Monday, March 20, 2017

Junk Plant Grand Gulf New Inspection Report: No Violations.

Everyone is waiting for the special inspection report.

The new inspection report indicates continued profound weakness in the organization. Remember, the inspectors told me the plant has been having leading industry experts coming in and out of the site. Was it enough to turn around the organization...  

Inspection Report.
Inspection Scope
The inspectors observed simulator training for operating crews. The inspectors assessed the performance of the operators and the evaluators’ critique of their performance.
• January 19, 2017, the inspectors observed “Just-In-Time” simulator training for an operating crew which consisted of implementation of the startup integrated operating instruction.
• January 21, 2017, the inspectors also observed a directed learning activity for a shift manager which focused on a weakness identified during high intensity training.

The inspectors also observed portions of three emergent work activities that had the potential to affect the functional capability of mitigating systems and/or to impact barrier
• January 27, 2017, the reactor core isolation cooling motor operated valve inoperable/power loss annunciator illuminated; the licensee stopped withdrawing control rods and performed immediate troubleshooting of thirteen isolation valves prior to verifying the capability of the reactor core isolation cooling system to
perform its function.
• January 28 – 29, 2017, the intermediate range monitor C failed; the licensee stopped withdrawing control rods and performed immediate troubleshooting that revealed a damaged cable.
• January 31 – February 3, 2017, the local power range monitor inputs to the 3D Monicore program failed to transmit data such that safety limits could be readily verified; the licensee stopped withdrawing control rods, maintained power below 21.8 percent, performed troubleshooting, and ultimately replaced the computer system.

Problem Identification and Resolution (71152)

.1 Routine Review

a. Inspection Scope

Throughout the inspection period, the inspectors performed daily reviews of items entered into the licensee’s corrective action program. The inspectors verified that licensee personnel were identifying problems at an appropriate threshold and entering these problems into the corrective action program for resolution.

The inspectors verified that the licensee developed and implemented corrective actions commensurate with the significance of the problems identified. The inspectors also reviewed the licensee’s

problem identification and resolution activities during the performance of the other inspection activities documented in this report.

b. Findings

No findings were identified.

.2 Annual Follow-up of Selected Issues

a. Inspection Scope

On February 8, 2017, the inspectors completed a review of Grand Gulf Nuclear Station’s recovery plan, specifically focused on the restart plan corrective actions and operator high intensity training. Grand Gulf Nuclear Station performed a technical specification required shutdown on September 8, 2016, to address an issue with the residual heat removal pump A. During the shutdown, the licensee had two human performance errors in the operations department. On September 27, 2016, Grand Gulf Nuclear Station plant management notified the NRC of their intent to delay start-up of the plant, following the

forced outage, to implement corrective actions to assess and resolve operational performance concerns (See Preliminary Notification PNO-IV-16-003, Agencywide Documents Access and Management System (ADAMS) Accession No. ML16273A330).

b. Observations and Assessments

1. Restart Corrective Actions

• The inspectors reviewed the licensee’s restart plan, dated January 4, 2017, and focused on the corrective actions that the licensee had designated as, “Actions required for restart.” Of the nine corrective actions with this designation, the inspectors concluded that four were satisfactorily completed, four had received due date extensions that extended beyond the date of the restart without documented justification, and one was closed without documentation demonstrating that the intent of the corrective action was met.

The four due date extended corrective actions were centered on performing external assessments/benchmarking to ensure that normal and off-normal procedures were up to industry standards. The actions were also to address benchmarking in the area of immediate operator actions. These corrective actions were identified because inadequate procedures and operator actions played a significant role in the events leading up to the decision to stay shutdown for over four months.

Following the team’s questions, the licensee provided written discussions to be documented in the corrective actions that justified the due date extensions. In addition, the licensee was able to demonstrate that the corrective action which was closed without documenting that the intent had been met was actually

accomplished through another corrective action. They performed out-of-the-box evaluations (OBE’s) with first line supervisors in the maintenance department which met the intent of the closed corrective action.

The inspectors assessed the licensee’s problem identification threshold, cause analyses, extent of condition reviews, and compensatory actions. The inspectors verified that the licensee appropriately prioritized the planned corrective actions

and that these actions were adequate to correct identified weaknesses in operator fundamentals and station weaknesses.

