Thursday, July 24, 2014

VC Summer Plant is Nuts?

Humm, a government owned nuclear power plant in a anti government state.

*SCANA Corporation (66.7%) is a $9 billion energy-based holding company, based in Cayce, South Carolina, a suburb of Columbia. Its businesses include regulated electric and natural gas utility operations and other energy-related businesses. SCANA's subsidiaries serve approximately 661,000 electric customers in South Carolina and more than one million natural gas customers in South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia.
*The people of South Carolina govern Santee Cooper (33.3%) through a board of directors appointed by the governor and approved by the state Senate. A board member represents each congressional district and each of the three counties where Santee Cooper serves retail customers directly; one board member has previous electric cooperative experience; and the chairman is appointed at-large.
 Hmm, overloaded by building out two nuke plants.
On March 27, 2008, South Carolina Electric & Gas applied to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for a Combined Construction and Operating License (COL) to build two 1,100 MW AP1000 pressurized water reactors at the site.[5] On May 27, 2008, SCE&G and Santee Cooper announced an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract had been reached with Westinghouse.[6] Costs were estimated to be approximately $9.8 billion for both AP1000 units, plus transmission facility and financing costs. The operators are filing an application to increase customers bills by $1.2 billion (2.5%) during the construction period to partially finance capital costs.[7]
Two events popping up at the same time is very disconcerting. Can’t tell the difference between a valve leak on the vessel head and a leaking pressurizer safety valve. Bet you they had a elevated tail piece temperature thinking it was the leaks.

It sounds like the the maintenance is dismal on this plant.
This preliminary notification constitutes EARLY notice of events of POSSIBLE safety or public interest significance. Some of the information may not yet be fully verified or evaluated by the

Region II staff (Atlanta, GA)

Facility Licensee Emergency Classification

South Carolina Electric & Gas (SCE&G)
V.C. Summer, Unit 1



On July 13, 2014, staff at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station (VCSNS), Unit 1 suspected that a pressurizer safety valve was leaking and made a conservative decision to shutdown the unit. On July 17, the vendor notified the licensee that pressurizer safety valve test results showed the valve was not leaking. The licensee subsequently identified that the source of the leak was a reactor vessel head vent valve and repaired the valve.

The NRC resident inspectors were promptly notified and were onsite to monitor the shutdown and activities to identify and repair the leak. The resident inspectors are also monitoring the licensee’s additional reviews into the valve failure.

While returning the unit to service on July 22, the plant automatically tripped due to decreasing water level in the steam generators. The reactor trip occurred when the condensate polishing system bypass valve failed to open as required and feedwater flow was reduced. All safety systems responded as designed. The NRC resident inspectors were promptly notified and responded to the site to assess the plant and monitor the licensee’s actions. The licensee has completed repairs to the condensate valve and the plant is currently being returned to service.

This preliminary notification is issued for information. The State of South Carolina has been
notified by the NRC.

Region II received initial notification of this occurrence by the NRC Resident Inspectors who have been monitoring licensee actions. The information presented herein has been discussed with the licensee and is current as of 8:00 a.m. on July 24, 2014.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The radical reset of the NRC?

Two lawyers with little hands on nuclear power plant or organizationl experiance. More of the same crap!

Usually how these things goes, is the administration says something like, if you nominate and vote for my choice, then I give you republicans a choice and I will get you the votes to pass your guy.

The deals are all made in the shadows and nobody can understand how the political sausage is made.

This is why the NRC is the way they are.

Jeffery M. Baran, Nominee for Commissioner, Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Jeffery M. Baran is currently Staff Director for Energy and Environment on the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce, a position he has held since May 2014. Prior to this, Mr. Baran served on the Committee on Energy and Commerce as Senior Counsel from 2011 to 2014, and as Counsel from 2009 to 2010. He served as Counsel for the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform from 2003 to 2008. From 2001 to 2003, Mr. Baran worked as a law clerk for Judge Lesley Wells of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio. Mr. Baran received a B.A. and M.A. from Ohio University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.
Stephen Burns, Nominee for Commissioner, Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Stephen Burns is currently the Head of Legal Affairs for the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Nuclear Energy Agency, a position he has held since 2012. Prior to joining the OECD, Mr. Burns served at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) in a variety of roles. He was General Counsel from 2009 to 2012, Deputy General Counsel from 1998 to 2009, and Associate General Counsel for Hearings, Enforcement and Administration from 1994 to 1998. Mr. Burns also served at NRC as Director of the Office of Commission Appellate Adjudication from 1991 to 1994, Executive Assistant to NRC Chairman Carr from 1989 to 1991, Legal Assistant to Commissioner Carr from 1986 to 1989, and Deputy Director of the Regional Operations and Enforcement Division from 1986 to 1986. He began his career at the NRC as an Attorney in the Regional Operations and Enforcement Division from 1978 to 1983. Mr. Burns received a B.A. from Colgate University and a J.D. from The George Washington University Law Center.
I don't know what to make of this?
WSJ: President Barack Obama announced Tuesday that he will tap two well-connected energy experts for impending openings on the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

