APR: your source for nuclear news and analysis since April 16, 2010

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The 136th Carnival of Nuclear Bloggers

I find myself on this December 23rd, making the Atomic Power Review entry hosting the 136th Carnival, thinking about all of the great achievements the pro-nuclear communication world in general has made this last year -- and this includes not just the "loose cannon" nuclear bloggers and podcasters and Twitter stalwarts and Facebook posters, but utilities and PR departments practically industry wide.  While there's very much left to do, and a massive amount of work ahead, we who believe in nuclear energy have made tangible progress in our committed effort to spread fact instead of fear, and knowledge instead of supposition.

This feeling of some small measure of satisfaction at our progress has convinced me that benevolence should be applied to this Carnival's hallmark APR feature.  First... What is this?

Normally, I'd ask for something really specific - and if you can tell me exactly what this is, that's fine.  However, acceptable answers this time will also include either who built it, or for whom it was built.  Or where it was built.  Let's hope someone gets this one!

Now, the Carnival.


The first Carnival entry this week is a sort of discretionary "Captain's choice" - the blog was not submitted for the Carnival, but I'm entering it at my choice.  Why?  Because the blog is absolutely brand new and covers a fascinating topic - Cyber Security.  Let's get behind Manolya and her brand new blog.

Nuclear Cyber Security - Manolya Rowe

Implementing Cyber Security at Nuclear Power Plants

Manolya Rowe discusses the "Why, What, When and How" of designing nuclear security architecture.


Yes Vermont Yankee - Meredith Angwin

Acid and Air, the Environmental Effects of Non-Nuclear Electricity

Yes Vermont Yankee posts a recent statement to the Vermont Public Service Board. Stuart Endsley describes the environmental effects of different types of power plants, from personal experience. Nuclear plants are the best for the environment.

Electricity Prices in the Northeast

Meredith Angwin has written an op-ed for Valley News, concerning the moderating effect nuclear plants are having on energy prices in the Northeast.


Atomic Insights - Rod Adams

Fighting climate change skeptics in the pro nuclear community

In the past couple of days, Rod Adams has been involved in a number of different conversations in which people who believe strongly that nuclear fission technology is beneficial also strongly counsel against the idea that nuclear energy advocates should emphasize that it is a wonderful tool to use in an effort to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. They choose a number of facts and pick at well known issues associated with climate models. They also point to the political and financial interests that stand to gain from carbon trading schemes or massive efforts to shift to “renewable” energy like wind and solar.

Continuing the battle against climate skeptics in the nuclear community

When it comes to picking energy paths, there is as much need to understand human communications and decision process as there is to understand the technology opportunities. Business plays a role, political leaning plays a role, and international policy plays a role.

Rod also has an entry from his excellent ATOMIC SHOW podcast:  Atomic Show #192 – Zero Carbon Options for South Australia

Ben Heard is one of the growing number of environmental professionals who have seriously evaluated all options for reducing mankind’s annual production rate of carbon dioxide and discovered that the best tool available is nuclear fission energy. As a part of his continuing journey of discovery, he worked with Brown and Pang to produce a report titled Zero Carbon Options: Seeking an Economic Mix for an Environmental Outcome”.


ANS Nuclear Cafe (submitted by Paul Bowersox)

What to read about nuclear energy online

Dan Yurman with a list of free online news services essential for keeping current with developments in the nuclear industry and the news in nuclear -- and an excellent must-read nuclear book list. Do you have a favorite news source or best book on nuclear energy? Add suggestions in the comment thread.


Canadian Energy Issues - Steve Aplin

When Black Friday comes: some thoughts on nuclear power and the end of the world

Canada’s nuclear regulator yesterday accepted a proposed
$14 billion decommissioning guarantee from the company that owns
Ontario’s nuclear reactors. No doubt critics of nuclear energy will
point out that the regulator, which is part of Canada’s federal
government, is just a patsy for the industry, thereby riffing on a
widespread pop culture notion of government complicity in all things
evil. Steve Aplin of Canadian Energy Issues points out that civilian
nuclear energy is actually a perfect villain in a lot of the silly
end-of-world scenarios we are hearing today.


Nuke Power Talk - Gail Marcus

Generating Mix and Grid Consequences

At Nuke Power Talk, Gail Marcus reports on a very interesting study on
the consequences for the grid of a mix of different electricity
sources. While we have all discussed some of such consequences, this
article puts the issue in a broader perspective and explains the
importance to the grid of sources such as nuclear power.

Seventy Years of Controlled Fission

As we all know, this month marks the 70th anniversary of the
demonstration of fission at CP-1 in Chicago, the event that launched
the nuclear power industry. Gail Marcus, who has written a book on the
history of some of the milestones of nuclear power, talks about the
importance of this, and other early events, at Nuke Power Talk.


Next Big Future - Brian Wang

India experiences delays; Japan shifting to pro-nuclear policies

India Kudankulam 1 will be delayed into January and Russia indicates costs for Kudankulam 3 and 4 could double if India's new nuclear liability law is applied. Japan is looking to allow new nuclear construction and reconsiders nuclear phaseout.


Atomic Power Review - Will Davis

Although I don't normally submit an APR post for the Carnival when APR hosts the Carnival, we do have an important post this week about a very widely discussed topic.  Some time back, defects were found in the pressure vessel at Doel - 3 in Belgium, and a world-wide flap ensued.  There is new information about this entire affair, along with the announcement of a restart plan for Doel 3 and Tihange 2.  You can see that information at the link:

Electrabel / GDF Suez submit restart plan for Doel 3, Tihange 2.


That does it for this week's Carnival.  All that's left is to tell you what you saw in the "What is this?" photo.

The illustration comes from a six-page ALCO Products insert found in a 1959 Nucleonics magazine, and depicts the configuration of the APPR-1a nuclear power plant, built at Fort Greeley, Alaska.  This plant, later and perhaps better known as the PM-1a, was what we would today call an SMR or Small Modular Reactor plant. 

Below, from the same page of the insert, is an overall view (with legend) of the installation.  As with all photos on APR, click to enlarge.

At the time this advertisement appeared, ALCO was still working with Peter Kiewit Sons, who was the prime contractor and A/E for the plant, to complete construction which was expected to be finished the following year.  The plant included a pressurized water reactor rated 20 MWt, and the plant had a dual output of 1.68 MWe and 10 MWt space heat for the installation.

It's of interest that these early plants weren't just truck transportable -- some were AIR transportable.  From the caption to our original photo:  "First truly packaged plant was purchased from ALCO by the U.S. Army.  Reactor and component design and manufacture represent significant achievements in reaching Army's goal of air transportability to faraway sites."

Above:  "Under construction in Alaska is descendant of APPR-1.  ALCO is building primary system under subcontract.  ALCO components in the plant have been greatly improved as a result of prior plant experience."

So if you guessed any of the following, you win:  APPR-1a, a nuclear plant for the U.S. Army, an ALCO nuclear plant, or the nuclear plant at Fort Greeley, Alaska.

You can see details of another remote nuclear powered installation, Camp Century in Greenland, which was also powered by an ALCO built reactor at the APR YouTube Channel - click here to watch this video, which runs half an hour and covers more of the siting and construction aspects of the site than powerplant aspects but is worth watching nevertheless to see just what environments the Army and the AEC were facing with deployment of early plants we'd now call SMR's.

I hope you've enjoyed the 136th Carnival - and look for another installation next week!