2. Roles and Responsibilities

• The inspectors noted weaknesses in the outage control center’s precision, rigor, and leadership. The inspectors did not observe the outage control center driving completion of work items, and instead noted a more reactive mode of operation.

• The team noted that the operations manager occasionally stepped outside of his broader oversight role and provided specific guidance on the performance of a procedure to answer the questions of the at-the-controls operator. The inspectors concluded this was, more appropriately, the responsibility of the control room supervisor.

3. Communications

• The inspectors observed that three way communication in the control room and the field has improved significantly.

• The inspectors noted that pre-job briefs tended to be lengthy, unfocused, and unengaging. For instance, reading a procedure from start to finish was not uncommon, and the level of engagement by the operators diminished significantly after a few minutes.

• The inspectors observed that communications between the outage control center, the control room, and the in-the-field crews were not consistent, and this resulted in multiple miscommunications. On numerous occasions, while trying to ascertain status or schedule of activities, neither the shift manager nor the outage control center could provide an accurate answer.

• The inspectors observed that control room log entries lacked detail which made it difficult for an independent reviewer to assess the events reflected in the entries.

4. Procedure Use and Adherence

• During the inspection, the team observed activities that involved the operations, maintenance, and radiation protection departments. The team observed that procedure use and adherence was generally improved and that discrepancies or ambiguities in procedural steps were addressed by stopping and involving supervisors to get the problems resolved.

5. Operator Fundamentals

• The inspectors observed that the high intensity training has had a substantial impact on the operating crews, and it appears that the new higher standards are being applied throughout the operations organization. The team observed many activities in the field, which involved licensed and non-licensed operators, and directly observed the new standards in use.

• The inspectors observed operators being engaged and deliberate when manipulating controls in the control room; the operators discussed the action, the expected outcome, and verified the desired outcome following manipulations.

6. Training for Other Departments

• The inspectors noted that the licensee invested significant resources in high intensity training and improving operator fundamentals, standards, expectations, and procedures for the operations department. However, the inspectors noted

that the licensee invested fewer resources in improving the performance of the maintenance department, and the team noted that very little emphasis was placed on training, procedure quality, and setting standards and expectations in the engineering, security, chemistry, and radiation departments.

These activities constituted completion of one annual follow-up sample, as defined in Inspection Procedure 71152.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Hinsdale, NH Police Department Response Times Decimated by Heroin Epidemic

Right, the Hinsdale Police department has had prolonged issues with a lack of proper funding...

The choice with small town America, either you have great schools or a great police can't have both.

We should get a yearly synopsis from the courts and prosecutors on the capabilities and function of the local police department. But this is the brotherhood of the system, nobody want to criticize each other. They don't want to give ammo to those facing the courts.   

Reposted from 8/12/16
  • Rumors are the Winchester Police Chief quit over the stresses of the heroin epidemic.
  • Some lower level heroin crimes are not being prosecuted in order to conserve severely limited police and court resources.
  • Hinsdale because situated in the "special tristate area" is the hot bed of heroin related crime in our region. Hinsdale has the highest police case load in the Manadnock and Cheshire county area.
  • Last week the Hinsdale police department opened up 10 new female assault or sexual assault cases
  • Police Chief Faulkner: "If I had to report all the crime committed in Hinsdale to our citizens nobody would want to live here."
  • Police Chief Faulkner: "There are some really nasty and dangerous "bad guys" now living within our midst".
Update 8/13

This is way beyond a local, city, state is a national security concern. It is destabilizing the police departments and courts on a massive scale. It is intensifying gang behavior and law breaking on a massive level.

We need to embargo countries and prepare to military enter countries in order to curtail production of heroin or fentanyl. We need to take out and disrupt the organized gang activity. If a country can't control the production of heroin or fentanyl aiming to sell into the USA, then your indifference to the problem is a declaration of war on the USA. We need to declare war on a country so the rest of the nation states will begin to control the their heroin production. And cut off any monies we are sending to heroin producting nations.     

Keene firefighters respond to overdoses
Posted: Saturday, August 13, 2016 8:00 am            
Keene firefighters administered Narcan for three opioid overdoses on Thursday. 
The department responded to as many as five overdoses, according to Keene Deputy Fire Chief Jeffrey Chickering, but administered Narcan — an opioid antagonist — for only three. 

