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Monday, December 30, 2013

Carnival of Nuclear Bloggers 189 / Nuclear Economics

Here we are right in the middle of the holiday season... and we have a well-populated 189th Carnival to present to our readers!  All you have to do is get past the following game.

What is this?

If you say "hey, that's a nuclear plant!" you get one point.  You can only pass if you can tell me either one of two things:  What plant this is, or else what category of art this illustration belongs to.  That latter description may not seem clear right now, but it will be when I give you the answer.  But before you get to see the answer, you have to read through (and hopefully click on a few of the links for) the Carnival entries!


Forbes - Jim Conca

Merry Christmas California - No Shopping Days Left for Nuclear

California was scheduled to receive a lump of coal for Christmas by Jim Conca, at least, due to having been naughty and shutting down San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station.  This lump of coal actually comes in the form of an extra 18,000,000 tons of CO2 per year delivered to the atmosphere by replacing the 15 billion KW-hrs of electricity each year with a mixture of gas, wind and solar power.  Also lost will be 1500 local jobs and $50 million of revenue to southern California each year.


Nuke Power Talk - Gail Marcus

Knowledge Management - An Ongoing Problem

When she worked at DOE, one issue Gail Marcus dealt with was the concern about the retention of data from experiments long after the research facilities had been shuttered and the researchers who had done the work had moved on. In a post at Nuke Power Talk, Gail recounts her experiences and points out that a recent report finds that the problem exists for all types of scientific research, and indeed, the degree of loss is more severe than she had imagined. Although it is difficult to think about data preservation when one is in the thick of an experiment, she notes the importance of doing so.


Next Big Future - Brian Wang

Japan's Politics Shift

Japanese politics are shifting to a pro-nuclear stance.  Various pro-nuclear mayors are being elected, for example.

Molten Salt Reactor Promises High Power Density

The Terrestrial Energy integrated Molten Salt Reactor, and a companion supercritical CO2 turbine are both under development and could be ready for production in about ten years.  This combination could have a higher power density than even submarine nuclear power plants.

Molten Salt Reactor Could Power SHIELD Helicarrier

Impressive power density promised by molten salt reactors could make a whole new range of vehicles move from the impossible to the possible.


Hiroshima Syndrome - Les Corrice

The Fukushima "Hot Particle" Myth

One of the terms often used incorrectly when discussing the Fukushima accident is "hot particle."  This term unquestionably sounds alarming, but what does it really mean?  By examining the most likely meaning, we find that application to atmospheric releases from the Fukushima Daiichi plant is entirely inappropriate.


Deregulate the Atom - Rick Maltese

Recent Power Outages are Outrageous

Rick takes a look at what the availability of electricity really means to us today through relating his own experiences with power outages (and ramifications thereof) where he lives.  What do we think about when we consider electricity?  Do we think about emissions, or efficiency without considering reliability and, perhaps more sobering, availability in the first place?  How about the physical limitations of the electric distribution network -- the grid?


Atomic Insights - Rod Adams

Cape Wind scrambling to meet deadline for $780 million taxpayer gift

Even with advantageous site attributes and monopoly utility customers that are willing to commit their captive rate payers to pay more than twice as much per unit of power as they have ever paid, Jim Gordon's Cape Wind offshore wind power vision remains stuck at the financing stage.  Finding the money required to build the project will be even more difficult if the project fails to "begin construction" before January 1, 2014.


Yes Vermont Yankee - Meredith Angwin

Breaking News - State and Vermont Yankee Make a Deal

This news has been breaking over the holidays: the state and Vermont Yankee have stopped suing each other in Federal Court, and Vermont Yankee will pay more than $40 million to various funds (including the state). However, the deal still has to be approved by the state Public Service Board.

Be Prompt and Positive with Vermont Yankee (guest post by Patty O'Donnell)

Patty O'Donnell is chair of the Vernon Board of Selectmen: Vermont Yankee is located in Vernon. In this guest post, O'Donnell requests the Public Service Board not to add complex and onerous conditions to its approval of the final year of Vermont Yankee's operation.


Canadian Energy Issues - Steve Aplin

Reducing carbon pollution from electric power generation:  What works?

In the nearly 17 years since the Kyoto Protocol, many countries, especially Germany, have embarked on major efforts to reduce their national carbon footprints. How have those efforts paid off? Steve Aplin of Canadian Energy Issues suggests two fundamental criteria on which to judge the nature of the payoff. These are price, and carbon content, of electricity per kilowatt-hour. He introduces the Electric Power Carbon-Price Matrix as a tool for both evaluating ongoing carbon reduction efforts and guiding electric power generation investment in the post-Kyoto world.


That's it for this week's Carnival entries!  Quite a wide, and thought provoking, spread of topics as we begin to reflect on 2013, I'd say.  All that's left is to tell you what that picture was.

If you said "Oyster Creek Generating Station" or some permutation thereof containing "Oyster Creek," you win.  However, this illustration also falls into the category of "pre-construction artist's conception" art (which I happen to like to collect) so that if you said something along those lines you also win.

This illustration appeared (certainly among other places) in the 1964 Atomic Energy Commission Annual Report to Congress.  Here is the caption for the illustration:

"Oyster Creek Plant.  Artist's drawing of the Jersey Central Power & Light Co.'s proposed Oyster Creek 515,000 electrical kilowatt boiling water type nuclear power plant, 35 miles north of Atlantic City.  The company announced early in 1964 that a nuclear generating facility had been selected for construction 'on a competitive basis' with fossil fuel.  The plant would be built without AEC financial assistance.  A provisional construction permit for the facility was issued by the AEC on December 15, 1964."

... Did everybody catch the key phrases in this description?  Competitive with fossil fuel.  Without AEC financial assistance.  Yes, absolutely true.

We live in a world today where the narrative on nuclear energy has largely been stolen by liars.  That's right - liars.  People who know the truth (or, maybe, should) but deliberately promulgate falsehoods.  This has led to the general notion that nuclear energy is not, and never was, economic... and requires subsidy.

Recently I acquired, through a bookseller, a cache of papers on nuclear energy.  This small group was actually mostly anti-nuclear, including pieces from Physicians for Social Responsibility and the Union of Concerned Scientists.  These pieces are full of lies, half-truths, and deceptions.  Looking at the booklet "Health Effects of Nuclear Power & Nuclear Weapons" -- and note that they can't resist putting weapons right there with nuclear power, which in itself is an enormous but wholly deliberate deception -- we find the following completely false statement:

"...though private industry was initially reluctant to enter the nuclear industry as the nuclear fuel chain appeared to be neither safe nor economically profitable..."

Really?   All we need to do is look at this article to find out that industry was already investing in nuclear energy research prior to being allowed to construct civilian owned and operated nuclear plants.  (Look for the portion wherein President Eisenhower writes to Congress on 'Domestic Development of Atomic Energy.')  Industry was convinced that there was a future, even though it did not know when profit would be achieved.  Always, in industry, research and development comes before profit - a fact clearly lost on anti-nuclear activists who cite the early period of R&D as unprofitable.

