Global investment in new nuclear is an order of magnitude less than renewable energy investment. That is just one of the findings of a new independent report on the state of the worldwide nuclear industry that was issued on Thursday. No matter which aspect of the nuclear industry is assessed, the picture isn't pretty.
"Nuclear waste is piling up in our backyard—and it's not stored as safely as it could be....
"Nuclear power plants produce large amounts of waste, in the form of spent fuel assemblies, which are collections of fuel rods. These 12-foot-long metal tubes contain uranium, plutonium, and other metals and byproducts, and are extremely hot and radioactive.
"The United States has not fulfilled its commitment to move spent fuel from reactor sites to long-term storage. As a result, well over 65,000 metric tons of spent fuel assemblies have piled up at our nation's nuclear power plants—and the pile is growing."
-- From this current Union of Concerned Scientists site:
Since starting commercial operation in 1974, the Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station has used two costly, hazardous ways to do the extra handling and securing of unplanned amounts of spent fuel on site:
1. Wet storage of radioactive fuel rods at the bottoms of pools of constantly cooled water inside the Peach Bottom plant
"A fire in a densely packed spent fuel pool at the Peach Bottom plant could contaminate thousands of square miles with radioactive material, force the long-term displacement of millions of people, and cause tens of thousands of cancer deaths."
-- From “New NRC Study Shows Benefits of Transferring Spent Fuel to Dry Casks,” by David Wright, at this June 26, 2013 Union of Concerned Scientists/All Things Nuclear site:
If for any reason electric power to the plant is cut off, as happened following the earthquake and tsunami at Fukushima, the water in the pool can heat up and boil away. (Union of Concerned Scientists)
2. Dry storage of radioactive fuel rods in concrete casks now accumulating outside the Peach Bottom plant
Additional security and weathering challenges
"The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has issued Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station an "escalated enforcement action" after observing a security violation during an inspection the NRC conducted in May.
"NRC official correspondence to Exelon Nuclear, the company that owns the Peach Bottom plant in southeastern York County, stated that the violation concerns a piece of electronic security equipment at the power plant's dry cask storage facility, where the plant's used nuclear fuel is stored."
-- From “NRC ups enforcement of Peach Bottom nuclear plant after violation,” by Brett Sholtis, at this November 6, 2014 York Daily Record/Sunday News site:
"At the Peach Bottom plant, plant operators responded to a cask seal pressure monitoring system low pressure alarm in October 2010 and found rust on the underside of a protective cover and water or signs of moisture around more of the bolt lid holes and bolts....
"Water seeped in through the protective cover's pressure monitoring system access plate, and the water caused rust when the presence of moisture created a galvanic cell where the aluminum clad cask lid seal and the stainless steel clad cask body sealing surface met.
-- From “NRC notes water damage potential to dry cask storage,” by David Perera, at this April 29, 2013 Fierce Homeland Security site:
More about Peach Bottom is at this important Three Mile Island Alert site:
Along the Susquehanna River south of Three Mile Island and 40 miles from Baltimore is a nuclear power plant at Peach Bottom, Pa. It has the same design as the radiation-spewing Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan. The U.S. licensed such plants to operate 40 years. Peach Bottom has been operating since 1974.
It was not intended to store nuclear waste long-term. When Peach Bottom's fuel rods become spent, they were supposed to be moved to a specially prepared site safely away from the plant. That has not happened.
Instead, after being cooled in an inside pool for about five years, Peach Bottom's highly radioactive, used fuel rods are now being stored nearby outside in vertical steel cylinders -- at an initial cost of approximately $1.5 million per cylinder. Called casks, the cylinders are spaced on concrete pads so air can circulate between them and disperse heat:
As shown below, the exact locations of Peach Bottom's casks are easy for anyone to find using Google Earth:
Photo of Peach Bottom's Storage Casks Dated April 2013
The long-term safety of the above casks remains in question. A 2011 earthquake centered about 20 miles from the North Anna, Virginia nuclear generating station caused most of its vertical casks -- each weighing 115 tons -- to shift, some by more than four inches.
That earthquake was also felt at Peach Bottom, which recently reported the latest in a series of leaks of dangerous levels of tritium into well water.
The plant is now reported as running out of space to store its deadly radioactive waste. See "Peach Bottom nuclear power plant could run out of spent fuel storage space in 2019," by Brett Sholtis, at this July 18, 2015 York Daily Record/Sunday News site:
Designed to hold only a single rod of spent fuel, a 23-ton Peach Bottom shipping cask was originally fabricated by Atomics International for the Hallam Nuclear Generating Station near Hallam, Nebraska. In operation only from 1963 to 1964, the Hallam reactor was decommissioned because of “corrosion” and “stress cracking.” In 1969 its nuclear components were sealed in concrete.
