Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Nuclear Power: Closing the civility gap (VY)

I was there at this meeting. I had gone through a FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force bogus investigation over these events. At this public meeting when I was up at the podium, I spent the majority of my time profusely thanking the local police and NRC being with us in the pitiful times. I'll make the case, the antis, or Entergy never thanked the local police force for making all of us. What can I say, they both hated government equally.        

It was a hugely contentious era we all went through from the AOG radioactive pipe leak to final licenced meeting we are talking about here.

Remember both a Republican and Democrat Vermont governor's lost trust in Entergy. Entergy senior management was arrogant and thought they were superior to everyone surrounding Vermont Yankee. What set this up, is in a Vermont legislature testimony a VY engineer denied there were radioactive pipes outside any building buried in the ground. Then a large radioactive leak occurred in a pipe Entergy denied was ever in the yard. Entergy was playing their highly technical tricky and deceptive word games. They got caught in a lie and they didn't quickly admit it and say they were sorry. They had a lot of good employees at VY. I felt sorry for how entergy supported them.

As this played out, there was massive protest surrounding the plant and they were constantly negatively in the news. This turned the public against them, the politicians soon followed. Gov Shumlin got elected over going deeply anti nuclear. 

We felt at every step the NRC and their rules were never on the public side. Could never control a bad actor nuclear power plant. We felt there was no enforcement there and it was only going to get worst.   

Believe me, Pilgrim was going in the same direction recently. The NRC felt that and got serious with the plant in the end. Who wants more cow manure thrown at them?        

This disaster could happen at any of the other 99 plants and at any moment. It is not that hard locally to ruin the reputation of a giant corporation no matter how much money they got. Remember we were right in worrying about safety at the VY. History proved us right. Entergy's Pilgrim and Arkansas Nuclear One, according to the NRC, are the worst operating plants in the USA. ANO recklessly dropped a 600 stator in the turbine building through not following procedures and they killed one and seriously injured eight others. River Bend and Waterford are teetering on the cliff.      

Nationwide we were feeling disgraced by our institutions and political systems as the AOG building inlet pipes became leaking. We see the results of it in this presidential election cycle with reckless outsiders leading the polls. Our faith in government is in negative territory. 

It basically was a perfect storm with the massive development of widespread public disgruntlement with our institutions and the loss of credibility with a giant electric utility such as Entergy. 

Everyone is not that far from getting manure flung at them in a public meeting.        

Nuclear Power: Closing the civility gap

By Dan Yurman
Posted:   12/01/2015 11:38:31 AM 

On Feb. 19, a Nuclear Regulatory Commission public meeting held in Brattleboro descended into chaos. Protesters who were bent on disrupting the proceedings bullied and threatened people who wanted to speak at the meeting. The disrupters' tactics included shouting at speakers, thereby interrupting their remarks, and making verbal threats against those who sought to speak in support of either the NRC's proposed action or the utility that was the subject of the meeting. 
The objectives of the disrupters were to prevent the NRC from having a credible public process and to attack the diligence and compliance of the nuclear utility, which is regulated by the agency. 
The facts are not open to debate. The disturbing details of this meeting were captured on video and were broadcast the next day on a local cable TV channel. 
Ineffective outreach and failure to control large public meetings aren't a new problem for the NRC. In May 2014, a group of protesters at a meeting regarding Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in Vernon interrupted the session by shouting that the NRC officials at the meeting were "lying and incompetent." Considering the technical credentials of the staff and their extensive experience as nuclear regulators, these assertions were unfounded and insulting.