The White House will soon nominate Jeff Baran, an aide to retiring Rep. Henry Waxman (D., Calif.), who is the top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Stephen Burns, a former NRC general counsel, to the commission. Mr. Burns is currently head of legal affairs for the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's Nuclear Energy Agency.
 None of these guys got real power plant experience. At least Burns know the ropes around the NRC. I thought it would go the Obama way, figure out how to dilute his power...pick one to make the liberals happy and the other to make the nukies happy.
RC Commissioner Nominees Must Demonstrate Expertise, Collegiality

Tuesday, July 22nd 2014

WASHINGTON, July 22, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Following is a statement from Nuclear Energy Institute President and Chief Executive Officer Marvin Fertel on two nominations put forward by the White House today to serve on the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

"The nuclear energy industry is pleased that the White House has nominated candidates to fill the seats vacated by Commissioner Apostolakis and that will be vacated by Commissioner Magwood. As evidenced by the experience and capabilities of the two departing commissioners, the commission must be comprised of leaders who possess expertise and experience and who act as part of a collegial body committed to efficiently and credibly leading an agency of nearly 4,000 people.

"With the nomination of Stephen Burns, who served as NRC general counsel, President Obama has identified a figure familiar with the commission's responsibilities, processes and culture. Industry recognizes Burns' 33 years of service to the commission—he received numerous positive reviews and was repeatedly promoted. Industry has some concerns regarding certain actions taken by the NRC while Burns served as general counsel, including the chairman's use of emergency authority in the weeks after the Fukushima Daiichi accident and the decision to terminate the Yucca Mountain repository licensing process. The confirmation process will provide ample opportunity for Burns to elaborate on his views. The industry supports the federal court ruling reversing the agency's decision to discontinue consideration of the Yucca Mountain license application. The industry also believes emergency authority should be used only by the NRC chairman in rare circumstances in which other commissioners are unavailable to participate in agency decision-making.

"The nomination of Jeff Baran merits close scrutiny. Although Baran has energy and environmental policy experience, his background includes little, if any, relevant experience with nuclear energy technology or the NRC regulatory process and policies. We look forward to hearing his perspectives on these matters during the confirmation process.

"This is a significant period in the NRC's history. The agency and nuclear energy companies alike are faced with the challenge of sharpening regulatory focus to properly prioritize regulatory issues to ensure that both industry and NRC staff and financial resources are committed to those issues most significant to safety. The ongoing implementation of post-Fukushima safety enhancements is part of this complex mix. The times necessitate that the Senate confirm commissioners with relevant policy expertise who will work collegially with the sitting commissioners.

"The industry is committed to continuing a world-class track record of safe operation. Similarly, maintaining a credible and efficient regulator is essential for an expanded role for nuclear energy in a sound energy and environmental policy for future.

Always "one way" with the NRC on fighting for our interest

I just wonder what she knows of the magnitude of the plant shutdowns?
Why is the first instinct of these guys is to give a cost reduction to the utilities. How come she not in there playing "lets make a deal"...we'll give you cost reduction on security and emergency planing if you will decomission the plants within the first ten years after shutdown
How come it's always one way...

ATLANTA— U.S. nuclear regulators may need to shuffle staff as fewer nuclear plants are built and financial pressures prompt utilities to shutter existing plants, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chair Allison Macfarlane said Monday.

Macfarlane said NRC officials are in the early stages of researching how to reposition its roughly 3,800-member workforce as the industry's outlook changes. A recommendation is due in early 2015.

Expectations for the U.S. nuclear industry have radically shifted. Just six years ago, electric utility companies proposed building 26 reactors at 17 power plants spread across the United States. Instead, natural gas prices hit record lows, making it significantly cheaper to build gas-fired plants than nuclear plants. Around the same time, the U.S. economy fell into a deep recession, which further trimmed the demand for electricity.

Three nuclear plants are under construction in Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee.

"... We are not living the future that we had thought we were going to have a few years ago, right?" Macfarlane said during an interview at an NRC office in Atlanta. "We had, folks had thought that things would be quite different, that there would be quite a few more reactors being constructed right now. So, that's where the agency was sized and arranged, and now we have to rethink that."

The same trends that have discouraged electric utility companies from building new nuclear plants have encouraged them to take existing nuclear plants out of service.

Macfarlane said the agency may need new rules to govern decommissioned nuclear plants that no longer have radioactive fuel in their reactors, decreasing the chances of an accident or mishap. Already, utility companies that are shutting plants have requested loosening emergency preparedness and security rules designed for operating plants. Macfarlane said that plants being decommissioned may not need as much security as an operating plant.

"There's no fuel in the reactor," Macfarlane said. "Do you really need guards around it anymore? No, you don't, probably."

