energymaters.com

THIS JOURNAL WILL "TELL IT LIKE IT IS" REGARDING DIFFERENT FORMS OF ENERGY AND THEIR GLOBAL IMPLICATIONS/PROBLEMS

BULGARIA TO “BITE THE BULLET” AND TELL RUSSIA “THANKS, BUT NO THANKS”- PART 2 »« NUCLEAR FREE JAPAN BY NEXT SPRING ? NUCLEAR INDUSTRY IS GOING DOWN SHOOTING.

NUKE DECOMMISSIONING (SHUT-DOWN AND REMOVAL) – HIDDEN COST OF NUCLEAR POWER

31 Jan 2012

THE HIDDEN COSTS OF NUCLEAR GENERATION I guess it took the Fukushima Triple Meltdown to awaken the world to the realities of Nuclear Power. There are many nations all over the world today facing the stark reality that “DECOMMISSIONING A NUKE” is not as simple as turning off a switch, or the lights out at each site. Best-laid plans for this expensive, dangerous and fuzzy process exist. It is even difficult to define exactly what it means.  One thing is clear: It is a very expensive process for which few countries(if any) have a Reserve Fund really available – Including the USA.  The $25B Fund supposedly held by the US treasury for that purpose has disappeared, and apparently no one knows where it is.  There is a rumor that it went into our National General fund, but no one will say for sure.  Do you think we borrowed from “Peter to Pay Paul“ ? I hope so! – It could be worse if some one absconded our $25Billion.  It is pitiful!  Nothing shocks me anymore!

MONEY, MONEY, MOONY!! That is the reason most “Nuclear countries” want to “Kick the can down the road” by extending reactor life by at least 20 years. If successful (as Japan and France want), they stand to continue to profit immensely at the world’s public risk of Nuclear Disaster.  Among such countries are France, Sweden, Russia, Japan, Ukraine(site of Chernobyl) an many others. We are waiting for Japan’s official stance on denuclearization soon.

I say: It is time to smell the coffee and begin to plan how, and how soon to address Nuke Decommissioning.  Failure to do so augurs more Chernobyl’s and Fukushima’s throughout the world.  Let us see what the USA-NRC best-laid of plans says:

NUCLEAR POWER PLANT(NPP) DECOMMISSIONING **********************************************************

When a power company decides to close its nuclear power plant permanently, the facility must be decommissioned by safely removing it from service, and reducing residual radioactivity to a level that permits release of the property and termination of the operating license. The USA-Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has strict rules governing nuclear power plant decommissioning, involving cleanup of radioactively contaminated plant systems and structures, and removal of the radioactive fuel. These requirements protect workers and the public during the entire decommissioning process and the public after the “license is terminated” KAPUT!

THREE (3)TYPES OF NPP DECOMMISSIONING:  Nuke owner(licensee) may choose from: DECON, SAFSTOR, or ENTOMB.

1.  DECON (immediate dismantlement), soon after the nuclear facility closes, equipment, structures, and portions of the facility containing radioactive contaminants are removed or decontaminated to a level that permits release of the property and termination of the NRC license.

2. SAFSTOR, often considered “delayed DECON,” a nuclear facility is maintained and monitored in a condition that allows the radioactivity to decay; afterwards, it is dismantled and the property decontaminated.

3. ENTOMB, radioactive contaminants are permanently encased on site in structurally sound material such as concrete and appropriately maintained and monitored until the radioactivity decays to a level permitting restricted release of the property. To date, no NRC-licensed facilities have requested this option.  In the Ukraine, CHERNOBYL was entombed in concrete 25 years ago.  Even so, in 2011 Russia asked the world (and received) one Billion to re-“Entomb” the plant with concrete.  It seems it had began to show serious cracks all over. The Japanese too are beginning to acknowledge that it is near impossible to  keep Godzila underground for long.  Uncontrolled radiation is pure hell! It goes where it wants to go.

4. OPTIONAL COMBO The licensee may also choose to adopt a “combination of “DECON, AND SAFSTOR”  in which some portions of the facility are dismantled or decontaminated while other parts of the facility are left in SAFSTOR. The decision may be based on factors besides radioactive decay such as availability of waste disposal sites. (TO MUDDY-UP THE WATER)

APPLICABLE NRC REGULATIONS (REGS) The requirements for decommissioning a nuclear power plant are set out in NRC Reg (Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 20 Subpart E, and Parts 50.75, 50.82, 51.53, and 51.95). In August 1996, a revised rule went into effect that redefined the decommissioning process and required owners to provide the NRC with “early notification” (HOW SOON IS EARLY ?) of planned decommissioning activities. The rule allows no major decommissioning activities to be undertaken until after certain information has been provided to the NRC and the public.