6:15 PM Eastern 12/13/2012

Friday, December 21, 2012

Electrabel / GDF Suez submit restart plan for Doel 3, Tihange 2

Some time back, there was a great deal of attention paid to the finding of flaws in the reactor vessel at Belgium's Doel Unit 3.  Click here to see my ANS Nuclear Cafe article on the subject from August 2012.  Now, Electrabel (the plant's owner-operator) has released a report and a plan for restart has been sent to the Belgian regulator, FANC, who itself plans to release its final report in the middle of January, 2013.  Electrabel's findings are not unexpected; official press release from December 6 is below.
Electrabel, Group GDF SUEZ, submit conclusions for restart of Doel 3 and Tihange 2

Over the last few months Electrabel has carried out an in-depth investigation in response to the indications found in the reactor vessels of Doel 3 and Tihange 2. On Wednesday, Electrabel submitted its conclusions and action plan for restarting both units, to the Federal Agency for Nuclear Control (FANC). Electrabel already submitted the technical dossier on Friday 30 November.

The voluminous technical dossier was executed by a multidisciplinary team, assisted by national and international experts and academics. Based on an examination of construction records, ultra-sound inspections, several tests of the materials employed, and calculations on fracture mechanics, the report reached the following conclusions:
  • The construction of the power plants was in accordance with international norms and standards;
  • The initial hypothesis of hydrogen flaking that are stable and that were formed during the forging process, was confirmed;
  • Tests on more than 400 samples, performed by different laboratories, show that the metal of the reactor vessels is sound, with properties that meet the required standards.
The technical report and the engineering and calculations demonstrate that the vessels’ structural integrity meets, within significant margins, all safety criteria for each of the detected indications. The investigations and calculations carried out were subjected to a stringent control procedure that was validated by outside experts.

In conclusion, the results confirm the structural integrity of the reactors in question, justifying the immediate restart and safe operation of Doel 3 and Tihange 2.

Electrabel also submitted an action plan that sets out certain additional safety measures it is taking to prepare for restarting the reactors, plus some additional short and medium term measures.

It is now up to the FANC to provide its advice to the Belgian government. Electrabel is available to the FANC and its experts to answer any questions they may have on contents of the report.


Updates 1:00 PM 12/21 -

-FANC acknowledges receipt of the dossiers from Electrabel / GDF Suez, and a press release by FANC promises completion of review and release of findings in mid January 2013.  At that time, according to FANC, the decision to dismantle or to restart the two reactors will be made.

-To see an interesting October 2012 FANC backgrounder on this issue in English, click here.

12:10 PM Eastern 12/21/2012

Mitsubishi S/G tube testing has no bearing on San Onofre Unit 2 restart plans

Below is a press release from Southern California Edison, concerning the recent finding by the NRC that steam generator tube testing being conducted by Mitsubishi did not closely match the design of tubes actually used in the steam generators at San Onofre.  While that assertion by NRC is left to Mitsubishi to refute, it's important to understand that this testing has no bearing on the 70% power planned test period for San Onofre Unit 2.  The press release below explains this situation.
San Onofre Restart Plan Not Impacted by Recent Review of Manufacturer’s Testing by Nuclear Regulatory Commission
ROSEMEAD, Calif. (Dec. 18, 2012) — The Mitsubishi Heavy Industry testing under review by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) was not consulted or relied upon in developing Southern California Edison's (SCE) proposed restart plan for Unit 2 – a plan which includes preventive tube-plugging and operating the unit at 70 percent power for a five-month period.
SCE’s international team of experts conducted more than 170,000 inspections to understand the tube wear problem, and confirmed the effectiveness of the corrective actions we have identified to solve the tube wear problem. This work included three independent operational assessments of tube wear issues conducted by Areva Inc, North America, Westinghouse Electric Company LLC and Intertek/Aptech, none of whom based their review and recommendations on Mitsubishi’s testing. This was confirmed Tuesday by an NRC administrator at an NRC public meeting in Rockville, Md.
SCE submitted technical information to the NRC on Oct. 3 in support of a proposed restart of Unit 2, which is safely offline. The unit will not be restarted until all plans have been approved by the NRC.
The Unit 3 restart was not included in that regulatory filing and remains shut down.
Unit 2 was taken out of service Jan. 9 for a planned outage. Unit 3 was safely taken offline Jan. 31 after station operators detected a leak in a steam generator tube.
More information is available at
www.edison.com/songsupdate and at www.SONGScommunity.com. San Onofreis jointly owned by SCE (78.21 percent), San Diego Gas & Electric (20 percent) and the city of Riverside (1.79 percent).
About Southern California Edison
An Edison International (NYSE:EIX) company, Southern California Edison is one of the nation’s largest electric utilities, serving a population of nearly 14 million via 4.9 million customer accounts in a 50,000-square-mile service area within Central, Coastal and Southern California.


8:20 AM Eastern 12/21/2012

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Nuclear Export Controls Summit - Press Release

Infocast press release below.


Infocast Presents Nuclear Export Controls 2013, Regulators and Experienced Compliance Managers to Gather in D.C.


The Three-day Event Focuses on Staying Compliant – and Competitive – in an Increasingly International Nuclear Industry


Woodland Hills, CA – January 14, 2013 – Infocast, the industry-leading conference and event producer, is organizing the Nuclear Export Controls Summit on January 14 - 16, 2013 at the Renaissance Dupont Circle Hotel in Washington, D.C., where regulators and experienced nuclear export control compliance managers will gather to take part in the three-day, information-packed event.

Even as a surge in international nuclear construction increases the importance of accessing export markets to US-based equipment providers, service suppliers and consultants in the nuclear supply chain, increased scrutiny is being placed on nuclear exports.  In particular, the provisions of 10 CFR Part 810, which governs the US Department of Energy’s portion of the nuclear export control regime, are undergoing a major revision for the first time in some 25 years.

These far-reaching revisions are expected to make explicit for the first time controls of “deemed exports” potentially caused by the exposure of controlled technologies, techniques or knowledge to foreign national employees, contractors and visitors, and tighten controls on dual-use technologies, fuel enrichment and processing technologies.  Combined with the traditional difficulties in determining whether a particular technology or service is subject to Department of Energy, Department of Commerce/BIS or NRC jurisdiction, only those equipment manufacturers, service suppliers, fuel suppliers, and nuclear operating utilities with the most up-to-date information will be able to stay compliant—and competitive—in an increasing international nuclear industry.

Representatives from the Bureau of Industry and Security, Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the National Nuclear Security Administration will be present, along with industry experts from Enrichment Technologies, Inc., Exelon Corporation, GE Hitachi and Louisiana Energy Services, LLC among many others. The Summit aims to bring together respected thought leaders to share their knowledge on how to implement an effective compliance control system without overly restraining legitimate trade. 

The event also will feature a primer on Monday, January 14, Nuclear Export Control Regulation and Compliance, which will focus on providing participants with a basic understanding of nuclear export control regulations and the know-how to implement a compliance program.

For more information or to register, please visit the event website at www.infocastinc.com/nuke-export13 or contact Infocast at 818-888-4444.

About Infocast

For over 25 years, Infocast has produced the highest quality events, tailored to the needs of the industries we serve. It conducts intensive research on the marketplace, pulling from an extensive network of experts to give you the information and connections to succeed.

Friday, December 7, 2012

12/7 Japan Earthquake - No Nuclear Plant Damage Reported

At 5:18 PM Tokyo time on December 7, a magnitude 7.3 (Richter) / 4 (Japanese intensity scale) earthquake occurred in roughly the same region as the Great Tohoku quake.  All tsunami warnings were lifted a short time ago as this report is written (7:40 PM Tokyo time, 5:40 AM Eastern time US) and only a one meter tsunami was observed in some locations. 