Why hasn't the NRC taken a more proactive approach to preventing its meetings from running off a cliff? The issue is that like ill-informed parents deciding not to vaccinate their children against the measles virus, this kind of antisocial behavior could spread to public meetings and licensing hearings across the country. In fact, a pro-nuclear group in California raised exactly that issue in a recent letter to the NRC about public meetings on seismic safety at the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant. 
The legitimacy of the agency and the diligence and compliance of the nuclear utilities it regulates are being challenged by people who disrupt its meetings. So how much of a problem does the NRC have and what does it intend to do about it? It turns out that the NRC appointed a task force to look into the problem. The task force produced a report on the issue in late January 2015, just weeks before the public meltdown that occurred at the Brattleboro meeting. 
The task force report acknowledges that the NRC is "inconsistent" in its efforts to conduct public outreach. Further, the report notes that there are problems with the "attitude" of the NRC civil servants who conduct the public meetings about how useful the meetings are to the agency. 
The report states that leaving the management of public meetings to technical staff not skilled in the subject of managing public meetings is a problem, and adds that the NRC's engineers and their managers have given public meetings a low priority relative to their other safety-related regulatory duties. 
The report provides a number of recommendations — some useful, and some just wishful thinking — to remedy the situation. Nowhere in the document does it commit to providing funding to carry them out. Without hard dollars behind the recommendations, this report could wind up keeping company with prior versions just like it that hark back more than a decade. We've seen this movie before. 
What's astonishing is that the task force decided not to ask the public what it thinks of the NRC's performance in regard to the conduct of its public meetings. This seems to be clear evidence of the "attitude" problem cited in the report summary. 
According to the report, NRC management does not believe that the meetings do any good, which means that those running the meetings have no incentive to do much beyond the bare minimum. The result is that where there are large crowds and a controversial issue is at stake, NRC technical staff are frozen in place on their chairs and are unlikely to say anything beyond the most basic statements about the meeting process. 
People who are determined to disrupt these meetings say and do outrageous things, taking advantage of the staff's obvious reluctance to assert control over the process. Examples include throwing what they claim are organic waste products onto the podium, and brazenly and repeatedly interrupting speakers. 
The report cites several models of successful public engagement. Clearly, the task force understands what constitutes effective outreach and management of these meetings. What the NRC needs more than practical advice on techniques is a cultural shift, and it needs to hire people who are expert at dealing with large public meetings on controversial subjects. 
The agency gets a plus for its candor in the report, but the space it must travel — the delta — to close these self-reported gap sremains as wide as the Missouri River in "flood stage." 
One of the issues that seems to fall by the wayside is that the nuclear utilities regulated by the NRC have sometimes taken a hands-off approach when it comes to maintaining control of public meetings about their licenses or operations. Part of the problem is a desire to hold the regulator at arm's length, and part of it is a view that the control of a public meeting is the NRC's problem. 
Here is why change is needed. 
To respond to disruptions, bullying, and threats at public meetings, both the NRC and the nuclear utilities it regulates must change the way they communicate and collaborate. Neither can limit their engagement with the public to the single channel of a public meeting. 
A public meeting is one of the few places where the public can interact with a utility's managers and the NRC's engineers and hear what they have to say. A disrupted meeting casts a negative shadow over the utility's message, however positive that message may be, about plant safety. The reason is that people will remembert he disruption and not the safety message. The news media will certainly report the disruption, and the substantive issues that are at stake second, if at all. 
A utility's brand value depends on a positive view of the utility by the public. An NRC meeting that becomes contentious will color public perceptions of both the utility and the NRC, even though both are blameless regarding the cause of the disruption. When the NRC and the utility do nothing to stop disruptive tactics, they become passive enablers of the disrupters' objectives. 
While publicly traded nuclear utilities have signicant fiduciary responsibilities to stockholders that limit what they can say and do in public, informing the public is never a poor choice, and that action goes along with its branding and marketing strategies to boost the value of its stock. 
The NRC and the nuclear industry need to collaborate to and find new ways to ensure that when people show up at a public meeting, they can feel safe and secure, knowing that a civil process will take place. The utility needs to conduct outreach to the community no less so than the NRC when it comes to these kinds of public events.
This advice is counter to the current practice of some nuclear utilities that counsel their employees not to attend a meeting unless they are assigned to support it. Or, if they do attend, they are instructed not to speak on the utility's behalf. 
Utilities say that they don't want the appearance of "packing" a meeting. They may also feel that one or more employees,speaking on their own responsibility, may reveal information that will be misunderstood, will be deliberately misconstrued by antinuclear activists, or that may confuse the NRC staff. What the utility misses is that its employees and their families and friends are already communicating about the plant on social media. Anyone who has watched a Twitter message or YouTube video "go viral" readily understands that an enormous audience can develop over a short period of time and can be drawn into a report about a specific event, even if the report doesn't have the facts right. 
For example, in June 2011, despite the NRC's successful efforts to get the Fort Calhoun nuclear station to develop flood abatement measures, Business Insider, a major social media site, published a report saying that the plant had blown up. This produced a brief but intense frenzy in the mainstream news media, resulting in the dispatch of helicopters to take photographs of what they expected to be a nuclear disaster. Instead, the pilots had their knuckles rapped for violating the Federal Aviation Administration's Notice to Airmen not to fly over commercial nuclear power plants. 
And yet, the answer to problems with communication at public meetings is more communication. A utility that views social media as a liability, or as just a new set of outlets for its press releases, will fail to satisfy its outreach objectives. Using social media prior to public meetings, along with mass media channels, can do a lot to set public expectations and perceptions and to "inoculate" the public against individuals' efforts to disrupt these meetings. 
Social media, with its instantaneous feedback loops, is about dialogue. Mastery of social media means engaging in dialogue in social media channels. This is a daunting challenge for some utilities, which already have executives, legal counsel, and the chief financial officer all scrutinizing even the most routine of press releases. Asking some utility executives to consider dialogue on Twitter or Facebook is simply an invitation to seeing them, metaphorically speaking, blow their gaskets. 
The urgency of the problem of disrupted meetings requires that the NRC and nuclear utilities spend less time trying to control the message — for example, via one-to-many PR methods with the mass media. They need to spend more time engaging in dialogue with various "publics" in many-to-many social media channels. The payoff is that entities with the best ability to mediate dialogue and participate in it effectively will make far more progress in getting their message across than those who don't do these things. 
While it is true that some people seem to think that political theater is a substitute for establishing a meeting record in a regulatory decision-making process, the fact is that the NRC knows that it is likely to be challenged in court. That's why its rigor in establishing a meeting record matters. People in the nuclear industry know that, but the public isn't always cognizant of the boundary between protest and process. 
Meeting records and hearing records are equally important elements of the public'sinput to the NRC's decision-making processes. While NRC public meetings are less formal than its quasi-judicial hearings, both types of forums have suffered from problems caused by a lack of civility and engagement, especially when they have been conducted away from the agency's White Flint headquarters building in Rockville, Md. 
People who opt for protest may feel powerless, and that fuels disruptive behaviors. People who feel that they are being heard are not as likely to create distractions at a public meeting. 
Civility and safety in public meetings, or on social media,still depend on appealing to reason, engaging respectfully with people who hold divergent views, and recognizing that the public brings all kinds of perceptions about power and persuasion to social media forums. 
The more dialogue there is that is civil and safe, the less influence people with an agenda to disrupt public meetings will have over the outcome of the meetings. 
This article can also be found at ansnuclearcafe.org/2015/11/18/27778. Reprinted with permission from the November 2015 issue of Nuclear NewsCopyright ©2015 by the American Nuclear Society. 
Dan Yurman is the Publisher of NeutronBytes.com, a blog about nuclear energy.To contact Yurman, email dan.yurman@usa.net.