USA-NRC ESCAPE CLAUSE FOR NUKE OWNERS: To be acceptable, decommissioning must be completed within 60 years of the plant ceasing operations. A time beyond that would be considered only when necessary to protect public health and safety in accordance with NRC regulations.

OPPORTUNITY FOR PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT Several opportunities are provided for public involvement during the decommissioning process. A public meeting is held in the vicinity of the facility after submittal of a “Post-Shutdown Decommissioning Activities Report (PSDAR)” to the NRC. Another public meeting is held when NRC receives the License Termination Plan (LTP). 

LTP AMENDMENTS  A public hearing is provided prior to issuance of a license amendment approving the LTP or any other license amendment request. In addition, when NRC holds a meeting with the licensee, members of the public may observe the meeting (except when the discussion involves proprietary, sensitive, safeguards, or classified information); THAT IS THE FLY IN THE OINTMENT!  THE NPP OWNERS GET TO WRITE THEIR OWN TICKET!

PHASES OF DECOMMISSIONING: The requirements for NPP decommissioning activities are:

(1) Initial activities

(2) Major decommissioning and storage

(3) License termination

1. INITIAL ACTIVITIES: When a nuclear power plant licensee shuts down the plant permanently, it must (a) Submit a written certification of permanent cessation of operations to the NRC within 30 days. (b)When radioactive nuclear fuel is permanently removed from the reactor vessel, the owner must submit another written certification to the NRC, surrendering its authority to operate the reactor or load fuel into the reactor vessel. This eliminates the obligation to adhere to certain requirements needed only during reactor operation. (c )Within two(2) years after submitting the certification of permanent closure, the licensee must submit a  “Post-shutdown Decommissioning Activities Report (PSDAR)” to the NRC. This report provides a description of the planned decommissioning activities, along with a schedule for accomplishing them, and an estimate of the expected costs. The PSDAR must discuss the reasons for concluding that environmental impacts associated with the site-specific decommissioning activities have already been addressed in previous environmental analyses. Otherwise, the licensee must request a license amendment for approval of the activities and submit to the NRC a report on the additional impacts of decommissioning on the environment. (d) After receiving a PSDAR, the NRC publishes a notice of receipt in the Federal Register, makes the report available for public review and comment, and holds a public meeting in the vicinity of the plant to discuss the licensee’s intentions.

2. MAJOR DECOMMISSIONING AND STORAGE (ACTUAL BEGINNING OF DISMANTLEMENT) May begin 90 days after the NRC receives the PSDAR.  the NPP owner can begin major decommissioning activities without specific NRC approval. These could include permanent removal of such major components as the reactor vessel, steam generators, large piping systems, pumps, and valves.  However, decommissioning activities conducted without specific prior NRC approval must not prevent release of the site for possible unrestricted use, result in there being no reasonable assurance that adequate funds will be available for decommissioning, or cause any significant environmental impact not previously reviewed.  If any decommissioning activity (Licensee) does not meet these terms, the licensee is required to submit a “License amendment request”, which would provide an opportunity for a public hearing.

3. LICENSE TERMINATION The owner is required to submit a License Termination Plan(LTP) within two(2) years of the anticipated license termination. The plan addresses each of the following: (a) site characterization, (b)identification of remaining site dismantlement activities,  (c)plans for site remediation, (d)detailed plans for final radiation surveys for release of the site, (e)method for demonstrating compliance with the radiological criteria for license termination, (f)updated site-specific estimates of remaining decommissioning costs, and (g)a supplement to the environmental report that describes any new information or significant environmental changes associated with the owner’s proposed termination activities.  Most plans envision releasing the site to the public for unrestricted use, meaning any residual radiation would be below NRC’s limits of 25 millirem annual exposure and there would be no further regulatory controls by the NRC. Any plan proposing release of a site for restricted use must: (a) describe the site’s end use, (b) documentation on public consultation, (c) institutional controls, and financial assurance needed to comply with the requirements for license termination (d) for restricted release, The LTP requires NRC approval of a license amendment. Before approval can be given, an opportunity for hearing is published and a public meeting is held near the NPP plant site. The NRC uses a standard review plan – NUREG-1700, “Standard Review Plan for Evaluating Nuclear Power Reactor License Termination Plans” to ensure high quality and uniformity of LTP reviews. The standard review plan is available to the public, so that NRC’s review process is understood clearly.  IF the remaining dismantlement has been performed in accordance with the approved LTP, and the termination survey demonstrates that the facility, and site are suitable for release, the NRC issues a letter terminating the operating license.