Tokyo Electric Power Company has released the following statement about the quake, relative to the Fukushima Daiichi and Fukushima Daini nuclear power plants:


TEPCO, 12/7/2012


At around 5:18 PM on Friday, December 7, an earthquake (seismic intensity of 4) occurred in Hamadori region in Fukushima Prefecture. The conditions of the nuclear power stations are as follows.

Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station
There has been no problem found with the monitoring post data, Units 1-6 main plant parameters, reactor water injection system, accumulated water transfer, water treatment facility and other facilities. Currently, no injury has been reported due to the earthquake. The maximum acceleration observed in the power station was 26.2 Gal (horizontal direction) at the foundation ground in Unit 6 Reactor Building.

Fukushima Daini Nuclear Power Station
The maximum acceleration observed in the power station was 26.0 Gal(vertical direction) at the foundation ground in Unit 1 Reactor Building.
The fluctuation of the monitoring post readings is being maintained within the range of normal fluctuation before and after the earthquake and currently no radiation impact to the outside of the power station has been reported due to the earthquake. No injury has been reported due to the earthquake.

We will continue investigating the conditions of the equipments/facilities in the power stations.


Tohoku Electric Power is investigating all conditions at Onagawa Nuclear Station but as of now reports no damage.

5:45 AM Eastern 12/7/2012

Monday, December 3, 2012

Argentina's Atucha Unit 2 to be on line mid-2013

Below is the Google translation, with some alterations by your occasionally Spanish-speaking author, of a release new today from Nucleoelectrica Argentina S.A. concering the long-delayed completion of its Atucha-2 pressurized heavy water reactor.  The adjacent Unit 1 has been in operation for some time; Unit 2's completion has been complicated by the German withdrawal from nuclear energy (both plants were designed by Siemens.)


The tasks for the commissioning of Atucha II advance

By Jose Luis Antunez Pte electrical Nucleo Atucha II Project DirectorThe original contract was signed for Atucha II in May 1980 and contemplated that the plant was to be in operation in 1987. Between 1994 and 2006 the project was paralyzed until the relaunch of the Argentine Nuclear Plan promoted by the national government, through the Ministry of Federal Planning and Public Investment Services, which recognized the strategic value of this type of energy production for the country's growth.The construction of the plant, which initially had been in charge of Siemens, was solved with the resources end of science and technology in Argentina. The withdrawal of the German nuclear industry, the technical complexity of reviving this major project, and regulatory developments at national and international levels to optimize the reliability and efficiency of the plant, created a new scenario.Thanks to the high technical capabilities developed by national professional and is known to respond successfully to the challenges of this context.In this sense, being made in accordance with the provisions of all the work necessary for the commissioning of the plant.Among recent milestones, you can highlight the burden of demineralized (light) water for pressure testing of the systems of the primary coolant system of the reactor and moderator that began in October. This work is to pressurize the pipes and through the main circulating pumps 500,000 liters of water to test for leaks. This is the most important line of pipes of the plant and which is responsible for transporting heat generated in the reactor to the turbine.Moreover, in December we intend to load fuel into the reactor. The task involves loading into the reactor's fuel elements 451 constituting the first core of the PBX. These fuel elements have been produced entirely within the country and contain 85 tons of uranium.Between February and April 2013 the plant will be tested at normal operating temperature and pressure. Finally, the light water will be removed, the system shall be dried, and loaded with 600 tons of heavy water produced at the plant Arroyito, Neuquén Province.These tests may commence in June 2013 to the first criticality of the plant, and then synchronize with the network. Thus, in the middle of next year, Atucha II is providing power to the national grid.


Click here to see the official Nucleoelectrica Argentina S.A. photo gallery for Atucha II.

9:20 AM Eastern 12/3/2012

Friday, November 30, 2012

EDG investigation at San Onofre - SCE reported to NRC

Below is a press release from Southern California Edison, courtesy Jennifer Manfre, Senior Manager, Media Relations for SCE.  This release concerns an ongoing investigation into discrepancies found with one of the EDG or Emergency Diesel Generator units at San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, Unit 3. 


Southern California Edison Reports Backup Diesel Generator Issue to Nuclear Regulatory Commission

ROSEMEAD, Calif. (Nov. 29, 2012) — During routine monitoring in late October, San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) personnel detected engine coolant in an oil system on a backup emergency diesel generator in Unit 3.

SONGS personnel notified the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) site inspector on Oct. 30 in compliance with all regulatory reporting requirements. Since Unit 3 is safely offline, defueled and not scheduled to restart in the near term, the presence of the coolant posed no safety risk. The diesel generator was out of service for routine maintenance activities when the discovery was made.

On Nov. 27, Southern California Edison (SCE), the primary owner of SONGS, notified the NRC that an internal investigation found evidence of potential tampering as the cause of this abnormal condition. The evidence did not confirm that actual tampering occurred. The investigation of this potential security issue continues.

The comprehensive investigation has included rigorous tests, a review of station logs and employee interviews to determine the cause of the presence of the residual engine coolant. Based on the unexpected discovery of the coolant in the diesel oil system and the ongoing investigation, security at the plant has been enhanced.

“SCE is committed to the safety of the public and its employees and takes this matter very seriously,” said Pete Dietrich, senior vice president and chief nuclear officer of SONGS.

SCE submitted technical information to the NRC on Oct. 4 in support of a proposed restart of Unit 2, which is also safely offline. The unit will not be restarted until all plans have been approved by the NRC. The Unit 3 restart was not included in that regulatory filing and remains shut down.
Unit 2 remains shut down since it was taken out of service Jan. 9 for a planned outage. Unit 3 was safely taken offline Jan. 31 after station operators detected a leak in a steam generator tube.
More information is available at www.edison.com/songsupdate and at www.SONGScommunity.com. San Onofre is jointly owned by SCE (78.21 percent), San Diego Gas & Electric (20 percent) and the city of Riverside (1.79 percent).

About Southern California Edison

An Edison International (NYSE:EIX) company, Southern California Edison is one of the nation’s largest electric utilities, serving a population of nearly 14 million via 4.9 million customer accounts in a 50,000-square-mile service area within Central, Coastal and Southern California.


4:15 PM Eastern 11/30/2012

Thursday, November 29, 2012

San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station Virtual Tour

Press release from Southern California Edison, courtesy Jennifer Manfre, Senior Manager, Media Relations for SCE.


ROSEMEAD, Calif., Nov. 27, 2012 — Online visitors to SONGScommunity.com can now take a virtual tour of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, allowing them to explore inside the 2,200 megawatt nuclear power plant located near San Clemente, Calif.

Safety is the main focus during the online experience and key features including containment domes, the seawall and emergency diesel generators are explained through video and audio. The tour is available in English and Spanish.

“A nuclear plant doesn’t have many tours open to the public for safety and security reasons,” said Pete Dietrich, senior vice president and chief nuclear officer. “But with this virtual tour, our community members, our customers and anyone around the world can come inside the plant and understand what the facility does and how it works.”

The virtual tour is part of ongoing efforts to inform and educate the public on the plant overall and specifically on the technical repair, corrective actions and proposal to safely restart and operate Unit 2. Engineers and community liaisons are also conducting open houses in several communities in the region and are available to speak to groups upon request.

San Onofre is the largest source of baseload generation and voltage support in the region and is a critical asset in meeting California’s clean energy needs.

Both units of the plant are currently safely shut down. Unit 2 was taken out of service Jan. 9 for a planned outage. Unit 3 was safely taken offline Jan. 31 after station operators detected a leak in a steam generator tube. Southern California Edison (SCE) submitted its response to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) Confirmatory Action Letter on Oct. 4, along with its restart plan for Unit 2. The unit will not be restarted until all plans have been approved by the NRC.

