Electrical fault shuts down Oyster Creek nuclear plant

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LACEY TOWNSHIP – Oyster Creek Generating Station automatically shut down Friday night, a station official confirmed Saturday.

At 9:05 p.m., the station suffered an electrical fault in one of its two main transformers, which are used to convert Oyster Creek’s output for use on the gird that serves the region.

The automatic shutdown occurred safely and without incident, according to David Benson, a spokesman for the plant.


Nuclear plant to pay fine for fish kill

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LACEY TOWNSHIP, N.J. – The Oyster Creek nuclear plant in Ocean County will pay a $67,859 fine for killing more than 5,000 fish during two unplanned shutdowns.

The Environmental Protection Department assessed the fine after reviewing the incidents, which happened in 2006 and 2007.

A plant spokesman says the company has a responsibility to take care of the environment.


Greenpeace blockades ageing Spanish nuclear plant

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MADRID, Nov 20 (Reuters) – Greenpeace blocked the entrance on Thursday to a Spanish nuclear power station facing closure next year and urged the government to shut it down immediately in line with election pledges to phase out nuclear power.

The environmental group said 60 protesters gathered outside Garona, the first of seven nuclear plants whose operating permits come up for renewal between 2009-11, within the mandate of the recently re-elected Socialist government.

Greenpeace said Spain’s booming renwable energy sector could easily replace the 500 megawatts of power produced by Garona.


Report Focuses on Nuclear Plant Accident Response

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The Nuclear Regulatory Commission released a publication that provides new insights into how best to protect the public during a nuclear power plant accident.

The publication is based on the results of focus groups and telephone surveys conducted in the Emergency Planning Zones (EPZs) around reactor sites. The data will help the NRC review its regulations and guidance related to emergency preparedness and determine if changes need to be considered to existing protective action strategies.

Focus groups were used in 2007 to collect information that guided the development of the phone survey. The phone survey was administered in 2008 by Sandia National Laboratories, under contract to the NRC, to approximately 2,500 households randomly selected in order to obtain 800 completed, anonymous surveys. The surveys found that a majority of the residents living within the EPZs of nuclear power plants:


Nuclear plant deactivated during tests

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BKW energy company authorities carrying out checks at the Mühleberg plant near Bern decided to switch off the plant on Saturday as a precaution in between two operational tests.

The plant was reactivated after several hours. Authorities said the plant was safe, with no increases in radioactivity measured after the deactivation.

Switzerland has five nuclear power stations which account for around 39 per cent of the country’s electricity production


Musician questions nuclear plant

Musician questions nuclear plant
Ray Benson concerned on how reactors would effect Guadalupe River

Grammy Award winner Ray Benson from Austin will sing in radio spots questioning the use of water by a proposed nuclear plant.

Benson, known as the guitarist and singer for Asleep at the Wheel, joined the Texans for a Sound Energy Policy Alliance in urging residents to question how two nuclear reactors would affect the future of the Guadalupe River Basin, an Alliance news release stated.

“Water is the life blood of each one of us, our families and our future. We all depend on it,” Benson said via the release. “A proposed Exelon nuclear power plant near Victoria will create a water shortage that will forever change the river.”

Exelon Nuclear submitted its combined license application to build and operate two nuclear reactors 12 miles south of Victoria to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in September.

The Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority agreed to supply Exelon with 75,000 acre-feet per year from the Guadalupe River.

Some of Benson’s radio announcements point out that’s more than seven times the amount of water the city of Victoria uses every year.

The water use by a nuclear plant would affect Texans beyond Victoria County, Alliance director John Figer said. Communities all along the Guadalupe River have a stake and that’s why the announcements will play in communities up and down the river.

“The more people learn about Exelon’s plans and the implications to our area’s water supply, the more red flags are raised,” Figer said.

But the Exelon project falls well within the means of the available water supply, Lamarriol Smith, GBRA manager of communications and education, said.

The projected industrial needs for the Victoria area is only 11,198 acre-feet by the year 2060, according to Region L plans, Smith said.

“Economically speaking, if you do not use the available water in this region for the Exelon plant, what other industries have identified the Victoria area for their major projects?” she asked.

More than 40,926 acre-feet would still reach the bays and estuaries by 2060, even after Exelon and all projected Victoria needs are met, Smith said.

The Alliance hired hydrologists and engineers to conduct independent studies to see just how much water would be available and at what price, Figer said.

To learn more about Texans for a Sound Energy Policy Alliance or to hear the radio announcements, visit http://www.speakupvictoria.com

A typical nuclear plant supplies 740,000 homes with electricity, which averages using 20 to 26 gallons of water per household per day in a wet cooling tower system. The average U.S. household of three people consumes 315 gallons of water per day.

Source: Nuclear Energy Institute

One acre-foot of water equals 325,851.4 gallons, meaning Exelon’s agreement equals 24 billion gallons per year.


PPL subsidiary applies for license to build nuclear plant in Pennsylvania

PPL subsidiary applies for license to build nuclear plant in Pennsylvania

13th October 2008
By Staff Writer

US-based electric utility PPL has announced that its subsidiary has filed an application with the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission for a license to build and operate a new nuclear plant under consideration near Berwick, Pennsylvania.

