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 Marlene Lang
Think you are the only one who can't manage to set aside a nest egg? Don't feel lonely. Your neighborhood nuclear power plant may be busily creating a remedial savings plan of its own.
Twenty-six plants nationwide showed shortfalls in the funds they are required by federal law to set aside for dismantling the reactors someday and cleaning up after themselves. The closely watched Three Mile Island plant was not on the shortfall list.
Every year the Nuclear Regulatory Commission checks on the state of so-called "decommissioning funds." Most years there are only a handful of plants running short of having those estimated costs laid up, usually four or five one official said. Those billions set aside for close-down and clean-up don't just pile up under a mattress, of course; the money is invested in the stock market. According to an Associated Press report, some $4.4 billion in decommissioning funds was lost in the downturn, even as the actual costs for shutting down plants has risen by $4.6 billion because of (I love this part) rising energy costs – and labor costs.
Nuclear license renewal sparks protest
Coalition asks federal court to overturn NRC
June 02, 2009
BY MARYANN SPOTO
Two months after the Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station in Lacey Township, New Jersey, won a 20-year extension of its license, a coalition of environmental and citizens groups has asked a federal court to overturn the decision.
Citing inadequate information provided to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission about the plant's safety, the coalition wants a federal court to invalidate the relicensing of the 40-year-old facility.
By Marlene Lang
We all know trash ain't cheap.
Electricity users have long paid a "garbage fee" on that portion of their power produced by nuclear reactors – a fee of one tenth of a cent per kilowatt-hour. The pennies go into the Nuclear Waste Fund. Since the fund was set up in 1982, about $30 billion has accumulated.
The money has gone unused as politicians and scientists debate what is the best the location for a national dump where the radioactive waste will rest for thousands of years.
Congress in 2002 designated Yucca Mountain in Nevada as the nation's – and possibly, the world's – nuclear waste repository site. But not every one thought the desert outside of Las Vegas was such a great location. Then-governor of Nevada Kenny Quinn vetoed Congress and the power-volley continues.
Obama cut Yucca Mountain out of the budget and in response, a group of Republicans has sponsored a bill that would give the Nuclear Waste Fund back to the utilities and customers, if Yucca is not built and soon.
By BROCK VERGAKIS, Associated Press Writer
Tue May 5, 5:06 pm ET
SALT LAKE CITY – Despite having their own radioactive waste dump, three states have shipped millions of cubic feet of waste across the country this decade to a private Utah facility that is the only one available to 36 other states, according to an Associated Press analysis of U.S. Department of Energy records.
The shipments are stoking concerns that waste from Connecticut, New Jersey and South Carolina is taking up needed space in Utah, unnecessarily creating potential shipping hazards and undermining the government's intent for states to dispose of their own waste on a regional basis.
High inspection marks anger resident, who says plant's performance is not deserving
A critical look at Yucca?
April 8, 2009
A panel of judges from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission held a three-day hearing last week on objections to the Energy Department’s application to build a nuclear waste dump at Yucca Mountain, 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas.
The judges are scheduled to decide who can challenge the government’s plan during licensing hearings and what they can raise as objections. There have been 320 objections filed by 14 groups. The fact that President Barack Obama is against the Yucca Mountain plan went virtually unnoticed.
March 6, 2009
WASHINGTON — President Obama’s proposed budget cuts off most money for the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste project, a decision that fulfills a campaign promise and wins the president political points in Nevada — but raises new questions about what to do with radioactive waste from the nation’s nuclear power plants.
The decision could cost the federal government additional billions in payments to the utility industry, and if it holds up, it would mean that most of the $10.4 billion spent since 1983 to find a place to put nuclear waste was wasted.
A final decision to abandon the repository would leave the nation with no solution to a problem it has struggled with for half a century.
March 18, 2009
A Nuclear Waste
New York Times Op-Ed By STEPHANIE COOKE (author of the forthcoming “In Mortal Hands: A Cautionary History of the Nuclear Age.”)
PRESIDENT OBAMA has made clean and efficient energy a top priority, and Congress has obliged with more than $32 billion in stimulus money mostly for conservation and alternative energy technologies like wind, solar and biofuel. Sadly, the Energy Department is too weighed down by nuclear energy programs to devote itself to bringing about the revolution Mr. Obama envisions.
March 4, 2009
By Steve Vogel
Washington Post Staff Writer
More than two decades after Yucca Mountain in Nevada was selected to be the national nuclear waste repository, the controversial proposal may finally be put to rest by the Obama administration.
In keeping with a pledge President Obama made during the campaign, the budget released last week cuts off almost all funding for creating a permanent burial site for a large portion of the nation's radioactive nuclear waste at the site in the Nevada desert. Congress selected the location in 1987 and reaffirmed the choice in 2002. About $7.7 billion has been sunk into the project since its inception.