For updates, please visit www.SONGScommunity.com, or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/SCE_SONGS and on www.facebook.com/SCE.

The San Onofre plant is jointly owned by SCE (78.21 percent), San Diego Gas & Electric (20 percent) and the city of Riverside (1.79 percent).

About Southern California Edison
An Edison International (NYSE:EIX) company, Southern California Edison is one of the nation’s largest electric utilities, serving a population of nearly 14 million via 4.9 million customer accounts in a 50,000-square-mile service area within Central, Coastal and Southern California.


6:20 PM Eastern 11/29/2012

Friday, November 23, 2012

More on DOE SMR funding; Westinghouse press release

As expected, there have been a number of further press releases made after the announcement that the DOE had selected the Generation mPower SMR for its first round of funding and cooperation.  Most of these have been from parties who were not selected; below is a Westinghouse press release, commenting on the plans to build SMR plants at Ameren Missouri's Callaway site (which already has a very late design Westinghouse PWR plant, and plenty of space on site for further construction since Callaway Unit 2 was never built.)



Westinghouse Very Much Interested in New U.S. DOE Funding Opportunity to Develop and License its Passively Safe SMR Design

PITTSBURGH, Nov. 20, 2012 – Westinghouse Electric Company today confirmed its interest in applying for a new funding opportunity to be issued by the United States Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Nuclear Energy in order to develop and license SMR technology. Upon successfully collaborating with the DOE in what would be a second phase of its investment program, the Westinghouse SMR would receive investment funds to accelerate the development and licensing of the passively safe design, which has the potential to provide an economic, secure source of emissions-free electricity generation to the world’s rapidly changing and diverse markets.

“The Westinghouse SMR has tremendous potential to advance clean nuclear energy technology and sustain U.S. nuclear industry leadership and competitiveness, and we have a partner in Ameren Missouri that is committed to collaborating with Westinghouse in this groundbreaking industry innovation," said Danny Roderick, Westinghouse president and chief executive officer. "We look forward to cooperatively working with the DOE to ultimately secure and match investment funds.”

“Working with Ameren Missouri, Burns & McDonnell, General Dynamics Electric Boat and the NexStart SMR Alliance, we will advance nuclear energy technology and economic development within the United States,” said Dr. Kate Jackson, chief technology officer and senior vice president, Westinghouse Research and Technology.

“Being the first-to-market with an American-manufactured SMR, Westinghouse, an American company headquartered in Pennsylvania for more than a century, will continue its global leadership of nuclear reactor technology and development. Using DOE NP2010 cost-share funds, Westinghouse delivered successfully the AP1000® reactor. Today, thousands are employed constructing four AP1000 units in the Southeastern United Sates that will ultimately produce safe, clean and reliable electricity for many generations to come. We are more than ready, willing and able to succeed again with a new DOE investment opportunity for SMR technology.”

After successfully negotiating a cooperative agreement with the DOE and securing the investment funds, the Westinghouse SMR team, including the NexStart SMR Alliance, a consortium of current and prospective nuclear plant owners and operators; cooperative, municipal and investor-owned electric service providers; and, other public and private enterprises, would work collaboratively to execute a proposed project having an objective of receiving from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) design certification of the Westinghouse SMR and then a combined construction and operating license for a Westinghouse SMR at Ameren Missouri's Callaway Energy Center. Additionally, the group will work to bring other economic development opportunities to the State of Missouri and elsewhere within the United States.

Warner Baxter, president and CEO of Ameren Missouri, said that a next phase of the DOE’s investment funding process is significant from both economic and environmental perspectives. “The advent of small modular reactors will further ensure that the United States continues to become increasingly energy independent, while also creating a transformational economic development opportunity for the state of Missouri and our country, potentially creating thousands of sustainable, clean energy jobs across a broad spectrum. Ameren Missouri, our alliance and the entire state of Missouri stand ready to capitalize on this important project that will also help create a cleaner energy portfolio for our state and our country.”

Recently, nearly 300 potential suppliers attended a Westinghouse and Ameren Missouri-sponsored supplier summit in St. Louis. Industry sectors representing trades and union labor included constructors, machining, advanced manufacturing, control systems, design and engineering, heavy equipment, coatings, piping, tank and storage, large forgings, site prep, and balance of plant services.

The Westinghouse SMR is a 225 MWe integral pressurized water reactor (PWR) with all primary components located inside of the reactor vessel. It is the company's next product innovation utilizing passive safety systems and proven components, as well as modular construction techniques – all realized and already licensed in the nuclear industry-leading AP1000® nuclear power plant design, the first Generation III+ reactor to receive Design

Certification from the U.S. NRC and currently being built in China and the U.S. Westinghouse believes that by building upon the concepts and advances in – technology achieved in the Westinghouse AP1000 reactor, the Westinghouse SMR design will provide licensing, construction and operational certainty that no other SMR supplier can match with competitive economics.

Westinghouse Electric Company, a group company of Toshiba Corporation (TKY:6502), is the world's pioneering nuclear energy company and is a leading supplier of nuclear plant products and technologies to utilities throughout the world. Westinghouse supplied the world's first pressurized water reactor in 1957 in Shippingport, Pa. Today, Westinghouse technology is the basis for approximately one-half of the world's operating nuclear plants.


10:00 AM Eastern 11/23/2012

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

DOE awards SMR funds to B&W / TVA / Bechtel

Below is the text of a DOE press release from around 45 minutes ago as I post it:


Energy Department Announces New Investment in U.S. Small Modular Reactor Design and Commercialization

WASHINGTON – As part of the Obama Administration’s all-of-the-above strategy to deploy every available source of American energy, the Energy Department today announced an award to support a new project to design, license and help commercialize small modular reactors (SMR) in the United States. This award follows a funding opportunity announcement in March 2012. The project supported by the award will be led by Babcock & Wilcox (B&W) in partnership with the Tennessee Valley Authority and Bechtel. In addition, the Department announced plans to issue a follow-on solicitation open to other companies and manufacturers, focused on furthering small modular reactor efficiency, operations and design.

“The Obama Administration continues to believe that low-carbon nuclear energy has an important role to play in America’s energy future,” said Secretary Chu. “Restarting the nation’s nuclear industry and advancing small modular reactor technologies will help create new jobs and export opportunities for American workers and businesses, and ensure we continue to take an all-of-the-above approach to American energy production.”

This project represents a significant investment in first-of-a-kind engineering, design certification and licensing for small modular reactors in the United States. Through a five-year cost-share agreement, the Energy Department will invest up to half of the total project cost, with the project’s industry partners matching this investment by at least one-to-one. The specific total will be negotiated between the Energy Department and Babcock & Wilcox (B&W).

The Energy Department investment will help B&W obtain Nuclear Regulatory Commission licensing and achieve commercial operations by 2022 – helping to provide U.S. utilities with low carbon energy options as well as create important export opportunities for the United States and advance our nation’s competitive edge in this emerging global industry. The project will be based in Tennessee and will support additional suppliers and operations in Indiana, Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

Small modular reactors - which are approximately one-third the size of current nuclear power plants - have compact, scalable designs that are expected to offer a host of safety, construction and economic benefits. Small modular reactors can also be made in factories and transported to sites where they would be ready to “plug and play” upon arrival, reducing both capital costs and construction times. The smaller size also makes these reactors ideal for small electric grids and for locations that cannot support large reactors, offering utilities the flexibility to scale production as demand changes.

As this nascent industry continues to grow, the Energy Department is committed to supporting research and development that will advance efficient, safe and cost-effective small modular reactor technologies. The Department plans to issue a new funding opportunity announcement to address this goal and support continued design development and certification of innovative SMR technologies.

