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Nuclear Regulatory Commission - News Release
No: I-22-012 September 14, 2022
CONTACT: Diane Screnci, 610-337-5330
Neil Sheehan, 610-337-5331
 
 
NRC Names New Resident Inspector at Peach Bottom Nuclear Power Plant
 
Nuclear Regulatory Commission Region I officials in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, have selected Corey Dukehart as the resident inspector at the Peach Bottom nuclear power plant in Delta, Pennsylvania. He joins Senior Resident Inspector Scott Rutenkroger at the two-unit site, which is operated by Constellation Nuclear.
 
“Corey has gained invaluable experience during his time with the NRC through his participation in our rigorous training program and by virtue of his earlier time served in the Navy,” said NRC Region I Administrator Dave Lew. “He will provide the region with an additional front-line inspector as he puts his acquired skills to use.”
 
Dukehart joined the NRC in 2020 as part of the Nuclear Regulator Apprenticeship Network, where he completed several apprenticeships in different areas of the agency. He also served as the acting resident inspector at the Ginna nuclear power plant in New York before moving to the Region I Office as a project engineer.
 
Prior to joining the NRC, Dukehart served six years in the Navy as an enlisted nuclear operator. He holds a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a bachelor’s degree in nuclear energy engineering technology from Thomas Edison State University.
 
Each operating U.S. commercial nuclear power plant has at least two NRC resident inspectors who serve as the agency’s eyes and ears at the facility, conducting inspections, monitoring safety-significant work projects and interacting with plant workers and the public. Resident inspectors can serve at a reactor site for up to seven years.
 

Subject: Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station, Unit 2 - Authorization and Safety Evaluation for Alternative Request I5R-14, Revision 1, (EPID L-2022-LLR-0006)

ADAMS Accession No.: ML22236A670

ADAMS Hyperlink: https://adamswebsearch2.nrc.gov/webSearch2/main.jsp?AccessionNumber=ML22236A670

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Subject: Susquehanna Steam Electric Station, Units 1 and 2 - Issuance of Amendment Nos. 282 and 265 Regarding Risk-Informed Completion Times in Technical Specifications (EPID L-2021-LLA-0062)
 
ADAMS Accession No.: ML22200A062
 
ADAMS Hyperlink: https://adamswebsearch2.nrc.gov/webSearch2/main.jsp?AccessionNumber=ML22200A062
 
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Updated Inspection Plan for Susquehanna Steam Electric Station, Units 1 and 2 (Report 05000387/2022005 and 05000388/2022005)

ADAMS Accession No.  ML22242A024
​​
Updated Inspection Plan for Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station, Units 2 and 3 (Report 05000277/2022005 and 05000278/2022005)
 
ADAMS Accession No.  ML22242A023
 
CONSTELLATION ENERGY GENERATION, LLC, THREE MILE ISLAND NUCLEAR STATION, UNIT 1 - NRC INSPECTION REPORT NOS. 05000289/2022001 and 07200077/2022001
 
ADAMS accession number ML22236A030
 
Subject: Susquehanna, Units 1 & 2 - Summary of Regulatory Audit in Support of License Amendment Request to Revise Technical Specifications for Reactor Steam Dome Pressure - Low Instrumentation
Function Allowable Values (EPID L-2021-LLA-0184)
 
ADAMS Accession No.:  ML22213A178
 
 
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San Francisco Chronicle Op-ed
August 25, 2022
Amory Lovins and Ed Smeloff
Aug. 25, 2022
 
Gov. Gavin Newsom wants to keep Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant open for 10 years beyond their planned closure.
Michael Mariant/Associated Press 2008

Under the past three governors, California has worked on mapping out a clear pathway to zeroing out greenhouse gases in the world’s fifth largest economy. Meeting this ambitious goal in a way that does not jeopardize electric reliability while maintaining reasonable costs across California’s economy has been the work of energy planners and economists both inside and outside of state government for the past 15 years.

But a hasty push from Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office to extend the operations of the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant may jeopardize years of planning and add huge costs and risks.

In 2016, Pacific Gas and Electric Co. put forward a plan to the California Public Utilities Commission to retire the two Diablo Canyon nuclear reactors at the expiration of their operating licenses in 2024 and 2025. The plan was devised in a very deliberate and analytical way, involving diverse stakeholders — including a nearly unanimous state Legislature just four years ago.

