Michele Kearney's Nuclear Wire

Major News and Commentary Military and Civilian Nuclear Activities

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Does the end of cheap, easy oil really mean the end of cheap, reliable energy?

Does the end of cheap, easy oil really mean the end of cheap, reliable energy?

Fission can help avoid a post hydrocarbon economic collapse

Fission can help avoid a post hydrocarbon economic collapse

End of era of cheap combustion energy; beginning of era of cheap fission energy

End of era of cheap combustion energy; beginning of era of cheap fission energy

Bellefonte Nuclear Modernization: Safer, Stronger, Sustainable Clean Energy

Bellefonte Nuclear Modernization: Safer, Stronger, Sustainable Clean Energy

Pakistan seeking 'third-generation nuclear technology' import from China


Pakistan seeking 'third-generation nuclear technology' import from China

Today's plants far safer than Fukushima: US expert

Today's plants far safer than Fukushima: US expert

Obama admin reworked Solyndra loan to favor donor JACK GILLUM, Associated Press, MATTHEW DALY, Associated Press



Obama admin reworked Solyndra loan to favor donor

EDITORIAL: Reid goes nuclear on waste storage NRC vote leaves Yucca Mountain unresolved

EDITORIAL: Reid goes nuclear on waste storage

NRC vote leaves Yucca Mountain unresolved

There Will Be Oil

There Will Be Oil

For decades, advocates of 'peak oil' have been predicting a crisis in energy supplies. They've been wrong at every turn, saysDaniel Yergin.

Unreliables cannot provide energy security or enhance natural environment

Unreliables cannot provide energy security or enhance natural environment

The Vermont Yankee versus Vermont-Shumlin Trial: What's Next, and What Happened

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Vermont Yankee versus Vermont-Shumlin Trial: What's Next, and What Happened

PEST(EL) in the Nuclear Industry – Social Factors (part 7)

PEST(EL) in the Nuclear Industry – Social Factors (part 7)

Last time we examined the industry demographics affecting development and growth of the industry. This week, we’re going to look at the social factors affecting acceptance of nuclear industry around the world.

Anti-Nuclear Movement

The nuclear movement has long had detractors that consistently find ways to try to eliminate the industry. Looking at the history of some of the major organizations and understanding the motivation can be instructive.

 

GAO Report: Nuclear Material Sent Overseas Remains Unaccounted For

GAO Report: Nuclear Material Sent Overseas Remains Unaccounted For

Marion Gold: Irene reminds us we have to change our energy system

 

Marion Gold: Irene reminds us we have to change our energy system

Saudis 'eye Pakistani nukes' to face Iran

Saudis 'eye Pakistani nukes' to face Iran

Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UPI) Sep 15, 2011
Saudi Arabia has been beefing up its military links with Pakistan to counter Iran's expansionist plans and this reportedly includes acquiring atomic arms from the only Muslim nuclear power or its pledge of nuclear cover. Pakistan has become a front-line state for Sunni Islam and is being positioned by its leaders, particularly in the powerful military and intelligence establishments, as
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Safety Culture Starts at Home

Safety Culture Starts at Home

September 13, 2011Terry Hardy

China's pause for thought

China's pause for thought
16 September 2011
"Fukushima made a huge impact on China's nuclear industry," Yun Zhou, a special consultant of Ux Consulting and research fellow at Harvard University, told the WNA Symposium. The country will rethink regulation before returning to full-speed nuclear build.

World Nuclear Energy projected to double by 2030

World Nuclear Energy projected to double by 2030

Friday, September 16, 2011

Thorium: the element that could power our future

Thorium: the element that could power our future
Wired.co.uk
The Thorium Energy Amplifier Association (ThorEA) is championing the use of thorium as an alternative to uranium for producing clean, carbon-free electricity. The element was used in more than a dozen reactors in the early 60s, including at the Oak

Pure Fantasy On Green Manufacturing, Solar Jobs and The Mainstream Media

Pure Fantasy On Green Manufacturing, Solar Jobs and The Mainstream Media
RenewableEnergyWorld.com
Until 2008, the US had held the top spot, which is now firmly held by China. Globally, 2010 clean energy finance and investments grew by 30 percent to a record $243 billion.

Back to court for Yucca Mountain?

Back to court for Yucca Mountain?

Las Vegas Review-Journal (blog) -
Looks like the lawyers may be heading back to court in the legal fight over the Yucca Mountain Project, or what is left of it. This week, an attorney for Washington state -- which has millions of gallons of nuclear waste it wants moved -- asked the ...

26 Organizations Call for Resumption of Yucca Mountain Review

26 Organizations Call for Resumption of Yucca Mountain Review

MarketWatch (press release) - ‎Sep 15, 2011‎
WASHINGTON, Sept. 15, 2011 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- More than two dozen prominent national, state, local and Native American organizations have written to the US Senate expressing their support for funding for the resumption of the Yucca Mountain ...

Cornelius Milmoe "NRC terminates Yucca Mountain proceeding"

Cornelius Milmoe "NRC terminates Yucca Mountain proceeding" -- Despite the ASLB and court rulings, the NRC has suspended all agency action on the Yucca Mountain application and refused to release the Safety Evaluation Report (SER) prepared by NRC staff.  It seems likely the court of appeals will conclude the NRC is guilty of unreasonable delay...
http://ansnuclearcafe.org/2011/09/15/nrc-terminates-yucca-proceeding-%e2%80%93-next-stop-federal-court/

"Blue Ribbon Commission report focuses on process"

Dr. Steve Skutnik "Blue Ribbon Commission report focuses on process" -- While centralized interim storage remains at the heart of its recommendations, a major focus of the full report has been on the process of nuclear waste management policy, including issues of site selection, regulations, and access to funding. Concerns over spent fuel in light of Fukushima also permeate the full report, underscoring the need for an integrated fuel management strategy.
http://ansnuclearcafe.org/2011/09/12/about-the-blue-ribbon-commission-on-americas-nuclear-energy-future-full-draft-report/

atomic power review Are we still dealing with the fallout of the energy crisis?

atomic power review

Are we still dealing with the fallout of the energy crisis?