Find more information on the important steps the Department is taking to jumpstart America’s nuclear industry at www.energy.gov/nuclear.


Click here to see an EXCLUSIVE APR feature on the Generation mPower SMR design, with details and illustrations.

I covered SMR plants during some sessions for the American Nuclear Society at its 2012 Winter Meeting.  Click here for a brief article.


4 PM Update -- Press Release from Babcock & Wilcox below.

B&W Selected As Winner Of DOE’s Small Modular Reactor Program
(CHARLOTTE, N.C. – November 20, 2012) – The Babcock & Wilcox Company (B&W) (NYSE:BWC) announced today that it has been selected as the winner of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) competitively bid Small Modular Reactor (SMR) Licensing Technical Support Program. B&W will receive funding that will support accelerated development of its B&W mPowerTM SMR technology.
In March 2012, the DOE issued a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) to provide support to the American nuclear industry for SMR technology development and design certification. The funding program, expected to be administered over the next five years, is the cornerstone of a public-private partnership created to share the challenges of developing and deploying SMRs across the U.S. before 2022. SMRs offer the promise of expanding high-technology U.S. manufacturing jobs and exports, as well as maintaining America’s leadership role in global nuclear policy and security issues. As a result of this FOA announcement, B&W mPower has been selected by the DOE as the SMR technology provider for early deployment, and thereby delivering these program goals and benefits for the nation.
B&W formed the mPower America project team with the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) and Bechtel to pursue an award under this program. The mPower America team and its members currently have nearly 400 employees working on the development and licensing of the B&W mPower SMR. The project will help to revitalize the U.S. commercial nuclear manufacturing infrastructure. B&W subsidiaries have executed 150 agreements with suppliers in 36 states to support the B&W mPower program. Once in the deployment stage, the mPower America project will create a significant number of new jobs at B&W manufacturing facilities and supplier facilities.
In a news release issued earlier today, DOE Secretary Steven Chu stated, “The Obama Administration continues to believe that low-carbon nuclear energy has an important role to play in America’s energy future.”
“Restarting the nation’s nuclear industry and advancing small modular reactor technologies will help create new jobs and export opportunities for American workers and businesses, and ensure we continue to take an all-of-the-above approach to American energy production,” Chu said.
“With this public-private partnership, the DOE is providing important national leadership for America in the global pursuit of SMR technology,” said E. James Ferland, President and Chief Executive Officer of B&W. “This partnership is essential to reestablishing our nation’s international competitiveness in the nuclear energy industry, as well as enhancing U.S. manufacturing infrastructure and energy independence. We are honored to have been selected by the DOE for this program and are appreciative of the support we have received from the U.S. Congress and the state governments of Indiana, Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Virginia.”
“We are grateful for the DOE’s endorsement of B&W mPower. Our company, our partners, and our industry are working hard to turn the vision of a more practical, flexible and affordable clean energy solution into reality. With the DOE’s support, we can deliver this important innovation to the energy industry and our nation more quickly and with less risk,” said Christofer M. Mowry, President of B&W mPower, Inc. “We are committed to maximizing the return on our government’s investment for our country and the public. The DOE’s selection validates B&W mPower as the leading SMR technology and is expected to accelerate market adoption both domestically and internationally, creating more high technology jobs and exports for our country.”
TVA is preparing an application to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to license up to four B&W mPower SMRs at its Clinch River Site in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
“TVA is pleased that the mPower America Team has been selected by the DOE to receive cost-share funding for the design and licensing of a small modular reactor,” said TVA Senior Vice President of Policy and Oversight, Joe Hoagland. “It supports TVA's mission of being a national leader in technological innovation and may provide a new source of clean, base-load generation capacity in the future.”
The B&W mPower SMR is designed to provide 180 megawatts of carbon-free electricity. It is based on advanced integral pressurized water reactor technology which incorporates robust, passive safety protection systems within a fully underground containment structure. The B&W mPower design philosophy maximizes the use of proven, mature systems and components within an innovative plant architecture to reduce licensing and construction risks. The unique, security-informed, underground reactor building significantly improves plant security, and largely mitigates potential environmental impact and the effects of external events.
About B&W
Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., The Babcock & Wilcox Company is a leader in clean energy technology and services, primarily for the nuclear, fossil and renewable power markets, as well as a premier advanced technology and mission critical defense contractor. B&W has locations worldwide and employs approximately 12,700 people, in addition to approximately 10,400 joint venture employees. Learn more at www.babcock.com.
About TVA
The Tennessee Valley Authority, a corporation owned by the U.S. government and provides electricity for business customers and distribution utilities that serve 9 million people in parts of seven southeastern states at prices below the national average. TVA, which receives no taxpayer money and makes no profits, also provides flood control, navigation and land management for the Tennessee River system and assists utilities and state and local governments with economic development.
About Bechtel
Bechtel is among the most respected engineering, project management, and construction companies in the world. It stands apart for its ability to get the job done right—no matter how big, how complex or how remote. Bechtel operates through five global business units that specialize in civil infrastructure; power generation, communications, and transmission; mining and metals; oil, gas and chemicals; and government services. Since its founding in 1898, Bechtel has worked on more than 22,000 projects in 140 countries on all seven continents. Today, its 53,000 employees team with customers, partners and suppliers on diverse projects in nearly 50 countries. www.bechtel.com.
Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward Looking Statements
B&W cautions that this release contains forward-looking statements regarding our ability to obtain funding that will support accelerated development of B&W mPower; the expected timing of the administration of the DOE funding program; mPower America’s ability to revitalize the U.S. commercial nuclear manufacturing infrastructure and create a significant number of new jobs; our optimism regarding our ability to deliver B&W mPower with the DOE’s support; our commitment to maximizing the return on the DOE funding; our expectation that the DOE’s selection will accelerate the market adoption of B&W mPower and the creation of U.S. jobs and exports; and other statements about B&W mPower, to the extent such statements relate to management’s expectations and plans regarding the design, specifications and implementation of the B&W mPower reactor. These forward-looking statements involve a number of risks and uncertainties, including, among other things, adverse changes in U.S. Government appropriations; our inability to finalize terms and conditions on SMR funding with the DOE; our inability to finance B&W mPower research and development efforts; and adverse changes in the demand for or competitiveness of nuclear power. If one or more of these or other risks materialize, actual results may vary materially from those expressed. For a more complete discussion of these and other risk factors, please see B&W's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including its annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2011 and subsequent quarterly reports on Form 10-Q. B&W cautions not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this release, and undertakes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statement, except to the extent required by applicable law.

3:36 PM Eastern 11/20/2012

Site update; new links / references for readers

I've added a very large number of links in the right sidebar, for the convenience of APR readers who wish to be able to get right to plant-specific information.  I'll briefly summarize the links.

I've added links to the major nuclear plant designs being offered today for commercial service; this includes direct links to the Westinghouse AP1000 site, GE-Hitachi's various designs, AREVA's various designs, and so forth.

Notable in the addition of these links is the addition of links to all presently offered plants from South Korea - the standardized OPR1000 and the advanced APR1400 being built both in South Korea and in the United Arab Emirates.

I've also added links to official web pages covering the reactor plants used in Russian-offered VVER-1000 and VVER-1200 pressurized water reactor plants.

Of special note, and requiring some description, is the link titled "MIR-1200 Russian Co-Op Projects."  This general design plan covers plants built cooperatively, and includes the completion of unfinished plants.  This not only applies to the Temelin Units 3 and 4 but is offered for other sites in various parts of the world. 

