ONTPELIER, Vt. - Federal regulators today gave the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant a 20-year license renewal, despite calls for reconsideration following the nuclear disaster in Japan.
Join the discussion below, or Read more at Boston Herald.
#249 Apr 16, 2012
There are some good points ... But then dem politicos had to show their antinuke - pro BigOil stupidity.
Biomass, really? Solar in Vermont?!? Geothermal? What a crock!
#250 Apr 16, 2012
Is Sanders really that stupid, or is he dishonest?
#251 Apr 17, 2012
Write out of the April 19th 1999 memo from the office of nuclear reactor regulation to the office of nuclear regulatory research.
GL 85-11 dismissed the need for licensees to implement the requirements of NUREG-0612, Phase II. It informed licensees that implementation of Phase II of NUREG-0612 was not necessary and exempted licensees from having to use either electrical interlocks and mechanical stops, or a single-failure-proof crane, or load drop and consequence analyses to assure the safety of their handling of heavy loads. However, GL 85-11 encouraged licensees to implement actions they perceive to be appropriate to maintain safety. A cost-benefit justification for the change in the staff's position from NUREG-0612 was included in the GL. The cost-benefit justification is focused on polar cranes and pressurized water reactors and is silent on boiling-water reactors. It addresses the excessive cost of upgrading to or installing a single-failure-proof crane, versus the benefits that would be gained.
#252 Apr 17, 2012
Another correct decision.
#253 Apr 18, 2012
Stop the Nuclear Industry Welfare Program
by: Senator Bernie Sanders
Mon Apr 16, 2012
"By Sen. Bernie Sanders and Ryan Alexander
This nation is facing a $15 trillion national debt, and there is no shortage of opinions about how to move toward deficit reduction in the federal budget. One topic you will not hear discussed very often on Capitol Hill is the idea of ending one of the oldest American welfare programs -- the extraordinary amount of corporate welfare going to the nuclear energy industry.
Many in Congress talk of getting 'big government off the back of private industry.' Here's an industry we'd like to get off the backs of the taxpayers.
As a senator who is the longest-serving independent in Congress, and as the president of an independent and non-partisan budget watchdog organization, we do not necessarily agree on everything when it comes to energy and budget policy in the United States. But one thing we strongly agree on is the need to end wasteful subsidies that prop up the nuclear industry. After 60 years, this industry should not require continued and massive corporate welfare. It is time for the nuclear power industry to stand on its own two feet.
Nuclear welfare started with research and development. According to the non-partisan Congressional Research Service, since 1948 the federal government has spent more than $95 billion (in 2011 dollars) on nuclear energy R&D. That is more than four times the amount spent on solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, biofuels, and hydropower combined.
But federal R&D was not enough; the industry also wanted federal liability insurance too, which it got back in 1957 with the Price-Anderson Act. This federal liability insurance program for nuclear plants was meant to be temporary, but Congress repeatedly extended it, most recently through 2025. Price-Anderson puts taxpayers on the hook for losses that exceed $12. 6 billion if there is a nuclear plant disaster. When government estimates show the cost for such a disaster could reach $720 billion in property damage alone, that's one sweetheart deal for the nuclear industry!
R&D and Price-Anderson insurance are still just the tip of the iceberg. From tax breaks for uranium mining and loan guarantees for uranium enrichment to special depreciation benefits and lucrative federal tax breaks for every kilowatt hour from new plants, nuclear is heavily subsidized at every phase. The industry also bilks taxpayers when plants close down with tax breaks for decommissioning plants. Further, it is estimated that the federal costs for the disposal of radioactive nuclear waste could be as much as $100 billion.
Even with all of those subsidies, the private sector still will not agree to finance a new nuclear plant, so wealthy nuclear corporations recently secured access to $18.5 billion in taxpayer-backed loan guarantees. Maybe the Wall Street banks agree with the Congressional Budget Office, which estimated the risk of default on nuclear loans at above 50 percent. The nuclear industry's financial troubles are not new. In the 1960's and 1970's, 100 reactors were cancelled due to cost overruns. Things were so bad Forbes called it "the largest managerial disaster in business history." Despite this history, some want to dramatically increase federal loan guarantees for nuclear plants.