We know that Admiral Hyman Rickover testified to the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy in 1957 (when discussing the Shippingport Atomic Power Station) that nuclear power was not at that time profitable, and that he did not know when it would become profitable.  We can also clearly see that by 1964 when Oyster Creek was announced and ordered that utilities saw that nuclear energy had advanced enough to be profitable -- or else they wouldn't have ordered the plants at all.

Some of the best, short quotes we can find to explain the position of utilities back during the heavy first build-out of nuclear power in the United States are to be found in the old, vanishing brochures that were produced for visitors, for those who wrote asking for information, or for educators and students.  Let's close out this Carnival and drive home the point by looking at a few quotes.

"Millstone Station generates electricity for 51 percent the cost of an oil-fired station and for 82 percent the cost of a coal-fired station.  To generate the amount of electricity produced by Millstone 1 and 2 with coal would require a mile-long trainload every day.  The additional cost for oil would add about $5.50 to the monthly bill of an average residential ratepayer." 

Base-loaded oil cost per kilowatt-hour:  3.46 cents.  Base-loaded coal cost per kilowatt-hour:  2.15 cents.  (US average.)  Millstone Units 1 and 2, 1978:  1.76 cents per kilowatt-hour.

(Above from Millstone Daybook, by Northeast Utilities.)


"Nuclear Economics.

When comparing the relative economics of electricity from nuclear and fossil fuel stations, capital and fuel costs are the most significant factors.

Nuclear plants do cost more to build, but the cost of uranium fuel is so much lower than oil or coal that they save money for the electricity customers.

It's like spending more money for a car that gets better gas mileage, or paying more for a high-efficiency air conditioner or gas heating furnace or boiler.  The car saves you considerable fuel, and the air conditioner and gas heating equipment lower your electric and gas bills to more than make up for their higher initial price tags.

The following tabulation of PSE&G's actual fuel costs for 1984 clearly indicates that the cost of nuclear fuel is much lower than that of coal or oil (cost per million BTU.)

Nuclear fuel - 86 cents
New Jersey coal - 227 cents
Oil - 514 cents

Just one plant the size of Salem can save the equivalent of one billion gallons of oil a year, representing huge savings to PSE&G customers.

Financial benefits have accrued to PSE&G's customers from the operation of both Salem and Peach Bottom from 1974 through 1983.  The energy produced from these units has already saved our customers over $2.5 billion in fuel costs as compared with generating the same amount of electricity from oil units.

Although (this is) not a rigorous economic evaluation, it clearly illustrates the tremendous economic benefits nuclear provides.

Nuclear may hold only a slight economic advantage over coal in the northeast, but nuclear and coal are not in competition.  Both are needed.  However, it should be noted that if new nuclear plants were built as routinely as they are overseas in 6 to 8 years, the capital cost of a nuclear plant would be reduced by about one-third and nuclear electricity would be considerably cheaper than coal as well as oil."

(Above from PSE&G Nuclear Energy, PSE&G 1985.)


Much of the energy in the northeast was generated by oil in years past - a fact we've seen hinted at in the above quotes.  The brochure entitled "About: Pilgrim Station," published by Boston Edison in 1981, contains the following as its introduction:

"Why Nuclear Power?

Boston Edison's business is to provide electricity to customers in the most efficient, reliable and economical manner possible.  Right now that means using nuclear fuel as part of the mix of fuel needed to produce that electricity.

Currently Boston Edison uses oil (70%) and nuclear power (30%) to make electricity.  Since 1970, the cost of oil, virtually all of which is imported, has increased more than 1500% - from $2.22 a barrel to more than $35 a barrel.  At today's costs, using oil to produce electricity is not economical for anyone.

At the same time, the price of uranium, a domestic fuel used in a nuclear power plant, has remained stable.  And, a nuclear power plant uses fuel more efficiently than fossil-fired plants.  For example, to generate 7,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity, only one gram of uranium is needed, compared to 2.5 tons of coal or approximately 12 barrels of oil.

As a result, Pilgrim 1, Edison's nuclear plant, plays a major part in the company's efforts to reduce New England's dependence on costly and uncertain oil supplies...."

As it turns out, we don't need to look too far at all to disprove the statement about industry participation and nuclear economics. 

I hope you've enjoyed this week's Carnival and subsequent foray into both nuclear economics and nuclear plant advertising / PR archaeology.

10:00 AM Eastern 12/30/2013

Friday, December 27, 2013

Japanese Utilities Lining Up to Restart Reactors

Very quietly - so quietly, you might not even notice here in the United States - a long list of applications from Japanese utilities to the Nuclear Regulation Authority for inspections of reactors intended for restarting has backed up. 

As of today, there are sixteen reactors for which applications launching the restart process have been submitted.  Below is a chart showing all of those up until Christmas Day 2013.

This chart has been translated from this page on the Nuclear Regulation Authority's website.  Click to enlarge it. 
As we can see, ten applications were received by the NRA on July 8, 2013 with another two on July 12.  In September, as I'd been expecting for some time, TEPCO applied to restart Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Units 6 and 7; Chugoku Electric applied to restart one unit at Shimane on December 25th. 
(Latest reports [NHK World] state that TEPCO "hopes to resume operations at Kashiwazaki-Kariwa in July of next year.")
Not shown on this chart:  Tohoku Electric Power Company applied to restart Onagawa Unit 2 on December 26; receipt of this application announced by the NRA on December 27.
Also not shown on this chart:  Japanese press have reported that Chubu Electric Power Company will apply to restart Hamaoka Unit 4 in the first quarter of 2014.
Below is a clickable map of all nuclear plants in Japan.  From left to right, the key shows solid colored units as 'operating,' while units 'under construction' have hashed lines.  Units planned are empty shapes and units cancelled are crossed out.  This map is somewhat old - no nuclear plants are presently operating in Japan, so "operating" should be taken as "operable" with the exception of all six plants at Fukushima No. 1 Generating Station (Fukushima Daiichi) which are all decommissioning.