Two of the overdoses that Narcan was used for appeared to be heroin overdoses, Chickering said, and the third was for another type of opioid. 
Chickering declined to comment on a potential cause for the unusually high number of Narcan uses Thursday, but said that numbers do fluctuate sometimes.
We numbers like these below for a small town like Keene, NH, can't you imagine how the new case loads would gum up the bureaucracies and paperwork of the courts and police. Right, we are talking massively increasing the size of the police force and building new jails on a industrial scale. This thing is going to echo through generations of families.
"As of Aug. 1", firefighters had administered Narcan 93 times for 48 suspected opioid overdoses, according to Keene Fire Chief Mark F. Howard. 

So far this year, there have been three confirmed deaths from opioids in Keene. The class of drugs includes fentanyl, oxycodone and other prescription painkillers, as well as heroin.
 State officials: 196 confirmed drug deaths in 2016

Posted: Friday, August 12, 2016 12:00 pm | Updated: 12:05 pm, Fri Aug 12, 2016.

State officials: 196 confirmed drug deaths in 2016

By Sentinel Staff
Posted on Aug 12, 2016
CONCORD — The number of confirmed drug deaths in New Hampshire this year has hit 196, the state’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner announced Thursday. Another 101 cases are awaiting toxicology results.
By year’s end, officials are projecting 482 people in New Hampshire will have died from drug overdoses, as the state weathers epidemic levels of opioid abuse. Despite signifying a third consecutive record-breaking year in New Hampshire’s drug-death toll, the projection is actually slightly down from an earlier forecast; as of last month, state officials were estimating 494 people would die from overdoses before 2017.
“It’s based on what week we’re in of the year and how many cases we’ve had so far and how many cases that are pending that look like drug deaths,” said Kim Fallon, chief forensic investigator for the medical examiner’s office. “So I imagine it will go up and down.”
The potent painkiller fentanyl continues to be responsible for the lion’s share of confirmed deaths; it was involved, either alone or in combination with other drugs, in 139 of them. Heroin has been linked to 12.
Approximately 13 percent of confirmed drug deaths so far this year — 26 — were caused by drugs other than opioids.
In addition to fentanyl, opioids include painkillers such as morphine, oxycodone and codeine, as well as heroin.
The 482 projected deaths would mark a 9.8 percent increase over the 439 people who officials confirmed died from drugs in 2015, and a 48 percent increase from the 326 deaths the year before.
Posted: Friday, August 12, 2016 12:00 pm
By CALLIE GINTER Sentinel Staff
Posted on Aug 12, 2016
Police are investigating more vehicle break-ins in the area — this time, incidents in Brattleboro and Brookline, Vt.
The latest reports from Brattleboro and Vermont State Police come on the heels of Chesterfield police’s recent announcement that several so-called “smash and grabs” — burglaries in which someone smashes a vehicle window and grabs anything of worth — have happened in Chesterfield, Hinsdale and Winchester.
Within the past two weeks, there have been at least six vehicle break-ins in Brattleboro, according to Brattleboro police Lt. Michael Carrier.
Most of them occurred at the public boat launch on Old Ferry Road and at the parking area at the Harris Hill Ski Jump, he said. Similar to other recently reported cases, windows were smashed and valuables were stolen, according to Carrier, who said mostly wallets and purses are being taken.
He noted that valuables shouldn’t be left in a car — especially not in plain sight.
In Brookline, Vt., Vermont State Police got a call from David Levenbach of Brattleboro, reporting that his vehicle had been broken into around 4:15 p.m. Thursday. Levenbach’s had parked his Subaru at the Trailhead parking area in Brookline and left it for nearly four hours. Nothing was reported stolen. Vermont State Police’s agency in Westminster, Vt., which handled the case, was unreachable to comment on whether the incident is related to the other break-ins.
Meanwhile, Jennifer M. Matthews, 40, of Westmoreland said her black Nissan Altima was broken into last Sunday. She said she and her husband were at Sheep’s Rock, a popular swimming spot on Route 63 in Westmoreland, around 5 p.m.
They were out of their car for 20 minutes at most, she said, and when they returned to their vehicle, the driver’s side window was smashed out, and her husband’s wallet and watch were stolen from the console.
“We literally had no idea. We just walked down by the water and back up. and we didn’t even notice it. ... He walked to his side of the car and he was like, ‘What the hell?’ ” she said this morning.
“We were in shock, that doesn’t happen here.”
But in recent weeks, it has been happening, according to area police departments.
The Chesterfield Police Department cautioned the public via Facebook last Saturday of an influx of “smash and grabs,” and stressed that belongings either be hidden or locked in the trunk of the vehicle.
Hinsdale Police Chief Todd Faulkner said Monday his department had 10 reports over the course of three days — five on Sunday and a couple more during the midnight shift that same night.
Most reports in Hinsdale came from either the Wantastiquet State Park parking lot or behind the old Wal-Mart on Field Road, he said.
Chesterfield police Chief Duane Chickering said that generally one or two “smash and grabs” are reported yearly in town and that six have been reported within the past two weeks.
Carrier said he can’t say if the Brattleboro break-ins are related to the series of other break-ins that happened in Chesterfield, Hinsdale, and Winchester over the past few weeks, but his department is working with those agencies to see if there is a connection.
The crimes are being actively investigated and police advise the public to park in more public places, hide valuables, and continue to lock their cars.
Winchester police have been unavailable for comment since last week.
Any information about the “smash and grabs” can be reported to either of the police departments: 355-2000 for Chesterfield police (Cheshire County dispatch), 802-257-7950 for Brattleboro police, or at 336-7766 for Hinsdale police. Information can also be shared anonymously online on their websites at www.nhchesterfield/police or
Callie Ginter can be reached at 352-1234, extension 1409 or Follow her on Twitter @CGinterKS.