It is shocking that the nuclear industry continues to receive so much federal support at a time of record debt. Of course nuclear subsidies benefit some of the wealthiest and most powerful energy corporations in America, which may explain the persistence of nuclear welfare."
#254 Apr 18, 2012
... "For example, Exelon, which takes in $33 billion in revenue annually, is the leading operator/owner of nuclear reactors in the United States. Entergy, with revenues of more than $11 billion annually, is the second largest. Together, these two companies own or operate almost one-third of U.S. reactors, and based on their revenue they are doing pretty well. Why do they need endless federal welfare for their industry year after year after year? Will it ever end?
Well, as Secretary of Energy Steven Chu confirmed at a recent Senate hearing, without federal liability insurance and loan guarantees, no one would ever build a new nuclear plant. Whether you support nuclear energy or not, we should all be able to agree that with record debt, we cannot afford to continue to subsidize this mature industry and its multi-billion dollar corporations. If the nuclear industry believes so fervently in their technology, then they and Wall Street investors can put their money where the mouth is. Let's let them finance it, insure it, and pay for it themselves. "
#255 Apr 18, 2012
Packaging a number of lies together does not turn it into the truth. For example, how much has the government spent because of the Price-Anderson law? That seems to have been left out of the pack of lies. The answer is ZERO. The operators of commercial nuclear power plants provide many more dollars to federal, state and local governments than would be covered by all of the so-called subsidies.
#256 Apr 18, 2012
It costs Japan 1000 us$ a second they keep their nuclear reactors idle. It would cost US economy twice that, as US nuclear industry is twice the size of Japan's.
That's without accounting for the subsequent increase in oil prices.
#257 Sep 18, 2012
Nuclear engineer accuses regulators of safety cover-up
By Zack Colman - 09/17/12
"An engineer with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) says the agency has withheld documents showing reactor sites downstream of dams are vulnerable to flooding, and an elevated risk to the public's safety.
Richard Perkins, an NRC reliability and risk engineer, was the lead author on a July 2011 NRC report detailing flood preparedness. He said the NRC blocked information from the public regarding the potential for upstream dam failures to damage nuclear sites.
Perkins, in a letter submitted Friday with the NRC Office of Inspector General, said that the NRC intentionally mischaracterized relevant and noteworthy safety information as sensitive, security information in an effort to conceal the information from the public. The Huffington Post first obtained the letter.
He added the NRC may be motivated to prevent the disclosure of this safety information to the public because it will embarrass the agency. He claimed redacted documents in a response to a Freedom of Information Act request showed the NRC possessed relevant, notable, and derogatory safety information for an extended period but failed to properly act on it.
The report in question was completed four months after an earthquake and resultant tsunami caused the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactor in Japan to experience a meltdown.
The report concluded that,Failure of one or more dams upstream from a nuclear power plant may result in flood levels at a site that render essential safety systems inoperable.
Eliot Brenner, an NRC spokesman, told The Hill on Monday that the flooding report has been rolled into the agencys very robust body of work on lessons learned post-Fukushima. He declined to comment directly on the letter.
We cannot discuss the reasons for the redactions, Brenner said.The NRC coordinated with the Department of Homeland Security, the Army Corps of Engineers and FERC on the necessary redactions. " ...
#258 Sep 18, 2012
If other countries wonder(?) how stupid and dumb
the people have sunk.........All they have
to do is come to this site. You don't even
have the ability to HIDE it....It has been said,
When the people get this "dummied down", you
deserve to be taken OVER... You time is getting
shorter every second
#259 Sep 18, 2012
No what's that spam (robspam?) gots to do with anything?
#260 Sep 18, 2012
Flood Threat To Nuclear Plants Covered Up By Regulators, NRC Whistleblower Claims
"In a letter submitted Friday afternoon to internal investigators at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, a whistleblower engineer within the agency accused regulators of deliberately covering up information relating to the vulnerability of U.S. nuclear power facilities that sit downstream from large dams and reservoirs.
The letter also accuses the agency of failing to act to correct these vulnerabilities despite being aware of the risks for years.
These charges were echoed in separate conversations with another risk engineer inside the agency who suggested that the vulnerability at one plant in particular -- the three-reactor Oconee Nuclear Station near Seneca, S.C.-- put it at risk of a flood and subsequent systems failure, should an upstream dam completely fail, that would be similar to the tsunami that hobbled the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear facility in Japan last year. That event caused multiple reactor meltdowns.