Also noted in news today (12/27) was the fact that another facility under NRA regulation but which is not a nuclear power plant has announced intent to restart work.  This is the Japan Nuclear Fuel reprocessing plant at Rokkasho; Japanese media are reporting that this plant will be applying for its restart inspection on January 7th, 2014 and intends to be ready to operate by October 2014.
We now have sixteen nuclear units at ten sites in Japan which have entered the application process, with another reactor at another site (to give seventeen at eleven sites) expected early next year. 
Of further interest is another news item today, carried by NHK World which states that the NRA is about to announce its finding that the fault so highly described and examined below Kansai Electric Power Company's Ohi Nuclear Plant is not active.  According to NHK, there were six nuclear plants targeted for highly specific geological fault examination; Ohi is the first to have a clear settlement of the issue on the way, either way - and this one is positive. Kansai Electric was among the early applicants, filing for these two units in July.
Ohi Units 3 and 4 are the only nuclear plants in Japan to have restarted after the Fukushima Daiichi accident.  Coverage of that process on this site included the announcement that the reactors were approved to restart in June 2012, the announcement that Unit 3 had begun pulling rods on July 1, and the announcement of the startup schedule for Unit 4 as well as a description of some of the upgrades and modifications to that plant.
The listing does leave a very large number of units in question; the units selected to restart are generally the newest and most advanced units at any given nuclear plant site.  What the future holds for smaller, older units is still absolutely not clear at this time.  My expectation would be that application to restart these units would follow considerably after the newer units had been put in operation, and would have to be balanced against modifications required to older units by new NRA standards.  It's not out of the realm of possibility that some older units at some sites wouldn't be economic to refit and restart - given that they could be placed in a SAFSTOR status and not decommissioned until an entire nuclear generating station was decommissioned.  This would defer their decommissioning costs; considerations such as these will however be very highly specific, unit-by-unit, so that a complete estimate across Japan isn't quite possible yet.
These filings with the NRA are not a surprise to those of us following the situation in Japan closely; the Japanese economy needs the power these nuclear plants can provide so that their incredible fuel costs (at present very high due to imports of fossil fuels) can go down, and so that their manufacturing can get back going -- the country needs to reverse its trade deficit.  The present government has now made it abundantly clear that the "no nuclear" mandate is dead - and these forces together with the desire of the utilities to get back to making money selling their product (electricity) has led to a pile of paperwork for the NRA to review. 
I'll be following this process as closely as is possible given the voluminous documentation involved, most of which is in Japanese.  What's important of course is to understand that safety is paramount in all of these nuclear plant restarts.  I wrote extensively some time back about the massive efforts that have gone into just two of the nuclear plant sites that are applying to restart; it's a matter of grave importance to the economy of Japan, and the future of its nuclear industry.  The best possible outcome is that these restarts go as smoothly as the almost-unnoticed run of Ohi Units 3 and 4 after the Fukushima accident, and that Japan's economy becomes the big news - not its nuclear plants or its regulator.
More information:

Chubu Electric Power Company - Hamaoka Nuclear Power Station Today and Tomorrow.  This web page is an excellent addition to those linked in my piece on ANS Nuclear Cafe entitled "Preparing to Restart" which is linked in the last paragraph of the piece above.  Modifications, improvements and readiness to meet new standards are all discussed in this impressive page complete with video and illustrations. 
•UPDATE February 14, 2014
Today, Chubu Electric Power officially applied to the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) for a safety review of Hamaoka Unit 4, as was predicted in the article above written in late December 2013.  According to Kyodo News, Chubu now expects the seawall around the plant to be finished in September 2015.  This makes 17 reactors applied for restart safety review at 10 sites.
3:15 PM Eastern 12/27/2013

Friday, December 6, 2013

Anniversary of Eisenhower's "Atomic Power for Peace" Speech

Above you see the front cover of my copy of the ATOMS FOR PEACE MANUAL, which was printed by the Government Printing Office in 1955 and which is a compilation of important papers, commentaries and regulations pertaining to peaceful use of atomic energy ranging from the December 8, 1953 date of President Eisenhower's famous speech (often referred to today as his "Atoms for Peace" speech, this volume lists his speech's official title as "Atomic Power for Peace") through roughly the date of publication.

We find ourselves 60 years out now from that historic and often-mentioned speech, so often credited with launching the effort to spread the benefits of nuclear technology nation- and world-wide.  It's fitting today to look at this and perhaps one other book at the very least.

The first part of the Introduction of this volume reads as follows:

"Three dates have assumed deepest significance for mankind.

On December 8, 1953, the President of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower, in an address before the General Assembly of the United Nations, proposed that governments --

begin now and continue to make joint contributions from their stockpiles of normal uranium and fissionable materials to an international atomic energy agency...  The more important responsibility of this atomic energy agency would be allocated to serve the peaceful pursuits of mankind.  Experts would be mobilized to apply atomic energy to the needs of agriculture, medicine, and other peaceful activities.  A special purpose would be to provide abundant electrical energy to the power-starved areas of the world.

On December 4, 1954, the United Nations General Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution endorsing the proposed establishment of an International Atomic Energy Agency.  The resolution directed that an international technical conference be held under the auspices of the United Nations for the purpose of exploring means of developing the peaceful uses of atomic energy through international cooperation.

August 8, 1955 marked the opening of the International Conference on the Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy.

Between these three historic dates of December 8, 1953, December 4, 1954, and August 8, 1955, an important and promising era of world history has begun to unfold."


Important, and promising indeed.  It was an age in which we had just seen the first practical nuclear plant prototype, the Submarine Thermal Reactor at the NRTS, Idaho Falls produce its first power, and in which we had just seen the announcement of the first large commercial nuclear power plant - both of these events preceding Eisenhower's momentous speech.

(Above, front cover detail from "Shippingport Pressurized Water Reactor," part of the official AEC literature developed and presented at the Second International Conference on the Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy, Geneva, 1958.)

In 1953, the US Navy's large CVR project intended to result in a nuclear power plant prototype suitable for use in an aircraft carrier was cancelled.  This project's complete design information was extrapolated into, and in many ways actually directly transferred into a new project to build a civilian (or commercial) nuclear station in July, 1953.  Admiral Rickover was given overall responsibility for the project, and (naturally) Westinghouse was awarded the contracts to "design, develop and build the reactor plant" (according to "Shippingport Pressurized Water Reactor.")  In March, 1954 - only few months after Eisenhower's speech and over a year before the Atoms for Peace Manual was printed - Duquesne Light Company was chosen to host the plant.  The siting of the plant gave the project its lasting name - the Shippingport Atomic Power Station.

This was not the only project being mentioned in the press.  Other companies had other ideas, and after the Shippingport announcement everyone seemed to scramble to develop other technologies for power production.. to say nothing of the other many uses of nuclear technologies.

The Introduction of the Atoms for Peace Manual (written, by the way, by Hon. Alexander Wiley, Senior Republican, Senate Committee on Foreign Relations) makes it clear that the benefits to man of nuclear energy were perceived fairly well, even at that early date.  On page VI of this section we find the following passage:

"Significance to Average Man

The average layman may only vaguely understand the technical process by which vast amounts of energy are released from the splitting of the atom.  But he can definitely appreciate the ultimate significance to himself and to his loved ones in the making available of plentiful low-cost energy, particularly in power-short underdeveloped areas.  He can appreciate the miracle of new healing weapons for the eradication of man's age-old enemy of disease and new tools to increase food production so as to eliminate his age-old enemy of hunger.

Indeed, few news developments within the memory of living man have more stirred the imagination of human beings everywhere, than has the atoms-for-peace effort.  Few developments have provided man with more substantial hope that, once and for all, men might be able to break the tragic pattern of the diversion of so much of science to war, a pattern which has brought such suffering and dread to mankind."