Troubles At The Hinsdale NH Police Department

The new police officers would get more pay and benefits working at Wal-Mart. I'd seen the trouble outline here before anything ever was written up. I went to the selectmen this summer saying the police department was overwhelmed. I said the nature outcome of this pressure was going to cause a unnecessary police shooting, either a police getting shot or a citizen getting shot, or a big expensive legal suit.

Remember I was involved with a 3.5 year old little boy who was lost, the heroin addled mother was hysterical...I called the police department three times with no response. 

The police department dressed this up in the absolute certainty they can tell the difference between a need of a immediate police response or a non immediate response. People calling 911 are just giving the contact person their impressions of a transitory experience with missing pieces of information. We all got different communication skills. Some are overly hysterical and others downplay events. Prioritizing police responses based on limited resources is extremely dangerous.  Yep, that air of absolute certainty for those in power is a big problem. Especially when the powerful are afraid to speak up with resource problem. 
By Xander Landen Sentinel Staff

HINSDALE — Voters overwhelmingly approved two big-ticket budget proposals at Saturday’s annual Hinsdale School District and town meetings: the construction of an addition to the Hinsdale Elementary School and the hiring of two new police officers…You need an online service to view this article in its entirety.

No voters raised questions about the operating budget or any warrant article until article 8, which proposed the town raise $184,000 to hire two new police officers.
But when the article was put up for discussion, no one criticized the proposal. Instead, town residents expressed concern over under-staffing and mounting pressure at the department. 

In the police department’s 2016 annual report, Hinsdale Police Chief Todd Faulkner wrote that crime in Hinsdale is up, in part due to the state’s drug crisis.

Faulkner wrote that in 2016, the department handled 805 criminal investigations, compared to 705 investigations in 2015 and made 74 more “on-scene” arrests than in 2015.

With an increase in crime and only eight police officers on staff, he said the department can’t respond efficiently to many of the non-emergency calls it gets. And because of low staffing levels, the department had to request assistance from other police departments 150 times in 2016, he said.

A large burden is put on individual officers, and the department sees a high turnover rate, according to Faulkner.

“We have actually had officers tell us that they left because they burned out,” he said at the meeting.
After asking questions of Faulkner, Hinsdale residents voted in favor of hiring two new officers in a paper ballot vote of 113-24.

Heroin Police Troubles in Hinsdale, NH:The Secret Selectman’s Session Before My Time

Reposted from 8/23/2016

My presentation was scheduled at 7pm last night. It doesn’t occur until about 7:45pm. I’d call Hinsdale a dictatorship of rules and secrecy. The rules serve the towns establishment and the prestige of the selectman, never serves the greater good. 

