Policy Brief 21 – 27 March 2013

NRC holds safety performance open houses Companies and organisations mentioned: Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Salem NPP, Hope Creek NPP, Nine Mile Point NPP, FitzPatrick, Entergy Nuclear

By skaur


Policy Brief 21 – 27 March 2013

NRC holds safety performance open houses

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will hold a public open house on Tuesday, April 2, to discuss the agency’s annual review of safety performance at the Salem and Hope Creek nuclear power plants.

Attendees will have an opportunity to hold one-on-one discussions with NRC staff members about the plants’ 2012 performance and the agency’s oversight of the facilities. NRC staff on hand will include the inspectors assigned to the plants on a full-time basis and their supervisor.

Overall, the Salem and Hope Creek plants -- located in Hancocks Bridge (Salem County) and operated by PSEG Nuclear, LLC -- operated safely during 2012. At the conclusion of last year, as assessed by the NRC’s Reactor Oversight Process, there were no performance indicators for the plants that were other than “green” (very low risk) and no inspection findings that were “greater than green” (that is, none of the findings exceeded very low safety significance). As a result, Salem and Hope Creek will continue to receive the NRC’s normal level of oversight during 2013, barring any changes.

In a similar process, Nine Mile Point, consisting of two boiling-water reactors located in Scriba and owned by Constellation Energy Nuclear Group LLC, operated safely during 2012. Likewise, FitzPatrick, a single boiling-water reactor also located in Scriba and owned by Entergy Nuclear Northeast, operated safely. For Nine Mile Point 2, as assessed through the NRC’s Reactor Oversight Process, there were no inspection findings greater than green (rising to the level requiring additional NRC oversight) or any performance other than “green” (exceeding the threshold for the indicator and requiring additional NRC oversight). Therefore, Nine Mile Point 2 will continue to receive the NRC’s normal level of oversight for the remainder of 2012, barring any changes.

Sellafield welcomes Government nuclear report

Sellafield has welcomed a UK government report, which maps out the future of the nuclear industry in the UK.

The report ‘The UK’s Nuclear Future’ has been published by HM Government following consultation with industry experts including Sellafield Ltd’s own deputy managing director George Beveridge. It will be taken forward by a new Nuclear Industry Council.

In the report, Secretary of State for Business Vince Cable and Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Ed Davey, set out how the UK’s nuclear industry can work with government to deliver an industry strategy to support UK growth. As part of this the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and UK Trade and Investment will help businesses in the UK promote their capabilities internationally.

The report highlighted that £930bn of investment planned globally to build new reactors, on top of the £250bn of decommissioning work.

Part of the purpose of the plan is to ensure that the UK has the necessary skills for the future, both for new nuclear development and to complete the decommissioning programme – which is largely focused on Sellafield. A key commitment covered by the strategy is £15m ($23m) to establish a new National Nuclear Users Facility for universities and companies carrying out nuclear technology research, with centres at the National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) at Sellafield, the Culham Centre for Fusion Technology and the University of Manchester's Dalton Cumbrian facility.

Beveridge said that the challenges that he and his colleagues face at Sellafield are globally unique and the government recognises this and directly tied to why the government us investing the clean-up and decommissioning of the UK’s nuclear legacy.

NRC seeks public comment for Ross uranium recovery project

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is asking the public to comment on a draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) for the proposed Ross in-situ uranium recovery project in Crook County, Wyoming. The draft SEIS includes the NRC staff’s preliminary recommendation to grant the license unless safety issues mandate otherwise.

Strata Energy Inc. submitted a license application for the facility on Jan. 4, 2011. The license would authorize Strata to construct, operate and ultimately decommission the facility, which would use the in-situ leach process to recover uranium from underground ore and convert the recovered uranium into yellowcake for use in the production of nuclear fuel.

The NRC draft report analyzes environmental impacts specific to the Ross site and mitigation strategies to reduce or avoid adverse effects on the surrounding environment. The staff completed a separate technical review to analyze safety aspects of the application in February 2013. That review found Strata’s license application meets the NRC’s regulatory requirements.

IAEA Says DPRK Nuclear Test "Deeply Regrettable"

IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano expressed deep regret about the announcement that the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) has conducted a third test of a nuclear weapon.

"I understand that the DPRK announced it had carried out a third test of a nuclear weapon, despite calls from the international community not to do so. This is deeply regrettable and is in clear violation of UN Security Council resolutions," he said.

The Director General strongly urged the DPRK to fully implement all relevant UN Security Council resolutions and all relevant IAEA Board of Governors resolutions.

"The IAEA remains ready to contribute to the peaceful resolution of the DPRK nuclear issue by resuming its nuclear verification activities in the country as soon as the political agreement is reached among countries concerned," Director General Amano added.