Indian Point Safety to Remain Top Priority for Entergy (not)

Unless they can get away with putting the shade over your eyes.

It all depends what the word safety means?  Their definition and common usage is worlds apart.

They corrupted the word safety to the ends of self interest and status.   

Indian Point Safety to Remain Top Priority for Entergy

The owners of the Indian Point nuclear power plants in Buchanan have vowed to ensure the safety of the facility if an additional 20-year license is approved. 
During an appearance before a three-judge panel of the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Atomic Safety and Licensing Board in Tarrytown two weeks ago, Entergy officials maintained their legally enforceable commitments to safely operating the 40-year-old plants were based on state-of-the-art science. 
“Indian Point has operated safely for more than 40 years, delivering enormous benefits such as reliable price-stable and non-greenhouse gas emitting power generation, day in and day out,” said Fred Dacimo, vice president of operations license renewal for Entergy. “The fact that Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff has spent 37,000 hours over eight years reviewing and inspecting Indian Point’s application should be reassuring to everyone that all aspects of the license renewal process have been thoroughly examined, and that the facility will continue to operate at the highest levels of safety and reliability.” 
In September 2013, Indian Point Unit 2 began operating under Timely Renewal, which extends the initial 40-year license while the license process continues for at least several more years until the NRC makes a final determination. Indian Point Unit 3 will begin its Timely Renewal period on December 13 when its current license expires. 
Indian Point supplies about 25 percent of Westchester County and New York City’s electricity, and 11 percent of New York State’s power. Approximately 1,000 people are employed at the plants, which, according to Entergy, directly and indirectly generate $1.6 billion annually.
The NRC has already issued a report concluding there is nothing to preclude Indian Point from safely functioning for the next 20 years. A Final Environmental Impact Statement issued by the NRC also determined there were no environmental issues preventing license renewal. 
However, Entergy does face some hurdles with the New York Department of State, which earlier this month filed an objection to Entergy’s request for a Coastal Consistency Determination, an objection that could potentially hold up a new license. 
In the objection, Governor Andrew Cuomo, who has long called for the closure of Indian Point, highlighted many concerns about the facility, including the intake of 2.5 billion gallons of water per day for cooling, which kills aquatic life in the Hudson River; a history of operational accidents; the proximity of the plants to a heavily populated area; and the risk of catastrophic events due to flooding. 
While the NRC holds regulatory control over nuclear power plants, the State of New York permits the plant’s use of the river and can withhold or limit the permission to operate based on water quality concerns. 
The state’s position has been backed up by Riverkeeper. “We’re satisfied with the Department of State’s thorough evaluation of the impacts, and risks regarding Indian Point, and ultimate finding that a coastal consistency determination for the plant is simply inappropriate,” said Riverkeeper Staff Attorney Deborah Brancato. 
U.S. Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18) also supported the New York Department of State’s assessment of the Indian Point Energy Center.
“This latest Indian Point assessment has shown yet again that this facility just doesn’t make sense for the community and the surrounding environment,” Maloney stated. “I appreciate the steps that the New York Department of State has taken to ensure the safety of folks living near Indian Point. It’s time we focus our efforts winding down Indian Point and get serious about replacing it with a source of energy production that will create and preserve jobs while reducing the risks to our neighbors and our wildlife.”