The recent failure of Solyndra, a solar power equipment manufacturer who had received from the US Government $527.8 million dollars (Jim Snyder / Bloomberg, September 9) to manufacture solar panel equipment and which declared bankruptcy with liabilities of $783.8 million dollars, brings much of the US energy policy .. such as it is .. into sharp focus for us today. The decision by the Federal Government to investigate this firm for ties to the Obama administration further shines the spotlight on the situation not just for solar power manufacturers, but for the focus of the future energy policy of this country.

 

Facts, Facts and more Facts http://wp.me/p1fSSY-rE

Facts, Facts and more Facts

Moderator | September 16, 2011 at 10:19 am | Tags: nuclear | Categories: General | URL: http://wp.me/p1fSSY-rE
• The NRC administers approximately 3,000 nuclear material licenses a year.
• In 2010, the NRC spent 6,055 inspection hours at operating nuclear reactors, with at least two NRC resident inspectors located at each plant site.
• NRC has bilateral programs of assistance or cooperation with 40 countries.
• The NRC examines transport-related safety during approximately 1,000 safety inspections of fuel, reactor and materials licensees annually.
• 29 nuclear power reactors are permanently shut down or in the decommissioning process.
These facts and far more can be found in the new 2011–2012 Information Digest, just posted on our website. The digest is a very important tool that gives the public valuable insight to the NRC, serves as a great reference for the public and the media, and uses graphics, charts and tables to help illustrate concepts.
You can find the Information Digest online and the NRC has partnered with data.gov to provide some of the information in the appendices as interactive data sets. Additionally, one can find copies of photographs, graphics and tables in the NRC photo gallery to help tell the story!
Ivonne Couret
Public Affairs Officer