Friday, July 18, 2014

A Whistleblower’s Plight

Statement of Commissioner Jeffrey S. Merrifield atthe February 24, 2005, Briefing of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Nuclear Fuel Performance 

Back in 1993, before Dave, Vermont Yankee was such a black hole organization. The NRC gave us good grades and all the employees knew we were a terribly disturbed organization. I was just a reactor operator. My only tool was to bring attention to the plant. I wrote a letter to the governor of Vermont and other state officials explaining my plight, which she ignored. So I got in contact with the local anti nuclear group. Told them about my letter, asked them to accuse her of sitting on a safety issues. They did, then she was immediately out on a podium demanding a investigation. We did have a terrible accident within 9 months...the worst one in the history of Vermont Yankee.
I was in the control room during a start-up, we had a spike in radiation that scared the pants out of all of us out of nowhere. It went away and we continued on the start-up after much delay. Well, we knew we had more leaking pins. I watch this for months. I decide we had somehow got fuel pellets out to the coolant. I framed it as fuel pellets were rattling around in the coolant. I tell my anti nuclear folks and they make a telephone conference with the UCS. Right, these guys got very little technical education and they are way out of their league. Everyone thinks these conditions were preposterous. It never happened before in the industry.

So it is a year later. I am more friends with my anti buddy. I failed to understand what a horrible position I placed the anti nukes in. He pops up saying Mike; I got to tell you a story. You remember that fuel pellet story and your phone call to the UCS. The UCS and us had a private discussion about you after that phone call. He said, what you talked about was impossible. That nuclear plant employee is terribly unbalanced, one wonders how he ever got a license, he is mentally unbalanced. Well, I was unbalanced thinking I could influence the site and its employees. The antis had a big meeting about this, they agreed I was unhinged. They wanted nothing more to do with me. My buddy took a chance, he got the story in the local paper. The company came back saying in the local paper, we know who this troubled individual is, he is a big problem…what he is talking about is an impossibility. We don’t have fuel pellets in the coolant and never did or will.
So my buddy said mike, I stepped way out of bounds for you, I was crushed by this story in the paper. My anti nuclear friends I knew for years say they were disappointed (he was the chairman of the group and very wealthy) in me and you ruined the reputation of our group. The state was watching closely this story and I had contacted them about it.

A month later we are in a refueling outage…I get a call to my bosses office. He’s got the boss of nuclear engineering in there. I have no idea what is going on. He is my enemy and he has been acting like that for months. One only wonders what my blood pressure was at time. He says good call…we have no idea how you called this. It was about a 12” picture if a fuel rod or pin. Most of the picture had a protruding 12 inch crack, looking like there was a small explosion or great pressure in it once. He says Mike, why didn’t all the fuel pellets fall out? I tell him I have no idea. He says the pins have walled off, with wielded cells in it. Little did I know they had brought in specialist with the NRC investigating if I had somehow sabotage the fuel and a nuclear power plant. Now that is impossibility.
So my anti buddy says he believes I am nothing but a kook. He believes the UCS….the UCS has to right. Then he opens up newspaper article with the state nuclear engineering talking about the cracked fuel pin and the seven missing fuel pellet. It explained the industry never seen an event like this. I had talked to him at the beginning of the outage saying my company is only going to sample only a small percentage of the fuel pins. The state engineer explains the company was only going to sample a small sample of the core, we made them sample all the pins. They found four of five leakers they were going to skip....this caused the rattling loose pellets in the coolant. He made a reference an employee who asked the state to step in. My anti nuclear buddy after reading this says he was flabbergasted…he was flabbergasted the UCS called me crazy and unhinged. Who can he believe? But now Mike everything I am reading in the paper says what I heard on the bridge phone was perfectly correct. Mike, at that point you made me believe the UCS was crazy! He talks to me, saying it is so hard to interpret what is going on in the nuclear industry for us.

I not saying the the UCS is unhinged, I just saying they are a single data point limited by what the nuclear industry discloses and the NRC. It is terribly unfair position we place the UCS in. It is a terrible position we place the state and newspapers in.


Thursday, July 17, 2014

What a Stellar Black Hole Organization Is?

The media has gotten astonishingly vulnerable with listening to the single data point of Dave and the UCS. Dave comes from an engineer’s centric model of knowing a nuclear power plant instead of a licensed operator’s model of knowing a power plant. Some say he is angling for a NRC commissioner seat. Others think the NRC is entering a startling transition period…basically two commissioners have recently got politically fired and the whole NRC framework of regulations might be a stake when he brings on the new commissioners. The senate for the first time in the history of the NRC will need only 50 votes to confirm a new commissioner instead of 60 votes. It’s Reid’s nuclear option. These will be solely democrat choices.

Fracting is putting a beyond a once every a 100 year storm on the utilities and nuclear industry. The new reserves of natural gas are a “game changer” and the size of these reserves just might now be bigger than our imagination. It driving down the price of electricity and our national electricity load growth has been really weak since 2008.

So we set up our faux reality by a group of written and unwritten rules. If the world goes according to the rules then we are ok. But we have very little idea who gets advantage by the rules or the real motivations why the rules are written.

