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Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station, Units 2 and 3 - Integrated Inspection Report 05000277/2022001 and 05000278/2022001

ADAMS Accession No.  ML22117A036
 
Zip of three placed into ADAMS today
 
 
Three Mile Island Unit 1 Issuance of Amendment 304 to Revise License Conditions and the Permanently Defueled Technical Specifications to Align rqts for Permanent Removal of Spent Fuel from Spent Fuel Pool
 
N2
MJK
DEP Newsroom
 
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
Dept. of Environmental Protection

Commonwealth News Bureau
Room 308, Main Capitol Building
Harrisburg PA., 17120

 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
04/22/2022
 
CONTACT:
Neil Shader, DEP
717-787-1323

 
Pennsylvania Enters the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative
Participating in the multi-state initiative will cut pollution and fight climate change

 
Harrisburg, PA – The Wolf Administration has finalized the regulation to combat climate change and allow Pennsylvania to participate in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), fulfilling a promise made in a 2019 Executive Order to take part in the market-based program.
 
“Today we are already experiencing the effects of climate change and those impacts are only going to get worse. Our children and their children are going to look back at our decisions and by participating in RGGI, we have begun to set Pennsylvania on the path forward to addressing this threat,” said Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “Climate change caused by pollution remains the most critical environmental threat confronting us and we are already paying the price.”
 
DEP’s CO2 Budget Trading Program regulation, which will enter Pennsylvania into RGGI, will be published in the April 23, 2022 issue of the Pennsylvania Bulletin.
 
“This regulation has the support of businesses and residents, and will save lives and millions of dollars by cutting air pollution,” said McDonnell. “This is only one step necessary to fight climate change, and while Pennsylvania cannot singlehandedly solve the global climate crisis, the world cannot solve the crisis without Pennsylvania.”
 
Some of the benefits of RGGI for Pennsylvania include:
• Reducing up to 225 million tons of carbon pollution from Pennsylvania power plants by 2030
• Preventing up to 30,000 hospital visits for respiratory illnesses like asthma
• An increase in Pennsylvania’s Gross State Product of nearly $2 billion, and a net increase of 30,000 jobs by 2030
 
Nearly 14,000 people commented on the regulation, including the hundreds that participated in the 10 virtual public hearings DEP held. Throughout the regulatory process, DEP held over 15 public discussions on the regulation with a range of expert advisory committees. The final regulation was supported by both the Citizens Advisory Council and the Air Quality Technical Advisory Committee.
 
“The reaction from Pennsylvanians during the development of this regulation was clear – they want us to take action on climate. Communities and businesses are already experiencing the impacts of climate change, and those impacts will only accelerate between now and 2050. Most Pennsylvanians realize we need to do something about that,” said McDonnell. “Reducing the carbon pollution that drives climate change is critical to preventing some of the worst impacts of climate change.”
 
“RGGI is also important for environmental justice communities,” said McDonnell. “The initiative creates a financial incentive to reduce carbon pollution to which environmental justice communities are often more vulnerable due to social and economic factors. Communities facing environmental justice issues are likely the first communities to feel the effects of climate change through heat waves and flooding, while also likely being communities with the fewest financial resources to adapt.”
 
RGGI is an initiative of 11 New England and Mid-Atlantic states that began in 2009 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector while generating economic growth. Together Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia cap and reduce their power sector carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. This is achieved by setting a regional cap or limit on CO2 emissions from electric power plants in the participating states. That cap decreases year over year to reduce overall carbon emissions. Pennsylvania’s participation will increase the size of the program approximately 40 percent.
 
Qualifying power plants must acquire CO2 allowances equal to the amount of CO2 they emit. And while each state has its own allowance budget, the only firm cap is the regional one. Entities in each of the qualifying states can purchase and trade allowances- allowing for the most efficient and cost-effective emissions reductions. Also, since RGGI is a market-based approach, the quarterly auction sets the price for the purchase of allowances to ensure transparency.
 
DEP will now determine the number of allowances for carbon pollution required for each power plant. Power plants must start accounting for their CO2 emissions starting on July 1, 2022. Facilities have until March 1, 2023, to account for 50 percent of their 2022 emissions and until March 1, 2024, to account for 100 percent of their 2022 emissions. Power plants will be required to have 50 percent of their 2022 required allowances by March 1, 2023, and 100 percent of required allowances by March 1, 2024.
 