None of what Mr. Wiley said in 1955 is now untrue.  All of the promises of nuclear technology stand today - they exist, TODAY - just as they did in that early period when the promise of a better tomorrow led men and women forward on a quest to understand and develop incredible new technologies.  It is right that we reach back occasionally now and touch those sentiments, undiluted by apprehension and unclouded by fear.  The "better tomorrow" promised therein still awaits.


The "only remaining complete physical symbol" of Eisenhower's "Atoms for Peace" program, says MARAD's Erhard Koehler, is the nuclear powered prototype and World ambassador NS SAVANNAH.  I recently saw the ship again (as many of you know) after twenty years, and a large photo essay of that experience is posted at ANS Nuclear Cafe.


2:00 PM Eastern 12/6/2013

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Carnival of Nuclear Energy 185

It's time for the weekly roundup of the best of the pro-nuclear bloggers and writers - the Carnival of Nuclear Energy.  This post-Thanksgiving holiday edition is, expectedly, smaller than the norm in terms of the number of contributors.  However, we have some interesting and unusual entries this week that make visiting the links more than worthwhile.

I'm also pleased to announce that Atomic Power Review will, in all likelihood, roll over 600,000 page views with publication of the 185th Carnival.  Not so pleased, however, that I've forgotten to show you a photo and ask you.... "What is this?"

This is clearly a photo that covers two pages - and it's in a very old publication that I'm not willing to disassemble.  No credit is given for "big metal things" as an answer... and yes, of course, these are nuclear components.  Or.. and here's a hint.. you could also quite easily and correctly say that these are pre-final fabrication components of a larger component.  The answer after the Carnival entries!


Science and Technology - Robert Bruce Hayes

Time Travel Reality and Fiction:  Just What Can and Can't Be Done

The author takes a look at time travel as conceived in fantasy and cinema ... describing this week's entry as "fun and novel."  I agree!  And quite fascinating as well.


Atomic Insights - Rod Adams

Why was DOE's Low Dose Radiation Research Program defunded in 2011?

Rod Adams wonders – “Why was DOE’s Low Dose Radiation Research program defunded?”
In this post he traces what he found by digging through historical budget documents for the DOE Office of Science. The picture is not a happy one for people who are intensely interested in applying modern science to the question of determining the health effects of low dose radiation.
ANS Nuclear Cafe - submitted by Paul Bowersox
Rod Adams takes a fascinating look back at the early days after the
discovery of nuclear fission almost 75 years ago. The nuclear pioneers
of the age were motivated by a scientific desire to gain a better
understanding of the fundamental structure of the atom -- and developing
a revolutionary new source of energy.
Nuke Power Talk - Gail Marcus
At Nuke Power Talk, Gail Marcus reports on receiving the ASME Engineer-Historian Award recently at the ASME conference in San Diego for her book, Nuclear Firsts: Milestones on the Road to Nuclear Power Development, and lists the recognition she has received for the book as one of the things she has to be grateful for this Thanksgiving season.
(APR note:  I have the exact book under discussion here, having obtained a copy at the ANS Annual Meeting in Atlanta this past summer.  I have a review of this book in the works - and let me say now without revealing too much that it's entirely positive to the point of making the book a "must have" for historians.)
Forbes - Jim Conca
Jim Conca gives his explanation as to why the deal struck this past week between the P5+1 powers and Iran covering Iran's nuclear programs and aspirations is a good deal for everyone involved.

Next Big Future - Brian Wang

Hongyanhe Unit 2 Connected to Grid; 18th Chinese Reactor To Do So

This unit is a CPR-1000 pressurized water reactor, on which construction was started in 2008.  The first unit at the site has been operating on a commercial basis since June, and now Unit 2 is set to follow in a matter of months.

Pakistan's Prime Minister Announces Six More Nuclear Plants.

According to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan would produce 40,000 MW of power from nuclear plants until 2050 and the government's priority was to start work on power projects to overcome the energy shortage.


That's it for this week's entries.  The only thing left is to explain what that photo you saw above really was.
The photo is from a time that many people either don't know, or else deny existed - a time when information, illustrations and even some data concerning the US Navy's Nuclear Propulsion Program were printed in publicly available materials.  The illustration is a Unites States Steel advertisement in the May 1959 issue of Nucleonics, and shows two forged components that will be part of one of the reactor pressure vessels to be installed in the nuclear powered aircraft carrier USS Enterprise.  (This ship had eight A2W reactors.)
The caption in the advertisement notes that these components, made of Ni-Cr-Mo steel, are the reactor vessel closure head flange (nearer the camera) and what it calls the top disc.  The flange forging weighs 74,000 lbs., while the top disc forging weighs 36,750 lbs.  After forging, the pieces "were given preliminary heat treatment and preliminary machining.  This was followed by quenching and tempering.  Then came a battery of tests:  ultrasonic inspection, tangential tensile tests, Charpy V-notch impact tests, grain size tests, bend tests and magnetic particle inspection."  These two parts, and a number of others, would eventually be stacked and welded together to form what we today would describe as a ring forging design of reactor pressure vessel.
The advertisement also encourages the reader to send for the USS six-page booklet on USS Nuclear Forgings.  Which, I might add, you can bet I'll acquire on sight.
For more information...
Readers might recall the "ring forging" description regarding reactor vessels from the whole Doel / Tihange / Rotterdam Dockyard reactor vessel anomaly debacle, which is now fully resolved since the plants involved have been allowed to restart.  (This chain of events marks one of the more significant events in which anti-nuclear prognosticators were dead, flat wrong... again.)  Information about those vessels, and the early findings, can be seen at the following post I wrote for the ANS Nuclear Cafe some time back.
12:25 PM Eastern 12/1/2013

Monday, November 18, 2013

South Korea: Restarts begin; nuclear energy use estimate rises

Some headway in digging out of the hole made by counterfeit parts and certifications, bribery, and influence peddling in the South Korean nuclear program is becoming apparent.  One of the reactors shut down during this time has been approved for restart, and there is evidence that replacement parts for others will check out.

Reuters has reported that Hanbit No. 2 (formerly known as Yeonggwang No. 2) will be allowed to restart after checks performed on welds in one of its steam generators.  South Korea's plants of the type derived from the Combustion Engineering System 80 design, obtained under technology transfer years back, have been known to experience premature steam generator tube wear

The plant noted in the link immediately above, Ulchin No. 4, was later mentioned in reporting by Chosun Ilbo in May 2012 as requiring a steam generator replacement.  An op-ed in The Hankyoreh published December 2011 tells us that 25% of the 16,000 steam generator tubes were damaged, and laments the fact "that this happened in just 28 months for a steam generator with a design life of 30 years." 

(It is interesting to note in the above linked article the willingness of the South Koreans to replace or perhaps, depending upon reports, completely retube essentially new steam generators, in light of the controversy that I keep reporting on here concerning new replacement steam generators at San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station.)

Reuters, in the same report linked at the top notes - in a separate issue -  that replacement control cables have tested satisfactory and can be used to replace those supplied by JS Cable.  This story is long running - see links below to previous Atomic Power Review articles for the background.