So I had ten minutes to make my presentation. We went over a bit.  Well, for a while, I defied the ex police chief to leave...
I told the selectmen the police got runaway delay response times when a member calls for police services. The ex-police chief Gallagher says no big deal, because all police departments triage their police calls. But how often are they in triage? I’d call it a “normalization of deviation” and “frog boiling”.  I doubt the police department even defines the limits of triaging services. They need an independent poll about triaging services in Hinsdale and what problems do the community member have with the police department. The police are notorious with their “blue wall of silence”, why isn’t chairman (ex-police chief) selectman Gallagher front running protection for his buddy brother police chief Faulkner?
The Hinsdale Police department as a whole is severely impaired, being overwhelmed with crime and heroin problems and severely lacking money. I expect shortly because of police organizational stress, a unjustified police shooting, blown court drug cases and other court issues…the police department getting sued over a preventable community death based on the massive increase of triaging police services on 911 calls and regular calls to the police department.    
I just think the Hinsdale police department values the establishment people of Hinsdale over the poor and weak, such as that little boy I was advocating for. There is no doubt the establishment slum lords and businesses interest advocating for lower property taxes, get as much time as needed in the weekly selectmen time, while I get the 10 minute ruled out. They selectively inforce the ten-minute rule if you are buddy-brother of the Hinsdale establishment….  
All I am saying in our time of crisis, we need the police department and selectmen to better communicate to the community.
Check out our new police department building? It is more looks like a barracks of the invading foreign forces, than a welcoming and calming public building…
We need regularly scheduled community coffee times with the Hinsdale police department like the Brattleboro police department? But I guess the police department is too stressed and busy in these days…
Yep, and the police chief even complained to me he had no time to update and make useful his police web page. My son worked on updating that police web page as a High School project.  
I am a friend to the Hinsdale Police department, they just don't know it... 

Monday, March 13, 2017

Junk Plant Pilgrim In Blizzard Stella: Are They Shutting down?

Feb 15

Wow, they successfully gutted the blizzard out. 
at 100% power.

Feb 14

Not shutting down as of late last night...

Just saying, electricity price on ISO is now $0.0. Free electricity on the market. Right, region shutdown in anticipation of the coming blizzard. No demand for electricity,,,


Junk Outage Maintenance At Susquehanna: Two Oil Leaks Upon First Startup

It sounds like a coverup as they didn't save the leaking gasket...

Susquehanna Steam Electric Station 05000-387
Unit 1


On April 22, 2016 at approximately 11:25, Unit 1 entered Mode 1.

On April 22, 2016 at approximately 12:09, Technical Specification (TS) 3.5.3 was entered and the RCIC [EllS System Identifier: BN] Quarterly Flow Surveillance was performed with reactor pressure vessel (RPV) pressure at approximately 930 psig.

On April 22, 2016 at approximately 14:00, a two to three drops per second leak on the 1 F212B, RCIC Turbine Lube Oil Filter [EllS Component Identifier: FL T], was identified.

On April 22, 2016 at approximately 16:01, the main turbine [EllS System Identifier: TA] was tripped due to a seal oil leak on the collector end of the generator [EllS System Identifier: TB].

On April 22, 2016 at approximately 20:57, the reactor entered Mode 2.

On April 23, 2016 at approximately 00:46, the reactor entered Mode 3. RPV Pressure was below 150 psig at approximately 03:00.

On April 23, 2016 at approximately 03:55, an operability review concluded that RCIC was inoperable since there was no guarantee that RCIC would meet its mission time with the identified leak. 
On April 23, 2016 at approximately 06:54, the reactor entered Mode 4.

On April 30, 2016, both filter elements and all gaskets were replaced. These actions corrected the leak and RCIC was subsequently declared operable.

The leakage identified on April 22, 2016 was considered sufficient to require declaring RCIC inoperable.

RCIC was also considered to have been inoperable prior to the transition to Mode 1. As a result, the condition was considered a violation of Technical Specification (TS) 3.0.4 and reportable in accordance with 10 CFR 50.73(a)(2)(i)(B) as a condition prohibited by Technical Specifications.


