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USA – NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION (NRC) OPENS A NEW CHAPTER

10 Sep 2012
THE USA-NRC HAS A NEW AND COMBATIVE CHAIRPERSON. Dr. Allison M. Mc Farlane began her appointment by tackling the thorny issue of “Nuclear Waste Disposal” by the USA Nuclear fleet of about 104 Commercial NPPs. On 09 Sep 2012, Dr. Mc Farlane said: “Resolving this issue successfully is a commission priority…Waste (disposal) confidence plays a core role in many major licensing actions.”

“WASTE CONFIDENCE” DEFINED: According to the NRC, “Waste Confidence” is a generic term implying that spent nuclear fuel can be safely stored for decades beyond the licensed operating life of a reactor; without significant environmental effects”. In the past that rule has enabled the NRC to license, or renew licenses without examining the effects of extended waste storage at individual sites; However, the Appeals Court said, the NRC should have considered the potential environmental impact in the event a permanent disposal site for used fuel is never built, and it cited deficiencies in the NRC’s consideration of leaks and fires involving spent fuel pools.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT IS THE BEAVER VALLEY NPP AT SHIPPINGPORT, PA.  On 09 Sep 2012, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission ordered its staff to complete an “Environmental impact review” of temporary on-site storage of used nuclear fuel at the nation’s 104 commercial plants, including the Beaver Valley NPP, in Shippingport. The study, which will be completed within two (2) years, was ordered on 06 Sep 2012, in response to a 08 Jun 2012 ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia that the so-called “waste confidence” rule is deficient.

THE APPEALS COURT GIVES THE NRC JUDICIAL AUTHORITY; So, the NRC has suspended issuing, or renewing licenses, dependent on the Waste Confidence Rule. until the court’s mandate is met, NRC officials said.

“BEAVER VALLEY NPP” IS A TWIN NUKE FACILITY – Owned and operated by “FirstEnergy Corp.” The facility creates about 64 used fuel assemblies every 18 months, and is currently seeking spent fuel pond expansion permits; so, will be the first commercial NPP Facility to face the NRC’s new “Waste confidence rule”.

BEAVER VALLEY NO. 2 – COOLING POND BEING EXPANDED. The storage capacity will be increased from 1,088 fuel assemblies to 1,690. Young added that work started on that project in 2011, and is a little more than 50 % complete. The expansion is expected to be completed in the first half of 2013, and will give Unit 2 an additional 10 years of storage.

“FIRST ENERGY CORP” Spokesperson Jennifer Young said on 07 Sep 2012, that its Shippingport, PA  NPP is in the process of moving to a “dry cask storage system” for Unit 1. Older rods will be moved into steel and concrete containers and stored outside in a protected area. Only last year, Spokesperson Todd Schneider said, when the project received federal approval that, Fuel assemblies must be in a cooling pool for at least five (5) years before they can be moved into dry casks; now spokesman Young said the construction of the new system will begin in the fall of 2012 and be completed in 2014. She added the facility will start with six (6) canisters, with the capability to add another 47 canisters later on.

Thanks to the Beaver County Times (Beaver, PA)

NEWS ANALYSIS AND COMMENT

We are very happy indeed that the USA-NRC has someone at the helm once again, and that Chairperson Dr. Mc Farlane is both perceptive and aggressive in pursuit of Nuclear Safety. We needed that! she immediately tackled our greatest concern: That, the USA’s (and the world) Nuclear industry clearly puts profit ahead of public safety. The continued accumulation and disposal of “nuclear waste” is unacceptable, and must be stopped ASAP.

We are also happy that Dr Mc Farlane has found support in the U.S. Court of Appeals finding that: the NRC should have considered the potential environmental impact in the event a permanent disposal site for used fuel is never built, and it cited deficiencies in the NRC’s consideration of leaks and fires involving spent fuel pools. The court’s finding is a bash for the NRC for past inactions. Even so, the Court finding certainly strengthens the NRCs authority, by enabling it to deny permits for time extensions regarding spent fuel pools, and similar. Note that the Beaver Valley No.2 – Spent fuel Tank already has 1,088 fuel assemblies and is expanding to 1690 –By comparison: FUKUSHIMA DAI NO. 1 REACTOR 4, SPENT FUEL POOL HAS ABOUT 1,500 FUEL ASSEMBLIES; Worse yet, there are many crowded spent fuel pools all over the world, and they are not even worrying about it. IT IS A MAD  FOLLY!

WE WISH DR. Mc FARLANE WELL, AND COURAGE  TO FIGHT THE CARELESSNES OF THE GREEDY NUCLEAR INDUSTRY. We would like to remind her that the world is very likely watching the “good-old” USA for a good example of governmental control. VIVA the Waste Confidence Rule!
 

This post is a sequel to: USA NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION STILL HOG-TIED AND IMPOTENT – PART 3 – http://energymaters.com/?p=522

Edward Oliver Gonzalez (gonzedo)

September 10, 2012 at 2:39 AM Comment (1)