October 25 update - Cables fail tests, government sues, price fixing revealed

September 25 update - South Korean nuclear corruption investigation update

July 14 - South Korea's Corruption Scandal Widens in Scope

South Korea's Nuclear Energy Program - A Primer.  Atomic Power Review follows the early history of this nation's nuclear energy program, and then follows the development of the line of plants derived from the Combustion Engineering CE80 design obtained by technology transfer.

Energy for the future includes nuclear increase ...  Interestingly, it has been reported in the Korea Times that a new study by South Korea's Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy now predicts a steady increase in the use of nuclear energy through the year 2035.  This works in slight contrast to the announcement from the government that a new target for nuclear generation that is less than a third of the total generating mix has been set, but is not inherently contradictory.  The plain fact is that South Korea continues, even in light of the nuclear parts and benefits scandals, to fine tune its energy mix for optimal performance and cost - in terms of the nation's industrial output and standing in the world, it has no intent of reversal.  Energy is king, and energy the nation will have.

11:00 AM Eastern 11/18/2013

Sunday, November 17, 2013

USEC Gaseous Diffusion Plant - Storm Related Damage, Alert Over

Among many places very hard hit by today's extensive severe weather outbreak was the USEC Paducah Gaseous Diffusion plant.  A site emergency was declared when a suspected tornado touchdown occurred on site.

9:21 PM Eastern Sunday 11/17/2013:  USEC has just made the following statement via Twitter:

"Update:  Most of the damage was confined to the exteriors of plant structures. No production systems were affected and all critical safety systems continued to function as intended.  1 of the plant's 4 enrichment production buildings, adjacent cooling towers and an electrical switchyard sustained most of the damage.  A recovery team has been appointed and will coordinate the cleanup and repair.  Background:  USEC ceased enriching uranium at the plant in June.  Only limited plant operations related to inventory management were ongoing at the time of the storm."

Storm Damage Earlier Today

According to reports in media and via USEC's Twitter account, a site emergency alert was declared at 2:17 PM CDT Sunday when a suspected tornado touchdown caused damage to the above noted structures.  The emergency alert status was ended at 6:06 PM CDT Sunday.  No releases of either radioactive or other hazardous materials occurred and there were no on-site injuries. 

USEC's Twitter account noted shortly after the alert that there was no off-site impact and that "plant operations remain stable."

Relevant news articles can be found linked below.

Paducah Sun - USEC plant update

9:30 PM Eastern 11/17/2013

SCE Paper Offers Added Information on SONGS Closure

APR Readers:  I've had some time away from the blog as I was attending and working at the American Nuclear Society's 2013 Winter Meeting for the last week. (You may have seen some of the posts at ANS Nuclear Cafe.)  I'm back in the saddle, as it were, and we start off with another press release from the folks at SCE as they continue to work through what has become a very protracted process to achieve a final settlement regarding the failed steam generators at San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station.


Media Contact: Maureen Brown, (626) 302-2255

SCE White Paper Offers Additional Economic Analysis of Decision to Retire Nuclear Plant

Mitsubishi’s Steam Generator Repair Options Were Risky, Untested, Costly

ROSEMEAD, Calif., Nov. 13, 2013 — Southern California Edison (SCE) today released a white paper demonstrating that its decision in June to permanently shut down the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) in light of the failure of the replacement steam generators supplied by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (Mitsubishi) was an appropriate cost-mitigation measure. The white paper is posted on www.SONGScommunity.com/library.

“Once we decided to shut down SONGS due to the circumstances created by the failed replacement steam generators, we were able to significantly reduce costs,” said SCE President Ron Litzinger. “This paper shows that these cost savings were greater than the benefits that could have been achieved by continuing to work toward returning SONGS to service, given the uncertainty about if and when SONGS would have been allowed to restart.”
SCE compares the additional costs it would have incurred to continue to pursue a restart of San Onofre to the costs that it expects to incur to purchase power from other sources in the market. SCE’s white paper compares these costs through 2022, the year that the license to operate San Onofre was set to expire.
“We believe this white paper presents an opportunity to thoroughly answer any remaining questions about why we shut down the plant when we did and why it was the best option for customers,” Litzinger said.

While the cost of operating San Onofre was projected to be lower than the cost of buying power on the market, this benefit would decrease as restart was delayed. On the other hand, to continue to pursue restart, SCE would have been required to maintain personnel and systems in place. The longer that restart was delayed, the more the costs would have increased and the benefits decreased.

SCE’s white paper shows that the costs outweigh the benefits if San Onofre had not restarted in the near future. A near-term restart was unlikely, however, given the process required to obtain approval from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) before restarting even one of the San Onofre units.

SCE’s white paper also demonstrates that it would not have been prudent to spend more money to pursue Mitsubishi’s ideas to repair the steam generators that it had defectively designed. One of Mitsubishi’s ideas was preliminary, and Mitsubishi failed to demonstrate that this approach was technically viable or would have been approved by the NRC. Mitsubishi’s other idea was also preliminary, risky, costly and not economically viable unless the plant could have restarted promptly.

“SCE had hoped to restart SONGS,” said Litzinger. “But in light of the significant delays it encountered in obtaining approval for restart, and the likelihood of additional delays, it no longer made sense to continue spending money to keep that option open. The economic analysis in this paper shows that our decision to shut down SONGS was economically prudent.”

In October, SCE filed a Request for Arbitration of the utility’s claims against Mitsubishi in an attempt to recover all damages caused by Mitsubishi’s failed replacement steam generator design.

SCE has made public key documents regarding the failure of Mitsubishi’s replacement steam generators in a Digital Document Library located at www.SONGScommunity.com/library, although the Digital Library remains incomplete because of Mitsubishi’s continued refusal to permit other key documents to be made public.

SCE announced June 7 that it would permanently shut down San Onofre Units 2 and 3, and begin the process to decommission the nuclear plant. For more information about SCE, follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

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. 


12:05 PM Eastern 11/17/2013

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

SCE Releases Further Documents in SONGS RSG Dispute

Press release below courtesy Southern California Edison.


Media Contact: Maureen Brown, (626) 302-2255

SCE Makes Public a White Paper, Key Documents Showing that Mitsubishi Failed to Offer Viable Plan to Repair or Replace Failed Replacement Steam Generators

SCE Challenges Mitsubishi to Allow the Publication in Utility’s Digital Library of Other Key Documents

ROSEMEAD, Calif., Nov. 4, 2013 — Southern California Edison (SCE) today made public a white paper, supported by key documents, demonstrating that “for over 16 months, Mitsubishi failed to offer any viable, implementable and licensable plan that would safely and reliably restore the replacement steam generators to 100-percent power for their promised 40-year operational life” at the San Onofre nuclear plant.

SCE’s publication of these materials follows the Sept. 20 findings of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that Mitsubishi’s replacement steam generators at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station failed, in part, due to a flaw in Mitsubishi’s proprietary computer code used to design and manufacture them.