More information is available at www.dep.pa.gov/rggi
Nuclear Regulatory Commission - News Release
No: III-22-006 April 21, 2022
Contact: Viktoria Mitlyng, 630-829-9662 Prema Chandrathil, 630-829-9663
 
NRC Issues Confirmatory Order to the Department of Veterans Affairs
 
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has issued a Confirmatory Order to the Department of Veterans Affairs documenting an agreed upon set of actions to address two apparent violations of NRC requirements.
 
The apparent violations occurred when a nuclear medicine technician at the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System facility deliberately failed to complete a required test and falsified records related to that test. The VA holds a Master Materials License from the NRC, which authorizes federal organizations to use nuclear material at multiple sites.
 
The organization’s officials requested the NRC’s Alternative Dispute Resolution process, where a neutral mediator assists the NRC and its licensee in reaching an agreement regarding the corrective and preventative actions to be taken by the organization. The NRC could refrain from issuing a Notice of Violation or a Civil Penalty for the apparent violations.
 
The Order documents the commitments made by the VA following the March 2, 2022, ADR mediation session. The commitments include conducting a nationwide anonymous safety culture survey of VA employees working with nuclear materials; conducting safety culture training; and re- energizing the VA’s employee concerns program related to reporting of radioactive program allegations or adverse events.
 
The agency’s Dec. 2, 2021, investigation report describes the circumstances of the apparent violations and the VA’s actions following the incident.
 
‘The Meltdown: Three Mile Island’ Trailer: An Explosive Atomic Conspiracy Is Untangled
The worst nuclear event in U.S. history took place on Three Mile Island in Middletown, PA, in 1979, and now a new Netflix documentary revisits what exactly went wrong.

Samantha Bergeson
Apr 19, 2022 10:31 am
 
The Meltdown"The Meltdown: Three Mile Island”
Netflix
 
A four-part Netflix documentary sheds new light on the staggering effects of the near-catastrophe at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant in 1979.
 
The Middletown, Pennsylvania-based plant suffered a breakdown in 1979, and series “Meltdown: Three Mile Island” reexamines the series of missteps that led to the national cover-up. Academy Award–nominated director Kief Davidson (“The Ivory Game”) collaborates with “Erin Brockovich” producers Michael and Carla Shamberg and Moxie Pictures to tell the true story of what happened at Three Mile Island’s “first step in a nuclear nightmare,” as the trailer states. “Meltdown” premieres May 4.
 
The four-part documentary reveals how it all unfolded in real time, the impact on the community, and the personal account of chief engineer and whistleblower, Richard Parks, who had the courage to speak up and prevent a near catastrophe for the East Coast. Dramatic reenactments, archival footage, never-before-seen home video, and in-depth interviews bring viewers into the worst nuclear incident in U.S. history.
 
From radioactivity seeping into the control room to plant operatives hiding the nuclear disaster from the general public, the events behind “Meltdown” are of a staggering conspiratorial scale. The accident was the partial meltdown of an atomic reactor in March 1979, marking the most significant accident in U.S. commercial nuclear power plant history. But was the accident preventable?
 
“I believe the lessons of ‘Meltdown’ resonate far beyond the events of 1979,” said director Davidson, who also serves as an executive producer. “Even as we expose the complex web of corporate greed which nearly led to our radioactive ruin, we find the small acts of bravery that changed the course of history. We need to learn from the Three Mile Island disaster as we face the current climate and energy crisis.”
The plant’s parent company, Metropolitan Edison, reportedly downplayed the crisis and claimed no radiation had been detected off plant grounds. However, inspectors tracked increased levels of radiation as well as a contaminated water leak.
 
Executive producers Carla and Michael Shamberg added, “Whistleblowers are real-life superheroes. They risk their lives or livelihoods when they speak truth to power to protect the rest of us.”
 
Robert Fernandez and Dan Levinson also executive produce.
 
“Meltdown: Three Mile Island” premieres May 4 on Netflix. Check out the trailer below.
 

Dismantlement work at San Onofre nuclear facility halted after worker injury

Crews work on the demolition of                    the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station.
Crews work on the demolition of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. 
(Nelvin C. Cepeda/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

 

Contract worker hurts shoulder after falling about 5 feet.

BY ROB NIKOLEWSKI

APRIL 18, 2022 3:50 PM PT

Work on dismantling the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station has been on hold for the past week after a worker on April 11 fell about 5 feet into an open space in one of the rooms primed for demolition, injuring the worker’s shoulder.