Dissecting the BRC report, Part I: Where they got it right

Dissecting the BRC report, Part I: Where they got it right

Sept. 16, 2011 Pat Parenteau: The Meaning of Judge Murtha’s Questions

Sept. 16, 2011 Pat Parenteau: The Meaning of Judge Murtha’s Questions


At the close of the trial on Wednesday, Judge Murtha paid obligatory compliments to the lawyers for both sides and then posed a series of provocative questions that must be addressed in post-trial briefs (as if he wasn’t already buried in paper).
First, he requested additional analysis of what lawyers call the equity issues — waiver, estoppel, laches, and unclean hands. Second, he asked the parties to brief the issue of whether section 248 of Vermont’s energy facilities law was “severable” form the other statues that Entergy has challenged (Acts 74, 160 and 189). Finally he asked Entergy to spell out exactly what kind of relief it was seeking.
What clues, if any, do these questions provide into the judge’s thinking? First, a brief explanation of these arcane equity issues.
Waiver: This refers to the infamous 2002 memorandum of understanding (MOA) that we have addressed many times in past blog posts. The question is did Entergy waive its right to sue the state when it signed the MOA? And is that waiver enforceable? Entergy says no because the state Legislature changed the rules when it passed Act 160 stripping the Vermont Public Service Board (PSB) of its authority to issue a new certificate of public good (CPG) without the approval of the Legislature. The state says Entergy is still bound by the agreement because it acquiesced in Act 160 and has derived substantial economic benefit from the MOA. Entergy also argues that it can not “waive federal preemption.” The state responds that it isn’t a question of waiving federal preemption it’s a question of Entergy waiving its right to sue. I think the state has the better of the argument on both points. In the 1989 Duquesne Power & Light case, the Supreme Court said that “It cannot seriously be contended that the Constitution prevents state legislatures from giving specific instructions to their utility commissions.”
Estoppel: Closely related to waiver, this doctrine holds that parties can not disavow prior commitments, or change their legal position, whenever it suits their interests. The state makes a strong case that Entergy has consistently taken the position — before the PSB, the legislature and the courts – that Vermont retains the authority to decide whether to issue a new CPG for the plant. Entergy has not countered these facts or provided any authority to justify its volte face (about face).
Laches: No, this is not the thing that locks your door. This venerable doctrine holds that a party can be barred from raising a claim due to “unreasonable delay that prejudices the opposing party.” The state says if Entergy was so concerned about the constitutionality of these statutes, why didn’t it raise a fuss about it years ago? If it thought the Legislature had acted unreasonably in taking away the PSB’s authority, why didn’t it say something about it in 2005? If it thought that all of these statutes were just “pretexts’ to hide an unconstitutional usurpation of federal jurisdiction, why didn’t it bring suit way back then? Entergy has provided no explanation for why it waited so long to raise any objection to these statutes. It did make a technical legal argument that its lawsuit did not become “ripe” until the NRC issued the license extension in 2010. Wrong. The U.S. Supreme Court addressed that very issue in the PGE case and held that the utilities were entitled to challenge the California law when it was passed because “postponement of decision would likely work substantial hardship on the utilities.”
Unclean Hands. My favorite. This doctrine says “those who seek equity must do equity.” Equitable remedies are considered “extraordinary relief” that federal courts are hesitant to grant especially where it would have the effect of trampling state sovereignty. Entergy is asking a federal court to declare a raft of state laws unconstitutional and order Vermont not to interfere with its right to keep operating for (at least) another 20 years.  It argues that Vermont not only has no authority to regulate the nuclear safety aspects of the plant (and can not be trusted even when it says it is not doing that), but that it has no authority to regulate the economic aspects of the plant either because only FERC can regulate “merchant” power providers. The upshot is that Entergy basically wants a ruling that it can run Vermont Yankee for as long as the NRC allows even though it never sells another electron to any Vermont customer. This is truly extraordinary relief. No court has ever done anything this radical. If Entergy’s theory of federal preemption is correct, it would apply to hundreds of merchant power plants, both nuclear and non-nuclear, all across the nation. The state argues that Entergy does not come to court with clean hands and has no standing to plead for equity. Exhibit A? The testimony of Entergy’s own vice president, Mr. Hebert, who testified that Entergy’s misrepresentations regarding the tritium leaks, the surprise announcement of the proposed spin-off to Enexus, the failure to meet commitments regarding the decommissioning fund, and many other instances of broken promises had so poisoned the well that even a staunch supporter like former Gov. Jim Douglas was moved to publicly announce that he had “lost faith” in the company’s management. I think the state wins this one “hands down.”
It is significant that Judge Murtha called for further briefing on these issues for several reasons. First, he may be looking for a way to avoid having to rule on a tricky preemption issue in a messy fact pattern. The constitutional avoidance doctrine (yes, there is a doctrine for everything) holds that courts should avoid ruling on constitutional questions where there are alternative grounds for disposing of a case (see SWANCC v Corps of Engineers). If Judge Murtha rules that Entergy waived its right to sue or that its claims should be barred, or that the relief it seeks is unavailable, it would not be necessary to reach the preemption issues.
Second, Entergy has not briefed these equity issues. Not one word about them in the briefs that have been filed. Not mentioned in either the opening or the (interminable) closing arguments. Curious. Could it be that Entergy really has nothing to say about them?
Third, Judge Murtha said nothing about these issues in his order denying the preliminary injunction and showed little interest in them up to now. Presumably, he would not call for further briefing and compound an already cluttered record unless he thought they were important. Of course, he could just be crossing all the T’s and dotting all the I’s. But I don’t think so. He has heard enough to believe that Entergy does not deserve to win this case.
Then there is the question about section 248. This one comes out of left field (or is there only right field these days?) Section 248 is the provision that contains all of the criteria the PSB is to consider in deciding whether to issue a CPG. The criteria include everything from economics to reliability to environmental considerations associated with energy facilities. But neither side has raised it as an issue in the case. Under the doctrine of severability (there he goes again), a court may declare that certain portions of a statute may be unconstitutional but that other portions are not. Could it be that Judge Murtha is thinking that he could strike certain language from some of the challenged statues — for example, the much debated word “safety?”– but still preserve the state’s right to shut Vermont Yankee down for any number of reasons articulated in section 248?  Now that’s a fascinating possibility. But pure speculation at this point.
Finally, we come to his last query to Entergy: What is it exactly that you want me to do? This is also interesting. Entergy has not always been clear about which specific statutes must be struck down as unconstitutional. In her opening argument, Entergy attorney Kathleen Sullivan singled out Acts 74, 160 and 189, but in the briefs Entergy cites many other statutes that it claims must be declared invalid. This is where the severability question becomes important. If Entergy isn’t careful, it may miss a statute that will save the state’s authority to shut the plant down. But it also must be careful of trying to bootstrap additional statutes into the case that it has not previously challenged. It is also likely that whatever relief Murtha orders, it will not foreclose the Vermont Legislature from revisiting the question of Vermont Yankee’s continued operation, or perhaps even remanding the case to the PSB.
In sum, though the outcome is still in doubt, I view judge Murtha’s questions as favorable to the state’s case. It will be interesting to see the answers from both sides.

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Recent Blackout Highlights Nation's Rickety Power Grid by Ariel Wittenberg

by Ariel Wittenberg

Science Lags As Health Problems Emerge Near Gas Fields by Abrahm Lustgarten and Nicholas Kusnetz

Science Lags As Health Problems Emerge Near Gas Fields

National Nuclear Security Administration's Stockpile Stewardship and Management Plan

Dear Ms. Kearney,
Today, we published the third post in a new blog series jointly produced by FAS and the Union of Concerned Scientists. This four part series will analyze the National Nuclear Security Administration's Stockpile Stewardship and Management Plan and future challenges the plan will face in the new budget environment.
Since the 1950s, the reliability of U.S. nuclear warheads has been successfully validated using a wide range of simulation experiments, such as the compression of fissile material in hydrodynamic tests. These hydrodynamic tests are designed to mimic the first stages of a nuclear explosion. Yet, in the FY 2012 Stockpile Stewardship and Management Plan, there is a push to increase the size of hydrodynamic tests and use more fissile material to more closely resemble actual warhead design. NNSA officials claim scaled experiments could yield more data and save money, but the weapons laboratories and Congress say that the plan is premature and needs more studying.
To read more about the push for use of scaled experiments by NNSA in the third post of this series, click here.
Please join me on Friday, September 23, 2011 at 1 PM EST in which I will be participating in a conference call with FAS members to answer questions and discuss the implications of the 2012 Stockpile Stewardship Management Plan. If you would like to participate in this call, please e-mail Katie Colten at kcolten@fas.org by Thursday, September 22.
Thank you for your continued support of FAS and helping us reduce the role of nuclear weapons in our world.
With Gratitude,

Hans M. Kristensen

Editor's Note

Dear Readers
I am on business travel today and will resume posting this evening.
Michele Kearney

Westinghouse Electric Company Adopts Principles of Conduct for Exporters of Nuclear Power Plants

Westinghouse Electric Company Adopts Principles of Conduct for Exporters of Nuclear Power Plants

- Carnegie Endowment for International Peace initiative promotes safety, security and nonproliferation in the commercial nuclear power industry

Nuclear reactors under construction in Jenkinsville

Nuclear reactors under construction in Jenkinsville

NRC Denies Petitions to Delay Licensing for Nuclear Plants, AP1000 and ESBWR Reactor Designs, Pending Fukushima Studies