Do you know what a stellar black hole organization is? It is an organization who is powerful enough to suck in and control all information about itself. It sucks away all light itself. It controls all the rules associated with the organization. It only gives out daylight that is favorable to themselves and they play a extremely powerful influencer to other organizations around and above them. They are beyond the control of most nations and political system. They control the political systems about themselves. GM with their weak key ignition was a small organizational black hole. Most of our large institutional failures are black holes. You can use rules for unbelievable good things and to create horrible wrongs…they are just a tool. GM, the Japanese nuclear village/ Fukishima, 9/11, TMI, David Besse, nazi Germany, Nasa's two shuttles destruction, Katrina and our near economic collapse are black holes... That sucking feeling you perceive from the NRC, Dave and UCS is coming from a black hole…

I am setting up a rules system. Lets say you got a GM car with four passengers. What is the definition of safety…certainly not the reasonable person’s definition of safety? GM and the feds define safety (just make believe) as an event that could or did kill all four occupants in a car. An injury in a GM car accident, one occupant dead, indeed a dead pedestrian isn’t “safety related” according the generally accepted secret rules. The grand Establishment’s Jim Crow laws of the old south are very similar to this. Usually they are playing these games for billions dollars, status advantage and self-interest. This is the nuclear industry’s system of risk perspectives. It sets up the reality you think you know in your head. It is designed so you only see the tip of the ice berg.

If this unscrutinizable engineering or computer program of risk perspective program is so accurate, why couldn’t they use it to predict and anticipate the terrible behavior of the Salem plant’s staff or predict the broken bolts, or Salem would ignore prior notification. I dare you to try to get risk perspectives explained to you by Salem or the NRC! I guarantee you won't understand it.

None of these GM guys could imagine a weak ignition key switch could or would cause so much death and injury…would finally make this horrendous system of secret rule visible.

We could have a GM weak ignition switch accident in the nuclear industry in USA, not a full blown Fukushima… it would have terrible results for our nation.

Believe me, everyone is highly attuned to your question asking…

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Near Miss: Nuclear Industry Ending Event Level at Salem Nuclear Plant.

So I got that call back from the Salem senior NRC resident. They are a kind of a neat resource not many people use. He says they were having troubles with a turbine driven feed pump…they had to replace parts and test it. That was why the delay or hold at 46% power. He says these guys have been pretty problematic of lately with the MFP causing scrams and down powers.
I got done with all my questions, and then he started to ask me how I am doing. I talked about my new mountain bike, going all over the place. He talked about a couple of bike rides he has had…the most memorial of his recently was a ride through Manhattan. These guys are really trying to be personable. Way more than a few years ago.
He going to ask NRR my scenario...a much higher probability of a double pump seizure in a DBA earthquake with the diffuser bolts all broken and the diffuser loose. He says they are covered in a single pump seizure 
Again, this is much more dangerous than the possibility of an accident for the condition of the pumps. The Salem and Hope Creek plants has millions of components and thousands of systems…they are probable treating all their millions of components all in a similar manner. The plants could end up becoming very unreliable and if stressed in a transient or accident, a lot of component could show up to broken or degraded, confusing the hell out of the control room. Let alone, this behavior could demoralize the staff.   
So it needs two pumps to seize up simultaneously?
I think with a conservative maintenance PCP regime a locked rotor event his highly improbable. But under extremely poor maintenance regime leading to broken bolts on all the pumps and fallen down diffusers on three and for a prolonged exposure period…outside the well-treaded path of known engineering… then you have to assume a double locked  rotor event is probably . You have to treat this negligent behavior as punishment, with charging them as double locked rotor event is highly probable. This is how you get everyone else to never to go down this path again.

So what if we had a large earthquake in the area around Salem, as example? This jostles the loose diffusers in the four pumps leading to near simultaneous locked rotors in two pumps before the scram.   I think they should be punished severely just for being outside the well warn path of knowable engineering…way outside the licensing of the plant and design testing.
We are way outside the designed in protection for this plant...this kind of damage is uminmanageble to the plant designers amd licencing.  
I read a divergence between the 1984 NRC information notice and Westinghouse (Toshiba)?
"We must not forget that after the outbreak of the Fukushima disaster, the stance of thinking, "As long as we meet the standards, that's enough," came under criticism, including from overseas."
Why wasn’t Salem Forced to stay shut down until all safety inspections were complete and full disclosures, especially the NRC inspection. 
Honestly can you say the standards were adequate and with even the measly self standards they were unenforceable?
So why aren't we into a special or augment you they don 't want to disturb these bad actors.

Bet you this will be a yellow or red NRC finding like Palisades or Browns Ferry?  

Will Salem become one of the worst nuclear power actors in the nation in the eyes of the NRC...


Holy smoke, all the way up to 67% last night?

Updated 7/16

A letter to the CEO: 

 9 Twin Orchard Drive
Oswego, NY 13126
July 11, 2014

Dr. Ralph Izzo, Chairman & CEO
80 Park Plaza
P.O. Box 570
Newark, NJ 07101

Dear Dr. Ralph Izzo:

Since the Tokyo Electric Power Company/Fukushima Daiichi accidents, I believe that I have been a little more interested in nuclear plant preparedness. And, it would be my guess that those high level U.S. nuclear industry management people who visited that site are also more interested. (Maybe even you went there.)