FUNDING OF DECOMMISSIONING EXPENSES Initially, the owner can use up to 3 % of its funds set aside for decommissioning planning.  An additional 20 % can be used 90 days after submittal of the PSDAR. The remaining “decommissioning trust funds” are then available when the owner submits a detailed “site-specific” cost estimate to the NRC. Each nuclear power plant licensee must report to the NRC every two(2) years the status of its decommissioning funding for each reactor, or share of a reactor that it owns. The report must estimate the minimum amount needed for decommissioning by using the formulas found in Reg.10 CFR 50.75(c). Licensees may alternatively determine a “site-specific” funding estimate, provided that amount is greater than the generic decommissioning estimate.

ESTIMATED DECOMMISSIONING COSTS Although there are many factors that affect reactor decommissioning costs, generally range from $300 million to $400 million. (SUCH FIGURES ARE CLEARLY VERY, VERY LOW IN TODAYS WORLD, AND SUBJECT TO REMEDIATION INCREASES ON SPECIFIC SITES) Approximately 70 % of licensees are authorized to accumulate decommissioning funds over the operating life of their plants. EXCEPTIONS TO THE RULE : The owners – generally traditional, rate-regulated electric utilities, or indirectly regulated generation companies – are not required today to have all of the funds needed for decommissioning. The remaining licensees must provide financial assurance through other methods such as prepaid decommissioning funds and/or a surety method or guarantee. The staff performs an independent analysis of each of these reports to determine whether licensees are providing reasonable “decommissioning funding assurance” for radiological decommissioning of the reactor at the permanent termination of operation. Before a NPP begins operations, the licensee must establish, or obtain a financial mechanism – such as a trust fund, or a guarantee from its parent company – to ensure that there will be sufficient money to pay for the ultimate decommissioning of the facility.

“SPENT FUEL” DISPOSAL PROVISIONS (ENTER: ISFSI’s).  Several NPPs completed decommissioning in the 1990s, without a viable option for disposing of their spent nuclear fuel, because the federal government did not construct a geologic repository as planned. Accordingly, the NRC implemented regulations allowing licensees to sell off part of their land once it meets NRC release criteria, while maintaining a small parcel under license for storing the spent fuel. These stand-alone facilities, called Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installations(ISFSIs)”, remain under license and NRC regulation. Licensees are responsible for their security, and for maintaining insurance and funding for eventual decommissioning.

CONTAMINATION AND DECOMMISSIONING “LESSONS LEARNED” As more facilities complete decommissioning, the NRC is implementing “lessons learned” in order to improve the program and focus on the prevention of future legacy sites. Applications for new reactors must now describe how design and operations will minimize contamination during the plant’s operating life, and facilitate eventual decommissioning. The agency is developing new regulations that will require plant operators to be more vigilant in preventing contamination during operations, and cleaning-up and monitoring any contamination that does occur.

USA-NRC REPORTS 23 REQUESTS FOR DECOMMISSIONING From Oct 1967 to 2011.  Only three(3) Licensees have obtained an NRC letter terminating the operating license.  “Pathfinder”(1967), Saxton (1972), and “Shoreham” (1989).  Seven (7) NPPs are still in Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installations(ISFSI) You know! – what do we do with this “spent fuel” crap! ).  The remaining 13 NPPs, are in one of the other tree(3) stages of decommissioning.  DECOMMISSIONING IS NOT A PROCESS NPP OWNERS LIKE AT ALL! – Of course not – it costs them money.  This is one well meaning plan by the NRC that will bear questionable fruits in the future given the impasse at the USA-NRC today.  Their source is linked below.

http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/fact-sheets/decommissioning.html

Edward Oliver Gonzalez (gonzedo)

P.S. Please excuse my extensive use of acronyms on this article.  It would be too long without them.

 

January 31, 2012 at 6:46 PM
57 comments »
  • February 4, 2012 at 1:06 PMPhobar

    Hy there. I discovered your website while searching for a similar matter, your site came up. It appears to be great. I have bookmarked it.

  • February 4, 2012 at 8:46 PMShanta Regino

    Very interesting details you have pointed out, I appreciate your posting .

  • February 6, 2012 at 2:23 PMPortgen

    Hello my Dear! I want to say that this post is amazing, nicely written, and complete with most significant info. I’d like to see more posts like this one.