The steam generator white paper and timeline made public today by SCE can be found at www.SONGScommunity.com/library. According to SCE, once the Mitsubishi-designed and -manufactured replacement steam generators failed, “SCE spent hundreds of millions of dollars to investigate, repair and keep San Onofre in a state of readiness for potential restart.”

Despite Mitsubishi’s contractual obligations, Mitsubishi failed to provide SCE with complete documentation regarding the replacement steam generators failures and potential repairs, “repeatedly delayed in providing a final repair recommendation and failed to substantiate that the repair proposal and the replacement proposal eventually offered would resolve the underlying problems with Mitsubishi’s design.”

The SCE materials also detail SCE’s repeated attempts to gain access to important documents in Mitsubishi's possession. Nonetheless, according to the SCE white paper, “Mitsubishi still refuses to allow SCE access to its documents.”

The SCE documents released today also illustrate how Mitsubishi failed “to fulfill its contractual obligation to ‘repair or replace (as appropriate) any defective part’ of the replacement steam generators ‘at its sole expense with due diligence and dispatch.’” On the contrary, “despite these constant meetings and other communications, Mitsubishi failed to offer a repair plan that (1) solved the cause of the replacement steam generator failures, (2) was feasible and implementable, (3) was validated and (4) was licensable.”

In the end, according to the SCE documents, “in part because Mitsubishi provided ‘no viable path to restoring SONGS to service, SCE is forced to retire and decommission SONGS as a result of Mitsubishi's total and fundamental failure to meet its contractual obligations, including its obligation to repair or replace the defective replacement steam generators with due diligence and dispatch.’”

SCE has already demanded that Mitsubishi reimburse the utility for the costs incurred investigating the cause of the failed replacement steam generators. To date, Mitsubishi has accepted responsibility for only $7 million of the $140 million spent investigating the problems caused by Mitsubishi's failed design.

Earlier this month, SCE filed a Request for Arbitration of the utility’s claims against Mitsubishi in an attempt to recover all damages caused by Mitsubishi’s failed replacement steam generator design.

Edison has made public key documents regarding the failure of Mitsubishi’s replacement steam generators in a Digital Document Library located at www.SONGScommunity.com/library, although the Digital Library remains incomplete because of Mitsubishi’s continued refusal to permit other key documents to be made public.

SCE announced June 7 that it would permanently shut down San Onofre Units 2 and 3, and begin the process to decommission the nuclear plant. For more information about SCE, follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

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. 


7:30 AM Eastern 11/5/2013

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Carnival of Nuclear Bloggers 181

It's time for the longest-running tradition among the top pro-nuclear English language bloggers and authors -- the weekly Carnival -- to again appear at Atomic Power Review after what feels like an extended absence. 

This does not mean we'll get right to the posts without asking you..  "What is this?"

We can see a number of people arranged around some equipment, with someone at the far left pointing toward some of it.  This means that the answer to this question cannot be "a bunch of guys standing around machinery."  Some of you will do far better than that... and there is partial credit available for this photo.  All will be revealed..  AFTER the Carnival entries! 
Next Big Future - Brian Wang
The construction of TVA's Watts Bar 2 plant is said to be "on track;"  also, more reactors for Pakistan and Jordan signal a trend growing elsewhere.
Amongst the most secretive and best-financed is Tri-Alpha energy. They’ve released nothing more than a Powerpoint, but have raised somewhere over $140 million from the likes of Goldman Sachs, Microsoft co founder Paul Allen, Russian tech investment firm Rusnano, and, weirdly, former LA Law star Harry Hamlin.

“For some reason the rich guys like however Tri-Alpha presented,” says Brian Wang...
A popularly shared (and highly commented) article discusses the assertion that there was no nuclear disaster per se at Fukushima; only a media fuelled frenzy.  (APR note:  A highly provocative concept and article!)
Deregulate the Atom - Rick Maltese
APR note:  Folks, Rick has provided a synopsis for this piece but I'm going to toss it and tell this to you straight.  This is an IMPORTANT piece to read.  We all need to think in some way or another about how and where we fit into the whole, swirling mass that encompasses energy awareness, energy dialogue, energy policy.  Rick has provided some very thought provoking and even evocative imagery and conception with this post which is certain to leave everyone thinking about what the entire massive range of effects education and involvement can have on everything in society.  I'd like to give this piece a serious recommendation.
Nuke Power Talk - Gail Marcus
This week at Nuke Power Talk, Gail Marcus reflects on the fact that the closure of Vermont Yankee was precipitated by marketplace inequities put in place to encourage renewables. She opines that, if such measures result in the closure of other low-carbon power sources, namely nuclear power, they are counterproductive. However, repealing existing renewable energy benefits without substituting other provisions is likely to be difficult politically. Different solutions are needed.
ANS Nuclear Cafe - submitted by Paul Bowersox
Europe: A Textbook Case of How NOT to Go About Emissions Reductions -by Jim Hopf

What is really needed to effectively reduce emissions of CO2 and
unhealthy pollutants? Jim Hopf takes a look at the situation with the
European Union's energy policies - and finds a bizarre case in which
cap-and-trade combined with renewable-specific mandates and subsidies
work at cross purposes.

Meanwhile, subsidies for ultra-low-emission nuclear energy, in contrast
to the outright mandating of renewables, is a point of great contention.

Result: high costs of power generation, coupled with high emissions.
But there is a relatively simple way to rectify.
The Hiroshima Syndrome - Leslie Corrice
How much money have Fukushima refugees received in compensation from Tokyo Electric Power Company?  It took me several days to get my mind around the numbers.  I had a feeling the stipends were considerable, but NOTHING like this.  No wonder so many Fukushima evacuees say they won't go home when the restriction is lifted.  Being a refugee has become big business.
Michele Kearney has asked that I include Barry Brook's "Brave New Climate" piece, a guest post on the effects of radiation written by Geoff Russell.  It's a good piece - it's honest and direct, but not dry.  Here is the link: 
Yes Vermont Yankee - Meredith Angwin
When Vermont Yankee announced it would close, the Vermont Public Service Board was still considering the plant's application for a Certificate of Public Good CPG through 2032. Entergy amended its request, asking for a one-year CPG through the end of 2014. Governor Shumlin's administration immediately recommended that the Public Service Board only give such a certificate if Entergy deposited $60 million in a new fund for decommissioning and sent over four million to the state government to help the state deal with this "sudden, unplanned shutdown." In other words, when it comes to Vermont Yankee, Vermont is still in a state of extortion.
Sixteen legislators from important committees drove to Vernon, Vermont, the home of Vermont Yankee. There, they went to the Vernon Elementary School to listen to the local reaction to the plan of the plant closing. They seemed quite shocked to find economic pain. However, one key legislator said that they had "more appreciation" of what was going on in the area, and that was a "big accomplishment."
NewsOK Science and Technology - Robert Bruce Hayes
Another in a series of educational pieces which attempts to educate readers on the realities of nuclear technology, using familiar analogies and relationships.
That's it for this week's Carnival entries!  All that's left is to answer ... "What is this?"
For those of you who said "those look like steam turbines," you get one third credit.  For those of you who recognized this equipment as steam turbine propulsion equipment for a ship, you get half credit. 
Anyone who guessed that this was the propulsion equipment for the nuclear powered merchant ship N.S. Savannah gets three quarters credit.  For anyone who guessed that this photo shows the equipment under test BEFORE it was ever installed in the ship -- full credit.
The photo comes from the April 1960 issue of the trade magazine ATOM INDUSTRY.  The original caption says "Shown under test at the DeLaval Steam Turbine Company, this steam turbine will propel the NS SAVANNAH along the world's water routes at a steady 21 knots.  Atomic heat will produce the steam, representing the world's first application of nuclear energy in a merchant vessel.  Carrying a crew of about 110, and with accommodations for 60 passengers and 10,000 tons of cargo, the NS SAVANNAH will be able to operate for 3-1/2 years on one fuel loading.  Under normal operation, the power plant will deliver a steady 20,000 shaft horsepower.  (Joint Atomic Energy Commission - Maritime Administration project.)
This equipment comprises compounded turbines and reduction gears. In this photo we can see at far right at the upper corner the steam chest and throttle assembly mounted on the high pressure turbine.  The turbine casing, doughnut shaped, is next (to the left) followed by the high speed drive pinion casing, and the big rounded intermediate gear casing on top of the very large bull gear casing.  The other turbine is the low pressure turbine .. much larger, and slower ... with its own pinion and gear casings.  The attachment for an emergency electric drive motor is visible on the end of the low pressure turbine drive pinion casing.
As to the description of the power output; 20,000 HP was the contracted sustained output, but the maximum was higher than this.