Monday, November 30, 2015

Junk Point Beach Unit One Plant (266,301)

Point Beach has had a lot of partial loops, transformer problems and switchyard troubles. 

Why did the "auxiliary feed water system actuated based on low steam generator level"? 
Power ReactorEvent Number: 51570
Region: 3 State: WI
Unit: [1] [ ] [ ]
RX Type: [1] W-2-LP,[2] W-2-LP
Notification Date: 11/28/2015
Notification Time: 23:54 [ET]
Event Date: 11/28/2015
Event Time: 19:12 [CST]
Last Update Date: 11/29/2015
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
1A/RY100Power Operation0Hot Standby
Event Text

"Unit 1 automatic reactor trip actuated due to an automatic voltage regulator (AVR) malfunction which caused a generator lockout and turbine trip. The cause of the AVR malfunction is unknown at this time.

"All control rods fully inserted. The RCS is being cooled by forced flow (reactor coolant pumps). Secondary heat sink is being provided by the condenser steam dumps utilizing the main feed water system. The auxiliary feed water system actuated based on low steam generator level, but since has been secured. Off-site power remains available. No release is occurring and emergency core cooling systems did not actuate. Emergency plan entry was not required."

The plant is in its normal shutdown electrical lineup at normal operating temperature and pressure. Unit 2 was not affected by the Unit 1 transient.

The licensee has notified the NRC Resident Inspector

So already we are seeing Point Beach isn’t keeping components feeding the vessel in a reliable state and now really the operation's department is implicated in they didn’t get power down to below 50% (two half capacity condensate pumps). Actually sounds like a poorly designed condensate system without three half capacity condensate pumps?
Licensee Event Report 266/2015-002-00 Unit1 Manual Reactor Trip
On December 2, 2014, operators commenced a rapid power reduction of Unit 1 due to noted degradation of Unit 1 B Condensate Pump. At 2050 on December 2, 2014, with Unit 1 in Mode 1 at 62% power, operators initiated a manual reactor trip of Unit 1 following securing of the Unit 1 B Condensate Pump due to imminent failure. The Auxiliary Feedwater Pumps started as expected on low steam generator level experienced due to the reduced steam demand from the turbine trip in response to the reactor trip. All other plant systems functioned as required.

The degrading Condensate B pump and motor assembly required the immediate removal from service. A reduction in reactor power was necessary to support the continued operation, considering limitations of a single train of condensate and feedwater. At the time when the condensate pump assembly failure was imminent, the reactor power was not low enough to support removal of one of the two operating condensate pumps, which necessitated a manual reactor trip

"Breakthrough Energy Coalition"

I generally don’t like Bill Gates. Sorry. But I agree with these principles.

You know what I’d like to see, either Gates as the Secretary of Energy or as the new vice president…

They seem to get it, they have to invent a energy gadget that undercuts coal or natural gas. With great power come great responsibility? 

But bigger picture is we have to invent a new economy and boost average incomes such that we can afford real altruistic energy. What is garbage electricity and what is altruistic or holistic electricity? What is just computer, computational or just raw human intelligence or what is altruistic, holistic computer or intelligence...ends in the greatest human development possible or societal development. To what ends is it all?  Don't have the destabilizing peaks and troughs of human development today...have a more balanced advancement. Education is the foundation of it all.   

We have to invent a new humanity that is not so much into gratuitous entertainment and feeling good(phony), but alway into personal growth in one way or another towards the ends of us all.    
Breakthrough Energy Coalition 
the principles 
Technology will help solve our energy issues. The urgency of climate change and the energy needs in the poorest parts of the world require an aggressive global program for zero-emission energy innovation. The new model will be a public-private partnership between governments, research institutions, and investors. Scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs can invent and scale the innovative technologies that will limit the impact of climate change while providing affordable and reliable energy to everyone. The existing system of basic research, clean energy investment, regulatory frameworks, and subsidies fails to sufficiently mobilize investment in truly transformative energy solutions for the future. We can’t wait for the system to change through normal cycles.The foundation of this program must be large funding commitments for basic and applied research, and here governments play the key role. Only our governments have the mandate to protect the public interest as well as the resources and mechanisms to do this. We know government investment in research can lead to the creation of industries that advance the common good and are driven by private capital. We have seen big successes before with government-funded research programs in space, defense, technology, and medical research, seeding private creativity which has produced many of the innovations that define our current way of life. The political will is emerging to do this again, through aggressive increases in government funding for basic and applied energy research, which can lead to breakthrough technologies for our energy future. However, current governmental funding levels for clean energy are simply insufficient to meet the challenges before us...