Anyway, after reading the very scarce information available on your Salem 2 outage, I decided yesterday, (Thursday), at about 9:30 am, to call 856-339-1002 and talk with Skip. My feeling was that a plant that experienced the same problem outage after outage after outage probably isn’t too prepared for anything. I thought Skip could provide a fuller explanation. (Incidentally, I believe that I obtained Skip’s telephone number back a number of years when your Hope Creek plant had major problems with the “B”reactor recirculation pump, which you may remember, was run for many 10,000s of hours past the vendor’s recommended teardown inspection time.) Well, Skip was not there. Who did I want to talk to? Well, since I do not know who else is available, I said that I wanted to talk to anybody that could tell me about the reactor coolant pumps. But, why don’t you send me over to whoever is covering for him. Guess what? Nobody is covering for him at 9:30 am on a Thursday. No problem there: I just asked to speak to his supervisor. Can’t do that. How about I take your name and telephone number and I will try to get someone to call you back?
Can you tell me if I got a call back?
I didn’t. So, rather than talk to Skip, how about I tell you what I, a stockholder, see of your Artificial Island operation. First off is trending, a popular pastime today. A few years ago at Hope Creek, 1 of 2 reactor recirculation pumps was run in a bad state of repair. That is 50%.

Recently, it appears that all 4 of the Salem 2 reactor coolant pumps were run in a poor state of repair. That is 100%. Note that the trend shows that your Artificial Island major pump condition is getting worse.

Why would that be? Especially since the industry prides itself on telling the public of the many layers in the defense in depth theory. In your case, these layers seem to be missing.

Do you have a paid systems engineer responsible for the reactor coolant pump system? Do you have a paid function (pump) engineer? Do you have a paid plant thermal performance engineer? Does each of these 3 people have 3 additional supervisors? Does a QC program exist and include such safety-related items as reactor coolant pumps? Is there an active QA function on site? Do the plant operators do tours through the plant? Do you have a predictive maintenance program for rotating equipment? Do you follow vendor recommendations for (major) pump maintenance? Are there any installed (and operating) monitoring equipment on these pumps? Do you have an aging management program in operation?

Shouldn’t just about any ONE of these layers of defense in depth been sufficient to warn you that pump work was needed at the START of the outage?

So, how about doing two things? First, why don’t you have calculated the cost of all those people, functions, and programs who did not warn PSEG that the Salem 2 reactor coolant pumps needed work this outage, (starting from the end of the last refueling outage?)

Second, how about providing some transparency to the interested public to show you now have control of the situation?

Thank you,

Thomas Gurdziel
Yesterday morning I noticed in the Power Reactor Status Report Salem 2 was stuck at 46%. I thought it was abnormal …but it was less than 24 hours from start-up. Today it is still stuck at 46% power and that is highly abnormal.  
“Substantial safety hazard”

3) Although the event described here is apparently isolated, it demonstrates the credibility of a pump failure event which could lead to a rapid flow decrease transient of the type expected with a sheared shaft event. Most PWRs have a licensing basis analysis for that event or the similar seized rotor event. These analyses generally assume an automatic response of the plant's reactor protection system which generates a reactor trip as a result of low reactor coolant flow.
Plants which sense primary flow by pump shaft rotation rather than a fluid flow measurement for this automatic trip function are cautioned to the vulnerability of the protective system to a failure of the pump impeller.
***I got it, but it was always safe?

Probable Nuclear Industry Ending Level Event At Salem Nuclear Plant

This is the USA’s Fukushima…an extremely unlikely event, but one with enormous consequences( 9.0 earthquake with a huge tsunami)…this is a tricky judgment.
“Westinghouse determined that the dislodged parts could have created a “substantial safety hazard” had they suddenly locked up a pump, according to Neil Sheehan, spokesman for the NRC’s regional office in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. He added that the company considered a pump freeze-up “extremely unlikely.”
Does the NRC think this was extremely unlikely? What is it based on?
What is the evidence that it is unlikely…did the Westinghouse build a mockup and try every way possible with all the bolt broken to get the locked flow? Or is this just a industry’s advantaged "opinion" not backed up by testing and real engineering.  
There you guys go using insider code words the outsiders can’t understand…name and explain in detail the least and worst scenarios that gets you to the “substantial safety hazard”.
*** I’ll bet you it would get you to significant fuel damage and then bring up terms like a meltdown…it would be a nuclear industry ending level event based on just a “opinion” a freeze up is extremely unlikely!  
Now, G.M.'s response, as well as its replies to queries in other crashes obtained by The New York Times from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, casts doubt on how forthright the automaker was with regulators over a defective ignition switch that G.M. has linked to at least 13 deaths over the last decade.
They provide details for the first time on the issue at the heart of a criminal investigation by the Justice Department: whether G.M., in its interaction with safety regulators, obscured a deadly defect that would also injure perhaps hundreds of people.a car crash.
The company repeatedly found a way not to answer the simple question from regulators of what led to a crash. In at least three cases of fatal crashes, including the accident that killed Mr. Erickson, G.M. said that it had not assessed the cause. In another fatal crash, G.M. said that attorney-client privilege may have prevented it from answering. And in other cases, the automaker was more blunt, writing, “G.M. opts not to respond.” The responses came even though G.M. had for years been aware of sudden power loss in the models involved in the accidents.
At the end of the day, the industry would say it was just a few fuel pins that burst, you know how the antis would term it..but what would the public think? Would it become a media circus trying to drive viewership and circulation? 
You catch how the dirty linen always comes out after the start-up? They never have a pubic start-up meeting and explain what happened.