NRC Denies Petitions to Delay Licensing for Nuclear Plants, AP1000 and ESBWR Reactor Designs, Pending Fukushima Studies

Market Risks Are Seen in Energy Innovations by Mathew Wald

Market Risks Are Seen in Energy Innovations

China supports nuke-free Middle East

China supports nuke-free Middle East

Saudis 'eye Pakistani nukes' to face Iran

Saudis 'eye Pakistani nukes' to face Iran
Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UPI) Sep 15, 2011 - Saudi Arabia has been beefing up its military links with Pakistan to counter Iran's expansionist plans and this reportedly includes acquiring atomic arms from the only Muslim nuclear power or its pledge of nuclear cover. Pakistan has become a front-line state for Sunni Islam and is being positioned by its leaders, particularly in the powerful military and intelligence establishments, as ... more

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Today's plants far safer than Fukushima: US expert

Today's plants far safer than Fukushima: US expert
Today's nuclear reactors are "much safer" than the Japanese plant damaged in this year's earthquake and tsunami, a US expert said Thursday, citing dramatic improvements that could prevent similar disasters.

Obama admin ignored warnings about Solyndra

Obama admin ignored warnings about Solyndra

Second Fukushima plant unlikely to reopen: Japan minister

Second Fukushima plant unlikely to reopen: Japan minister

atomic power review: Are we still dealing with the fallout of the energy crisis?

atomic power review



Are we still dealing with the fallout of the energy crisis?

IAEA Leans on North Korea Over Nuke Program

IAEA Leans on North Korea Over Nuke Program

The International Atomic Energy Agency and some member nations this month are leaning on North Korea over its nuclear-weapon program, even while the U.N. organization has had no formal presence in the North for years, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday (see GSN, Sept. 14).

Arab Nations Could Drop IAEA Bid to Pressure Israel

Arab Nations Could Drop IAEA Bid to Pressure Israel

An anticipated push by Arab governments for the International Atomic Energy Agency to demand greater nuclear transparency from Israel might be set aside in an effort to advance regional arms control dialogues, envoys told Reuters on Thursday (see GSN, Sept. 9).

http://gsn.nti.org/gsn/nw_20110915_4880.php

Obama Presses Japan on Atomic Security Efforts

Obama Presses Japan on Atomic Security Efforts

President Obama last month pressed then-Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan to make a committed effort to advance initiatives aimed at improving the protection and tracking of atomic material, Japanese officials told Kyodo News on Wednesday (see GSN, Sept. 14).

Nuclear reactor vendors sign on to international code of conduct

Nuclear reactor vendors sign on to international code of conduct

Initiative promotes safety, security and nonproliferation in the commercial nuclear power industry

NRC Denies Petitions to Delay Licensing for Nuclear Plants, AP1000 and ESBWR Reactor Designs, Pending Fukushima Studies

Blog Post: NRC Denies Petitions to Delay Licensing for Nuclear Plants, AP1000 and ESBWR Reactor Designs, Pending Fukushima Studies

from Nuclear Power Industry News

Business Execs Call for Major Federal Investments in Energy Innovation

Business Execs Call for Major Federal Investments in Energy Innovation

The Swiss army nuclear knife

The Swiss army nuclear knife

Barry Brook | 15 September 2011 at 4:09 PM | Categories: Emissions, Nuclear, Policy | URL: http://wp.me/piCIJ-1j2
Guest Post by Geoff RussellGeoff is a mathematician and computer programmer and is a member of Animal Liberation SA. His recently published book is CSIRO Perfidy. His previous article on BNC was: Greenpeace's Plan for India

Energy, Electricity and Nuclear Power Estimates for the Period up to 2050

Energy, Electricity and Nuclear Power Estimates for the Period up to 2050

IAEA Reference Data Series 1, 2011 Edition
http://www-pub.iaea.org/MTCD/Publications/PDF/RDS1_31.pdf

Three Earthquakes Around Magnitude 6 in New Zealand, Cuba and Japan

Three Earthquakes Around Magnitude 6 in New Zealand, Cuba and Japan

Energy in Japan Bright ideas needed

Energy in Japan

Bright ideas needed

Japan’s power monopolies raise costs and stifle innovation

ICRP Draft Report for Consultation - Radiological Protection in Geological Disposal of Long-lived Solid Radioactive Waste

ICRP Draft Report for Consultation - Radiological Protection in Geological Disposal of Long-lived Solid Radioactive Waste

The draft ICRP report “Radiological Protection in Geological Disposal of Long-lived Solid Radioactive Waste” is now available for public consultation. ICRP welcomes comments from individuals and groups. The draft document can be downloaded, and comments submitted, through the ICRP web site.

http://www.icrp.org/docs/Radiological_protection_in_geological_disposal.pdf

Chairman Tiberi and Chairman Boustany Announce Joint Hearing on Energy Tax Policy and Tax Reform

HEARING ADVISORY
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 15, 2011
Jim Billimoria, Michelle Dimarob and Sarah Swinehart