The worker was taken to a nearby hospital and released, and officials at Southern California Edison — the operators of the now-shuttered plant known as SONGS for short — put a stop to all dismantlement efforts to start an investigation. An Edison spokesman told the Union-Tribune on Monday demolition “not directly related” to the work where the incident occurred may resume later this week.

“It is important for us as an organization to fully understand what happened, what may have led up to the incident and, ultimately, how these safety events can be prevented in the future,” Edison vice president and chief nuclear officer Doug Bauder said in a statement.

The accident involved two contract workers hired by SONGS Decommissioning Solutions, the general contractor chosen by Edison to take down nearly all of the structures on the 84-acre site between Interstate 5 and the Pacific Ocean.

According to Edison, work was being done on an equipment vault, an enclosed room that is below floor-level inside the Radiological Control Building at SONGS that contained abandoned equipment that needed to be removed.

Two workers were tethered together by safety harnesses while trying to install a ventilation hose into the floor vault opening. When one worker lost balance, the other tried to catch the person from falling and fell about 5 feet into the vault, resulting in the shoulder injury.

If not restrained by the safety equipment, the workers could have fallen as far as 25 feet.

Officials with SONGS Decommissioning Solutions — a joint venture of Los Angeles-based engineering company AECOM and a Salt Lake City firm called Energy Solutions that specializes in disposing of nuclear material — immediately stopped work after the incident to start an evaluation. Edison formally extended the stand-down order, the utility spokesman said, to conduct a detailed investigation and implement potential corrective actions.

As per regulations, the incident was reported to Cal-OSHA. The accident did not require reporting to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission but Edison officials say they notified the agency’s regional office.

While demolition has been halted, other decommissioning work at SONGS continues, such as radiation monitoring and general maintenance.

This past weekend, workers completed the transfer and storing of a waste canister that was moved from the plant’s Unit 2 wet storage pool to a dry storage facility at the north end of SONGS.

The canister is the first of 12 that will be moved. Combined, the 12 will hold 125 tons of radioactive material classified as “greater than Class C low-level waste.”

The SONGS dismantlement project is in the third year of an effort estimated to take about eight years to finish and cost roughly $4.5 billion. By completion, about 1 billion pounds of equipment, components, rebar, concrete, steel and titanium will be moved out of the plant. About 80 percent of the material is considered radioactive.

 

Mounds                            of crushed concrete stack near Unit-3 before                            it is hauled out. (Nelvin C. Cepeda / The                            San Diego Union-Tribune)
Mounds of crushed, non-contaminated concrete near Unit 3 at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station in November 2021, awaits being shipped out. 
(Nelvin C. Cepeda/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

 

The vast majority of the plant’s debris is labeled Class A waste, the lowest level of radioactive material. Most of the rubble will go to a disposal facility in Clive, Utah — primarily shipped by rail car, although some material will be transported in casks by truck. Class B and C low-level waste gets sent to a site near the town of Andrews in West Texas. Non-radioactive material goes to Arizona.

Last summer, an incident occurred in the Unit 3 containment dome but resulted in no injuries. Edison officials reported a 60-pound seismic lug from a safety injection tank fell about 18 feet to the floor after it was cut from the tank. Workers were in the area but the falling lug did not hit any of them.

Before the dismantlement project started, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission fined Edison $116,000 after a 50-ton canister filled with fuel assemblies being lowered into a newly-constructed dry storage facility in August 2018 was left suspended on a metal flange about 18 feet from the floor of its storage cavity, unsupported by rigging and lifting equipment.

The canister was eventually lowered safely but the NRC chided Edison officials for not reporting the incident within 24 hours. The NRC did not assign a civil penalty for that violation. Word of the suspended canister was not initially disclosed by Edison but by an industrial safety worker at the plant during a community meeting.

The news of the last week’s worker injury concerns Ray Lutz, national coordinator for the advocacy group Citizens’ Oversight and a frequent Edison critic.

“Everybody’s worried about, are they handling this (dismantlement) work correctly and this only makes us worry more that they are not taking proper precautions,” Lutz said. “I would be interested to see what the results of their inquiry are and I hope they have full transparency in what they release.”

Edison spokesman John Dobken said in the utility’s oversight role, “it is fundamental that we ensure a safe work environment for all employees and that is what we are doing through this pause in work and thorough review.”

Prior to the injury, SONGS Decommissioning Solutions had gone more than 2.6 million man-hours — more than a year and a half — without any event that would have resulted in workers missing work.