The Loaded Peach Bottom Single Element Shipping Cask
(also known as the Hallam Cask)
Gulf General Atomic leased this cask from the Atomic Energy Commission for transporting irradiated fuel from the Peach Bottom Nuclear Generating Station.
While en route to the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the early afternoon of December 8, 1971, the loaded shipping cask was involved in a highway accident on U.S. Route 25W about three miles north of Clinton, Tennessee:
"The vehicle wrecked in the ditch beside the roadway. The impact, as the cask came to rest with the leading end embedded 3 ft deep in soil, broke the cask tie chains. The tractor with trailer attached traveled 52 ft in the original direction of travel and was upside down when it skidded to a stop. The driver of the cask vehicle was killed in the accident; no other injuries occurred."
-- From "The Peach Bottom Spent Fuel Element Shipping Cask Accident December 8, 1971," The Oak Ridge National Laboratory Report by John M. Chandler, at this current site:
Another view of the accident shows its proximity to the unsuspecting public
Checking the cask for radiation
Vermont Yankee: Three parties granted motion to intervene
By Robert Audette
BRATTLEBORO >> The Vermont Public Service Board granted motions by the town of Vernon, the Windham Regional Commission and the New England Coalition to intervene in hearings concerning Entergy's request to construct a new spent fuel storage area at its shuttered nuclear power plant in Vernon.
Both Vernon and Windham Regional Commission were granted intervenor status because they had demonstrated "a substantial interest in the proceeding as it relates to the orderly development of the region."
Entergy Vermont Yankee did not object to either Vernon or the WRC receiving intervenor status, however, it did object to granting that status to the New England Coalition.
NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION
OFFICE OF NUCLEAR MATERIAL SAFETY AND SAFEGUARDS OFFICE OF NUCLEAR REACTOR REGULATION OFFICE OF NEW REACTORS
WASHINGTON, DC 20555-0001
June 10, 2015
NRC REGULATORY ISSUE SUMMARY 2015-06 TORNADO MISSILE PROTECTION
All holders of an operating license or construction permit for a nuclear power reactor under Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR) Part 50, “Domestic Licensing of Production and Utilization Facilities,” including those who have permanently ceased operations and have spent fuel in spent fuel pools.
All holders of and applicants for a power reactor early site permit, combined license, standard design approval, or manufacturing license under 10 CFR Part 52, “Licenses, Certifications, and Approvals for Nuclear Power Reactors.” All applicants for a standard design certification, including such applicants after initial issuance of a design certification rule.
All holders of and applicants for a license under 10 CFR Part 72, “Licensing Requirements for the Independent Storage of Spent Fuel, High Level Radioactive Waste, and Reactor-Related Greater Than Class C Waste.”
Unresolved Safety Issues Involving Hydrogen Generation And Mitigation
NRDC Nuclear Program Consultant
Senior Nuclear Policy Adviser, NRDC
Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station, Units 2 and 3 - Issuance of Amendments Re: Adoption of Technical Specification Task Force (TSTF) Traveler TSTF-523, "Generic Letter 2008-01, Managing Gas Accumulation" (TAC NOS. MF4410 AND MF4411)Submitted by webEditor on Mon, 07/13/2015 - 01:06
Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station, Units 2 and 3 - Issuance of Amendments Re: Adoption of Technical Specification Task Force (TSTF) Traveler TSTF-523, "Generic Letter 2008-01, Managing Gas Accumulation" (TAC NOS. MF4410 AND MF4411)
Three Mile Island, Unit 1 - Issuance Of Amendment Regarding Technical Specifications Task Force (TSTF) Traveler-523, "Generic Letter 2008-01, Managing Gas Accumulation," Revision 2, Using The Consolidated Line Item Improvement Process (TAC No. MF4435)Submitted by webEditor on Mon, 07/13/2015 - 00:58
Three Mile Island, Unit 1 - Issuance Of Amendment Regarding Technical Specifications Task Force (TSTF) Traveler-523, "Generic Letter 2008-01, Managing Gas Accumulation," Revision 2, Using The Consolidated Line Item Improvement Process (TAC No. MF4435)
NRC Proposes $7,000 Fine To New Jersey Company For Violations Of NRC Requirements
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has cited Mistras Group, Inc., of Princeton Junction, N.J., for two violations of NRC requirements and proposed a $7,000 civil penalty.
During a review of Mistras’ export records, the NRC found that in July of last year Mistras exported two iridium-192 sealed sources to a company in Canada, without obtaining a specific export license as required, and did not provide the export notifications to the NRC and the Canadian government in advance of the export of sources as required.