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Cooling system steam leak shuts down N.J. nuclear plant

 http://www.nj.com/salem/index.ssf/2017/03/cooling_system_steam_leak_shuts_down_nj_nuclear_pl.html By Bill Gallo Jr. | For NJ.com  March 01, 2017  LOWER ALLOWAYS CREEK TWP. — An increase in steam leakage in the cooling system of the Salem 1 nuclear reactor has prompted its operators to take the plant out of service, officials said.

The reactor was shut down at 2:44 p.m. Tuesday, according to Joe Delmar, a spokesman for the plant’s operator, PSEG Nuclear.

Delmar said that the condensation collected from the steam was initially measured at a stable .17 gallons per minute. That increased, though, to .30 gallons per minute.

The reactor’s cooling system contains more than 90,000 gallons of radioactive water, Delmar said Wednesday.   In order to find the source of the leak, operators cut the plant’s power down to 28 percent, but later determined the reactor needed to be totally shut down to correct the problem.

The steam leak was found on a valve used to draw samples of cooling system water for testing.

With the plant offline, it will make it safe for workers to enter the reactor containment building where the leak is located and fix the problem, Delmar said.

Delmar said there is not estimate when Salem 1 will return to service producing electricity.

He said on Wednesday that PSEG Nuclear’s other two plants at the Island, Salem 2 and Hope Creek, were operating at full power.

March 4, 2017 Posted by | incidents, USA | Leave a comment

Growing opposition to Ohio nuclear bailout

taxpayer bailoutNew Ohio ‘bailout’ request shakes up nuclear/carbon debate, Midwestern Energy news,  , 2 Mar 1 7The growing debate over nuclear power’s role in curbing emissions is running headlong into an ongoing controversy over “bailouts” for Ohio’s largest utility.

FirstEnergy, which has previously sought support for noncompetitive power plants, is now asking Ohio lawmakers for “zero emission credits” for its aging nuclear plants. Environmental and consumer advocates say the plan is just another bid for more subsidies.

After FirstEnergy president and CEO Chuck Jones reported “excellent results in distribution and transmission service reliability and plant operations” during a February 22 earnings call with financial analysts, he said the company wants a zero-emission nuclear, or “ZEN,” program to support the company’s Davis-Besse and Perry nuclear generating plants in Ohio.

“The ZEN program is intended to give state lawmakers greater control and flexibility to preserve valuable nuclear generation,” Jones said. A bill to implement the program will be introduced soon, he said.

The Davis-Besse power plant in Oak Harbor and the Perry nuclear plant in North Perry are now valued at about $1.5 billion, including the value of their nuclear fuel. “The debt is significantly higher than that,” Jones noted. “Absent something to raise the value of these units and make them attractive to a buyer, there’s only one way for us to exit this business.”

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio ruled last spring that it would allow extra charges to guarantee sales of all power from the Davis-Besse plant and certain coal plants. When federal regulators said they would require strict scrutiny of the deal, FirstEnergy dropped references to power purchases but still asked for the rider, which critics said would have cost ratepayers $4 billion. The company’s funding requests grew over the ensuing months.

Last fall the PUCO ruled that ratepayers would instead have to pay a “distribution modernization rider” of $200 million per year. Despite the name, the money collected is not for any specific grid projects. Instead, it’s supposed to boost FirstEnergy’s credit rating to make it easier for the company to borrow money as and when it eventually does any such work.

Back in the fall, FirstEnergy claimed the money would not be enough. Now the company is asking lawmakers for more………

“FirstEnergy’s two nuclear plants are old, and we are asking why Ohioans should be paying for a nuclear subsidy when other resources are less risky, less expensive and much better for the environment overall,” said Demeter at the Ohio Environmental Council.

“Not all zero-emissions sources are alike,” she stressed. “Nuclear energy carries with it a heavy toll when evaluating this resource cradle-to-grave.” In Demeter’s view, it makes much more economic sense to invest heavily in renewables, which avoid those risks.

“Once a wind turbine or solar panel is installed, there is no fuel that must be extracted from the ground, and there is no waste to deal with afterwards,” she noted. And combining them with innovative technologies like battery storage “will make renewables virtually unstoppable as the primary energy source we rely on in the near future.”

Demeter also distinguished FirstEnergy’s ZEN proposal from the state’s renewable portfolio standard.