The links under "China" are first for the co-operative (technology transfer) AP1000 projects ongoing inside China with Westinghouse, and then are for the planned indigenously designed and built CAP1400 nuclear station to follow - for new build in China and for export.  Unfortunately, the CAP1400 page is not very detailed; I have better technical information in a brochure obtained directly from CNNC representatives at the ANS National Meeting / Nuclear Technology Expo from this past summer, which I may get on the site at some point.

There are also links to the various SMR projects newly added; finally, some direct links to various blogs and sites are also new.

I will be adding more links of interest as I get the time.

3:20 PM Eastern 11/20/2012

Saturday, November 17, 2012

ANS Winter Meeting ends on high note

Readers of Atomic Power Review likely saw the posts on ANS Nuclear Cafe covering various meeting events, as well as live Twitter commentary on various sessions by the ANS Twitter feed, my own, Steve Skutnik's, and others.  Now that I'm back, regular articles and posts will again appear here at APR.

The last session I attended at the ANS 2012 Winter Meeting was a series of fascinating lectures on various papers covering the FSR molten salt cooled, discrete fuel element reactor concept.  Due to complications, all of the papers (which were co-authored by many graduate students at MIT) were delivered by Charles Forsberg and Edward Blandford.  The concept is not near the hardware stage yet, but a great deal of theoretical work has been done and is underway in a number of quarters.  I found that ending the long week on a forward looking and in ways futuristic manner was quite satisfying - especially since much of my week was devoted to Fukushima Daiichi. 

I'll begin posting again here at APR this week, so keep an eye here and on ANS Nuclear Cafe as well for the Winter Meeting wrap-up.

10:00 AM Eastern 11/17/2012

Friday, November 9, 2012

ANS Winter Meeting!

It's almost time for me to fly off to San Diego, California for the ANS Winter Meeting and Nuclear Technology Expo.  Click here for details about this great event!

I will be working for ANS reporting on various events and topics at the meeting, which will include but isn't limited to reporting on technical presentations for the ANS Nuclear Cafe blog (for which I already write, as many of you know) and doing live tweets of other sessions under the ANS banner, which you can find on Twitter as @ans_org.  I will also do tweets under my own 'handle' which is @atomicnews. (The official hashtag for the meeting is #ANS12 or #ans12.)  There will also be blog posts about what's going on behind the scenes and / or things that 'just come up' if they're newsworthy.

For those who aren't aware, I work under contract to the ANS .. and I'm also, of course, a member!

I will be leading the Social Media meeting on Wednesday, which will be held in the ANS Media Center at 12 Noon.  The time available for this is one hour.  If you are wondering whether or not your, or your company, can benefit from the use of the various social media to communicate about nuclear you need to attend this meeting or send someone to it.  Further, if you or your company already does use social media effectively .. or ineffectively .. attend the meeting or send someone and let us know.  Either we can help you.. or you might just bring up something everyone there can take away and apply in their own work.  Here is the ANS Nuclear Cafe post on this meeting.

I'll also be at the ANS Public Information Committee meeting on Sunday as a participant; I have a couple of short presentations to give and Dan Yurman, who cannot attend, has authorized me to sit on the Committee by Proxy.  THANK YOU, Dan! 

So, keep an eye on Atomic Power Review and on the ANS Nuclear Cafe.  There will be multiple posts on the ANS blog from a number of authors, and I will probably be posting a few interesting things here that aren't under my ANS contracted duties.  Looks like I'll be quite busy in sunny, warm San Diego.  It's a rough job.

7:00 AM Eastern 11/9/2012

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

NEI: "Nuclear Energy Facilities Prove Resilience" (Press Release)

Press release from the Nuclear Energy Institute:


Nuclear Energy Institute FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

  • Contact:202.739.8000
  • For Release:October 30, 2012
Nuclear Energy Facilities Prove Resilience During Hurricane Sandy
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Thirty-four nuclear energy facilities in the path of Hurricane Sandy have responded well and safely to this powerful storm, demonstrating their resilience against severe natural forces.
Careful planning and comprehensive preparations days in advance of the storm paid off at all of the facilities, which were prepared to take the steps necessary to maintain safety against high winds, record flooding and disturbances on the regional electric grid. Highly trained reactor operators and emergency response personnel stationed at the plants throughout the storm were able to take actions beyond their usual duties to protect the power plants and communities that surround them. As Hurricane Sandy moves beyond the mid-Atlantic and Northeastern states after knocking out electricity to seven million customers in 13 states, nuclear facility operators are conducting thorough inspections to ensure that all systems and equipment are ready to maintain the facilities in a safe condition.
Of the 34 nuclear facilities from South Carolina to Vermont in Hurricane Sandy’s path, 24 continued to operate safely and generate electricity throughout the event. Seven were already shut down for refueling or inspection, and three in New Jersey or New York safely shut down, as designed, because of storm conditions or grid disturbances. Inspectors from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission have been stationed at each nuclear energy facility to oversee preparation for and recovery from the storm.
“Hurricane Sandy once again demonstrates the robust construction of nuclear energy facilities, which are built to withstand extreme flooding and hurricane-force winds that are beyond that historically reported for each area,” said Marvin S. Fertel, president and chief executive officer at the Nuclear Energy Institute. “Beyond the physical strength of these nuclear power plants, the professional crews that operate and maintain them take exacting precautions as significant storms approach. They also coordinate with local, state and federal emergency response officials. 
“Our facilities’ ability to weather the strongest Atlantic tropical storm on record is due to rigorous precautions taken in advance of the storm. In the days prior to Sandy storming the Atlantic coast, nuclear plant operators took a series of actions outlined in their emergency preparedness plans,” Fertel said. “These include securing or moving any equipment that could possibly become airborne due to high winds and verifying that weather-tight doors and water intakes are prepared. Each plant site also has numerous emergency backup diesel generators that are tested and ready to provide electricity for critical operations if electric power from the grid is lost.”
As a precaution, a reactor will be shut down at least two hours before the onset of hurricane-force winds at the site, typically between 70 and 75 miles per hour. If there is a loss of off-site power during or following a hurricane, reactors automatically shut down as a precaution and the emergency backup diesel generators will begin operating to provide electrical power to plant safety systems.
“Actions taken by companies operating reactors in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast once again demonstrate that nuclear energy facilities are well protected against extreme natural events,” Fertel said.
In 2011, 24 reactors at 15 facilities from North Carolina to New England safely withstood Hurricane Irene, a category 3 hurricane. In 2005, Entergy safely shut down Waterford 3 in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina, a category 5 hurricane, knocked out off-site power and damaged the regional electrical infrastructure. Florida Power & Light in 2004 safely shut down St. Lucie 1 and 2 in Florida after Hurricane Jeanne caused a loss of off-site power.
During Hurricane Sandy, Exelon Corp.’s Oyster Creek reactor in New Jersey, which was shut down before the storm for a refueling outage, declared an alert on Oct. 29. The alert, the second lowest of four Nuclear Regulatory Commission action levels, was in response to high water levels at the facility’s cooling water intake structure. Exelon is in the process of restoring off-site power to the facility. Until then, Oyster Creek is being safely powered by backup diesel-driven electrical generators that have fuel to power the reactor’s safety systems for more than two weeks. The plant’s reactor and used fuel storage pool have ample water supplies for cooling.
The following is a summary of U.S. nuclear power plant performance during Hurricane Sandy (as of 11 a.m. Oct 30).
North Carolina:
Brunswick 1 and 2—continued operating at 100 percent power.
Surry 1 and 2—continued operating at 100 percent power
North Anna 1 and 2—continued operating at 100 percent power.
Calvert Cliffs 1 and 2—continued operating at 100 percent power.
New Jersey:
Oyster Creek—shut down for refueling outage; alert declared Oct. 29 due to high water level at water intake structure
Hope Creek 1—continued operating at 100 percent power
Salem 1—manual safe shut down from 100 percent power on Oct. 30 due to high water level at water intake structure
Salem 2—shut down for refueling outage.
Peach Bottom 2 and 3—continued operating at 100 percent power
Three Mile Island 1—continued operating at 100 percent power
Limerick 1 and 2—safely reduced power from 100 percent to 50 percent and 22 percent respectively on Oct. 30 due to storm effects and at the request of the regional electric grid operator
Beaver Valley 1—continued operating at 100 percent power
Beaver Valley 2—shut down for refueling outage
Susquehanna 1—shut down for turbine inspection
Susquehanna 2—continued operating at 75 percent power.
Perry 1—safely reduced power from 100 percent to 91 percent on Oct. 30 at the request of the regional electric grid operator
Davis-Besse—continued operating at 100 percent power.
New York:
Indian Point 2—continued operating at 100 percent power
Indian Point 3—manual safe shut down from 100 percent power on Oct. 30 due to an electric grid disruption
Ginna—shut down for refueling outage
Fitzpatrick—continued operating at 100 percent power
Nine Mile Point 1—manual safe shut down from 100 percent power on Oct. 29 due to an electric grid disruption
Nine Mile Point 2—continued operating at 100 percent power.
Millstone 2—shut down for refueling outage
Millstone 3—safely reduced power from 100 percent to 75 percent on Oct. 29 at the request of the electric grid operator.
Pilgrim 1—continued operating at 100 percent power.
New Hampshire:
Seabrook 1—shut down for refueling outage, but safely restarted Oct. 30 and is at 20 percent power.
Vermont Yankee—safely reduced power from 100 percent to 90 percent on Oct. 30 at the request of the regional electric grid operator.
Nuclear power plants operating in 31 states provide electricity to one of every five U.S. homes and businesses. Nuclear energy produces more electricity than any other source in Connecticut, Illinois, New Hampshire, New Jersey, South Carolina, Vermont and Virginia.
Nuclear energy facilities are designed to withstand natural occurrences greater than those encountered in the regions where they are located. They are built to withstand floods, earthquakes and high winds, and have numerous safety systems that will operate and safely shut the reactor down in the event of a loss of off-site power.
U.S. nuclear energy facilities have a long history of successfully and safely responding to natural challenges.
1:55 PM Eastern 10/30/2012