In the letter, a copy of which was obtained by The Huffington Post, Richard H. Perkins, a reliability and risk engineer with the agency's division of risk analysis, alleged that NRC officials falsely invoked security concerns in redacting large portions of a report detailing the agency's preliminary investigation into the potential for dangerous and damaging flooding at U.S. nuclear power plants due to upstream dam failure.
Perkins, along with at least one other employee inside NRC, also an engineer, suggested that the real motive for redacting certain information was to prevent the public from learning the full extent of these vulnerabilities, and to obscure just how much the NRC has known about the problem, and for how long.
"What I've seen," Perkins said in a phone call, "is that the NRC is really struggling to come up with logic that allows this information to be withheld."
Perkins was the lead author of the report, which was completed in July of 2011 -- roughly four months after an earthquake and subsequent tsunami flooded the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan, cut off electric power to the facility and disabled all of its backup power systems, eliminating the ability to keep the reactors cool and leading to a meltdown.
In addition to the Oconee facility, the report examined similar vulnerabilities at the Ft. Calhoun station in Nebraska, the Prairie Island facility in Minnesota and the Watts Bar plant in Tennessee, among others.
The report concluded, among other things, that the failure of one or more dams sitting upstream from several nuclear power plants "may result in flood levels at a site that render essential safety systems inoperable." High floodwaters could conceivably undermine all available power sources, the report found, including grid power, emergency diesel backup generators, and ultimately battery backups. The risk of these things happening, the report said, is higher than acceptable.
"The totality of information analyzed in this report suggests that external flooding due to upstream dam failure poses a larger than expected risk to plants and public safety," Perkins's report concluded, adding that the evidence warranted a more formal investigation.
In response to the report, the NRC launched an expanded investigation, which is ongoing. It also folded the dam failure issue into the slate of post-Fukushima improvements recommended by a special task force formed in the aftermath of that disaster. But in a press release dated March 6 of this year, the agency said the report "did not identify any immediate safety concerns."
The NRC made a heavily redacted copy of the report publicly available on the NRC website the same day." ...
read the rest:
#261 Sep 18, 2012
Big Hydro is dangerous ... Well hydro has been displacing people by the million and killing them by the thousands ... How's that NUKULAR's fault?!?
The twisted world of antinukers'... My word
#262 Sep 21, 2012
Disturbing Tale From Florida Nuclear Plant
By MARIMER MATOS
"PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla.(CN)- Florida Power & Light fired a safety officer for shutting down a dangerously leaking nuclear reactor, because it cost $6 million to repair, the man claims in court.
Mark W. Hicks sued Florida Power & Light Co. in Port St. Lucie County Court, alleging whistleblower violations, intentional infliction of emotional distress, libel and fraud.
After 20 years in the "Nuclear [U.S.] Navy Program," Hicks says, he had been a safety compliance officer for two FP&L's nuclear power plants for less than a year when he discovered coolant leaking from a reactor's "code safety relief valve."
Hicks says that under the Code of Federal Regulations, the leak "mandated the immediate shutdown of the reactor."
"It was clear to Hicks that there was great potential peril, as a reactor which loses too much nuclear reactor coolant has a potential of causing core damage, which could ultimately lead to a nuclear meltdown at the power plant, putting the entire civilian population, which would be in proximity to the reactor, in danger," the complaint states.
"In fact, the same type of coolant leak that Hicks observed at the St. Lucie power plant was what caused the partial nuclear core meltdown on March 28, 1979, known as the Three Mile Island Accident, in Middletown, Pennsylvania, which was the worst nuclear accident in U.S. commercial nuclear power plant history ...
"Due to the need to protect the public and FPL employees, Hicks immediately directed his operations shift manager to cease startup of the reactor, and to shut it down, and to begin a cool down of the reactor, so that his team could repair the leaky valve.
"At the time of the incident, Hicks was following the plant safety procedures outlined in FPL's Technical Specification § 6.8, and from his own general safety knowledge regarding the procedures required to reduce the safety concern.""
#263 Sep 21, 2012
..."Hicks adds: "Following protocol, Hicks reported to the head of the Nuclear Power Division of FPL and the Executive Vice President of FPL Manoochehr Nazar, who then shockingly and recklessly insisted that Hicks start up the reactor.