The plan anticipated that with nearly a 10-year runway, the state would be able to develop new power resources that would carry California forward into a more sustainable future.

California has made good progress in building new clean reliable power sources. During the heat wave last week, for example, the California Independent System Operator, which manages the operation of the state’s transmission system, dispatched over 2,800 megawatts of battery-stored power. That was 25% more than the 2,256-megawatt maximum capability of the Diablo Canyon reactors. California’s utilities and other energy providers are now entering into contracts to add 10,000 more megawatts of battery storage to the grid by summer of 2025. If California follows through on its commitments, the Diablo Canyon plant will not be needed to ensure Californians reliable power beyond 2025.

But beyond not being needed for reliability, the continued use of the plant poses another issue: It will get in the way of the efficient overall operation of the regional power grid. The plant lacks the ability to meet the fluctuating power requirements of the state at any given moment. That’s not true with battery-stored power, which can be raised and lowered as needed. Diablo Canyon can’t do that; its energy output must be used the instant it is generated.

The state’s solar power plants already produce seven times as much electricity as Diablo Canyon during the midday, according to the California Energy Commission. That amount could grow to as much as 15 times by the end of the decade to keep California on its zero-carbon target.

Maintaining the operation of an inflexible nuclear power plant when there is abundant solar and wind energy creates an energy redundancy. Most likely it means that the solar and wind energy will be wasted, since the nuclear power plant is not capable of ramping up or down quickly. The result: a big waste of taxpayer dollars and a less competitive California economy.

Extending the operating license of a nuclear power plant is a complex process that typically begins at least five years before its expiration date. Documenting the necessary improvements at the plant will likely require millions of hours of work by PG&E employees and consultants — which is the reason the governor is asking the Legislature to authorize a $1.4 billion forgivable loan during the last week of the legislative session.

Given that there was no plan in place to extend the operation of the plant, it is certainly possible that these funds could all be spent only to discover that the plant has significant flaws that either prevent the operating license from being extended or require substantial additional capital expenditures.

Rather than putting so many eggs in one fragile basket, California should focus on further developing its diverse portfolio of proven, low-cost resources focused on renewables and on efficient and timely use of electricity. Because these resources cost less and last far longer than running Diablo Canyon, they will avoid more carbon emissions with greater certainty. The California Assembly is on the right track in putting together a package of incentives that focuses on the long-term future while meeting shorter-term needs.

The vast amount of taxpayer money proposed for the Diablo Canyon extension very likely could be put at risk by events outside California’s control. Moreover, the sudden decision to rely on the nuclear plant for another 10 years will upset all of the careful planning done by the California Public Utilities Commission in its complex integrated resource modeling and by the California Independent System Operator in its transmission reliability studies. Years of work by these agencies would have to start anew. No state agency requested Diablo Canyon extension. No utility proposed it — not even its owner, PG&E, in its June 2022 plan. The wise course is to keep calm and carry on.

Two California utilities, the Sacramento Municipal Utility District and Southern California Edison, shut down nuclear power plants before the end of their operating licenses because of increasing costs and diminishing performance. Neither utility has had any regrets. Instead, the decision to close these facilities opened up new possibilities that have benefited their customers and the economy.

All major decisions have opportunity costs. Choosing one path closes off others. But one thing is certain: Hastily reversing Diablo Canyon’s closure without any significant analysis or public oversight is a costly recipe for regret.

Physicist Amory Lovins is an adjunct professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford and has advised major firms and governments. Ed Smeloff has worked in the energy industry for 25 years, including as a board member of the Sacramento Municipal Utility District.
According to Nuclear Regulatory Commission Power Reactor Status Reports data, one or both of the Diablo Canyon reactors were down over 40% of the days in each year for at least the previous three years (for problems and/or planned down days). PG&E claims that "the two reactor units produce a total of 18,000 gigawatt-hours of clean and reliable electricity annually" are at best misleading statements.
 
Eric,
 
In case you haven’t seen this yet.
 
Comments are due by Sept. 21, 2022, and requests for a hearing are due by Oct. 21, 2022.
 
Neil Sheehan
NRC Public Affairs Officer
Region I
 

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