Remember these pumps are as hot radioactively as a fire cracker? 
Bolts that failed by the dozen inside four Salem Unit 2 reactor coolant pumps, idling the plant for months, were made of a metal alloy deemed unsuitable for nuclear reactors as long ago as 1984, industry and Nuclear Regulatory Commission filings show.
Manufacturer Westinghouse Electric Co. determined that parts loosened by bolt failures could have created a “substantial safety hazard” at the plant along the Delaware River had they suddenly locked up rapidly spinning parts in one or more of the 30-foot-tall coolant pumps, according to Neil Sheehan, a regional NRC spokesman.
Sheehan added that although Westinghouse considered a pump freeze-up “extremely unlikely,” it considered it “prudent” to formally report the bolt issue Tuesday to the NRC and the owner of two other reactors near Newport News, Virginia, where the same bolts are still in use.
The Westinghouse notification also revealed additional details about the severity of the problem inside the Salem pumps, which circulate water from the reactor to a system that transfers heat to make nonradioactive steam for generators.
In three of the four damaged units, large metal assemblies that redirect water flows dropped from their regular positions just above water-moving impellers when retaining bolts broke or sheared off. In two of those three pumps, Westinghouse said, diffusers made contact with the impellers, which spin at thousands of rotations per minute.
Why didn't the noise monitors catch the diffusers rubbing the you they were turned down. Why wasn't the pump pressure or flow changes noticeable?

Was reactor power level accurate?
“We’re still reviewing how PSEG responded to the bolting issue and will be documenting any findings in an upcoming inspection report,” Sheehan said. Although two of the loosened diffusers and spinning impellers made contact, “it did not cause any notable degradation” in pump flow or performance, Sheehan said.
*That sounds like there was detectable degradation, but they ignored it. 
NRC documents show that Brookhaven National Laboratory concluded in 1984 that the metals used in the type of bolts in Salem’s pumps should “not be used as a reactor structural material because of its susceptibility” to damaging changes under high stress and temperature. Reactor designer Babcock & Wilcox removed the alloy from its designs the same year, and the same alloy concerns were detailed in NRC notifications to industry in 1990, 1994 and 1995.
Salem’s bolt problems also prompted the NRC to notify inspectors and officials at Dominion Generation’s Surry Units 1 and 2 reactors northwest of Newport News, Virginia, the only other plants to use the same “A-286” alloy bolts in coolant pumps. The Virginia company is reviewing reports from Salem “to evaluate a course of action going forward,” Sheehan said.
PSEG Nuclear restarted Unit 2 over the weekend and reported the plant at 45 percent of its 1,180-megawatt capacity Tuesday morning. The 33-year-old reactor was taken offline in mid-April for a scheduled replacement of a third of its fuel, with the company reporting in mid-May that the shutdown would be extended because of the bolt problem. 
Bolt failures were discovered in the same PSEG pumps during two previous refueling shutdowns for Unit 2, which take place about every 18 months. All bolts were found to be broken or sheared off during the latest outage. Some broken bolt heads were found far out of place, including at the bottom of the reactor core.
Full details on the damage and cost of the repairs and shutdown have yet to be released.
Joe Delmar, spokesman for PSEG, said that pump-maker Westinghouse issued a technical bulletin on the issue in 1996. The bulletin, he said, noted that even if all bolts on a pump failed, “it would not affect the performance of the pump and, therefore, they did not recommend going in and replacing the bolts with others with different material unless you were going into the pump for another purpose.”
David Lochbaum, a nuclear engineer and director of the Nuclear Safety Program for the Union of Concerned Scientists, said Tuesday that PSEG might be found in violation of an NRC requirement that defective materials “are promptly identified and corrected.”
“Clearly, PSEG violated this requirement,” Lochbaum said on Tuesday, adding that the notification from Westinghouse “suggests that the defective material represented a significant condition adverse to quality.”
Dummy: why didn't they do that for the Palisades with their spewing PCP impeller blades all throughout their coolant going back decades?  Why are we getting a rash of primary coolant pump problems recently?  
PSEG’s neighboring Salem Unit 1 and Hope Creek reactors are equipped with different types of pumps and fasteners.
Westinghouse officials could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
Salem Unit 2 is one of three reactors that PSEG operates on Artificial Island along the Delaware River southeast of Augustine Beach.
Contact Jeff Montgomery at 463-3344 or

There are more pre 2011 Fort Calhouns out there right now!