Belgium’s Doel 3 and Tihange 2 Reactor Now Restarting

Originally Published on Nov 25, republished 

Concerning the Indian Point Contention...
February 13, 2015

Page 23

33. I would also like to add a note about safety margins. As reactors and their constituent components age, it becomes more important to preserve, rather than erode, operational safety margins. As discussed above, uncertainties exist, and accidents or unanticipated events can occur, and calculational/modeling mistakes are possible. For example, USNRC only recently became aware that certain methodologies prescribed in its NUREG-0800 Branch Technical Position (BTP) 5-3 for estimating the initial fracture toughness of reactor vessel materials may be non-conservative. [See, e.g., Troyer and Devan (2014); Salas (2014); Kirk and Sheng, USNRC (2014); see also Pressurized Water Reactor Owners Group, BTP 5-3 Industry Issue (proprietary)]. Various nuclear plants that received their construction permits before August 1973 relied on BTP 5-3 by to estimate reference temperature (RTNDT) and upper shelf energy (USE) values in order to demonstrate compliance with ASME Code and USNRC margins for reactor pressure vessel integrity. Because RTNDT and USE values serve as starting points for determining pressure-temperature (PT) heatup / cooldown curves, the consequences of this recent revelation could be significant, and may impact IP2 or IP3’s reactor pressure vessel and its fittings integrity and plant operational limitations. Since unexpected errors of this type do occur, maintaining safety margins via not operating the plant too close to CUFen and repair or replacement of aging parts prior to the end of the plant’s design life ( particularly for RVIs ) would help to guard against potentially adverse impacts due to precisely this type of unexpected non-conservatism in flawed safety evaluations. 
Big Picture: 
On the big picture, these guys got a unsafe design. These designs would never be allowed to operate in the USA. 
Computer models are extremely sensitive to corruption and self interested interpretation issues. Nobody yet has got their hands on a actually flaw and put them through their paces in a lab.
FANC Report on Doel 3 and Tihange 2
This is all that systemic normalization of deviation. 

It is sad we still have to depend on 1970s forging technology. It seems these plants are too expensive to replace. The black or white choice is either shutdown or operate with flaws. It is the signs of our times we are all so poor in spirit and resources. 

Bet you the NRC will now have a lot of information to give me on answering my vessel 10 CFR 2.206. 

What happens now if Doel 3 and Tihange 2 develops a leaking crack during the rest of their lives? We have broad issues with vessel pressure control devices such as PORV and SRVs. Is a overpressure condition put into your models?  

The weak link in this whole deal is the flaw size have only been monitored since 2012 and with little power operation. We have no evidence of the flaw growth rate throughout the life of the plants. 
By Peter Fairley
Posted 24 Nov 2015 | 18:00 GMT