SITREP on Nuclear Plants - 1 PM 10/30

Several links to pass along with this update..

-NRC has issued a fresh press release, which includes little different information that we've already presented and / or linked here.  Click here to see it.

-The folks behind ANS Nuclear Cafe have compiled a massive Hurricane Sandy / Nuclear Plant resource, with updates and links galore.  This should be the first stop for anyone trying to get a handle on the situation; click here to see it.

-There are some stories circulating (mostly on anti-nuclear news "services") about the Oyster Creek nuclear plant.  We took care of the myths being spread already with a special article I wrote for ANS Nuclear Cafe last evening.  Click here to read it.

All nuclear plants are in a safe condition at this time in the storm affected areas.

12:55 PM Eastern 10/30/2012

Entergy's Northeast Nuclear Plants Safely Weather Hurricane Sandy

Below is a press release from Entergy Nuclear.


October 30, 2012

For Immediate Release
Jerry Nappi
Indian Point Energy Center
(914) 254-7132
Carol Wightman
Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station
(508) 830-8280
Jim Sinclair
Vermont Yankee | James A. FitzPatrick
(802) 275-2360
Entergy’s Northeast Nuclear Plants Safely Weather Hurricane Sandy

New Orleans, La. – With the brunt of Hurricane Sandy now past the eastern seaboard, Entergy’s Indian Point Energy Center and James A. FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant in New York, Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Massachusetts and Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant in Vermont have all safely weathered the storm.
Indian Point 2, FitzPatrick and Pilgrim remained at full power while Vermont Yankee reduced power to 88 percent at the request of ISO New England to help maintain grid stability. Indian Point 3 automatically shut down at 10:41 p.m. Monday as a result of an electrical grid disturbance.
“Nuclear plants are built to exceed the most severe natural forces historically reported for their geographic area,” said John Herron, president and CEO of Entergy Nuclear. “And we saw evidence of that again with Hurricane Sandy.”
Entergy Nuclear plants began preparations for the storm last week, coordinating activities with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, independent system operators and various state and local government officials.
Critical Entergy Nuclear staff remained dedicated at each site, ready to respond to potential weather impacts.
In addition to the nuclear plant staff sequestered at Indian Point, FitzPatrick, Pilgrim and Vermont Yankee, the company’s utilities in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas sent more than 850 highly-experienced restoration workers and support personnel to the region impacted by the hurricane. They include scouts, who assess damage when safe to do so after the storm, and tool workers who will help rebuild the electrical system. Entergy will also provide some customer service representatives to remotely answer customer calls from affected areas.
Entergy Corporation is an integrated energy company engaged primarily in electric power production and retail distribution operations. Entergy owns and operates power plants with approximately 30,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity, including more than 10,000 megawatts of nuclear power, making it one of the nation’s leading nuclear generators. Entergy delivers electricity to 2.8 million utility customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Entergy has annual revenues of more than $11 billion and approximately 15,000 employees.
9:55 AM Eastern 10/30/2012

7:45 AM Nuclear Plant SITREP - Hurricane Sandy

Updates on new information since last night:

-Indian Point Unit 3 has been shut down due to grid issues; Unit 2 remains at full power.

UPDATE at 8 AM -- According to Indian Point's Facebook page, "The disturbance originated in electrical equipment external to Indian Point that is part of the electrical grid. The disturbance meant that Indian Point 3 had no connection to send its electricity to the grid, so the generator automatically shut down since it had nowhere to send the power, Nappi {a spokesman} said."  (It sounds to me as if Unit 3 experienced a load reject and shut down automatically.)  Click here to see the article quoted by Indian Point's Facebook page.

-Salem Unit 1 has been shut down.  Click here for press release.

-Nine Mile Point Unit 1 suffered a load reject last evening at 9 PM when switchyard damage occurred and shut down; Unit 2 remains at full power.  Click here for an article with CENG quotes. (Updated 8:45 AM)

-Limerick has reduced power; Reuters has reported 91 percent output.  (8:45 AM - NRC morning update shows Limerick Unit 1 at 48 percent power and Unit 2 at 27 percent power.)  A number of the plants on line this morning are well below 100% output.

-Oyster Creek, shut down for refueling, is on the diesels (offsite power having been disrupted) with over two weeks worth of diesel fuel on hand.

No safety issues have been announced at any nuclear plant as a result of the storm.  Plants not mentioned are operating as they were before the storm (if on line, then on line; if shut down, then still shut down.)

More information as it becomes available.

7:45 AM Eastern 10/30/2012  -- Updated as needed.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Hurricane Sandy update -- 11:00 PM Eastern 10/29

Ten minutes ago, the Indian Point twitter account reported that Indian Point, Vermont Yankee and Pilgrim were all still on line producing power.

NRC reports that no nuclear plants have yet shut down due to the storm.

Oyster Creek:

-Oyster Creek has declared, this evening, an Unusual Event (at about 7 PM) and then an Alert (at about 8:45 PM) due to rising water levels in the plant intake structure.  The plant is shut down for refueling.  Click here to see the most recent NRC release on this event.

