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Monday
Feb232015

"Pilgrim Nuclear Plant shutdowns leave questions unanswered for Outer Cape"

NRC file photo of Entergy Nuclear's Pilgrim atomic reactor in Plymouth, MA on Cape Cod Bay, south of BostonAs reported by Peter J. Brown at Wicked Local Wellfleet, concerns continue to simmer downwind of Entergy Nuclear's Pilgrim atomic reactor (photo, left) in the aftermath of two severe winter storm related shutdowns in the span of just a couple weeks. Numerous elected and other public officials, from Massachusetts State legislators to local Selectmen, to spokespeople for the Cape Cod National Seashore advisory body, are quoted in the article, calling for Pilgrim's permanent shutdown as a safety precaution in the unevacuable Cape Cod region.

Friday
Feb202015

"Vermont Yankee: Vermont asks for hearing in EPZ reductions"

NRC file photo of VY, located across the Connecticut River from New Hampshire, in Vernon, VT, just 8 miles upstream of the Massachusetts state line.As reported by Robert Audette of the Associated Press, the State of Vermont Department of Public Service has petitioned to intervene, and for full adjudicatory public hearings, regarding an Entergy Nuclear's License Amendment Request (LAR) that would significantly reduce, or completely eliminate, emergency preparedness at the permanently closed Vermont Yankee atomic reactor in Vernon, VT (photo, left).

As reported in the article:

'Entergy's requested amendment would reduce the 10-mile emergency preparedness zone around the plant to its actual footprint as well as its financial contributions to emergency management organizations in the EPZ [Emergency Planning Zone]. Entergy is also asking for a reduction in its offsite emergency notification system, elimination of hostile-action scenario planning and remove the state from participating in emergency response exercises. The change in the notification system would increase notification time from 15 to 60 minutes, states the filing presented to the NRC on Feb. 9." More.

Wednesday
Feb182015

VT Gov. Shumlin: "An energy innovation program for Vermont"

VT Gov. Peter Shumlin, who also serves as the chairman of the Democratic Governors AssociationAs reported by the Mountain Times of Killington, VT, Governor Peter Shumlin (D-VT) is calling on the State of Vermont Legislature to join him in passing major legislation that would make the Green Mountain State a cutting-edge center for clean, renewable energy and efficiency.

Vermont already boasts 15,000 clean energy jobs, but Shumlin wants to add another 1,000 with this bill.

He also wants a dramatic increase in rooftop solar photovoltaics state-wide. This would be paid for with efficiency cost savings, applied toward solar PV panel installation on customers' monthly bills.

The legislation sets a very aggressive schedule for clean energy implementation. It would require utilities to provide 55% of energy from renewable sources just two years from now, and 75% by 2032. More.

Wednesday
Feb182015

"Thousands more cracks found in Belgian nuclear reactors: Belgian regulatory head warns of global implications"

Entergy's Palisades atomic reactor, on the Lake Michigan shore in Covert, MI, has the worst embrittled RPV in the U.S., vulnerable to catastrophic failure due to PTS.As revealed in a new report from Greenpeace Belgium, micro-cracking in Belgian atomic reactor pressure vessels (RPV) due to hydrogen flaking could be a global problem going undiagnosed, simply because nuclear utilities and government regulators haven't done the needed testing. Belgium's nuclear regulatory agency has issued "a statement confirming that the additional tests conducted in 2014 revealed 13,047 cracks in Doel 3 and 3,149 in Tihange 2," as reported in Greenpeace Belgium's press release.

Embrittlement can lead to RPV failure due to pressurized thermal shock (PTS) in pressurized water reactors (PWRs). Beyond Nuclear, in coalition with Don't Waste MI, MI Safe Energy Future, and Nuclear Energy Information Service, has challenged the continued operation of Entergy Nuclear's Palisades atomic reactor in s.w. MI on the Lake Michigan shore (photo, above left), due to its worst embrittled RPV in the U.S. As reported by Greenpeace Belgium, a RPV breach due to PTS could cause a Loss-of-Coolant-Accident (LOCA), core meltdown, containment failure, and catastrophic radioactivity release.

However, Greenpeace Belgium's report warns that hydrogen flaking micro-cracking also impacts boiling water reactors (BWRs). Greenpeace Belgium's experts call for comprehensive testing of all atomic reactors worldwide, a position echoed by Belgium's top nuclear regulator. Belgium's two suspect reactors are shut; Greenpeace demands they remain so till the concern is addressed. Meanwhile, Palisades operates at full power.

Monday
Feb162015

"Exelon seeks FERC approval for life-support deal for Ginna nuclear plant"

NRC file photo of Exelon's Ginna atomic reactor on the shore of Lake Ontario, in Ontario, NY, 20 miles northeast of Rochester.As reported by Barry Cassell at PowerEngineering, Exelon Nuclear is seeking approval by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for a plan that would gouge Rochester Gas & Electric (RG&E) ratepayers, at above market rates, to keep the uncompetitive Ginna atomic reactor in Ontario, NY operating till 2018 or even 2020. Exelon has lobbied and convinced RG&E, as well as the NYPSC (New York Public Service Commission) and NYISO (New York Independent System Operator), that Ginna is needed to maintain grid reliability.

Ginna is a small (581 Megawatt-electric), single unit nuclear power plant. Its operating license was issued in Sept., 1969, making it one of the very oldest atomic reactors still operating the U.S. In July 2013, energy economist Dr. Mark Cooper of Vermont Law School identified Ginna as one of the top reactors in the country at risk of near-term shutdown.