Belgian nuclear authorities have authorized the restart of two reactors whose steel reactor pressure vessels (RPVs)—which contain the reactors' fissioning cores and primary coolant—are riddled with flaws. The flaws were discovered during routine maintenance in 2012. After followup ultrasonic imaging of the RPVs, experimental testing of steel samples, and extensive computational analyses, the regulators accepted the operator’s argument that the RPV flaws are decades old and do not compromise the vessels’ structural integrity. 
The flaws in Belgium’s Doel 3 and Tihange 2 reactors idled the two 1,000-megawatt reactors in 2012 and again in 2014, prompting preparations for potential blackouts in Belgium and stymying European grid operators’ efforts to upgrade their system for coordinating cross-border power flows. They also prompted European regulators to call for expanded ultrasonic testing of all RPVs—a move resisted by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. 
The Belgian reactors will take about four weeks to restart, according to World Nuclear News. There’s no word yet on whether Brussels-based reactor operator Electrabel will seek to extend the operation of Tihange 2 and Doel 3, which reach their 40-year original design lifespan in 2022 and 2023, respectively. However, regulators approved 10-year extensions for the Doel plant's two older reactors last month. 
An independent structural analysis by Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in the United States affirmed the structural integrity of the Tihange 2 and Doel 3 reactors, says Richard Bass, a corporate fellow at ORNL and coauthor of the review commissioned by Belgium's Federal Agency for Nuclear Control (FANC). “As far as we’re concerned, the
Basically ASME is a corporate sponsored engineering code maker. They serve the corporation and businesses more than the greater good.  
flaw population meets the ASME pressure vessel requirements,” says Bass, referring to the American Society of Mechanical Engineers’ RPV codes. 
ORNL, the principal contractor for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission on RPV integrity issues, applied that expertise to evaluate the safety case for the Belgian reactors put forward by Electrabel. “We had about two months total, so we did everything that we could reasonably do during that period,” says Bass.
Bass and his colleagues examined the flaws—a total of 16,196 disc-shaped gaps detected in the RPVs' steel plates—and ran simulations meant to indicate whether the faults would initiate cracks under various stress scenarios. Simulations focused on the rapid temperature fluctuations that could happen, for example, in the case of a loss-of-coolant accident such as occurred at Fukushima Daiichi in 2011. They also projected the embrittlement of the RPV as it ages. 
They think we are all dummies. The Belgium NRC and all the rest says Belgium’s Doel 3 and Tihange passes the ASME vessel codes whatever that means. What revision they talking about, the current new vessel codes or the 1970s codes the actual vessels were manufactured too? 
Of the thousands of flaws in the two reactors, four faults flunked ORNL’s initial simulations. Bass said that ORNL then accounted for the fact that the loading on the RPV would occur while it was warm, which makes the steel more robust during subsequent cooling—a metallurgical phenomenon that ORNL demonstrated experimentally in the 1970s and 1980s. 
Three of the Belgian reactors' four questionable flaws were deemed compliant with safety regulations under pre-stress warming conditions. The remaining flaw, labeled flaw #1660, was cleared after closer scrutiny of its geometry. 
The initial screenings were performed with a simplification of the shape, in which each was assumed to be a circular disc—an approach that Bass calls “very conservative." When ORNL modeled flaw #1660 and found that it is an elliptical disc (roughly 8.5 millimeters across in one direction and 10 mm across in the other), it passed muster. 
"You change the problem and go back to the original representation that’s much closer to reality,” says Bass. "When we did that we found that the real flaw met the ASME code acceptance criteria.”  
ORNL did not estimate how big the RPVs' margin of safety is, but it is “significant” in Bass’ expert opinion: ”There is significant margin between the driving forces on the flaws and the toughness of the material." 
ORNL also concurred with Electrabel’s calculations regarding the risk posed by hydrogen diffusing into the steel and forcing open cracks during temperature swings. "We looked at what they did and it looked reasonable to us,” says Bass. 
FANC, meanwhile, concurred with Electrabel’s assertion, based on ultrasonic inspections in 2012 and 2014, that the flaws were created when the RPVs were forged and are not growing over time. Still, it approved the reactors to restart on the condition that Electrabel must reinspect the RPVs when they are next shut down for refuelling. 
Several independent experts argued in 2014 that FANC had overlooked the risks posed by ongoing hydrogen diffusion. Among them was Digby Macdonald, a corrosion expert at the University of California at Berkeley. (Spectrum highlighted Macdonald’s concerns in April of this year.)  
FANC addressed their concerns in a special report released this week. The report cites input from several independent experts, including two proposed by Macdonald’s colleague Walter Bogaerts, a Belgian materials science expert. 
The independent experts affirmed that “significant experiment and theoretical results” constrain the pressure caused by hydrogen within the RPV to low levels: about 200 kilopascals at 25 degrees Celsius and 35 kPa at 300 °C. To put that in context, computations by Electrabel suggest that even hydrogen exerting 10 megapascals of pressure within the flaws would have a “small impact” on RPV integrity.  
Macdonald told IEEE Spectrum that he remains concerned about the FANC experts’ failure to “correctly address” the potential production of hydrogen within the reactor via radiolysis—the splitting of water molecules by nuclear radiation. However, he says he has yet to publish his own analysis of radiolysis.

River Bend Junk Plant Partial LOOP?

Seems they bobbled level control a bit, but with all their new ops training and a proper simulator, they controlled reactor level rather well with what they got?

Hell, they didn't have any tripping feed pumps? The trick is to keep the b/p system operational...

Horrendous scram and reduced power history.... capacity factor that is not profitable?

Was weather involved with this?  

Power ReactorEvent Number: 51568
Facility: RIVER BEND
Region: 4 State: LA
Unit: [1] [ ] [ ]
RX Type: [1] GE-6
Notification Date: 11/27/2015
Notification Time: 09:23 [ET]
Event Date: 11/27/2015
Event Time: 04:31 [CST]
Last Update Date: 11/27/2015
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
1A/RY100Power Operation0Hot Shutdown
Event Text

"At 0431 CST on November 27, 2015, an automatic reactor scram occurred following the trip of the main generator. The generator trip was apparently caused by a partial loss of offsite power, which resulted from a differential ground on the north bus of the local 230 kV switchyard. The ground signal caused the reserve station service line no. 1 to de-energize, which tripped the Division 1 offsite power source to station, as well as the main generator. The plant responded as designed as follows: The Division 1 emergency diesel generator started and tied to the bus restoring Division 1 emergency power. The Division 3 emergency diesel generator started and tied to the bus, restoring power on the Division 3 switchgear. The reactor protection system tripped as designed. Reactor water level was controlled normally with condensate and feed water. A level 3 reactor water level scram signal occurred as expected, and RPV [Reactor Pressure Vessel] water level was restored to normal level band. Reactor pressure was controlled by the bypass valve system, and a normal cool down was initiated. The reactor is being taken to cold shutdown pending an investigation of the event. The loss of power also resulted in a partial loss of normal service water cooling to the plant, and emergency service water cooling automatically initiated per design. At the time of event, the reactor protection system was aligned to the backup power supply, which was momentarily lost. This resulted in multiple system isolations including reactor water clean up, and outboard balance of plant isolations. These isolations were initiated due to loss of offsite power, and all responded as designed. The isolation resulted in a loss of the running decay heat removal pump for the spent fuel pool. The standby pump is available for service and being aligned for service. The plant is currently stable in hot shutdown. Transmission and distribution personnel are currently investigating the ground in the 230 kV switchyard."