---------
Ray Lutz
Citizens' Oversight Projects (COPs)
619-820-5321
 
Workers evacuated from area of Carlsbad nuclear waste repository after 'abnormal event'
 
Adrian Hedden
Carlsbad Current-Argus, Sunday, April 10, 2022
 
An incident at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant nuclear waste repository near Carlsbad led to the evacuation of workers Saturday night from an area of the facility where waste is prepared for disposal.

The incident was reported at about 8:20 p.m. in the waste handling building.

As a drum of waste was being processed, liquid was found at the bottom of the container which tested positive for radioactive contamination, per a news release from WIPP officials. 

All personnel in the area were evacuated and tested for contamination, and operations were temporarily paused. 

No radioactive contamination was found on any person or in the air as of 10 p.m., per the news release. 

Workers were not in the underground at the time of the incident, the release read. 

No radiation was released from the site, and there was no risk to the public, read the news release. 

WIPP’s Emergency Operations Center and Joint Information Center were activated at the Skeen-Whitlock building in Carlsbad to respond to the incident that occurred at the facility east of Carlsbad near the border of Eddy and Lea counties.

“The activation occurred as a result of an abnormal event during routine waste handling at the WIPP site, located 26 miles east of Carlsbad, New Mexico,” read the release.

The public was encouraged to follow WIPP on Twitter or Facebook for updates as the incident is investigated.

Waste handling activities at WIPP involve moving nuclear waste into the facility and transporting it about 2,000 feet underground for permanent disposal in an underground salt deposit.

The waste disposed of at WIPP is classified as transuranic (TRU) waste – clothes and equipment irradiated during nuclear activities at U.S. Department of Energy sites throughout the country.

The last major incident at WIPP occurred in 2014, when an incorrectly-packaged drum of waste shipped from Los Alamos National Laboratory in northern New Mexico ruptured due to a chemical reaction.

The resulting radiation release contaminated parts of the WIPP underground and led to a three-year shutdown of the facility’s primary operations: waste disposal and mining.

The site reopened and began accepting waste again in 2017, with some areas of the underground remaining restricted and requiring workers to wear breathing apparatuses when entering.

This story will be updated as more information is made available.

Adrian Hedden can be reached at 575-628-5516, achedden@currentargus.com or @AdrianHedden on Twitter
Nuclear Regulatory Commission - News Release
No: 21-015 April 4, 2022
CONTACT: Office of Public Affairs, 301-415-8200
 
NRC Unveils Look at Four Years of Strategic Planning;
Update Includes New Organizational Health and Stakeholder Confidence Goals
 
The NRC released today its Strategic Plan for fiscal years 2022–2026, which offers a blueprint for how the agency will plan, implement, and monitor the work needed to ensure the safe and secure use of radioactive materials.
 
The Strategic Plan for 2022-2026 includes an exclusive new focus on the agency’s efforts to continue to foster a healthy organization and inspire stakeholder confidence.
 
“The Strategic Plan will serve the agency over the next four years by providing a defined roadmap that can be used in budget development and the agency’s ongoing implementation of the Foundations for the Evidence Act of 2018,” said NRC Chairman Christopher T. Hanson. “This Strategic Plan will also inform agency decision making regarding major new acquisitions, information technology, strategic human capital planning, evaluations, and other evidence-building and evidence-capacity building investments.”
 
Hanson added that the Strategic Plan identifies goals that include essential strategies to ensure that the agency carries out its critical mission with utmost efficiency and effectiveness.
 
The Strategic Plan is supported by an Evidence-Building Plan, an Annual Evaluation Plan, and a Capacity Assessment, which are new components required by the 2018 Evidence Act. These new components document strategic planning activities and organize evidence-building and evaluation to ensure an integrated and direct connection to evidence needs.
 
The NRC Strategic Plan explains that the enhanced focus on organizational health is vital to ensure the agency can perform as a modern, risk-informed regulator, prepare for an evolving future, improve performance and “achieve mission excellence in a diverse, inclusive and innovative environment.”
 
The Strategic Plan also notes that the NRC must excel in a manner that inspires stakeholder confidence and public trust. It outlines how the agency will promote transparency, provide opportunities for candid and meaningful public participation, and ensure stakeholders have a meaningful role in agency regulatory processes.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission - News Release
No: 22-012 March 16, 2022
CONTACT: Scott Burnell, 301-415-8200

 
NRC Issues Findings from NIST Reactor Event Special Inspection
 
Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff has released its initial conclusions from its special inspection at the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s non-power reactor in Gaithersburg, Maryland. The NRC launched the inspection in February 2021, a few days after an event during startup of the reactor damaged a reactor fuel element and released radioactive material. The agency issued an interim inspection report in April 2021.
 
