Important to Safety

NRC seeks to define the term “important to safety”

The regulations in 10 CFR Part 50 on reactor safety designate some structures systems, and components as safety related.

Outside of this group, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission routinely refers to some non-safety-related items as “important to safety.” The NRC has received a petition for rulemaking requesting that the agency amend its regulations to define the term “important to safety,” and the NRC has docketed the petition and opened it to public comment.

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PJM Capacity Auction Results

Attached is a news release from Exelon announcing the results of the 2019/20 PJM Capacity Auction. 

Three Mile Island did not “clear” the 2019-2020 PJM Base Residual Capacity Auction.  Last year TMI did not clear the 2018-2019 capacity auction.   That means the plant will not receive capacity payments for those periods.  While PJM capacity payments are only one source of the plant’s operating revenue, they are an important source.  While this outcome is disappointing, there are no current plans to close TMI, but the plant remains financially challenged.

There are a number of factors that play into a retirement decision, and the results of this auction are only piece of that decision-making process.  Some of the other pieces include operating costs, total revenue, long-term commitments, and the potential for federal/state regulatory or legislative environmental policies that adequately compensate the plant’s around the clock zero-emission energy production.  As long as state and federal energy policies fail to adequately compensate nuclear energy’s many environmental and economic benefits, we will continue to experience challenges to the profitability of many of the nation’s nuclear facilities, including TMI.  We remain hopeful that power markets will recover, but if we do not see a long-term path to sustainable profitability, we must consider all options, including shutdown.
Ralph DeSantis


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NRC Announces Public Availability of Clinch River Early Site Permit Application

Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Press Release
No: 16-031 May 26, 2016
Contact: Scott Burnell, 301-415-8200

NRC Announces Public Availability of Clinch River Early Site Permit Application
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has received an application from the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) for an Early Site Permit (ESP) at the Clinch River Nuclear Site in Tennessee. The application is now available for public inspection on the NRC website.

TVA filed the application on May 12 seeking an ESP. The NRC’s review would determine if the site is suitable for building and operating a nuclear power facility. Even if the NRC eventually concludes a permit is justified, TVA would have to file a separate application for permission to build and operate a nuclear power plant.

The NRC staff is reviewing the application to determine if it is sufficiently complete to begin the agency’s extensive safety and environmental reviews. The staff expects to complete this initial review in mid-July. If the NRC concludes the application is complete, the staff will docket it and publish a notice of opportunity to request an adjudicatory hearing before the NRC’s Atomic Safety and Licensing Board.

Information about the ESP review process is available on the NRC website. Copies of the Clinch River Nuclear Site application will be available at the Kingston Public Library, 1004 Bradford Way in Kingston, Tenn., and the Lenoir City Public Library, 100 W. Broadway in Lenoir City, Tenn.

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New NRC Inspector Assigned to Three Mile Island Nuclear Plant

Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Press Release
No. I-16-017 May 26, 2016
Contact: Diane Screnci, 610-337-5330 Neil Sheehan, 610-337-5331

New NRC Inspector Assigned to Three Mile Island Nuclear Plant
Nuclear Regulatory Commission officials have selected Brian Lin as the new resident inspector at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant in Middletown, Pa. The plant is operated by Exelon Nuclear.

“Brian Lin’s technical experience and commitment to safety will assist the NRC in carrying out its mission of protecting people and the environment and ensuring the safe operation of Three Mile Island,” said NRC Region I Acting Administrator David Lew.

Lin joined the NRC in 2013 as a project engineer in the NRC’s Region I office in King of Prussia, Pa. Prior to joining the agency, Lin served in the U.S. Navy’s nuclear submarine force for 15 years as a reactor operator and a submarine officer. Since leaving active duty, he has continued his Naval service in the Reserves. Lin earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va.

Each U.S. commercial nuclear plant has at least two NRC resident inspectors. They serve as the agency’s eyes and ears at the facility, conducting inspections, monitoring significant work projects and interacting with plant workers and the public.

Lin joins NRC senior resident inspector Dave Werkheiser at Three Mile Island. They can be reached at 717-948-1165.

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Peach Bottom Letter 2016-403


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Sirens Sound At Beaver Valley

Power Reactor Event Number: 51948
Region: 1 State: PA
Unit: [1] [2] [ ]
RX Type: [1] W-3-LP,[2] W-3-LP
Notification Date: 05/20/2016
Notification Time: 18:40 [ET]
Event Date: 05/20/2016
Event Time: 15:31 [EDT]
Last Update Date: 05/20/2016
Emergency Class: NON EMERGENCY
10 CFR Section: 
50.72(b)(2)(xi) - OFFSITE NOTIFICATION
Person (Organization): 

Unit SCRAM Code RX CRIT Initial PWR Initial RX Mode Current PWR Current RX Mode
1 N Y 100 Power Operation 100 Power Operation
2 N Y 100 Power Operation 100 Power Operatio

Event Text


"At approximately 1531 [EDT] hours, a tornado signal was inadvertently activated from Hancock County, West Virginia which sounded 118 out of 120 Emergency sirens. The remaining 2 sirens do not receive a tornado signal. The sirens alarmed for approximately 3 minutes. A silent test was subsequently performed for all 120 sirens and validated the emergency siren system remains functional. 