"Despite Hicks' evaluation of the situation, the obvious safety concerns, and the clear legal requirements which dictated that Hicks and FPL shut down the reactor, Nazar ordered Hicks to sign off on starting up the reactor without repairing the valves.
"Nazar took the position he did, to startup the reactor, strictly from a position of greed. The bottom line is that he was willing to risk the health, well being, and even the lives of the citizens of Florida to avoid the loss of revenue, while the reactor was being repaired.
"That was why Hicks was ordered to start up the reactor and to ignore the clear safety risk. At all times, Nazar and the other senior management of FPL were made fully aware of the safety concern, and despite this knowledge, in an effort to save money, ordered the reactor started.
"In an act of defiance, and at risk of losing his job at FPL, Hicks went against his superior's instructions, and refused to start up the reactor."
Hicks says his actions "saved the company from the potential ruin that would have followed a Florida version of the Three Mile Island accident".
He adds: "In fact, after shutting down the reactor, it was discovered that Hicks was correct in requiring that the reactor be shut down, as the valve was incorrectly installed, the piping was out of alignment placing stresses on the valve body which caused the leak. Not only on the valve in question, but two other similar valves, and piping was sprung out of place from the misalignment. The piping had to be cut and re-welded to properly install the valves. On returning the reactor to service, the valves no longer leaked and they functioned perfectly as designed....
"Not only because of the loss of approximately $6 million, but more to assure that no one would dare defy Nazar and to assure that the rest of the employees would yield to the demands of Nazar no matter how dangerous those demands might be, Nazar and his crony officers began to take actions to punish Hicks.
"Without warning, Hicks' supervisors started to take retaliatory actions against him. Where he should have been lauded for doing his job and protecting the public, FPL, and the environment from a potential nuclear disaster, Hicks started to suffer the harm of being targeted by an irate employer."
Hicks say FPL put him on probation, cut his pay, lowered his performance rating level and eventually fired him, claiming his position was only temporary.
The St. Lucie plant was built in 1976 and contains two nuclear reactors in separate containment buildings.
Hicks seeks back pay and benefits, compensatory damages and attorney's fees.
He is represented by Peter Ticktin of Deerfield Beach."
#264 Sep 22, 2012
Look!!! Hybrids are dangerous!!!
Lets organize ourselves against hybrids and lets do our duty to the humanity!!!
#265 Sep 26, 2012
It was not the same type of leak as at TMI. At TMI it was the PORV not a code safety valve. Also, the PORV wasn't leaking, it was full open. Also, the result at TMI was that nobody was hurt and nobody was killed. In addition, it wasn't the PORV that caused the partial meltdown, it was the manual shutdown of the injection pumps, which could have injected enough water to make up for the water coming out of the PORV.
#266 Sep 27, 2012
NRC allows nuclear plants to propose alternatives to its new seismic safety assessment
by Andrew Stein | September 26, 2012
"On Friday, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) wrapped up a two-week long inspection of Vermont Yankees emergency systems.The biennial inspection is meant to target any holes in the nuclear plants emergency preparedness program. Regulators looked at how the facility has responded to emergencies in the past, analyzed staffing levels and tested alarm systems.
While federal inspectors have 45 days to issue a report of their findings, NRC spokesman Neil Sheehan said that a preliminary review of their inspection did not unearth any significant issues.
This inspection comes after the NRC issued a new guidance on Sept. 4 for assessing seismic hazards in nuclear facilities across the country. The supplemental guidance, as the NRC puts it, is based on recommendations made by a high-level federal task force, which was formed in the wake of the Japanese Fukushima Daiichi disaster to review NRC regulations and processes to identify areas of improvement.
The new guidance is not mandatory, and a leading nuclear expert doesnt think it goes far enough to protect the public.
Earlier this summer, NRC regulators began inspections with nuclear plant personnel, called walkdowns, where personnel and inspectors looked for readily identifiable flood and seismic hazards. But the new guidance, said Entergy spokesman Rob Williams, would require a further-reaching scientific analysis of a nuclear plants ability to stand up to an earthquake.
The seismic evaluation is about the math involved and how the plants are analyzed, said Williams.