Chairman Tiberi and Chairman Boustany Announce Joint
Hearing on Energy Tax Policy and Tax Reform
Congressman Pat Tiberi (R-OH), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures, and Congressman Charles Boustany (R-LA), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight, both of the Committee on Ways and Means, today announced that the two Subcommittees will hold a joint hearing on the intersection of energy policy and tax policy, with a focus on the dual priorities of comprehensive tax reform and a sustainable energy policy that addresses our economic, security, and environmental needs. The hearing will take place on Thursday, September 22, 2011, in Room 1100 of the Longworth House Office Building at 9:30 A.M.
The hearing was originally scheduled for 10:00 A.M. on Wednesday, August 3, 2011, in Room 1100 of the Longworth House Office Building, but was postponed.
In announcing the hearing, Chairman Tiberi said, “Energy security and comprehensive tax reform are two of the most important priorities we can pursue to create jobs and ensure the long-term strength of the U.S. economy.  As the committee with jurisdiction over energy tax policy, the Ways and Means Committee should examine whether there sometimes can be tension between these priorities, and how this Committee can design tax policies that achieve our energy security goals while also staying true to the principles of simplicity, fairness, and growth that drive the Committee’s tax reform agenda.”
Chairman Boustany said, “With so much of our energy policy driven by the tax code, comprehensive tax reform needs to consider whether these tax incentives promote a sound energy strategy.  This hearing will examine how IRS implements and enforces rules on energy credits, and it will explore the role of the tax code in energy policy.”
BACKGROUND:
As part of the Ways and Means Committee’s tax reform agenda, the Committee and its Subcommittees intend to hold hearings on how comprehensive tax reform would affect particular sectors of the economy.  Given the critical economic, security, and environmental considerations surrounding the energy sector, Chairman Camp requested that Chairmen Tiberi and Boustany begin with an inquiry into energy tax policy.  The current tax code includes numerous provisions intended to advance various energy policy goals, including provisions dealing with production, efficiency, and conservation, and ranging from transportation fuels to electricity generation.
There are three general views regarding energy tax policy.  Some believe that many of these energy tax provisions are an effective and efficient way to advance important public policy goals.  Others suggest that the current structure of energy tax incentives picks winners and losers, rather than applying technology-neutral tests that would encourage investment in the most promising technologies.  Still others believe that the tax code should not subsidize energy at all, because doing so interferes with the free market and violates tax reform principles such as simplicity, fairness, and economic growth.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (P.L. 111-5) included several provisions intended to promote so-called “green” energy.  Among these were the Nonbusiness Energy Property Credit, the Residential Energy Efficient Property Credit, and various Plug-in Electric and Alternative Motor Vehicle Credits.  The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) subsequently reviewed IRS’s effectiveness in identifying and preventing erroneous claims for these credits during the 2010 tax return filing season. TIGTA issued two reports on its findings, which included millions of dollars in erroneously claimed credits and a lax review process that resulted in credits successfully claimed by children, prisoners, and others who did not qualify.
On April 6, 2011, Rep. John Sullivan (R-OK) introduced H.R. 1380, the New Alternative Transportation to Give Americans Solutions (NAT GAS) Act of 2011.  The bill currently has 184 bipartisan cosponsors, although a number of Members of Congress have removed their names as cosponsors.  Referred primarily to the Ways and Means Committee, H.R. 1380 includes tax credits related to compressed and liquefied natural gas (CNG and LNG), including credits for the fuels themselves, credits for the purchase and production of vehicles powered by CNG and LNG, and credits for refueling property related to CNG and LNG.  Whether such credits represent good energy policy or an intrusion into the free market has been the subject of vigorous debate.

###
Judy Boddie
Director, Government Relations
Edison Electric Institute
701 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20004-2696


10_EEInewlogo_sig.gif

6.2-magnitude quake shakes northeast Japan: USGS

6.2-magnitude quake shakes northeast Japan: USGS

Reilly: Small is hot for nuclear power's future

Reilly: Small is hot for nuclear power's future

Nuclear power project by TVA adds Areva as contractor


Nuclear power project by TVA adds Areva as contractor

Vermont Yankee Nuclear Plant Trial Wraps Up

Vermont Yankee Nuclear Plant Trial Wraps Up

GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy and Fluor Corporation Team Up on Polish Nuclear Power Plant Project

GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy and Fluor Corporation Team Up on Polish Nuclear Power Plant Project

NRC rejects petition to suspend nuke plant licensing activities

NRC rejects petition to suspend nuke plant licensing activities

NRC terminates Yucca Mountain proceeding

NRC terminates Yucca Mountain proceeding

Next stop, federal court!
By Cornelius Milmoe

US Seeking Nuclear Safety Experts After Fukushima

US Seeking Nuclear Safety Experts After Fukushima

17 Tons of U.S.-Supplied Weapons-Grade Nuclear Material Missing

17 Tons of U.S.-Supplied Weapons-Grade Nuclear Material Missing

NRC rejects suspending Indian Point relicensing for Fukushima review

NRC rejects suspending Indian Point relicensing for Fukushima review

After Japan. Where does the world go after the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant accident?

After Japan. Where does the world go after the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant accident?

Idaho Samizdat: Nuke Notes Nuclear reactor vendors sign on to international code of conduct

Idaho Samizdat: Nuke Notes

September 15, 2011

Nuclear reactor vendors sign on to international code of conduct

Updates from ANS Nuclear Cafe NRC terminates Yucca Mountain proceeding

American Nuclear Society
Updates from

ANS Nuclear Cafe

NRC terminates Yucca Mountain proceeding

By pbowersox on Sep 15, 2011 01:00 am

Next stop, federal court! By Cornelius Milmoe In June 2010, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (ASLB) determined that the Department of Energy’s attempted “withdrawal” of the Yucca Mountain license application could not relieve the NRC of … Continue reading
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BP Shortcuts Led to Gulf Oil Spill, Report Says

BP Shortcuts Led to Gulf Oil Spill, Report Says

Japan Nuclear Stress Tests Must Reflect Lessons From Fukushima -Fukui Gov

Japan Nuclear Stress Tests Must Reflect Lessons From Fukushima -Fukui Gov

Wall Street Journal -
TOKYO (Dow Jones)--A local official from an area in western Japan with the country's highest concentration of nuclear reactors said Thursday that government "stress tests" on nuclear plants must reflect lessons from the accident at Fukushima Daiichi.