July 15:Where did I hear intrusiveness…that was in the Palisades yellow finding?
Reoccurring themes: intrusiveness and just meeting the minimum regulatory requirements.

There is a Root Cause Analysis for you?

Do you trust the NRC to tell us really what going on in a nuclear plant and make a plant correct themselves before they cause great economic harm to the parent company and ruin the reputation of the nuclear industry? What role does the NRC play in protecting the ratepayers and businesses? Can you imagine this was going on and they did not or could not report on it pre 2011? Would we be a better nation if we got these employees to talk about their problem before the Great Missouri River flood and their large electric breaker problems leading to a prolonged shutdown and the NRC read finding? Would we be a better nation if the NRC gave the red finding way before the July 11, 2011 breaker fire leading to the red finding and prolonged shutdown?

What if the Great Flood happened and there was no NRC flood findings or poorly operating new large breaker issues...what if the plant came out of the 2011 event with widespread NRC and community respect??? Could they have been our heroes?

Can you even imagine not one employee in the know didn't step out of the shaddows informing the public things are really bad at my plant and we have to change pre 2011. All nuclear plant employees our cowards and they are only out for the money!!!
Should have done a scathing RCA outside report on the regulatory ineffectiveness here?  
What if god didn’t throw the great Missouri River flood at us and the breaker fire…what would have been the end point of the Fort Calhoun decline? What is larger than a red finding?

What if the NRC oversight of our nuclear plants now tolerates twenty Fort Calhoun pre July 11, 2011 plant culture failures, remember the ROP had no inclination to put a floor on the dysfunction (it could have gotten much worst)…what would have been the worst accident coming out of these twenty plants if the NRC kept uninvolved ? What would the size be of our national embarrassment be?

In other words, it would have to be worst than a red finding…at what level will the NRC finally put a floor on bad behavior and dysfunctions.

How many mad man and unseen pre July 11, 2011 Fort Calhouns do we have out there right now!

Organizational ineffectiveness at Fort Calhoun Station
Condition Report: 2012-03986
Event Date: May 11, 2012
Executive Sponsor: W. Gary Gates
Summary of Events:

Fort Calhoun Station has a history of organizational effectiveness weaknesses as indicated by The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has identified organizational effectiveness issues in Problem identification and Resolution (PI&R) inspections conducted in 2007, 2009 and 2011. A PI&R Root Cause Analysis (CR2011~10135) identified that flawed mental models, misguided beliefs, and misplaced values have driven, influenced and permitted the misalignment of organizational behaviors. The station has shown an adverse regulatory trend of violations beginning in 2007, entering action matrix column 3 (95003) in October 2010, then action matrix column 4 in July 2011, to eventually Inspection Manual Chapter 0350 in December 2011.

 A root cause analysis team was formed to evaluate the causes of this organizational ineffectiveness. The team conducted a root cause analysis on organizational effectiveness related events that occurred from 2007 through May 2012. The team also reviewed the! I Sand Strategic Talent Solutions (STS) Executive Leadership Assessment summary to validate their findings.

Condition Report 2012-03986 was initiated when a team of station management personnel and external consultants determined that the Fort Calhoun Station‘s organizational effectiveness is inadequate. The team characterized the issue as follows: "Senior leaders and managers are not providing the necessary leadership to improve organizational performance. Additionally, leadership has failed to be intrusive, set the right priorities, and holds personnel accountable and has not understood major processes or issues affecting morale. As a result, timeliness and thoroughness of resolution of important issues has been lacking and station performance has declined significantly.”    

The RCA team subsequently developed a problem statement that, “The Fort Calhoun Station (FCS) organization has been ineffective in meeting regulatory and industry standards, resulting in untimely and ineffective resolution of issues contributing to a significant decline in station performance."
This organizational effectiveness weakness has had a direct negative impact on nuclear, radiological, and industrial safety and other business aspects. Examples include organizational effectiveness issues identified in the Yellow external finding, the FAQ contactor failure White NRC identified finding, and the 184A Bus fire NRC Red finding. industries! safety has been identified by ######### as lacking sufficient organizational oversight and ####### that station oversight did not perform adequate organizational challenging of radiological planning for outages. 

The analysis identified that there has been inadequate direction, prioritization and oversight from the "board of directors” down to the station leaders. The team identified three root causes and three contributing causes. Less than adequate corporate and station governance and oversight; leaders functioning more in a tactical rather than strategic manner and not valuing accountability; and lack of thorough policy implementation as root causes. Three policies were determined to be contributing causes base on the fact that both the policy was weak and needed improving, as well as proper implementation. Those three policies included the stations Nuclear Safety policy, Change Management policy, and Communications policy. All three of these policies were identified in the #####.