At left we see my copy of the NS Savannah Technical Specifications, May 1964 as published by the NS Savannah Technical Staff jointly manned by Babcock & Wilcox and Todd Shipyards.  Page 17, Specification 6:  "The main propulsion unit shall be capable of delivering 22,000 SHP in maximum continuous duty.  The astern power capability shall be 8,000 SHP.  The propulsion unit shall be equipped with a 750 HP reversible electric motor." 
Steam conditions at full rated power were 425 psig and 454 F, with a total steam flow rate of 307,500 lbs/hr.
The steam plant was equipped with a steam dump direct to the condenser which could handle a maximum flow rate of 190,000 lbs/hr. 


Above, a view of the power plant control room located in the engine room of the NS Savannah.  This station is glassed-in; the panels you are seeing are on the after end, while windows (to the right of the camera) look out over the engine room (and the turbines we've seen earlier.)  The panel we see at extreme left is the reactor plant control panel, with diagrammatic depictions of the reactor at center, pressurizer above it, and two steam generators either side.  To the right end of the same section is the steam plant control, with large hydraulic throttle operator.  Specifications for the throttles called for a design opening or closing time for ahead throttle of at least 25 seconds and at least 14 seconds for the astern throttle.  This illustration comes from the official tour brochure for the NS Savannah, printed by States Marine Lines (original operator of the ship for MARAD) and a copy of which is in my collection.

By the way -- as some of you know, I've stood right where this photo was taken.  Years back I had the opportunity to do some work on the NS Savannah, and toured many normally off limits spaces with the then-curator of the Patriots Point Naval Museum.   I'm doing this particular feature this time for the Carnival because ... over 20 years later ... I will set foot again on this ship NEXT WEEK as part of the American Nuclear Society's Winter Meeting.  You'll see full coverage of that tour on the ANS Nuclear Cafe blog.

I've spent the intervening years thinking about the ship off and on.  I've collected quite a bit of material on the ship, both things that were in contemporary print (like both popular and public magazines) as well as trade paper items and even technical items.  At left - Technical Manual for all of the Savannah's engine room pumps, in my collection.  DeLaval Steam Turbine Company had design responsibility for the engine room equipment; all engine room pumps were supplied by Worthington Corporation.  This manual covers all of these pumps.  Item:  NS Savannah had an almost all-electric pump fit; only the main feed pumps were steam driven.  All others had electric drive (Electro-Dynamic Corporation.)

I really look forward to both a very active ANS Winter Meeting... and a very fantastic tour at the end of it that has historical tones, nostalgic tones, and implications for the future.  You'll see the full story at ANS Nuclear Cafe --- so don't miss it!

Bar / Lounge, NS Savannah as built; States Marine Lines brochure

1:30 PM Eastern 11/3/2013

Friday, October 25, 2013

South Korea: Cables fail tests; Government suing LS Group; Price Fixing

This website has been tracking the developments concerning corruption (including bribery for contracts) and faked certification of parts in the South Korean nuclear industry since July of this year; you can click here to see the original post on this topic on Atomic Power Review, which detailed the developments as then released dating back through June 2013.

In that post, I asked a number of questions; two can now be answered.  In terms of "will parts with faked certificates actually work," the answer appears in at least one case to be "no," and "do parts supplied under these bribery-induced contracts meet specs," the answer also appears to be "no."  Much else has developed in the interim.

Let's detail developments in recent times, since it was announced that about 100 people had been indicted overall in the scandal (which wasn't reported on this site.)

•In early October, it was found that eight nuclear cable suppliers were price fixing; a fine was imposed and a case referred to prosecutors.  See this link.

•The cable makers were found to have been paying very high dividends - and it was noted that the fine amount was insignificant to deter the practice when compared with the profit derived from a successful bid.  See this link.

•A large number of faked testing results were discovered in connection with investigation into the corruption scandal, including 277 used to cover parts at operating plants.  See this link.

•Suspect cables have failed inspections at two reactor plants.  See this link.

•On October 17 it was revealed that the Korean Government would sue LS Group, which owns JS Cable - the major culprit in supply of suspect cables.  See this link.

•Another piece hinted that LS Group might sue Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power.  See this link.

•On October 22, Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power confirmed it would sue LS Group for very significant amounts in damages.  See this link.

Some of the reporting linked above includes the revelation that the easy movement of public officials to nuclear power or utility companies (and back) is part of the problem, and a moratorium period of three years during which this transfer cannot occur has been suggested.  No action has been definitively taken on this measure, however, as the major focus at this time is discovery of the extent of possible threat due to truly undocumented and untested parts and discovery of the extent of the corruption that led to this entire episode in the first place. 

As always, I will continue to update on this situation periodically as warranted.

1:40 PM Eastern 10/25/2017

Thursday, October 17, 2013

SCE Requests Arbitration in SONGS Steam Generator Dispute with MHI

Press release below from Southern California Edison.


Media Contact: Maureen Brown, (626) 302-2255
Investor Relations: Scott Cunningham, (626) 302-2540

SCE Asks for Arbitration Against Mitsubishi Heavy Industries over Defective San Onofre Steam Generators

ROSEMEAD, Calif., Oct. 16, 2013 — Southern California Edison (SCE) today submitted to the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) a Request for Arbitration which states claims against Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Mitsubishi Nuclear Energy Systems for the defective steam generators Mitsubishi designed and built for the San Onofre nuclear plant.