“Ohio’s RPS is a market mechanism to ensure we’re maximizing clean energy opportunities in Ohio, and diversifying our energy portfolio in a responsible way,” she explained. “What FirstEnergy is asking for is a direct subsidy of two nuclear power plants that appear to be losing money in the regional energy markets.”

“The company is seeking ratepayer protection for these plants, but shareholders, not ratepayers, should be on the hook for the bet the company made on nuclear plants,” Demeter said. http://midwestenergynews.com/2017/03/02/new-ohio-bailout-request-shakes-up-nuclearcarbon-debate/

March 4, 2017 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

India forced to back out of nuclear project sites, due to local opposition

Protest-No!India exploring new sites for building nuclear projects: report, Live Mint 2 Mar 17  India has had to back out from a couple of nuclear project sites in the past because of opposition from the local population. New Delhi: India is exploring new locations, in addition to those already identified, to build nuclear power plants and meet its generation goal, a government official with direct knowledge of the matter said.

The nation has had to back out from a couple of sites in the past because of opposition from the local population and is now looking at regions, including those away from the sea, to supplement the existing list, the official said without elaborating. He asked not to be named as the plans aren’t public yet.

India’s plans to expand its nuclear generation capacity more than ten-fold have been hampered by delays in construction due to protests by the local population and suppliers’ concern over a liability law. The law, which allows for claims from companies setting up the plant, has discouraged reactor suppliers from General Electric Co. to Toshiba Corp.-controlled Westinghouse Electric Co.

Toshiba said last month unit Westinghouse’s plan to set up six reactors in India are contingent on a change in the nuclear liability law. It will no longer take up the risk of building new nuclear plants and instead specialize in supplying parts and reactor engineering, the company said following a $6.3 billion write-down.

India is awaiting an official communication from Westinghouse on its plans in the country, the government official said, declining to comment further……..http://www.livemint.com/Politics/cAl4c3eRVpruUoduidBqcO/India-said-to-explore-new-sites-for-building-nuclear-project.html

March 4, 2017 Posted by | India, opposition to nuclear | 1 Comment

Work suspended on proposed Stewart County nuclear plant

Georgia Power suspends work on proposed Stewart County nuclear plant, Atlanta Business Chronicle    Mar 2, 2017,  Georgia Power Co. is suspending plans for a new nuclear power plant south of Columbus, Ga., the Atlanta-based utility announced in a letter to the state Public Service Commission (PSC).

The PSC voted last summer to authorize Georgia Power to spend up to $99 million to cover the early stages of the project in Stewart County through the second quarter of 2019.

But since then, Toshiba Corp. has announced that subsidiary Westinghouse Electric Co. – the chief contractor currently building nuclear plants in South Carolina and at Georgia Power’s Plant Vogtle – will stop constructing nuclear reactors. Last month, Toshiba blamed a projected $6.3 billion write-down on losses from its U.S. nuclear operations.

In a letter dated March 1, a lawyer representing Georgia Power wrote that the work in Stewart County is being suspended because demand projections show there will be no need for new nuclear generation of electricity until outside the utility’s three-year planning process.

But critics of nuclear power blamed the decision to suspend the Stewart project on Toshiba’s financial meltdown.

“We appreciate that [Georgia Power parent] Southern Co. has pulled back on the Stewart County nuclear proposal, which was clearly a bad deal for the citizens of Georgia,” said Stephen Smith, executive director of the Tennessee-based Southern Alliance for Clean Energy. “[But] it’s outrageous that Southern Co. already has spent more than $50 million [in] ratepayer dollars on this proposal. … Southern Co. already has ratepayers paying too much for the over-budget and behind-schedule Vogtle nuclear units.”….http://www.bizjournals.com/atlanta/news/2017/03/02/georgia-power-suspends-work-on-proposed-stewart.html

March 4, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, USA | Leave a comment

Toshiba won’t be building FPL’s nuclear reactors. Customers should not have to keep paying.

http://www.miamiherald.com/opinion/op-ed/article135578328.html BY RACHEL SILVERSTEIN  rachel@miamiwaterkeeper.org As a nonprofit organization that works to safeguard South Florida’s clean water, we’ve been hearing a lot of public concerns about Florida Power & Light’s plans for Turkey Point. FPL has been trying to expand its nuclear power plant, with the addition of two new reactors — Units 6 and 7 — for many years. However, FPL has not yet received a Combined Operating License from the federal government’s Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), which authorizes FPL to operate the plant.