NRC is allowing nuclear facilities to weigh in on the new regulatory measure until Oct. 10, and facilities can propose their own methodologies for how their plants should be inspected for failures.
When Sheehan was asked about nuclear operators preparing their own guidelines, he said NRC could veto their proposals.
We could deem that methodology and the result unacceptable, he said.There is that risk on the part of a company.
But, he said, most plants appear to be in favor of the assessment process.Most of the plants have indicated that they plan to adhere to this guidance, he said.
Williams, however, did not indicate whether Vermont Yankee would conform to the federally proposed guidance.
Were going to be reviewing that guidance with the rest of the industry and responding as a group within the timeframe they expect, he said.
Burlingtons Arnie Gundersen, a nuclear engineer and one of the worlds leading authorities on nuclear safety, said the new guidance doesnt go far enough to ensure citizen well-being.
They nibble at the edges of the problem, Gundersen about NRCs new guidance.Youre not going to find the significant changes that really need to be implemented because the plants cant afford to implement them. You cant make the changes in an (old) operating plant, and the NRC knows that, so theyre going to try to go around the margin.
He said the guidance, as proposed, might lead to slight structural improvements but wouldnt bring about the replacement of 30- to 40-year-old plants, which he considers necessary to prevent nuclear disasters.
One of the central issues with the U.S. nuclear industry, as Gundersen views it, is that low-probability, high-consequence natural events have threatened and, in the case of Fukushima, caused nuclear disaster. As examples of close calls, he pointed to the earthquake in Virginia near the North Anna Power Station and the floods near the Fort Calhoun Power Plant in Nebraska that pushed but didnt exceed the boundaries of those plants." ...
#267 Sep 27, 2012
..."If you look at what weve learned in the past five years, weve learned that Mother Nature is unpredictable and our predictions have been wrong four times, said Gundersen.
John Ebel, director of Boston Colleges geophysics laboratory Weston Observatory, said its very difficult to predict earthquakes in New England because of the short historical record that is available. The largest quake on record in New England hit Cape Ann, Mass., in 1755 and came in at around 6.0 on the Richter scale.
Weston Observatory records show that in 2002 there was a magnitude 5.1 earthquake in New York across Lake Champlain from Addison County, and in 2010 there was a magnitude 5.0 quake just northwest of Montreal.
Despite the seismic unknown of New Englands future, Ebel maintained,Engineers can design and build structures that can survive even the strongest earthquake shakes.
But, said Gundersen, the finances arent in favor of replacing the countrys aging nuclear plants.
It does boil down to money, he said.A nuclear plant can be safe or it can be competitively priced, but it cant be competitively priced and safe from these low-probability events.
The fiscal element of the nuclear equation, said Gundersen, is the reason the industry has so much sway over regulatory policy, as it does over the guidance just issued by the NRC.
Thats typical, said Gundersen of the non-mandatory guidance.Thats the industry influence, where if (federal policy) gets too expensive we wont hold you to it.
Look at each one in a vacuum
In March, Vermont Department of Public Service Commissioner Elizabeth Miller wrote to William Dean, NRC regional administrator, to ask why a string of human performance errors at Vermont Yankee didnt require additional oversight from the NRC. Such errors led to the loss of shutdown cooling and some malfunctioning equipment.
Dean responded to Miller, writing that all of these errors were labeled green, which means they have very low safety significance. Since none of the findings exceeded the NRCs green threshold, Dean found no reason for additional oversight.
Miller wrote to Dean again in August about similar human performance-related errors, pointing to eight other issues that arose since her March letter. Such incidents included an absent risk analysis, a missing flood seal and a poorly installed condenser.
My concern is that such incidents, while perhaps unremarkable in isolation, together may raise questions regarding the training and oversight exercised by the operator of the plant, wrote Miller.
Gundersen has similar concerns.
These incidents lead me to believe that either the procedures suck, the staff is too young or theres inadequate training none of which does the NRC want to address, he said.They prefer to look at each incident in a vacuum." ...
read the rest:
#268 Sep 28, 2012
Bla Bla Bla
NuKular iz Eeeveel (hydrocarbon iz Good!)
NuKular iz Eeeveel (hydrocarbon iz Good!)
NuKular iz Eeeveel (hydrocarbon iz Good!)
NuKular iz Eeeveel (hydrocarbon iz Good!)
...ad infinitum ...
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