EDITORIAL: Reid goes nuclear on waste storage NRC vote leaves Yucca Mountain unresolved

EDITORIAL: Reid goes nuclear on waste storage

NRC vote leaves Yucca Mountain unresolved

US seeking nuclear safety experts after Fukushima

US seeking nuclear safety experts after Fukushima

Inside Japan's nuclear ghost zone

Inside Japan's nuclear ghost zone

Nikkan SPA Magazine: Researcher Says Large Amount of Neptunium-239 Also in Date City, Fukushima

Nikkan SPA Magazine: Researcher Says Large Amount of Neptunium-239 Also in Date City, Fukushima

It's the same researcher who said several thousand becquerels/kg of neptunium-239 was found in the soil in Iitate-mura, about 35 km northwest of Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant. It seems it's not just Iitate-mura that got doused with neptunium, which decays into plutonium. Date City, about 25 km northwest from Iitate-mura and 60 km from Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant, also got a large amount of neptunium.

To recap, uranium-239, whose half life is about 24 minutes, decays into neptunium-239 with a half life of about 2.5 days, which then decays into plutonium-239 whose half life is 24,200 years.

Breaking News: Japanese gov’s trying to stop citizen measuring radiation

Breaking News: Japanese gov’s trying to stop citizen measuring radiation

GSDF holds emergency evacuation drill near stricken Fukushima nuclear plant

GSDF holds emergency evacuation drill near stricken Fukushima nuclear plant

Only the Energy Impoverished Run Towards a Gasoline Spill

Only the Energy Impoverished Run Towards a Gasoline Spill

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Don’t dump nuclear waste on us, Westerners say

Don’t dump nuclear waste on us, Westerners say

NRC declines to suspend review of Pilgrim license renewal

NRC declines to suspend review of Pilgrim license renewal

Coakley raised safety concerns

Letter: AP wrong on nuclear danger

Letter: AP wrong on nuclear danger

Japan Atomic Energy Body Sees Technical Hurdles Ahead

Japan Atomic Energy Body Sees Technical Hurdles Ahead

Energy Companies Benefit As Regulators Set Positive Tone For Existing U.S. Nuclear Power

Energy Companies Benefit As Regulators Set Positive Tone For Existing U.S. Nuclear Power

Japan to Boost LNG Imports From U.S. as Nuclear Power Declines

Japan to Boost LNG Imports From U.S. as Nuclear Power Declines
San Francisco Chronicle
14 (Bloomberg) -- Japan, the world's largest importer of liquefied natural gas, plans to seek more US cargoes to ensure adequate power supplies after its use of nuclear reactors fell to an all-time low. Japan's senior vice minister of trade and ...

State rests its case in Entergy lawsuit

State rests its case in Entergy lawsuit
vtdigger.org
Vermont trial in US District Court on Tuesday, a case that could decide the fate of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in Vernon. The state's primary witness, Peter Bradford, stood his ground on the state's role in regulating nuclear plants in ...

Dominion to NRC - North Anna Nuclear Generating Station Shows No Significant Damage from Earthquake

Dominion to NRC - North Anna Nuclear Generating Station Shows No Significant Damage from Earthquake

atomic power review Fukushima Daiichi: Reactor water injection

atomic power review

Fukushima Daiichi: Reactor water injection

TEPCO will be very shortly beginning water injection to the No. 2 plant's reactor through the core spray line, exactly as has already been done with No. 3 plant. The amount will be adjusted upward incrementally through the core spray line and reduced through the feed line to attempt to maintain constant temperature with reduced water flow - the idea being to reduce the feed line more than the core spray line adds. This moves toward the goal of keeping temperature low and minimizing the buildup of contaminated water.

Uranium "Recovery" and the NRC

Uranium "Recovery" and the NRC

Moderator | September 14, 2011 at 10:51 am | Tags: nuclear | Categories: Nuclear Materials | URL: http://wp.me/p1fSSY-rx
Federal laws and regulations on mining were established during the industrial boom of the late 1800s. Many decades later, when uranium became a prized commodity for fuel for nuclear power plants, NRC was given regulatory authority over the nuclear fuel cycle. But this was rather like fitting a square peg into a round hole, and the regulatory map for what we call “uranium recovery” can be as confusing as mining companies’ claim stakes on the mother lode.
Basically, NRC’s regulatory authority begins when uranium’s physical and chemical properties are altered, the first step in the production of nuclear fuel. So we do not regulate uranium mines – conventional shaft or shallow pit mines – which simply remove rock from the ground. These are regulated by the Office of Surface Mining, the U.S. Department of the Interior, and the individual states where the mines are located. However, the NRC does license and regulate the uranium mill that is typically associated with a mine, because this is where the ore is treated to produce uranium oxide, or “yellowcake.”
The NRC does license and regulate “in situ leach” recovery, in which the uranium ore is chemically altered underground before being pumped to the surface for further processing. In the ISR uranium extraction process, wells are drilled into rock formations containing uranium ore. Water, usually fortified with oxygen and sodium bicarbonate, is injected down the wells to mobilize the uranium in the rock so that it dissolves in the ground water. In situ facilities are commonly called “mines,” but the NRC does not use that term because we do not have jurisdiction over conventional uranium mines. So if we seem to be particular about our language, we’re not being bureaucratic – well, yes we are, actually, because we like to be precise.
Is this confusing enough? Wait, there’s more! NRC works with other federal and state agencies to regulate uranium recovery, and some states (such as Texas and Colorado) have licensing authority through their agreements with the NRC. There are also the issues of uranium tails and legacy contamination from the Cold War uranium boom. To try to sort these out in a way that is easy to understand, we’ve posted a new Fact Sheet on Uranium Recovery on the NRC website.
David McIntyre
Office of Public Affairs

Notorious Grid Bottleneck Spawns Western Blackout

Notorious Grid Bottleneck Spawns Western Blackout



The blackout that squelched power flows to nearly 5 million residents of Arizona, California and northern Mexico last night and shut down California’s San Onofre nuclear power plant may be the latest sign of strain in an outdated U.S. power grid. The incident began during maintenance at a substation in Yuma, Arizona that lies at the center of a sclerotic section of the grid between Phoenix and Tucson—one long recognized as critically congested and thus at heightened risk of failure.
 