-False allegations about Oyster Creek's ability to cool the spent fuel pool in the event of LOOP (Loss Of Offsite Power) are circulating on the usual anti-nuclear websites.  Click here to see my article on the ANS Nuclear Cafe that shows Oyster Creek's readiness, with redundant cooling systems, redundant backup power generating systems and robust plant design.

11:05 PM Eastern 10/29/2012

Hurricane Sandy - Preparation at Nuclear Power Plants

Below is a link to an NRC document covering which nuclear stations are expected to be affected by Hurricane Sandy, all of which are receiving added oversight.

NRC Prepared for Approach of Hurricane Sandy

Here are some other press releases and relevant links:

Entergy Nuclear press release

Dominion Energy's STORM CENTER page

NEI page on how nuclear plants survive severe weather such as hurricanes

11:00 AM Eastern 10/29/2012

Sunday, October 28, 2012

128th Carnival of Nuclear Bloggers

Atomic Power Review is proud to host the 128th edition of the Carnival of Nuclear Bloggers - that weekly event which focuses attention on the most important blog posts from the English-language nuclear blogosphere. 

I think everyone knows by now that there's an entry fee of sorts -- and here it is!  What is this?

Click the photo to enlarge it.  The answer will be provided after the Carnival entries -- so here we go!


The Hiroshima Syndrome - Leslie Corrice

Earthquake Phobia Threatens Japan's Electrical Infrastructure

The majority of the currently-idled Japanese nukes are ready to produce the electricity which would alleviate the nation's current electrical shortage. The energy supply situation in Japan is critical, but it seems the majority of the country’s news outlets and politicians don’t really care. They would rather dwell on fear concerning exaggerated assumptions of earthquake impacts on operating nukes. Will the Japanese people ever be made aware of what’s really the case? And, if they are made aware, when will they say “Enough!!” and demand rational recovery from the very real tsunami-spawned, politically-exacerbated economic disaster ravaging Japan?


Meredith Angwin submits two posts this week; one at her own Yes Vermont Yankee site, and one at the ANS Nuclear Cafe.

ANS:  Mind the gap - Vermont's energy supply

There's a 30% gap in Vermont's "committed resources" for electricity because Vermont utilities no longer have contracts with Vermont Yankee. Angwin looks at the probable future price of gas and electricity. She concludes that it would be better for the ratepayers if that gap were still filled by Vermont Yankee.

YVY:  Federal Court Dismisses Vermont Yankee tax case

At Yes Vermont Yankee, Meredith Angwin notes that a federal judge dismissed Vermont Yankee's lawsuit which objected to a sudden change in their generation tax, moving the tax from five million to thirteen million over the course of one year. Angwin includes quotes from a key legislator, who says that the legislature wants to shut down Vermont Yankee, but the tax rise is not intended to inhibit Vermont Yankee operations.


Next Big Future - Brian Wang

Updated list of new Nuclear reactors expected to start operation from 2013 through 2017

All 20 Canadian nuclear reactors are in operation.


Paul Bowersox submits the following on behalf of the ANS Nuclear Cafe:

Update on Nuclear Waste Confidence Court Ruling

The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission will not issue new nuclear plant licenses or life extensions until it addresses issues raised by a federal appeals court concerning long-term spent nuclear fuel storage. Jim Hopf at the ANS Nuclear Cafe brings an update and perspective on the impact of the NRC licensing suspension.


I submit my own piece this week which appeared at the ANS Nuclear Cafe:

MTR - Gone now, but not forgotten

Will Davis viewed an INL video this week that raised his attention part way through; the decommissioning of the MTR was the subject of that short clip.  At ANS Nuclear Cafe, he presents much more video of the decom process as well as historic illustrations and details.


Atomic Insights- Rod Adams

Why do nuclear energy developers ask for predictable market prices?

The competitive problem is that “the market” generally favors sprinters when the real economy would do better if the energy market was set up to favor ultra marathoners who could keep steadily moving forward long after the sprinters have given up and faded out of the race. Because of the focus on short term profits and daily market swings, investors often make decisions based on rapid capital movements.
In the energy business, a short-term market construct favors fuels like natural gas that can be used in cheap machines, especially when the fuels are sold by very large entities with at least one related and highly profitable product, like crude oil. Those entities can afford to establish low market prices that last just long enough to drive out the competition. Price wars have served the petroleum industry well for more than a century; they remain an effective tool for the dominant market players.


Nuke Power Talk - Gail Marcus

Good news in the Nuclear Energy Industry

At Nuke Power Talk, Gail Marcus reports on a number of "good news" items that have been reported
recently, both in the US and around the world.
That's it for this week's Carnival submissions. 
And now - what was that we saw above?
The illustration at the head of this edition of the Carnival is taken from a small PR folder from GE titled "The Seawolf Story."  On that folder's title page:  "This brochure commemorates the significant achievement of the personnel of the Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory in bringing to a successful conclusion the production of a nuclear power plant for the submarine Seawolf."
On the fifth page of the brochure we find the "What is this?" illustration, with the following information:  "HULL SKIDDING.  In the early morning of March 20, 1954, the prototype power plant of the Seawolf was "launched" into its location at the 225 ft. steel sphere located at the West Milton site of the Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory.  Here tests were made to further determine the feasibility of using liquid metal as the reactor coolant for shipboard use, and to provide technical and operating information, later to be used in the design, fabrication and operation of the Seawolf's reactor and power plant."
The power plant was constructed inside of the simulated submarine pressure hull, which itself was then moved into the spherical containment.
The color illustration shown earlier is from a Bechtel Corporation ad that shows the full exterior of the 225 foot diameter steel vapor containment build to house the Seawolf prototype then known as the SIR or Submarine Intermediate Reactor, later known as the S1G prototype.
On July 18, 1955, a ceremony was held at the SIR plant to celebrate the first sale of electricity commercially from this plant to the local grid.  According to a speech given by AEC Chariman Lewis L. Strauss and which is reproduced in the Atoms for Peace Handbook, the plant could deliver up to 10 megawatts of power to the local grid. 
Certainly, though, all was not well.  The SIR prototype developed leaks in its superheaters early, and in the same month as the ceremony mentioned above, also developed leaks in its main steam generators (US Submarines Since 1945; Dr. Norman Friedman, US Naval Institute Press, 1994.)  According to Friedman, the leaks were fixed by January 1956.
The USS Seawolf, according to testimony given by Admiral Rickover to Congress in March, 1957, developed leaks in both her steam generators and superheaters.  The first leak was detected when Seawolf went to full power in dockside testing in August 1956; that "took us 3 months working 24 hours a day to locate and correct the leak," according to Rickover.  Seawolf eventually developed further leaks in both the superheaters and main steam generators so that for final acceptance trials she had, according to Rickover, lost about 10 percent equivalent total power from plugging of leaking heat exchanger tubes and also lost all of her superheaters (they were bypassed) which reduced power another 10 percent.  "With the reduced power," he noted, "she makes about 90 percent speed."
(Above comments from USGPO publication - Naval Reactor Program and Shippingport Project / Hearings before the Subcommittees of the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy - Congress of the United States - March 7 and April 12, 1957.  Friedman, in 'US Submarines since 1945,' duplicates essentially the statements of Rickover.)
The USS Seawolf had her reactor replaced with the S2Wa plant during shipyard availability that lasted from December 1958 through September 1960 (Friedman,) and according to Rickover's testimony, plans were already being laid to remove the SIR from the sphere at West Milton, New York and replace it with a further prototype - these events spelling the end of the liquid-metal-cooled reactor in the US Navy Nuclear Propulsion Program.
3:10 PM Eastern 10/28/2012