All control rods inserted. The licensee has notified the NRC Resident Inspector.

Friday, November 27, 2015

WSJ: Utica Shale Field, Way Way Bigger than Marcellus Shale...

That is what the experts have been saying, this natural gas miracle thing is way bigger than we can imagine. This thing is not only going to revolutionize our energy markets, it going to bring massive restructuring to our nation. It is a runaway monster bigger than what we could even imagine.  

So the Utica shale field is underneath the Marcellus Shale field...what is under the Utica shale? 

It is going to make the Marcellus shale field uncompetitive? 

A big find typically would send an energy company’s stock surging, but in an industry awash in the commodity, it is having the opposite effect

Timothy Puko and
Ryan Dezember
Ryan Dezember
The Wall Street Journal

Nov. 26, 2015 5:33 a.m. ET
EQT Corp. EQT -0.89 % this summer drilled what by some measures is the biggest natural-gas gusher ever. The Pittsburgh energy company’s reward: a tumbling stock price.

The well, in southwestern Pennsylvania’s Greene County, spewed enough gas in its first 24 hours to power every home in Pittsburgh for nearly three days. Named Scotts Run 591340 after a historic coal field that sparked a regional energy boom after World War I, the well has continued to produce at unusually high rates with no signs of fading soon.

That would sound like good news. But in a glutted industry in which natural-gas prices are plunging as record amounts of unused gas build up in storage, it is a problem. Since EQT finished drilling the gusher in July, its shares have lost 29%, while U.S. natural-gas prices have fallen 24%.

Scotts Run 591340 taps part of a rock formation called the Utica Shale that has only been lightly explored so far because it sits almost 3 miles below the Earth’s surface.

Situated beneath Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio, the Utica is close to gas-consuming regions of the Northeast. If it proves as productive as EQT’s well and a few nearby wells suggest, it could mean trouble for billions of dollars of wells and pipelines built in and from more established regions like north Louisiana and the Rocky Mountains.

“Because the Utica is a big unknown, fear has overtaken the market,” said Matt Portillo, managing director at energy-focused investment bank Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co.

EQT said last month that it would suspend drilling projects in other parts of Pennsylvania to concentrate on the Utica, where it thinks wells have the potential to be so prolific that they could lower natural-gas prices and make competing projects uneconomical.

“Some of our other inventory that requires higher prices to make economic returns would be deferred, possibly for many years,” David Porges, EQT’s chief executive, told investors on a conference call last month.

The Utica is already starting to alter the U.S. natural-gas balance. The U.S. Energy Information Administration said this week that the country’s proved reserves of natural gas rose 10% in 2014 to a record of 388.8 trillion cubic feet. Ohio’s reserves nearly tripled thanks to finds in portions of the Utica Shale, a big factor in the higher total, the government agency said.

Meanwhile, gas stockpiled in the contiguous 48 states exceeded four trillion cubic feet for the first time ever last week, as producers continue to drill new wells despite depressed prices and forecasts for a mild winter that would limit demand for the heating fuel.
Shares of EQT rivals Range Resources Corp. RRC -2.41 % and Consol Energy Inc. CNX -5.63 % have slid 44% and 54%, respectively, since those companies disclosed their own prolific Utica wells in December and July.

“Regardless of where gas prices are, the Utica is exciting,” said Tim Dugan, who runs Consol’s gas-production arm. Range Resources didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Not long ago, big natural-gas discoveries translated to stock-market success. Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. COG -0.36 % ’s shares doubled in 2011, making the stock the S&P 500’s top performer that year, as it tapped vast stores of natural gas in northern Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale.

The finds helped make Pennsylvania a top producer and wreaked havoc in states like Louisiana and Arkansas, where the fuel costs more to extract from shale formations. BHP Billiton, BBL -4.18 % one of the biggest mining and energy companies in the world, had spent big buying fields in those states only to idle drilling rigs and write off billions of dollars in losses soon after.

Much of the Utica lies beneath the Marcellus, and some producers and investors believe it could take over as the country’s biggest source of low-cost natural gas.

“The Utica certainly has the potential to be more economic than the Marcellus, but it’s too early to make a definitive call,” said David Schlosser, EQT’s executive vice president of engineering, geology and planning.

The prospect has companies calculating whether they need to rewrite their playbooks again.

Shares of Southwestern Energy Co. SWN -4.14 % and Chesapeake Energy Corp. CHK -2.59 % , which have drilling land above the Utica but derive most of their production from other regions, have dropped 53% and 40%, respectively, since EQT disclosed the first details of its well in late July. Southwestern has begun exploring its Utica acreage ahead of schedule, and executives have said they expect it to become a key part of the company’s future.

Samson Resources Corp., which filed for bankruptcy protection in September after falling commodity prices prevented it from keeping up with debt payments, told a judge last month that the recent swoon in natural-gas prices has imperiled its restructuring plan.