Utility officials have not yet identified an explanation for how the substation work took down such a large grid area, since transmission systems are supposed to have sufficient redundancy to survive the loss of any given line or generator. However, such incidents are not without precedent. In 2008 an engineer with Florida Power & Light blacked out 4.5 million customers in south Florida during work on a substation switch in Miami.
 
What is clear, however, is that the substation where trouble began last night lies at the center of last night’s disruption is located in a sensitive spot. The North Gila Substation operated by Phoenix-based utility Arizona Public Service (APS) is on the eastern edge of a zone extending to the Pacific Coast that the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) judges to be the second-most congested transmission flow path west of the Rockies. The corridor runs from south-central Arizona to San Diego, and at its heart is a single-circuit 500-kilovolt high voltage transmission line that brings coal-fired power from southeastern Arizona to San Diego.
 
That single line to San Diego leaves the city highly vulnerable, since California’s environmental policies have shuttered many of southern California’s baseload generating plants. “They rely on imports, and if those imports go offline they have nothing to rely on,” says John Kyei, a former APS transmission planning engineer who is now director of Transmission for Houston-based renewable power developer BP Wind Energy.
 
In 2008 DOE designated the Arizona-California transmission path as a National Interest Electric Transmission Corridor – a move intended to inspire transmission upgrades to crack open the Arizona bottleneck and secure delivery of the state’s power to the coast. A National Grid Congestion study issued by DOE the next year expressed optimism that new and upgraded lines were on the way, and removed the Phoenix-Tucson area (including Yuma) as a Congestion Area of Concern. But some key projects have since lagged.
 
DOE expected that one critical connector highlighted by Kyei, a 500-kV link from the Palo Verde nuclear power plant to APS’s now infamous North Gila substation, would be in service by next summer. APS now says via its web site that the line won’t be done before 2014. Kyei calls such delay’s business as usual, thanks to the phalanx of roadblocks – from environmental approvals to funding refusals by state-level public utility commissions with parochial interest – that regularly stretch new line planning in the U.S. to a decade or longer.
 
Kyei says adding a second circuit to the 500-kV line segment that crosses the California-Arizona frontier will be tougher still, because eliminating congestion equalizes prices on either side. California regulators approved a proposal by utility Southern California Edison to expand the line in 2007, only to see it rejected by the Arizona Corporation Commission.
 
If that stalemate continues, this may not be the last time that visitors to San Diego’s Sea World amusement park find themselves stuck on a roller-coaster, or that pump failures at treat plants spill sewage into water supplies. There is, however, a chance that federal authorities will step in to force transmission improvements. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 empowers the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in Washington to override opposition from states and push through transmission upgrades within designated National Interest Electric Transmission Corridors.
 
DOE is currently considering a proposal to also delegate to FERC its power to designate national interest corridors, thus streamlining the process for federal involvement. To date use of the federal power has been blocked by state challenges to the DOE’s designation process – a situation that FERC staff would like to change, according to a policy paper posted last week. As they write: “Clearly, the backstop transmission procedure established by Congress has not yet been effective."

Solar Eclipse

Solar Eclipse



Anybody reading headlines in the business press will have noticed that in photovoltaics, there's a whole lot of shaking out going on. Three significant U.S. manufacturers have gone under in the last month: Solyndra, Evergreen Solar, and SpectraWatt. Solyndra, a major beneficiary of U.S. government support, suffered the added indignity of having its offices raided by the FBI shortly after it announced bankruptcy.

NRC Allows Yucca Shutdown to Proceed.


NRC Allows Yucca Shutdown to Proceed. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission said in an order that plans should proceed for the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste site in Nevada to close, citing budget considerations. The commission was deadlocked 2-2 on an appeal of the ruling of its Atomic Safety and Licensing Board that had prevented the closure from moving forward. Leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee disagreed, saying in a statement that the tied vote "means the Yucca Mountain license application remains alive," and the committee's fall priorities will include "its ongoing investigation into the Obama Administration's politically motivated efforts to terminate the Yucca Mountain nuclear repository." The NRC order can be found here (PDF file). The House Committee statement is available here. A New York Times blog provides a clear description of this procedurally muddled issue.
NRC Order:
CLI-11-07
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
On June 30, 2010, the participants were invited to submit briefs as to whether the
Commission should review, and reverse or uphold, the Board’s decision denying the
Department of Energy’s motion to withdraw its construction authorization application with
prejudice.1 Upon consideration of all filings in this matter, the Commission finds itself evenly
divided on whether to take the affirmative action of overturning or upholding the Board’s
decision.
Consistent with budgetary limitations, the Board has taken action to preserve information
associated with this adjudication.2 In furtherance of this, we hereby exercise our inherent
supervisory authority to direct the Board to, by the close of the current fiscal year, complete all
necessary and appropriate case management activities, including disposal of all matters
currently pending before it and comprehensively documenting the full history of the adjudicatory
proceeding.