March 4, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, politics, USA | Leave a comment

Scottish Greens politician speaks out against weakening of nuclear safety regulation

Green MSP hits out at Hunterston B nuclear decision,  Energy Voice, 1 Mar 17   A Scottish politician has criticised the UK’s Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) over changes to safety regulations for the Hunterston B power station in Ayrshire.      THE ONR has ruled that a periodic safety review by operators EDF is “adequate”.

As a result the UK atomic agency has relaxed the safety case regarding the plant’s graphite core.

The revised safety case provides new limits and conditions of operation in response to keyway root cracking of the graphite in the core.

This is an expected part of the aging process as reactors get closer to their end of life. Acceptance of the safety case is also reliant on a revised inspection and monitoring strategy.

But Ross Greer, Scottish Green MSP for Wwest of Scotland, last night hit out at the lack of public consultation on the matter.

In January, Greer championed a report authored by an independent expert on nuclear safety, which concluded that despite it being probably illegal under international law, the Scottish public were being denied a say in the decision to keep Scotland’s oldest nuclear power station running.

The MSP said: “News that EDF are to be allowed more cracking within Hunterston’s reactor will concern residents across North Ayrshire, the West of Scotland and further afield. The lack of public consultation is simply unacceptable.

“It’s disappointing that the Scottish Government have not spoken out on the issue. European law says all ageing nuclear power stations should have an environmental impact assessment comparing their continued operation against alternative sources of energy such as renewables, and that the public should be involved, but that hasn’t happened.

“We should be putting efforts into building our renewables capacity and the secure, long term jobs which come with it, reducing demand through energy efficiency measures and ensuring a jobs transition for nuclear workers at sites such as Hunterston.”…….. https://www.energyvoice.com/otherenergy/133089/green-msp-hits-hunterston-b-nuclear-decision/– 0   2/

March 4, 2017 Posted by | politics, safety, UK | Leave a comment

Nuclear power bill receives approval from Kentucky Senate

 Floyd County Times , 2 Mar  17     Staff Report FRANKFORT — A bill that would lift a moratorium on nuclear power plants in the state was approved by the Kentucky Senate on Wednesday.

Senate Bill 11 would amend statutes to change the requirement that facilities have means of permanent disposal of nuclear waste. Instead they would only be required to have a plan for its safe storage, and that the plans be approved by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

It would also eliminate several other obstacles to the construction and maintenance of nuclear facilities……..

Senate Bill 11 was approved on a 27-8 vote and now goes the House of Representatives for consideration. http://floydcountytimes.com/news/9961/nuclear-power-bill-receives-approval-from-senate

March 4, 2017 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

Nuclear Shutdown News


Nuclear Shutdown News – February 2017, San Diego Free Press
MARCH 2, 2017  BY “…….Most likely US nukes to shut down in 2017?

Last October Bloomberg News reported that the following US nuclear plants are likely to shut down this year, some as early as May:

-First Energy’s Davis Besse nuke in Ohio. It started up in 1978.

– First Energy’s almost 40 year old Beaver Valley nuke in Pennsylvania.

-Exelon’s Three Mile Island reactor (the one that didn’t melt down in 1979), which started up in 1974.

– Exelon’s two Byron reactors in Illinois, whose startups were in 85 and 87.

Bloomberg explained that these 4 nuke plants are no longer money makers, but are submitting bids to an electrical distribution company for an auction this spring. If their bids are no accepted, “they could face closure.”

Sources: Bloomberg News, bloomberg.com;chemical info.com    http://sandiegofreepress.org/2017/03/nuclear-shutdown-news-february-2017/

March 4, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, USA | Leave a comment

Oil and gas boss appointed to run UK’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority

Written by  Former North Sea oil boss David Peattie has been appointed the new chief executive of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA).

Mr Peattie will be responsible for leading the NDA in the decommissioning and clean-up of 17 legacy nuclear sites across the UK, including Dounreay in Caithness.- 02/03/2017 …….https://www.energyvoice.com/uncategorized/132979/oil-gas-boss-appointed-run-uks-nuclear-decommissioning-authority/

March 4, 2017 Posted by | general | Leave a comment