The two items replaced to correct the leak were the gaskets and the filters. The filters would not cause an oil leak in the system and no deficiencies within the filters were identified. The gaskets were disposed of prior to the evaluation, and were the only difference that could have potentially resulted in the oil leak. Based on this available information, the direct cause of the leak was determined to be an unidentified gasket issue. A manufacturing defect or poor seating caused by pressurization are two of the potential gasket issues that could have caused the leak; however, a definitive apparent cause could not be determined.

Junk Plant River Bend: Never Exceeded 20% Since Outage, then Scram

March 15

River Bend is at 80% again.

March 14

You gotta give it too them, they didn't give up. Restarted and up to their sweet spot of 19%.

***This guy started up from a extended outage sometime on March 8. Simmered along at 20% with turbine control issues. One wonders what work they did with the turbine control in the outage.

Least nobody sneezed in the control room at Grand Gulf causing a long and big down power or trip.

Arkansas Unit 2 has been a 50% for how long...

Profound capacity factor and economics problems across the whole southern Entergy fleet...   

Power ReactorEvent Number: 52602
Facility: RIVER BEND
Region: 4 State: LA
Unit: [1] [ ] [ ]
RX Type: [1] GE-6
Notification Date: 03/10/2017
Notification Time: 11:41 [ET]
Event Date: 03/10/2017
Event Time: 07:14 [CST]
Last Update Date: 03/10/2017
Emergency Class: NON EMERGENCY
10 CFR Section:
50.72(b)(2)(iv)(B) - RPS ACTUATION - CRITICAL
Person (Organization):

UnitSCRAM CodeRX CRITInitial PWRInitial RX ModeCurrent PWRCurrent RX Mode
1M/RY17Power Operation0Hot Shutdown
Event Text

"At 0714 CST on March 10, 2017, with the unit in Mode 1 at approximately 17% power, a manual actuation of the reactor protection system (RPS) was initiated due to rising reactor pressure caused by the closure of the Main Turbine Control Valves (MTCV's). The cause of the closure of the MTCV's is under investigation.

"The unit is currently stable in Mode 3.

"All control rods inserted as expected; water level control is stable in the normal control band and reactor pressure is being maintained with steam line drains [aligned to the main condenser].

"The NRC Senior Resident Inspector has been notified."

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Entergy (Waterford) Having Troubles Knowing What Position Their Valves Are In

It is a indication of dysfunction with the control room employees.
Power ReactorEvent Number: 52600
Region: 4 State: LA
Unit: [3] [ ] [ ]
RX Type: [3] CE
Notification Date: 03/08/2017
Notification Time: 20:13 [ET]
Event Date: 03/08/2017
Event Time: 16:27 [CST]
Last Update Date: 03/08/2017
Emergency Class: NON EMERGENCY
10 CFR Section:
50.72(b)(3)(v)(D) - ACCIDENT MITIGATION
Person (Organization):

UnitSCRAM CodeRX CRITInitial PWRInitial RX ModeCurrent PWRCurrent RX Mode
3NY100Power Operation100Power Operation
Event Text

"This is a non-emergency notification from Waterford 3.

"On March 8, 2017 at 1627 [CST] Technical Specification (TS) 3.5.2 action 'c' was entered due to both trains of Low Pressure Safety Injection (LPSI) being inoperable. This TS action requires one train of LPSI be restored within 1 hour or be in at least Hot Standby within the next 6 hours.

"It was identified that LPSI train B was inoperable due to SI-135B, Reactor Coolant Loop 1 Shutdown Cooling Warmup Valve, being found open. At the time of discovery, LPSI train A was inoperable for pre planned maintenance, but available and awaiting operability retest. The station was in compliance with TS 3.5.2 action 'a'. Maintenance workers were scheduled to work Sl-135A Reactor Coolant Loop 2 Shutdown Cooling Warmup Valve, and inadvertently began work on Sl-135B and manually opened the valve which resulted in the LPSI Train B being inoperable.

"Once identified by Operations Control Room staff, the valve [SI-135B] was placed in the closed position and stroke tested to ensure operability. TS 3.5.2 action 'c' was exited at time 1705. The station remained in compliance with TS 3.5.2 action 'a'. "

The licensee notified the NRC Resident Inspector.

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Our Electric System "Administrative State": Burn Them All to Hell

Don't trust anyone over thirty years old !!!

These are the guys who built our system. These guys are so selfish. I'd fire everyone here. Start over with the professionals under 30 years old. Or wait till the old farts die off on their own.

What, three FERC commissioners, two missing. Same with the NRC.

You can see our severely dysfunction of out political system in the reliability of the junk nuclear plants.

The independent power producers model is obsolete. 

The butterfly flap of a butterfly's wing a half a world away can collapse our whole system. A non linear response!!!

Boo MotherFucker!!!  

'Can't be half-pregnant': Power market upheavals prompt states, feds to take actionare

As FERC prepares for a technical conference nuclear supports and gas plants coming under pressure in ERCOT and CAISO

Utility Drive
March 8, 2017
Strange things are afoot in organized power markets. 
You can see it in New York, where existing, carbon-free nuclear generation needs help from the state to keep running. In Ohio, where generators are selling coal plants after failing to win financial support. And in Texas, the nation's largest organized market, where even combined-cycle gas plants have come under pressure.
Last week, Mauricio Gutierrez, the president and CEO of NRG, called the independent power producer model "obsolete and unable to create value over the long term." His company owns a dozen coal, gas and nuclear plants in Texas, and generation revenues for that region dropped more than $90 million last year, primarily because of lower power prices in the state.How will the power industry evolve in 2017? Get Utility Dive's free eBook to find out.
"There does seem to be an acute problem across the markets where your supposed market outcome is driving high fixed-cost baseload resources off the system," said Raymond Gifford, a partner with Wilkinson Barker Knauer LLP and a former Colorado utility regulator. "Attempts to create capacity markets have proven insufficient."
Gifford and WBK partner Matthew Larson have co-authored a pair of white papers looking at what states have been doing to preserve baseload resources, as well as the tension that exists between markets and public policies like renewable energy incentives and nuclear power subsidies.
"Zero-emission credits," passed in in New York and Illinois to preserve nuclear plants, appear to be the direction states are moving in, the pair concluded. 
"States are coalescing around an ‘around market’ template to preserve nuclear baseload power plants," they wrote in last month's report. "Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and others are looking to this template for an ‘around market’ solution of their own, and these states are the next frontier of the ZEC strain of ‘around market’ solutions."
So far, most of the focus has been on struggling nuclear generation. Coal plants faced with challenging market conditions have often shuttered, or been sold to a buyer with more appetite for risk. But now it appears gas plants could be at risk as well, evidenced by the La Paloma gas plant filing for bankruptcy in California late last year.
"You can't be half pregnant but that's what we've tried to be," said Larson. "We kind of like markets but if we don't like the outcome we're going to reverse it or start playing with prices. You can point to a number of policy imperatives — some of them defensible and others not — but ultimately this is an area where the political economy pressures … overwhelm the ability to run a market."
"The fundamental reality," said Gifford, "seems to be you're not able to cover your fixed costs in a market that is essentially dispatching with some equilibrium between intermittent renewables, driving down prices during large parts of the day, and simple-cycle gas, which has less fixed costs to cover [than large baseload plants]."
Troubles in Texas, California, PJM markets
Each wholesale electricity market carries its own set of resources, priorities, challenges and incentives, but across several regions similar problems are cropping up. 
PJM, in the Mid-Atlantic, operates both energy and capacity markets. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), on the other hand, operates only an energy market, but stresses are beginning to show in each.
Last month, Bloomberg View noted how cheap Texas wind has been hurting independent power producers with gas-fired facilities in the state. While Texas energy demand has continued to climb, the state now gets more energy from wind farms than nuclear plants. And as fuel-free wind is dispatched first, it has driven down energy prices, cutting revenues for IPPs.
"Each market is a little different, but you can draw conclusions if you have all these markets exhibiting some of the same problems — and the states for, political economy reasons if nothing else, are copying some of the same answers," said Gifford.
“ERCOT is the purest expression of the market model," he said. It would be a "seismic" shift, he added, if independent producers are struggling there.
Public policies, while they may be necessary to increase or protect favored resources, are having undeniable impacts on the markets, Gifford and Larson said. In states like Texas, cheap renewables are often dispatched first in the generation stack. Due to declining costs and the federal production tax credit, wind resources in particular can bid in at low or negative prices, lowering the market clearing rate for all plants in the stack. 
Until recently, the dynamic put large baseload plants at most risk due to their high fixed costs. But as renewables continue to proliferate and decline in price, even natural gas generators are starting to feel pressure in markets rich with wind and solar, like Texas and California. 
This month, Calpine informed the California ISO last year that four gas peakers coming off long-term contracts were no longer economical and would be shut down by 2018. Two of them, Yuba City and Feather River, were found to be needed for reliability.
Emergency peaker plants identified as uneconomic by Calpine.
Credit: Source: California ISO