Natural Gas Industry to 2016 - Abundance of Unconventional Gas Changing the Industry Landscape

Natural Gas Industry to 2016 - Abundance of Unconventional Gas Changing the Industry Landscape

Summary

Provides an in-depth analysis of the natural gas market across the world and highlights the various concerns, shifting trends and major players in the region. The report provides forecasts for the exploration and production industry, natural gas pipeline industry, natural gas storage industry, unconventional resources and production and consumption analysis till 2016. The report also provides consumption forecasts in different geographic regions. The report provides in-depth analysis of the key trends and challenges in the natural gas market across the world. An analysis of the competitive scenario of the different segments is provided. The report is built using the data and information sourced from proprietary databases, primary and secondary research and in-house analysis by GBI Research�s team of industry experts.

Scope

  • Overview and analysis of the global natural gas industry
  • Analysis of the historical trends and forecasts to 2016
  • Analysis and forecasts of different sectors under natural gas including exploration and production, pipelines, storage
  • Analysis of different geographic regions including North America, South and Central America, Europe, Middle East and Africa and Asia Pacific
  • Analysis of the global natural gas consumption and the effect of the rise of the unconventional natural gas industry
  • Analyzes the competitive scenario in the global natural gas industry under different countries covering companies such as PetroChina, Chevron, Gazprom, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation,
  • Royal Dutch Shell, ExxonMobil, TransCanada, Pemex, PetroBras, etc.

DNV report warns the era of cheap oil is ending

DNV report warns the era of cheap oil is ending


Offshore staff
ABERDEEN, UK – The Det Norske Veritas “Technology Outlook 2020” report presented at Offshore Europe warns that the age of “cheap” oil is coming to an end. With a forecasted 19% increase in global energy demand by 2020, DNV says the sector will have to push the boundaries to satisfy this need.

Sasol to build the first gas-to-liquids plant in the US

Sasol to build the first gas-to-liquids plant in the US


By Phaedra Friend Troy
South African oil and gas company Sasol (NYSE:SSL) has chosen southwest Louisiana as the location of its planned gas-to-liquids (GTL) facility. The first GTL plant in the United States, the Sasol facility would produce GTL transportation fuels and other products.

U.S. to North Korea: Cease Nuclear Activity The Associated Press

U.S. to North Korea: Cease Nuclear Activity
The Associated Press

Obama Administration Set to Defend Solyndra Loan at House Panel

Obama Administration Set to Defend Solyndra Loan at House Panel

First Japanese reactor resumes normal operation

First Japanese reactor resumes normal operation
17 August 2011
CLARIFICATION: An earlier version of this story implied that the Tomari 3 reactor was restarted on 17 August following a periodic inspection. The reactor had in fact been operating at full capacity since March, having been given approval for test operation. However, permission has now been given for it to resume normal commercial operation.

Unit 3 at the Tomari nuclear power plant on Japan's northern Hokkaido island, which has been in test operation for the past five months following a periodic inspection, has been given permission to resume normal operation. It is the first reactor to be given such approval in the country since the 11 March earthquake and tsunami.
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Noda promises reactor restarts

Noda promises reactor restarts
13 September 2011
Japanese prime minister Yoshihiko Noda has promised that operations will restart at nuclear power plants currently undergoing safety inspections, but said the country must aim to reduce its reliance on nuclear in the longer term.

Fuziah belittles radiation expert’s analysis

Fuziah belittles radiation expert’s analysis

K Pragalath | September 14, 2011
The Kuantan MP replies to criticisms by Lynas-hired Nick Tsurikov.
PETALING JAYA: Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh today shot back at radiation expert Nick Tsurikov, who has disputed statements she made recently regarding the dangers posed by the rare earth project in Gebeng, near Kuantan.
She criticised his analysis as “shallow” and questioned his standing as an independent expert, noting that he was hired by Lynas Corp, the Australian mining company that is setting up the Gebeng operations.
In a letter to Fuziah dated Aug 29, Tsurikov disputed several statements that she made in an interview on TV PAS. Fauziah, who is a vice president in PKR, made the letter public today and gave her replies to his ciriticisms.

Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation (SRREN)

Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and
Climate Change Mitigation
(SRREN)
copyright UNEP website
Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and
Climate Change Mitigation
(SRREN)
Coming in November 2011: The Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation.

Fear of Invisible Forces

Fear of Invisible Forces

Nothing in life is to be feared.  It is only to be understood.  ~Marie Curie
By Suzy Hobbs Baker

IAEA Board Approves Action Plan on Nuclear Safety Staff Report

IAEA Board Approves Action Plan on Nuclear Safety

Fukushima reactors now "stable", IAEA says

Fukushima reactors now "stable", IAEA says

Progress Updates from the The Foundation for Resilient Societies

Progress Updates


Our Petition for Rulemaking PRM-50-96 before the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has been published in the Federal Register and is currently out for comment. The deadline for comments is July 20, 2011. We invite interested parties to view the official folder for the petition by visiting the NRC rulemaking docket for 2011. A PDF of the petition which preserves the hyperlinks can be downloaded at this link. Comments can be submitted to the NRC by clicking on this comment link.

Popular Science magazine has published a feature-length article on electric grid outages and nuclear safety which mentions our petition to the NRC. Click on the link to read "Are We Prepared for a Catastrophic Solar Storm?"

The Atomic Show recently featured an interview with Thomas Popik, principal author of Petition for Rulemaking PRM-50-96. You can listen to a detailed technicial discussion of the effect of solar storms on nuclear power plants, the Fukushima events, and the Foundation's proposal for backup power to protect spent fuel pools at this link.

Empact America devoted a full episode of its EmpactRadio show to the connection between electromagnetic pulse and nuclear safety. This show explores potential effects of long-term power outages on American society and nuclear power plants in particular. Legislative and technical fixes are discussed, including passage of the SHIELD Act in Congress and backup power for spent fuel pools. You can listen to episode at this link.

The Foundation for Resilient Societies supports the SHIELD Act in Congress (HR 668) sponsored by Representative Trent Franks. Please visit these links to learn more about the Shield Act: