8 of those have since ceased operations. An additional reactor with a renewed license shut down before reaching 40 years of operation.

The first SLR application, for Turkey Point Units 3 and 4 reactors, was submitted to the NRC in January 2018, and the NRC issued the Turkey Point SLRs in December 2019. As of January 2022, the NRC had issued SLRs for six reactors, and SLR applications are under review for an additional nine reactors.

Completed SLR Applications (as of January 2022):

Plant Name and Unit(s) Application Date Renewed License Issued Date Entering Subsequent Period of Extended Operation
Turkey Point Units 3 and 4 01/31/18 12/04/19 07/19/32 (Unit 3)
04/10/33 (Unit 4)
Peach Bottom Units 2 and 3 07/10/18 03/05/20 08/08/33 (Unit 2)
07/02/34 (Unit 3)
Surry Units 1 and 2 10/15/18 05/04/21 05/25/2032 (Unit 1)
01/29/2033 (Unit 2)

SLR Applications Currently under Review:

Plant Name and Unit(s) Application Received
St. Lucie Plant, Units 1 and 2 08/03/2021
Oconee Nuclear Station, Units 1, 2, and 3 06/07/2021
Point Beach, Units 1 and 2 11/16/2020
North Anna, Units 1 and 2 08/24/2020

*Tables are taken from the NRC website.

2. Summary of Commission Position before February 24th Orders

The Commission’s February 24th orders reversed a prior Commission decision—CLI-20-03. The matter specifically before the Commission in CLI-20-3 was whether 10 C.F.R. § 51.53(c)—and therefore the GEIS and Table B-1—applied to SLRs or only initial license renewals. At issue was the language in the regulation that stated that the regulation applied to “those applicants seeking an initial renewed license” and whether this language limited the applicability of § 51.53(c) to only initial license renewal and not to SLRs.

The matter had been referred to the Commission by the Licensing Board in the Turkey Point SLR proceeding. When faced with this issue, the Licensing Board had determined the plain regulatory language does not resolve whether § 51.53(c)(3) can be applied to SLR applicants, explaining: “it neither directs the Commission to apply section 51.53(c)(3) to [subsequent license renewal] applicants, nor does it forbid the Commission from doing so.” Because the Board found the regulations silent as to SLR applicants, the Board looked to “regulatory language and structure; regulatory purpose and history; the agency’s interpretative rules; and administrative efficiency, logic, and practicality.” Based on its analysis, the Board concluded that the Commission intended § 51.53(c)(3) to apply to all license renewal applicants, including those for SLR. See CLI-20-03 at 8-9 (citing LBP-19-3, 89 NRC 245 (2019)).

In affirming the Licensing Board’s decision, the Commission held in CLI-20-03 that, in SLR proceedings, the NRC staff may rely on the NRC’s GEIS and Table B-1, and could exclude consideration of “Category 1” issues from their environmental reports absent new and significant information that would change the conclusions in the GEIS. See CLI-20-03 at 29 and 10 C.F.R. § 51.53(c)(3)(i). Therefore, under CLI-20-03, an applicant’s environmental reports need only address “Category 2” issues and the NRC staff need only address the same information in their SEISs. See 10 C.F.R. § 51.53(c)(3)(ii).

3. Commission February 24th Orders

In the Commission’s February 24th orders, the Commission reversed its previous decision in CLI-20-03, and determined that the GEIS, Table B-1, and 10 C.F.R. § 51.53(c)(3) only apply to an initial license renewal (i.e., from years 40-60 of a plant’s operating life) and not subsequent license renewal (i.e., from years 60-80 of a plant’s operating life). This decision impacts pending SLRs as well as already-issued SLRs as explained below.

Commissioner Wright also dissented from the majority decision, as further explained below.

  • Turkey Point and Peach Bottom. With respect to the four licenses at the Turkey Point and Beach Bottom plants, the Commission determined that as a result of overturning CLI-20-03, the environmental review of these license renewal applications is incomplete. See CLI-22-02 at 2 and CLI-22-04 at 3. The Commission directed that the NRC staff roll back the license dates for these facilities to where they were before the SLR, and directed the parties to submit their views on the practical effects of (1) the subsequent renewed licenses continuing in place and (2) the previous licenses being reinstated.

In the Turkey Point decision, the Commission explained the effects of its decision as follows (CLI-22-02 at 14):

The interpretation we apply today is consistent with the intent and text of NEPA and the APA, as well as judicial interpretations of those laws. This decision aligns the agency interpretation of section 51.53 with the plain language of the regulation.

We conclude that the Staff did not conduct an adequate NEPA analysis before issuing FPL licenses for the subsequent license renewal period. While FPL’s subsequently renewed licenses became immediately effective upon issuance, the environmental analysis associated with the previous licenses analyzed the impacts of operation until 2032 and 2033 for Units 3 and 4, respectively. We conclude that it is appropriate for FPL to maintain its current subsequently renewed licenses, but with shortened terms to match the end dates of the previous licenses … until completion of the NEPA analysis. Accordingly, we direct the Staff to amend the licenses to this effect. Given the timeframe involved, we fully expect that the Staff will be able to evaluate the environmental impacts prior to FPL entering the subsequent license renewal period. While we recognize that FPL and other subsequent license renewal applicants have relied on CLI-20-03 and prior agency statements, our holding today will ultimately promote the agency’s goals of clear communication with the public and transparency in our actions.

We would note that it is unusual for the NRC to alter pre-existing decisions without a demonstration of new information, especially in light of the fact that a licensing action had already been taken by the NRC based on a Commission decision. This unusual course of action is further addressed in the overview of Commissioner Wright’s dissent below.

We would further note that Dominion Energy Inc.’s Surry nuclear power plant also received approval for a subsequent license renewal in 2021, but for reasons unclear at present to the blog authors is not named in the NRC’s recent decisions.

Nuclear watchdogs emailed Governor Shapiro to place a moratorium to ensure no toxic water is dumped into the Susquehanna River.

Author: Matt Klinedinst
Published: 9:56 PM EDT March 17, 2023
Updated: 9:56 PM EDT March 17, 2023

GOLDSBORO, Pa. — Eric Epstein wants the Commonwealth to watch the water during the Three Mile Island decommissioning process. The long-time nuclear watchdog said the Susquehanna River will be a significant source during cleanup.

“You need water to clean the plant up. The water comes in contact with radioactive components, it becomes radioactive, and then the issue becomes, what to do with the water," said Epstein. “We don’t want to establish a precedent where the company simply dumps radioactive water into the Susquehanna River.”

The Susquehanna River Basin Commission currently regulates the amount of water that can be used during the decommissioning process. TMI-1 has rights to use the water from the river, however, TMI-2 does not have those same rights.

“We have two separate timelines and two separate demands for water," said Epstein. "What we want to unify and clarify is that whoever and whatever uses water, when it becomes radioactive, that it doesn’t go back into the Susquehanna River.”

Epstein said he sent a letter to Governor Shapiro’s office, asking him to take action.

“What we’re asking the governor to do is to take the lead and negotiate a memorandum of understanding between the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the owners of the plants, and also the Pennsylvania DEP," said Epstein.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection issued the following statement to FOX43:

"DEP is actively engaged with NRC and the owners in routine communication so we are aware of activities at the site."

Epstein says the water and waste issue could have ripple effects for years to come.

“This is an issue the community is going to have to negotiate for decades," said Epstein. "Actually, it’s an accident without an ending.”

We reached out to Constellation Energy, who owns TMI-1, for an interview, but they declined to comment.

TMI-2, which was the site of the 1979 accident, is set to be decommissioned by 2037. TMI-1 is set to be decommissioned by 2079.

Dear Friends and Supporters,
I want to extend a special invitation to our upcoming screening of the award-winning feature documentary, RADIOACTIVE: The Women of Three Mile Island. We have comp tickets for you! Please RSVP asap, so I may hold tickets for you. 
Here is our trailer: 
We have two screenings coming up immediately which we'd love for you to attend: 
1. Washington DC environmental film festival on March 25 at 7 PM. 
2. Midtown Cinema, Harrisburg, PA March 26, 6 & 8 pm, Q & A 7:30. 
3) Sarasota Film Festival, runs March 24 — April 1 (our specific date/time TBA)
RADIOACTIVE: THE WOMEN OF THREE MILE ISLAND:  An Award-Winning feature documentary about the 1979 Three Mile Island meltdown--recounts the true tale of the worst commercial nuclear accident in U.S. history. RADIOACTIVE covers the never-before-told stories of four intrepid homemakers, two women lawyers (and a single-mom waitress) who took the local community's case all the way to the Supreme Court, and a young female journalist who was caught in the radioactive crossfire. 
RADIOACTIVE features activist and actor Jane Fonda--whose film, CHINA SYNDROME (a fictional account of a nuclear meltdown), opened 12 days before the real disaster in Pennsylvania. 
RADIOACTIVE also breaks the story of a radical new health study (in process) that may finally expose the truth of the meltdown. For over forty years, the nuclear industry has done all in their power to cover up their criminal actions, claiming, as they always do, "No one was harmed and nothing significant happened." 
In this thrilling feminist documentary, indomitable women fight back against the nuclear industry Goliath to expose one of the worst cover-ups in U.S. history.
Here is our film website with more information, including information about our stellar team, and information about upcoming events:
Film website: Radioactivethefilm.com
Please share this invite with others whom you think may like to attend! We have a mailing list sign up on our website, so it would be wonderful if you could encourage others to sign up--so we may spread the word.
Upcoming showings coming up to date (many more TBA soon):
              3. Sarasota Film Festival  March 28-4/1 2023 (exact Date/Time TBA)
              4. Huntington Cinema Arts Centre, Huntington, NY April 29, 7:00 p.m.
              5. Uranium Film Festival May 2023, Rio, Brazil (Date/Time TBA).
              6. Cinequest Film Festival August 2023, San Jose, CA (Date/Time TBA)
              7. Rivertown Film, Nyack NY (Date/Time TBA).
              8. LA festival TBA--June, 2023
Thank you for all the amazing work that you do! 
Again, please spread the work, and if there are others I should invite directly, please let me know.
In Deep Gratitude and Admiration, 
Heidi Hutner and the RADIOACTIVE team
Dr. Heidi Hutner
English Department,
Affiliate: Sustainability Studies,
Gender Studies
Stony Brook University
Stony Brook, NY 11795
Personal Website: HEIDIHUTNER.COM
Webisode: Coffee With Hx2  (video interviews with Sustainability experts)
Nuclear Regulatory Commission - News Release
No: 23-021 March 10, 2023
CONTACT: Scott Burnell, 301-415-8200
NRC Authorizes Restart of National Institute of Standards and Technology Reactor
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has concluded the National Institute of Standards and Technology has satisfied the requirements to safely restart the NIST research reactor in Gaithersburg, Maryland. The facility has been safely shut down since February 2021, when an event damaged a reactor fuel element without affecting public health and safety.
“We’ve reached this decision after extensive review of the event, NIST’s corrective actions, and additional work the facility has done to ensure safe operation,” said Andrea Veil, director of the NRC’s Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation. “We’re satisfied this research facility’s important systems and components are ready to go, and we’re satisfied the reactor staff are ready to carry out improved procedures for maintaining safety. We’ll continue our increased oversight of the facility and its ongoing corrective actions.”
NRC approval was required before the facility could restart the reactor because the facility violated the fuel cladding temperature safety limit. The NRC’s technical evaluation report includes: review of the facility’s systems to verify there was no adverse impact from the event; NIST’s actions to comply with the Confirmatory Order issued in August 2022; and results from follow-on NRC inspections. NIST’s actions covered several areas relevant to the 2021 event, including: fuel handling and related management activities; the facility’s safety culture and corrective action program; and the facility’s emergency response resources and procedures. The NRC also separately reviewed and approved several amendments to the facility’s license that were requested by NIST to support the safe restart of the facility.