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Nuclear energy lobby working hard to win support

From Investigative Reporting Workshop:

The Obama administration may soon guarantee as much as $18.5 billion in loans to build new nuclear reactors to generate electricity, and Congress is considering whether to add billions more to support an expansion of nuclear power.

These actions come after an extensive decade-long campaign in which companies and unions related to the industry have spent more than $600 million on lobbying and nearly $63 million on campaign contributions, according to an analysis by the Investigative Reporting Workshop at American University.

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Susquehanna: Notice of Violation

From the NRC (ML100280714):

This refers to the inspection completed on September 30, 2009, at Susquehanna Steam Electric Station Units 1 and 2 (Susquehanna). The purpose of the inspection was to examine activities complted under your license as they relate to safety and compliance with the Commission's rules and regulations and with the conditions of your license. During the inspection, the NRC reviewed two instances ofa failure by PPL Susquehanna, LLC (PPL) to obtain NRC approval for two senior reactor operators (SROs) to continue to conduct NRC-licensed activities after each SRO did not meet a specific medical prerequisite for performing the duties of a licensed operator, as required by 10 CFR 55.3. These faiulres, which were identified by your staff, were discussed during an exit meeting that Mr. Paul Krohn and the Susquehanna resident inspectors held with your staff on October 9, 2009. The apparent violation was described in detail in the subject NRC inspection report dated November 13, 2009.

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PSB sees Entergy pattern of deception

From the Rutland Herald:

The Vermont Public Service Board said Wednesday Entergy Nuclear may have provided false information to state utility regulators and the Legislature "for an extended period of time," and said the issue is "broader" than just buried radioactive pipes at Vermont Yankee.

Douglas fed up with Vermont Yankee

From the Burlington Free Press:

“Like many Vermonters, I have lost trust in the current management team, and I have been disappointed that changes have not already been made,” Douglas said during a news conference Wednesday, shifting from his long-standing support of the plant.

Douglas said long-term decisions about the plant cannot be made until the company re-establishes the public’s trust following revelations this month that the radioactive isotope tritium is leaking from the plant, and that company officials misled the state about the presence of pipes that might be involved in the leak, the source of which remains unknown.

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Consider the Source

From Seven Days:

John Dillon spelled it out last week on Vermont Public Radio: Nuclear engineer Arnie Gundersen alerted the Public Service Department last summer that Entergy had likely lied to a special legislative oversight panel and state regulators about the existence of underground pipes — pipes that could be the source of previously undisclosed contamination.

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Exelon wants to store nuclear waste at Peach Bottom plant


Exelon Energy wants to begin sending low-level radioactive waste from its Limerick nuclear plant to the Peach Bottom nuclear plant in York County.

Exelon has applied to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to amend its operating license so that each year it can send one or two truckloads of the waste from the Montgomery County plant to Peach Bottom, where it would be stored.

For decades, most low-level radioactive waste generated at nuclear plants in the East has been sent to a licensed low-level radioactive waste facility near Barnwell, S.C.

But in July 2008 the facility stopped accepting waste from all but three states.

The on-site storage facility at Limerick is filling up, but 98 percent of the storage capacity at Peach Bottom is available for use, said Rochelle Benson, an Exelon spokeswoman at Peach Bottom.

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List of buried piping released

From the Brattleboro Reformer:

Two weeks ago, Yankee revealed a test well on site showed elevated levels of tritium in groundwater. The monitoring well showed levels of tritium ranging between 14,000 and 28,100 picocuries.

The source of the tritium has not yet been determined, but it was during the initial investigation that regulators learned there was in fact buried piping in use at the power plant.

Last week, during a search for the source, Yankee engineers discovered more than 200 gallons of contaminated water in a 40-foot-long pipe trench in the plant’s radiation waste building.

The water was found to be contaminated with up to 2 million picocuries per liter of tritium, 13,000 picocuries per liter of cobalt-60 and 2,460 picocuries per liter of zinc-65.

The Environmental Protections Agency’s drinking water limit for cobalt-60 is 100 picocuries per liter and for zinc-65 is 300 picocuries per liter.

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Upcoming Public Meeting on Proposed Enhancements to the Force-on-Force Inspection Program

Good afternoon!

In case you're interested, NRC's Office of Nuclear Security & Incident Response is hosting a public meeting on proposed enhancements to the Force-on-Force Inspection Program and Significance Determination Process on February 10, 2010 from 10 am to 4 pm.

For this meeting, we will be using Microsoft Live Meeting, the same web conferencing technology used during the emergency preparedness rulemaking meetings last summer and fall. Stakeholders interested in participating via the web or over the phone should contact F. Paul Peduzzi or Raymond Gibson (contact information below) no later than February 8.

Meeting Contacts:

F. Paul Peduzzi, NSIR/DSO
Raymond Gibson, NSIR/DSO

Thank you!

Sara K. (Sahm) Mroz
Communications and Outreach
Office of Nuclear Security and Incident Response
US Nuclear Regulatory Commission
301-415-1692 (direct)

Tritium leaks a problem at many plants

From the Burlington Free Press:

At least 20 nuclear power plants around the country have reported tritium soil or water contamination, based on a Free Press examination of Nuclear Regulatory Commission documents and information gleaned from interviews with advocates and critics of nuclear power.

Among the 20 plants are six boiling-water reactors owned by Entergy Nuclear, the Louisiana-based firm that has owned Vermont Yankee since 2002 and is seeking to have Vermont Yankee’s operating license for the 650-megawatt facility in Vernon extended for another 20 years.

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Announcing the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Safety Culture Workshop February 2-4, 2010

Hello Sir/Madam:

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is announcing a meeting with stakeholder’s regarding reaching alignment on a high-level definition for safety culture and traits to be used for all NRC licensed activities. The attached meeting notice provides the specifics regarding this meeting scheduled February 2-4, 2010, near NRC headquarters in Rockville, MD. You are receiving this notice since in the past you have been involved and/or participated in NRC safety culture initiatives or may have expressed interest in this topic. Interested individuals may participate in the workshop in person or teleconferencing or through the use of a computer and the internet. If you plan on participating in this workshop, I encourage you to contact one of the NRC contacts on the meeting notice. Information regarding the NRC's effort on safety culture can be found at the safety culture website.

Thank you for your time and we hope that you will participate in this effort.


Alex Sapountzis
Enforcement Specialist
Office of Enforcement
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
11555 Rockville Pike
Mail Stop O-4A15A
Rockville, MD 20852
Phone: 301-415-7822

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