Dangerous Internal Flooding Cover-up at Indian Point?

I wish this document was in a form you could copy?
Region I Reply to D Lochbaum questions/email re: Indian Point SIT
My questions.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Next Nuclear Plant (s) to Meltdown on Planet?

Right, these are dangerous Russian Nuclear plants. God only knows how long they could go without electricity. What would be the first indication of a meltdown? It would have to a outside nation air measurement of radioactivity.

Pylon toppled in Kherson region, 23 Nov 15

"Ukraine nuclear power plants ‘dangerously’ without power as towers feeding energy to Crimea blown up"

In an eerie reminder of a possible nuclear catastrophe, a senior Ukrainian energy official revealed that the attack on transmission towers that cut off the delivery of electricity from Ukraine to Crimea also created an emergency situation at nuclear power plants.
The apparent act of sabotage in Ukraine’s Kherson region forced an emergency power unloading at several Ukrainian nuclear power plants, which can be extremely dangerous, according to the first deputy director of Ukraine’s energy company Ukrenergo, Yuriy Katich.
Russia’s Crimea was forced to switch to autonomous reserve power after transmission towers in the adjacent Ukrainian region were blown up, causing a blackout. Meanwhile, the repairs were delayed by Right Sector and Crimean Tatar “activists” attempting to block crews from getting to the scene. None of the groups have accepted responsibility.
So we will see it in Sweden again wiki: "The initial evidence that a major release of radioactive material was affecting other countries came not from Soviet sources, but from Sweden." Nah, we will see it in Poland?
“All of these events have led to an additional emergency shutdown of the electrical network of two units at thermal power plants – the Dnieper and Uglegorskaya – and the emergency unloading by 500 MW of nuclear power plants in Ukraine. This includes Zaporozhskaya NPP and the South Ukrainian NPP. I want to stress that such emergency unloading of a nuclear plant – it is very dangerous,” 112. Ukraine online portal quoted Katich as saying.

Earlier Katich said that due to the damage to the electricity towers, there is a risk that 50 percent of Kherson and Nikolaev regions could also be left without power.
He added that repairs are likely take up to three or four days, under the condition that the crew gets access to the site.
So far, local media has reported that the so-called “activists,” including Right Sector militants, said they would let the repairs to be done only if they won’t be reconnecting “occupied” Crimea to the Ukrainian grid.
Crimea’s chief prosecutor, Natalia Poklonskaya, has called the blowing up of the transmission towers sabotage, which “has created a threat to lives and wellbeing of some 2 million people of various nationalities,” while a regional authority suggested qualifying it as “an act of terror.”
Late Saturday, Crimean authorities rushed to connect hospitals and other vital infrastructure to reserve power stations and generators after the four main transmission lines from Ukraine were cut off due to the collapse of four electricity towers.
The Crimean Emergencies Ministry has declared a state of emergency due to the complete power outage. Nearly 1.9 million people were left partly or fully without electricity.
Important public facilities and infrastructure have been wired up to reserve sources of energy.
Right now, all major Crimean cities are working on reserve energy supplies. However, due to a lack of power supplies, scheduled electricity and water outages have been introduced.

Why So Many Meteorological Problems At Cooper?

I talked to the "new" Cooper resident today about met tower problems at pilgrim.

This would get you to the most recent Meteorological violation:
Reply to a Notice of Violation

Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station

Docket No. 50-293

License No. DPR-35

REFERENCE: NRC Letter to Entergy, "Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station - Problem

This is particularly galling...both the backup and the primary. Not upgrading their evacuating gear? They had a lot of met tower problems lately? 

Here is the Pilgrim Met Tower Problem: 
Nuke Plant Meteorological Tower problems...Poor Evacuation Plans
Power ReactorEvent Number: 51558
Facility: COOPER
Region: 4 State: NE
Unit: [1] [ ] [ ]
RX Type: [1] GE-4
Notification Date: 11/20/2015
Notification Time: 21:49 [ET]
Event Date: 11/20/2015
Event Time: 18:08 [CST]
Last Update Date: 11/20/2015
Emergency Class: NON EMERGENCY
10 CFR Section:
50.72(b)(3)(xiii) - LOSS COMM/ASMT/RESPONSE
Person (Organization):

UnitSCRAM CodeRX CRITInitial PWRInitial RX ModeCurrent PWRCurrent RX Mode
1NY100Power Operation100Power Operation
Event Text

"On [11/20/2015 at 1808] CST it was noted that the MET tower (both primary and backup) was offline and not communicating with the Plant Management Information System(PMIS). This results in a major loss of emergency assessment capabilities with respect to meteorological conditions and is reportable under 10CFR50.72(b)(3)(xiii). Communications technicians responded to the plant and the MET Tower communications were restored to PMIS on [11/20/2015 at 1937]."

The licensee notified the NRC Resident Inspector.