The request for binding arbitration seeks to hold Mitsubishi accountable for the defective replacement steam generators, a failure which led to the permanent shutdown of the plant and caused billions of dollars in harm.

“We are taking this step today to ensure that Mitsubishi takes responsibility for providing defective steam generators and to recover, on behalf of our customers, all damages from Mitsubishi for its failures,” said Ron Litzinger, SCE president.

SCE requested arbitration after the Notice of Dispute it filed against Mitsubishi in July did not produce a resolution. The Request for Arbitration says that Mitsubishi totally and fundamentally breached its contract by failing to deliver what it promised. Among other things, SCE also alleges that Mitsubishi failed to submit to a contractually mandated audit requiring it to disclose documents relevant to the design and other aspects of the replacement steam generator project and its implementation.

A panel of three ICC arbitrators will oversee the proceedings in San Francisco. The contract is governed by California law.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) announced in September that it had identified flaws in the computer codes that Mitsubishi used to design the failed steam generators, and the agency issued a “Notice of Non-Conformance” against Mitsubishi for the failed design that resulted from the implementation of the codes. The NRC also cited SCE for the failed design created by Mitsubishi.

SCE announced June 7 that it would permanently shut down San Onofre Units 2 and 3, and begin the process to decommission the nuclear plant.

SCE has made public key documents regarding the failure of the San Onofre replacement steam generators in a Digital Document Library. The library, however, remains incomplete because Mitsubishi has refused to make public other key documents.

For more information about SCE, follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

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. 

11:55 AM Eastern 10/17/2013

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

SCE Demands Mitsubishi Allow Contractually Mandated Audit

The following press release was received last evening from Southern California Edison.


Media Contact: Media Relations, (626) 302-2255

SCE Demands that Mitsubishi Submit to Contractually Mandated Audit

Mitsubishi Has Refused Repeated Requests to Allow the Audit in the Months Since Its Failed Replacement Steam Generators Resulted in the Permanent Closure of San Onofre

ROSEMEAD, Calif., Oct. 7, 2013 — Southern California Edison (SCE) today announced that it has formally demanded that Mitsubishi Heavy Industries agree to undergo a contractually mandated audit of Mitsubishi's design and manufacture of Replacement Steam Generators (RSGs) for the San Onofre nuclear plant. On Sept. 20, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) concluded that a flaw in Mitsubishi's computer model led to the failure of the Replacement Steam Generators. The NRC's investigation also uncovered internal Mitsubishi consultant materials that expressed concerns about Mitsubishi's computer model.

Edison's latest formal audit demand, set forth in a letter from SCE president Ron Litzinger, can be found at http://www.songscommunity.com/docs/093013_letter.pdf. The letter notes that SCE “officials and lawyers have made this [audit] request on at least three prior occasions, but Mitsubishi has steadfastly refused to date to submit to this audit.” Litzinger wrote that he was appealing once again “because Mitsubishi's repeated refusal to agree to such an audit is harmful to the public, regulators and our entire industry, as it hinders efforts to understand and learn from the RSGs’ failures.”

The SCE audit demand letter says that “[t]he contractual language requiring Mitsubishi to undergo this audit could not be clearer . . .: Section 1.9.6 of the contract gives [SCE] the right to ‘examine and copy’ Mitsubishi's ‘books, accounts, relevant correspondence, specifications, time cards, drawings, designs, and other documentation, to the extent that these are related and relevant to the Work under the Purchase Order[.]’”

In repeatedly refusing to submit to the audit, Mitsubishi has argued that this contractual language applies only to financial information necessary to support invoices. SCE’s demand letter characterizes Mitsubishi's excuse as “disappointing” and says that it “will only confirm the suspicion that Mitsubishi refuses to be transparent.”

Litzinger's letter concludes by saying that SCE “stands ready to begin the audit as soon as Mitsubishi advises that it will abide by the straightforward terms of the contract.”

In July, SCE filed a Notice of Dispute with Mitsubishi in an attempt to recover all damages caused by Mitsubishi’s failed design and manufacture of the San Onofre Replacement Steam Generators that led to the shutdown of the nuclear plant. SCE has also announced that it continues to reserve all of its rights as to any and all legal remedies available against Mitsubishi. Finally, SCE has made public key documents regarding the failure of the San Onofre Replacement Steam Generators in a Digital Document Library located at www.SONGScommunity.com/library, although the Digital Library remains incomplete because of Mitsubishi’s continued refusal to permit other key documents to be made public.

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. 


10:24 AM Eastern 10/8/2012

Monday, October 7, 2013

Resin-based solution to Fukushima water problems

Below is a very interesting press release I received this morning.  I think all of us knew that (among many other things) the Fukushima Daiichi accident would lead to new technologies, or useful developments of existing technologies.  This announcement seems to herald just that kind of development.



Purolite Corporation develops an ion exchange resin based solution to the Fukushima radioactive water crisis

Reduces radionuclides to non-detect levels

Bala Cynwyd, PA – October 1, 2013 - Purolite Corporation, a world leader in water treatment and the treatment of radioactive nuclides in high chloride water announced today, that after two years of extensive research and development, it has a solution to the multiple issues surrounding the Fukushima radioactive water crisis. The proprietary process incorporates a total solution to include the four main points identified by TEPCO in its most recent request for proposals.

The Purolite solution can be quickly implemented and can achieve the following goals:

1. Remove 62 identified radioactive nuclides contained in the Fukushima water to non- detectable status. This was confirmed in tests using actual reactor site contaminated water.

2. Eliminate over 80% of the radioactive sludge versus normal precipitation treatment.

3. Eliminate the need for storage tanks for highly radioactive water.

4. Reduce the need to build water intrusion walls around the reactors.

“Our technical experts worked in cooperation with major Japanese companies over the past two years to develop a unique solution to this complex problem,”said Steve Brodie, President. “Our proprietary technology effectively removes the identified containments and will help solve Fukushima Daiichi’s environmental problems.”

The continuous accumulation of radioactive water at the tsunami stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is unprecedented and well documented. Currently there are over 1,000 storage tanks at the reactor site containing over 300,000 cubic meters of highly radioactive water. More and more tanks are being built daily to accommodate the intrusion of about 400 m3/day groundwater into the reactor cooling water loopbecause it remains too toxic to discharge to the environment.

About Purolite

Purolite Corporation is a leading manufacturer of ion exchange media, catalysts, adsorbents and advanced polymers for life sciences. Headquartered in Bala Cynwyd, PA, the company has ISO-9001 certified manufacturing facilities in the USA, China and Romania and operates dedicated R&D centers in the USA, China, Romania, Russia and the UK. Purolite also has a technical laboratory in Japan. Purolite, the only company focused exclusively on resin technology, has 40 sales offices in more than 30 countries.


To learn more about Purolite, please go to
purolite.com or contact

Jeffrey Frain

Global Marketing Manager

150 Monument Road, Ste. 202

Office: (610) 668-9090

Fax: (610) 668-8139