The extent of condition was based on the problem statement, interviews conducted, documents reviewed and the analytical tools used to assess FCS performance in the area of Organizational Effectiveness. An extent of condition exists: The team concluded the organizational effectiveness deficiencies reviewed by this causal analysis extend to those programs, processes, and departments throughout the organization.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Bolt-bedeviled Salem reactor begins restart

July 15: Why are they only at 45 % power last night...problems? RCP testing or problems?
The company also said Monday that several bolt heads had previously been recovered during the prior two refueling outages. During this most recent outage, eight turning vane bolt heads were recovered from the reactor cooling system.
A safe company would have discovered these issues when cracks first emerged and certainly when bolt heads were recovered from the cooling system.
Remember, these events usually emerge from a broad change in strategies of the company. Usually it is buget cutting. These companies have millions of components and tens of thousands of systems…if you reduce care to millions of components, then a site could become very troublesome with a lot of breakdowns. If the degradation goes on long enough, the components are stressed in an emergency or transients, or when electricity is really needed in a summer heat wave.  This is when you see many components mis-operated in a stressful emergency and many components failing at the same time and could confuse the hell out of the control room staff.   
Also nationwide, because these cooling pumps troubles don’t have to be reported to the NRC and inspected by the NRC, we really don’t know the extent of these problems broadly.  This is probably the reason why this happpened in the first place...excess secrecy.  
If these negative strategies go on for a long period of time, it usually takes them many years of really intense recovery before they will even see any measurable result. And usually, there is a few slide back times in the recovery where they revert to the bad habits.  
And as another example with conditions in the industry…generally until it gets to a atrocious unprofessional condition…things going wrong with primarily coolant pumps and recirc pumps need not be inspected and reported on to the public by the NRC. Terrible events going on with these crucial safety components need not be reported by the licensee to the NRC. The public is totally left out of the loop. There was prior events with falling out bolts and nut that wasn’t reported to the NRC.
Bolt-bedeviled Salem reactor begins restart

PSEG’s troubled Salem Unit 2 nuclear plant began a restart over the weekend after a three-month idling triggered by the discovery of dozens of broken bolts in four pumps. 
A Nuclear Regulatory Commission status report on Monday morning showed the 33-year-old plant, along the Delaware River southeast of Augustine Beach, had reached 18 percent of its full power by Monday morning. 
Obviously this site has a lot more troubles than what can be seen.
New: A failed wiring termination on the Unit 1, A Phase Neutral Generator CT{EL/XCT} caused the Generator Differential Trip to occur. A root cause investigation was performed to address this and the previous generator CT connection failure event on April 13, 2014. The root cause was determined to be an improper termination of the CT lead wire to field wire connection. A contributing cause was that the extent of condition visual examination and testing to identify potential common mode failures was not adequately challenged by the station. Failure analysis determined that the CT connection insulating tape failed due to chronic thermal fatigue permitting moisture intrusion due to inadequate environmental controls.
Neil Sheehan, spokesman for the Nuclear Regulator Commission’s regional office in King of Prussia, Pa., said that nuclear plants usually begin to feed electricity to regional power systems when output hits 30 percent of capacity. 
PSEG Nuclear spokesman Joe Delmar said that the company would release a statement after the reactor had completed its synchronization with the regional PJM grid. 
During a refueling outage originally scheduled to end in mid-May, workers found that all of the dozens of bolts used to secure water moving impellers had broken or sheared off in all four of Salem’s 30-foot reactor coolant pumps. 
Some bolt-heads and pieces had not yet been found by late last month, and some were found in the bottom of the reactor core itself, or in cooling water piping. 
“We are satisfied with the repairs done on the reactor coolant pumps, as well as with the supporting evaluations,” Sheehan said Monday morning. “We will be documenting our reviews in an upcoming inspection report.” 
The NRC allowed the company to investigate and complete the work without putting a formal hold on operations. NRC spokeswoman Diane Screnci said the commission’s on-site, resident inspectors have been following the repairs and assessments throughout the shutdown.
The below is based on a special technical ideology of selfishness...not on the engineering and what is best for our nation. They are talking about a leak in the primary coolant is is basically a Loss of Coolant Accident (LOCA). It is a continuation of the Palisades impeller problem with flinging off blades caused by not following the rules. Cavitations and and not enough NPSH. They are basing the safety in risk perspectives...a process outsiders can't understand...undecipherable and scrutinizable.  Basically a behavior that is acceptable as long as it is perceived as not leading to a severe core meltdown. Smaller core melts are acceptable....which would severely damage our nation.
The NRC definition of safe is starkly different than what a reasonable person would use. They are using language as a weapon of misunderstanding…
Regulators said that bolt failures in the coolant pumps were never classified as a direct safety issue, although the problem could have caused fast-spinning blades to dislodge and possible break open the coolant pump casing, spilling cooling water into the containment building. 
Salem Unit 2 is one of three reactors on PSEG’s Artificial Island complex in Lower Alloways Creek, N.J. Exelon owns 43 percent of the the two Salem reactors at the site. PSEG owns 57 percent of Salem and 100 percent of the newer Hope Creek nuclear plant.

Contact Jeff Montgomery at 463-3344 or