"In accordance with 10 CFR 50.72(b)(2)(xi), News Release or Notification of Other Government Agency, a 4 hour notification is required. 

"The [NRC] Senior Resident Inspector has been notified. No press releases are planned." 

The licensee notified state and local agencies.

NRC to Hold Meeting with Exelon on May 26 in Stafford Township, N.J., Regarding Performance of Oyster Creek Nuclear Power Plant

No. I-16-016

May 20, 2016


Diane Screnci, 610-337-5330
Neil Sheehan, 610-337-5331

NRC to Hold Meeting with Exelon on May 26 in Stafford Township, N.J., Regarding Performance of Oyster Creek Nuclear Power Plant

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will share information on its annual assessment of safety performance at the Oyster Creek nuclear power plant during a public meeting on Thursday, May 26, in the Manahawkin section of Stafford Township, N.J.

The meeting is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Manahawkin, at 151 Route 72 West, in Stafford. During the session, NRC staff will answer questions on the plant’s performance and the agency’s oversight activities at the Lacey Township, N.J., plant, which is owned and operated by Exelon.

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PA DEP News Release : Wolf Administration Investing $25.1 Million in Projects to Protect and Improve Pennsylvania Water Resources

Dept. of Environmental Protection
Commonwealth News Bureau
Room 308, Main Capitol Building
Harrisburg PA., 17120


Neil Shader
Jeff Sheridan

Wolf Administration Investing $25.1 Million in Projects to Protect and Improve Pennsylvania Water Resources

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf announced today the selection of 114 projects to receive $25,143,294 in funding from Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), for the protection of Pennsylvania’s water resources. The selected projects enhance watersheds, mitigate acid mine drainage, and support water pollution cleanup programs.

“The Growing Greener program, and this year’s funding, is an investment in our future and proof that when state government works collaboratively, we achieve long-lasting results,” said Governor Wolf. “The Environmental Stewardship Fund has helped spark innovation and coordinate partnerships to tackle some of the most challenging environmental issues in our state.”

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Our colleague and friend, Michael Mariotte - Dec. 9, 1952 – May 16, 2016


           Apologies for multiple posts—You were on Michael’s Nov 2014 LIFETIME ACHEIVEMENT AWARDS LIST Nuclear Information and Resource Service) result for michael mariotte at nirs photo

Dear Friends of NIRS,

We have very sad news to share. Our colleague and friend, and longtime leader, Michael Mariotte died yesterday. As you all know, he has waged a brave struggle against pancreatic cancer for three years, but we understand that this could still come as a surprise. It has hit us all very hard. Michael's condition worsened very quickly over the last couple of weeks, and even more so in recent days. He was so committed to our work, that he continued right up until the last week or so, giving many the impression that he was going strong.

Though the last few months were very difficult for him, he died peacefully at home and his family was with him. He is survived by his wife Tanya, their young daughters Zoryana and Kateryna, his friend and ex-wife Lynn, and their children Nicole and Richard, as well as his sister Julie, brother Jeff, and sister-in-law Marsheila.

Michael did not want to have a funeral - it was not his way. Rather, he has asked friends to gather and do something fun in his memory. That was his way, to honor life by living and enjoying it to the fullest.

And, of course, by fighting for it. Most of us know him originally and primarily as both parts colleague and comrade, in our work to protect life and to make the world a safer, better, and more just place in which to live.

PLEASE JOIN Michael’s family, music and work colleagues, friends, neighbors and all to hug, cry, and share memories at the

Hyattsville BUSBOYS and POETS, 5331 Baltimore Avenue, Hyattsville, MD 20781
Gathering Thursday MAY 19th from 4:00 -8:00 PM
with the Program beginning at ~ 5:30.

We are also planning to have an event in a month or so, to give the wider NIRS community an opportunity to come together and celebrate Michael and his work, and to chart our path forward. We have a lot of work to do, and Michael would not have wanted us to skip a beat. One of the last things we spoke about on Friday was the latest reactor closure announced last week -- Fort Calhoun, in Nebraska. He knew the struggle had to go on without him, and was glad to know one more reactor is shutting down.

If you would like to send a message of support to his family, we encourage you to do so. Michael's family has a lot to deal with in the wake of their loss, so NIRS has offered to collect and pass on messages from the activist community. We will be collecting posts from Facebook, which is already filling up with wonderful messages. You can also send an email to us at, or a card or letter to NIRS's office: 6930 Carroll Ave., Suite 340, Takoma Park, MD 20912.

We will be posting a public statement shortly, and notifying the broader community of NIRS supporters and activists. Please feel free to let people in your networks know.
We know this is difficult news. So many of you were much more than colleagues. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact us.

With deep regret, warmest regards, and lots of spunk,

Tim Judson, Executive Director
on behalf of NIRS Staff and Board of Directors

Diane D'Arrigo, Radioactive Waste Project Director
Denise Jakobsberg, Administrative Coordinator
Mary Olson, Southeast Director

Chris Williams, Board Chair
Timothea Howard, Treasurer
Susan Alzner                                                                                                                          
Louis Clark
Peer de Rijk, WISE-International
Bob Eye
Allison Fisher
Daphne Wysham
Elizabeth May, ex officio
Vladimir Sliviak, ex officio

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