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Nuclear Reactors

The nuclear industry is more than 50 years old. Its history is replete with a colossal financial disaster and a multitude of near-misses and catastrophic accidents like Three Mile Island and Chornobyl. Beyond Nuclear works to expose the risks and dangers posed by an aging and deteriorating reactor industry and the unproven designs being proposed for new construction.

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Thursday
Jan122017

NRC identifies US reactors with at-risks parts from controversial French forge but balks at site-specific inspections and testing for defects

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has released the names of 17 units at  US nuclear power reactors as previously requested by Greenpeace and Beyond Nuclear that currently rely upon large reactor components (reactor pressure vessels, pressure vessel heads, steam generators and pressurizers) manufactured at the controversial Areva Le Creusot Forge in France.  The Creusot Forge is currently under investigation in France and throughout Europe for allegedly falsifying quality assurance documentation for the large components with potential manufacturing defects that make them susceptible to cracking and rapid tearing under extremely high pressure during operation. The manufacture defects arise out of the introduction of excess carbon during the forging process of the large steel ingots used to cast the nuclear grade industrial parts.

Beyond Nuclear has submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the NRC  and is also preparing a petition to the agency requesting emergency enforcement action to suspend reactor power operations pending inspection and material testing of the at-risk components.  Nuclear regulatory agencies in Europe are similarly requiring  unscheduled reactor shutdowns for inspections and material testing of the Le Creusot components at reactor sites in France, Switzerland, Finland and elsewhere.

Those US reactors most recently identified by NRC with at-risk Le Creusot Forge components include:

Reactor Pressure Vessels:

Prairie Island 1 & 2 (MN)

Replacement Reactor Pressure Vessel Heads:

Arkansas Nuclear One 2 (AR)

Beaver Valley 1 (PA)

North Anna 1 & 2 (VA)

Surry 1 (VA)

Steam Generators:

Beaver Valley 1 (PA)

Comanche Peak 1 (TX)

V.C. Summer (SC)

Farley 1 & 2 (AL)

South Texas 1 & 2 (TX)

Sequoyah 1 (TN)

Watts Bar 1 (TN)

(Areva is providing NRC with additional information on US reactors with Le Creusot steam generator channel heads forged from large ingots in January 2017)

Reactor Steam Pressurizers:

Millstone 2 (CT)

Saint Lucie 1 (FL)

The NRC presently maintains that the agency is “confident” that the identified US reactors do not have any “immediate safety concerns” and can continue full power operations without being subjected to unscheduled shutdowns for inspection and material testing of the at-risk components as is occurring at European reactor sites.

Commissioned by Greenpeace, Large & Associates has published an in-depth analysis of the potential hazard raised by the Le Creusot Forge controversy.

Monday
Jan092017

Entergy to close Indian Point nuclear plant in landmark agreement

See the Riverkeeper/Scenic Hudson/NRDC press release, posted at the Riverkeeper website. A link to the 169-page agreement is included.

Monday
Jan092017

Statement By A.G. Schneiderman On Signed Agreement Between Entergy, Cuomo Administration, Riverkeeper, And NY Attorney General's Office To Decommission Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant

Statement By A.G. Schneiderman:

Shutting down the Indian Point power plant is a major victory for the health and safety of millions of New Yorkers, and will help kick-start the state’s clean energy future.

“For the past six years, my office has led the state’s challenge to Entergy’s request for a twenty-year extension of its license to operate Indian Point, and this agreement marks the successful culmination of our work to address the serious health and safety risks that the plant poses to neighboring communities. 

“This agreement puts in place several important safety provisions that go beyond federal requirements to ensure that Indian Point operates as safely as possible as it transitions to a timely shut down. These measures include new requirements for safer storage of spent nuclear fuel at the plant, increased inspections to address faulty and deteriorating bolts throughout the facility, and $15 million in new funding from Entergy to support the environment in the Hudson River and neighboring communities.

“My office will vigorously monitor Entergy's compliance with today's agreement to ensure its terms are met and that our state remains a national leader on the environment. I commend Governor Cuomo for working with all stakeholders, including my office and the committed environmental advocates at Riverkeeper, to get this important deal done for New Yorkers."

Since taking office in 2011, A.G. Schneiderman has continuously advocated for improving safety conditions at the Indian Point facility, and has led the state’s challenge to Entergy’s application before the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for an extended 20-year license to operate the Indian Point plant. 

In March 2011, the A.G’s office filed a petition with the NRC requesting the Commission take action against Entergy for violating numerous fire safety regulations for which the company was seeking exemptions from compliance. In July 2011, the Commission accepted the A.G.’s petition, and in February 2012, the Commission denied Entergy’s request for exemptions from more than 100 fire safety requirements that overlapped with those listed in the petition.   

Following the earthquake and tsunami that caused a major nuclear accident at Fukushima, Japan in March 2011, the A.G’s office petitioned the NRC to address the risk of seismic events causing a nuclear accident at Indian Point, which is located in an area of seismic activity. In response the Commission began implementing a stepped-up program to manage seismic risk at nuclear power plants.  

Over the past five years, the A.G’s office has successfully enforced laws – over challenges raised by Entergy – requiring federal regulators to take into consideration New York’s policies protecting critical coastal resources as part of the relicensing application process for Indian Point.

Saturday
Jan072017

Additional media coverage of Indian Point's closure in 2020-2021

Lohud.com; Pix11; NY Daily News; NY Post;

CBS NY quotes Gary Shaw of Indian Point Safe Energy Coalition:

“It is insane to be operating a nuclear power plant in the New York metropolitan area,” Gary Shaw told CBS2’s Brian Conybeare.

More than 17 million people live within 50 miles of the plant, which sits along the lower Hudson River 30 miles north of the city.

Shaw has been fighting to shut down the plant for 16 years and welcomed the news of the apparent deal.

“The devil is in the details. Anything that will stop the plant from operating is a good thing,” he said.

WABC-TV NY; NBC 4 NY; Peekskill Daily Voice; Pleasantville Daily Voice.

Saturday
Jan072017

Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant to Close by 2020-2021

As reported by the New York Times.

However: 

...Richard Azzopardi, a spokesman for the governor, cautioned that nothing had been finalized.

“There is no agreement — Governor Cuomo has been working on a possible agreement for 15 years and until it’s done, it’s not done,” he said. “Close only counts for horseshoes, not for nuclear plants.”

(As reported by Westchester Magazine, "We should find out the fate of our next-door neighbor soon; Cuomo is scheduled to deliver the third of six regional State of the State speeches in Westchester on Tuesday.")

And the NY Times article added:

The agreement also provides for flexibility if the state cannot find a replacement for Indian Point’s energy: The deadlines in 2020 and 2021 can be pushed to 2024 and 2025 if both the state and Entergy agree.

The NY Daily News quoted NY State AG Schneiderman:

“If we can shut down Indian Point under an agreement that enhances public safety and kick-starts investment into safer and more reliable renewable energy sources, that will be a major victory for the millions of New Yorkers who live in the region,” he said.

The Daily News also quoted [f]ormer Westchester Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, a longtime proponent of closing the plant, [who] said: "It's about damn time. The plant isn't safe, it isn't economical and it's falling apart."

More media coverage.