"When you get down to it, we have such a competing set of public policies imperatives ...  that price formation is distorted eight ways to Sunday," said Gifford. "We're using Rube Goldberg attempts to preserve what's a pretty rickety structure in the first place."
Capacity markets, where they exist, are not working, Gifford said. The power industry's high fixed costs and relatively low marginal costs are making it difficult for some generators to compete. But without a way to reliably recover fixed costs, one of two things happen, said Gifford: "Either all go bankrupt, or the capital formation never happens in the first place."
"Capacity markets in PJM have generally been judged not sufficient to keep capacity in the market," he said, noting that its capacity market is generally considered the most robust.
Stu Bresler, senior vice president of operations and markets for PJM, took some issue with Gifford's assessment, but also acknowledged that markets are evolving in the narrative laid out by the WBK white papers. 
"Markets are successfully achieving what they have been designed to accomplish: ensuring reliability at the lowest reasonable cost," Bresler said in a statement. "PJM’s markets are producing prices that efficiently and reliably drive the entry of efficient, new resources and the exit of older, uneconomic resources."
But he added that, as the white papers noted, "demands on markets are changing as public policy makers begin to emphasize factors other than cost. PJM is committed to examining how to harmonize markets and public policy and will investigate ways to use market-based incentives that align with desired resource attributes."
The FERC problem
In January, the Electric Power Supply Association made two filings asking federal regulators to take action on nuclear subsidies passed in New York, calling them a clear overreach and requesting the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to take mitigating actions.
In recent years, similar challenges to state generation supports have been knocked down by federal authorities. Last year, FERC blocked power purchase agreements approved by Ohio regulators that aimed to support aging coal and nuclear plants owned by FirstEnergy and AEP Ohio. Before that, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Hughes v. Talen Energy Marketing against a state incentive in Maryland that federal regulators said would impact wholesale price formation.
Now, FirstEnergy Corp. is pushing for legislation in Ohio that, similar to New York's method, would use "zero-emission tax credits" to support the Davis-Besse and Perry nuclear plants in Ohio.
Backers of the zero-emission credits say they differ in structure from the generation programs struck down last year, as they simply reward nuclear resources for their carbon-free generation. The credits under the ZEC program, they say, are little different than renewable energy credits widely accepted as a part of state RPS programs. 
FERC, with authority over power markets, will ultimately have to take up the issue. Last week, the commission issued notice of a technical conference to take place May 1 and 2, "to discuss certain matters affecting wholesale energy and capacity markets operated by the Eastern Regional Transmission Organizations (RTOs) and Independent System Operators (ISOs)."
But right now, FERC has just two members — Acting Chairman Cheryl LaFleur and Commissioner Collette Honorable — and both are Democrats. Without a quorum of three, the commission cannot take any major actions. And from a policy standpoint, things may be at a standstill until President Trump can nominate more than one Republican.
Kenneth Irvin, co-leader of Sidley Austin LLP's global energy practice, said back in January he was "afraid stuff is going to grind to a halt."
Many in the industry share that view, particularly given potentially lengthy vetting processes for FERC nominees. FERC and power markets are "incredibly esoteric," Gifford pointed out, and will likely not be the subject of the first major energy actions of the administration. An executive order to review and repeal the Clean Power Plan, for instance, is expected before any movement on FERC. 
"Not withstanding the Clean Power Plan going away, in whatever form that takes, this issue has way bigger reach than any in my opinion," said Larson. "And it continues to fly under the radar."
Along with FERC nominees from the White House, a court hearing in the South District Court of New York on the state's ZEC program is coming up at the end of this month. While an appeal is expected no matter how the court rules, the legal interpretation in the case will likely set the stage for litigation in other states and any eventual action from FERC. 
"This is a very big fork in the road here for FERC, and which way they go determines how this plays out," Gifford added. "And that's what we're really waiting for."