According to the company, the Bell Bend nuclear plant would be built near the company’s existing two-unit Susquehanna nuclear power plant. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) review of the combined license application (COL) is expected to take three to four years.

In additional to the application, PPL has submitted the first part of the federal loan guarantee application to the US Department of Energy. The company will submit a second part of the application as required before the December 19, 2008, deadline.

The Bell Bend license application includes the US evolutionary power reactor advanced technology from Areva, which is already under design certification review by the NRC. PPL has contracted with UniStar Nuclear Energy, a strategic joint venture of Constellation Energy and the EDF Group, to assist with preparation of the application.

Victor Lopiano, president of PPL Nuclear Development, said: “A final decision by PPL on whether to move forward with the Bell Bend plant won’t be made for several years, and will depend on NRC approval, on receiving a federal loan guarantee for the project, on attracting additional investors and on the company’s view of the power market fundamentals at that time.”


Man admits threatening nuclear plant

Man admits threatening nuclear plant

Published Friday, September 26, 2008

MONTGOMERY – A Cottonwood man will be sentenced in December for threatening to drive a car bomb into the Farley Nuclear Plant near Dothan.

U.S. Attorney Leura Canary said Anthony Paul Vincze pleaded guilty to a single count of using a telephone to make a threat to damage or destroy a building with fire or explosives.

Vincze made the threat on Feb. 18. Canary said Friday the 44-year-old man faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine when he is sentenced Dec. 16.

The Farley Nuclear Plant in southeast Alabama is part of the Atlanta-based Southern Co.


Nuclear plant moves waste to tackle leaks

Nuclear plant moves waste to tackle leaks

By Greg Clary
The Journal News • September 22, 2008

BUCHANAN – Workers have removed spent nuclear fuel rods from Indian Point 1 and expect to drain 500,000 gallons of radioactive water from the dead reactor’s storage pool by the end of the year.

The move should end strontium 90 contamination at the plant, company and regulatory officials say.

“We’ve said from the beginning that an essential part of the strategy for reducing additional contamination was removing the fuel and draining the pool,” said Neil Sheehan, a spokesman for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

“It’s believed to be the primary source of strontium contamination at the site.”

Indian Point is the only nuclear site in the country that is leaking strontium 90, a highly radioactive isotope.

Sheehan said Indian Point 1, which operated from 1962 to 1974, has had a long history of leakage, and plant officials had thought a curtain drain system around the huge pool was catching any radioactive water and directing it to proper disposal points.

Another leak, of less radioactive tritium, was found at Indian Point 2 in August 2005, and as the company drilled dozens of new monitoring wells, strontium 90 started showing up in high levels.

Company officials are confident Indian Point 1 is the source of the strontium 90 because when they began filtering out 98 percent of the isotope from the spent fuel pool, the levels in nearby wells dropped quickly.

“The sooner they remove that source, the better,” Sheehan said.

By the end of the year, Indian Point officials expect to have diluted the 500,000 gallons and released them into the Hudson River according to federally permitted procedures set up to protect the surrounding habitat.

On Friday, the last load of 32 fuel rods – a fifth of the 160 moved – was carried in a dry cask storage canister by a tank-like machine aptly named “The Crawler.”

A team of 16 people worked to transport the spent fuel from the reactor to a storage pad about a quarter-mile away, where the Crawler lowered the 125-ton canister into its designated spot.

“It’s still spent fuel; let’s be clear,” Chris English, superintendent of Indian Point 1, said as he watched the move. “But it’s not as active as fresh fuel coming out of an active reactor.”

Only about 10 percent of the rods’ fuel – burned to create electricity – is used up during the process, leaving potential energy sitting in the canisters for as long as it takes until the remaining radioactive isotopes decay or other options are developed.

“Future generations are going to come to pick this stuff up and say: ‘What the heck were they thinking?’” English said. “Because there’s a lot of value here.”

Until then, however, it’s considered nuclear waste and will remain onsite until the federal government builds the Yucca Mountain’s repository or an alternate.

Though France and other countries are recycling nuclear waste using a method called reprocessing, there are no U.S. facilities doing that and little movement to do it here.

“This is a big milestone for us,” said Donald Mayer, the Entergy Nuclear official in charge of Indian Point’s efforts to control the groundwater contamination. “What this ultimately does is take all of (the strontium 90) away.”

Reach Greg Clary at gclary@lohud.com or 914-696-8566.

Nuclear plant is still not operating

MONTICELLO — The Monticello nuclear plant won’t be producing power at least until later this week, an Xcel Energy spokesman said Tuesday.

The plant automatically shut down Thursday night after a breaker on a transformer that feeds electricity to the plant failed. There were no injuries or radiation leaks.

Steve Roalstad with Xcel Energy, which owns the plant, said crews have found the cause of the problem — a faulty cable that leads to the transformer. They are replacing the cable and then will begin the startup process for the plant, he said.

The last unscheduled shutdown at the Monticello plant was in January 2007. The plant began operating in 1970.



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