The inspectors examined independent analyses of the radiation release and concluded that public health and safety was maintained – any potential dose to the public, while unlikely, would have been a very small fraction of regulatory limits. The inspectors also concluded that doses to the reactor facility staff during the event were well below regulatory limits.
 
During the inspection, NRC inspectors reviewed NIST’s records from the event, the facility staff’s response, NIST’s root cause analysis, proposed corrective actions and related documentation. They also interviewed NIST staff and management regarding the event and related matters. The inspection found seven apparent violations of NRC requirements, including five violations related to exceeding the fuel temperature safety limit and damaging a fuel element. Other apparent violations are related to emergency planning and equipment modification.
 
If finalized at their current level, the findings could result in a civil penalty. After reviewing the NRC inspection report, NIST can accept the NRC’s findings, provide additional information in writing or during a regulatory conference, or request alternative dispute resolution. The NRC will consider all available information before making a final determination and document the decision in publicly available correspondence. The report notes several items planned for NRC follow-up. These items will be assessed in supplemental NRC inspections and documented in subsequent inspection reports.
 
Since the event violated the fuel temperature safety limit, the NRC must formally approve any restart of the reactor, which NIST has requested. The NRC will only consider authorizing restart after the agency has completed reviewing the restart request and has determined that sufficient corrective actions have been implemented to ensure that the facility will be operated safely by the licensee. Increased NRC oversight of the NIST facility will continue after any restart has been authorized.
 

Guest opinion: Beware a Trojan Horse for nuclear bailouts

 
With the nuclear reactor crisis emerging in Ukraine as a backdrop, a bill -- HB 5589 -- has been introduced in the Illinois legislature that would remove a decades-old moratorium on constructing new nuclear reactors in Illinois.
 
This moratorium was enacted in the late-1980s to protect Illinois from becoming a de facto high-level radioactive waste dump. It simply says no more reactors will be built here until the federal government honors its legal obligation to build and operate a permanent disposal facility for the dangerous spent-fuel radioactive waste. This facility was supposed to open by 1997 but didn't. Current government estimates claim we won't have one before 2048. As a result, Illinois' 14 reactors (11 still operating) have created more than 11,000 tons of spent-reactor fuel with no place to go. It's presently stored at reactor sites.
 
Imagine Chicago authorizing the construction of the Sears Tower without bathrooms and you get a sense of the absurd license to pollute that the nuclear industry has been granted. Legislators wanted to make sure that Illinois would have to manage as little of this waste as possible, prior to permanent disposal.
 
While this explains the origin of this common-sense moratorium, current events demonstrate what a Trojan Horse for potential nuclear disaster on numerous fronts HB5589 represents.
 
First, what's the rush? No utility in its right mind wants to construct new reactors in the U.S. The only two under construction are $17 billion over budget, and five years behind schedule, showing how inept, sluggish and inefficient building reactors is.
 
Since 2916 ratepayers have bailed out Exelon (now Constellation) reactors to the tune of $3.04 billion because they've been "economically distressed" (i.e., money losers). Would new reactors be any less distressed? Guess who would be forced to bail them out. Adding more reactors to a money-losing market only worsens the situation.
 
Adding more reactors would mean adding more high-level radioactive waste with no disposal facility -- the very thing the moratorium was created to prevent. The First Rule of Holes applies here.
 
Adding more reactor market-share to an already uncompetitive, glutted energy market would crowd out market share for the renewables that the governor and legislature want built, indefinitely delaying the 100% clean-energy by 2050 goal in CEJA.
 
Lastly, any new reactors would be built and managed by a nuclear industry demonstrating a hefty track record for political corruption, extending beyond ComEd's $200 million guilty plea and Michael Madigan's indictment. Ohio and South Carolina nuclear projects have also resulted in FBI investigations, indictments and guilty pleas worth billions of dollars. Is this the business partner Illinois wants to create its Clean Energy Future?
 
HB5589 is clearly a Trojan Horse for something not being stated, attempting to solve a nonexistent problem. Worse, it would potentially put Illinois ratepayers in line for endless rate hikes once again and kill a renewable energy future.
 
• David Kraft, of Chicago, is a co-founder and executive director of the Nuclear Energy Information Service.
 
--
David A. Kraft, Director
NEIS is a member of EarthShare Illinois

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