  • February 6, 2012 at 6:46 PMexhibit stands

    Your article is amazing! The clarity is just cool, and I suppose you’re a professional on this subject. Let me to grab your RSS feed to keep updated with upcoming posts. Thank a million!

  • February 8, 2012 at 5:08 AMAnonymous

    Woah! – this weblog is magnificent; I like studying your posts. Keep up the good work! As you already know, many people are looking for this information, you can help them greatly.

  • February 9, 2012 at 1:53 AMNydia Mcgee

    All I can say is WOW! Most of america doesn’t know any of this, and sadly probably doesn’t care. They just want things to be fair. I just don’t believe anyone running for President will do anything different. Once the Big Banks got their hands on the easy money they aren’t going to let it go. Big Business, Big Banks, and some Politicians aren’t Patriotic…it’s all about those few who they call “shareholders” and those politicians they can buy. America is losing her Greatness when the rich keep getting richer, and the poor keep getting poorer.

  • February 14, 2012 at 5:40 AMAnonymous

    Clever work and coverage! Keep up the great works guys, I’ve got you on my blogroll.

  • February 14, 2012 at 12:40 PMTrey

    What you wrote made a ton of sense. However, think about this, suppose you added a little content? I am not suggesting your information isn’t solid, however what if you added something to maybe get folk’s attention? I mean NUKE DECOMMISSIONING (SHUT-DOWN AND REMOVAL) – HIDDEN COST OF NUCLEAR POWER | energymaters.com is a little boring. You should look at Yahoo’s home page and note how they create news headlines to grab viewers to open the links. You might try adding a video or a pic or two to grab people interested about everything’ve got to say. Just my opinion, it would bring your website a little livelier.

    REPLY: Thanks but the truth is, I do all one person can do, and do so without expectation of remuneration of any kind. Thanks for your advice. P.S. Your site is very barren and without content. Hard to tell what it is all about.
    gonzedo

  • February 16, 2012 at 2:11 AMGramatica Ingles

    I love the way you have framed this issue, and it indeed gives me a lot of food for thought; Nonetheless, I wish more comments were on issue, and not a tirade involving some other news du jour. Thank you for this superb piece, and although I can not go along with it in totality, I respect your perspective.

  • February 18, 2012 at 2:32 PMCheryle Hardgrave

    I have recently started a blog, the information you offer on this web site has helped me tremendously. Thank you for all of your time & work.

  • February 18, 2012 at 11:26 PMMusicman

    I simply had to say thanks again for your viewpoints regarding the nuke decomissionning isue. It truly was a joy to view the skilled way you dealt with the issue. Thanks for your information, and let me add that I believe you are doing a powerful job of educating the public, and other blogers through your site.
    REPLY: Thanks, that is precisely what we aim to do.

  • February 19, 2012 at 1:42 PMCrecer

    Hey very nice site!! Man .. Excellent .. Amazing .. I’ll bookmark your site and take the feeds. I am happy to find so much useful info here in the post, we need develop more techniques in this regard, thanks for sharing. . . .

  • February 23, 2012 at 12:59 PMAron Kauk

    This is the right blog for anyone who wants to find out about this topic. You realized so much its almost hard to argue with you (not that I actually would want…HaHa). You definitely put a new spin on a topic that has been written about for years. Great stuff, just great!

  • February 24, 2012 at 7:24 AMAnonymous

    Excellent web site you have here.. It’s hard to find good quality writing like yours nowadays. I really appreciate individuals like you! Take care!!

  • February 25, 2012 at 11:46 AMFelix

    you’re truly a excellent webmaster. The site loading pace is incredible. It kind of feels like that you’re doing a trick; Moreover, The contents are masterpieces. You performed an excellent job on this topic!

  • February 27, 2012 at 1:35 PMAlessandra

    I’d like to keep up with anything fresh you have to post. Would you please list your public sites like Facebook page, Twitter feed, or Linkedin profile?
    REPLY: I don’t like Facebook, But I am on “Tweeter” under “gonzedo”. Please be a follower.
    gonzedo

  • March 1, 2012 at 5:44 PMAnonymous

    Very Interesting site! I truly Relish reading your Blog. I will Bookmark your site.

  • March 8, 2012 at 8:00 PMCarl

    I think some other internet site proprietors should consider this website being a “product”. Quite neat and great styling, as well as informational. You’re an authority in this region!

    REPLY: Thanks for your kind remarks!

  • Newer Comments »


Trackbacks/Pingbacks
Commenting is closed