Tuesday, December 24, 2013

US power firms slam ISO NewEngland over market ‘flaws’

So a pack of power firms are circle the defenceless public doe.

Source: Energy Risk| 18 Dec 2013
Market woes may threaten winter reliability, firms argue

Winter reliability at risk due to problems with real-time pricing, market participants warn
As the northeast US prepares for winter, electricity firms are warning that flaws in the design of the New England power market will threaten the reliability of the region’s power supply in the event of an extended cold snap.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

No Accident Cameras in Nuclear Power Plants?

Asiana, MTA Metro North Crash and our nukes

Asiana captain 'very concerned' about making visual landing

By Martha Mendoza and Stephen Braun, The Associated Press

The pilot whose Boeing 777 crashed last summer at the San Francisco airport told investigators he was "very concerned" about attempting a visual approach without the runway's instrument landing aids, which were out of service because of construction, according to an investigative report released Wednesday...

So why aren’t our nuclear plants camera’d up and voice recorded? They might  be able to transfer the crash data over to the simulators so all the switch movements and dials and monitors redo the accident....but that is it.

But what if we had a new TMI…the public wouldn't have the camera images and voice to see.
Why is the nukes any different than out the airline industry?
I think the Nuke industry would behave better off if outsiders could see the control room.
Remember routine plant business and nodding off on shift would be invaluable information if recorded...

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Pilgrim Plant: What Was Behind the Disclosure of the "Bridge Failure" and Shutdown?

Basically, they get away with violating the rules until the plant runs away from the staff and NRC!

We really got the national philosophy of ghost regulations and rules...  "translucent or barely visible wispy shapes rules" that come in and our of reality depending on if they are convenient to profits and plant viability.

1EP5 Maintaining Emergency Preparedness (71114.05 – 1 sample)
a. Inspection Scope
The inspectors reviewed a number of activities to evaluate the efficacy of Entergy’s efforts to maintain the PNPS emergency preparedness program. The inspectors reviewed letters of agreement with offsite agencies; the 10 CFR 50.54(q) Emergency Plan change process and practice; Entergy’s maintenance of equipment important to emergency preparedness; records of evacuation time estimate population evaluation; and provisions for, and implementation of, primary, backup, and alternate ERF maintenance. The inspectors also verified Entergy’s compliance at Pilgrim with new NRC emergency preparedness regulations regarding: emergency action levels for hostile action events; protective actions for on-site personnel during events; emergency declaration timeliness; ERO augmentation and alternate facility capability; evacuation time estimate updates; on-shift ERO staffing analysis; and ANS back-up.
And blizzzard Nemo occured in Feb 2013 knocking out the Met Tower
During the 2009 NRC emergency preparedness program inspection, the inspectors determined that the 2008 quality assurance (QA) surveillance performed to justify exceeding the 12-month review frequency did not include an assessment against adequate performance indicators.

 The above on Feb 11, 2013
Swinging in the background before my Dec 3, 2013 contact beginning  at 10 am with Branch Chief Ray Mckinley was a important emergency preparedness "conference bridge failure" and leaking big turbine steam valve. They decided to shutdown to fix it later in the day. 
I leaving it to you to figure out if someone prompted me to make this call. I am uncertain the bridge failure would have been reported if it wasn't for my interest in this. I had talked to the Pilgrim NRC senior resident about this four or five days ago and I suspect senior inspector Max Schneider told his boss. They had failed to report on the Met Tower just recently and I am not sure how deep this goes. 
...I spent about an hour talking to this Ray M. Summed up the conditions in Region 1 and complained the agency has gone weak kneed on us with non cited violation at Indian Point, Seabrook and Pilgrim. I told Ray with the meteorological tower inop, the commissioner chairman came to Pilgrim saying they were one step from Fort Calhoun and we got enormous budgets problem-Natural Gas...now you are throwing out non cited violations like candy. We jostled about the tower being so out many times and the meaning of the national weather service. Told him he he’s got at least three senators gunning for the agency and they don’t need 60 votes anymore. I said you are using unjustly the NWS as a tool so you don’t have to site the plant. Your guys are going weak on us at a critical time.

He listened to me attentively and engage me...actually another guy I like. I am not saying he is on my side by a far shot.

Told him the big problem is you don’t have enough horsepower such that these plants don’t fear you enough and fear the day when they don’t tell you everything about their problems.

Power Reactor Event Number: 49605
Facility: PILGRIMRegion: 1 State: MAUnit:[1][][]RX Type:[1] GE-3NRC Notified By: PAUL GALLANTHQ OPS Officer: VINCE KLCO Notification Date: 12/03/2013Notification Time: 20:04 [ET]Event Date: 12/03/2013Event Time: 13:30 [EST]Last Update Date: 12/03/2013
Emergency Class: NON EMERGENCY10 CFR Section:
50.72(b)(3)(xiii)- LOSS COMM/ASMT/RESPONSEPerson (Organization):
Unit SCRAM Code RX CRIT Initial PWR Initial RX Mode Current PWR Current RX Mode1 N Y 100 Power Operation 82 Power Operation

Event Text


"At approximately 1330 [EST] on Tuesday, December 03, 2013, while performing a table top drill, Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station (PNPS) discovered that EP [Emergency Preparedness] bridge conferencing lines were unavailable. The conference lines affected included the mitigation line, plant data phone, radiation data phone, emergency conferencing line, and the back up conference bridge line. Reviews to determine the cause of the event and efforts to restore the system are ongoing.

"The licensee has determined the Emergency Plan to be functional based on other communication methods that are available between onsite and offsite facilities. These include direct telephone lines, portable handheld radios, satellite phones and cell phones. Immediate actions to establish compensatory conferencing lines have been completed. On-going actions are in-progress to ensure procedure instruction is provided at each facility to enable use of the compensatory conference lines.

"At the time of this report, the plant is currently operating at 82% power due to a planned power maneuver unrelated to the reported communication event.

"The licensee has notified the NRC Senior Resident Inspector [and will notify the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
During a table-top emergency preparedness drill earlier that day, staff discovered that the “bridge-conferencing” system that allows operators to remain in constant communication during an emergency wasn't working.
... So now we are talking about the pathetic widespread condition of the infrastructure necessary to reliable evacuate the public and notify the state in a meltdown or potential meltdown.

I am telling you the truth, I am certain today he is thinking WTF am I dealing with that Mr Mulligan?
Leaky valve causes Pilgrim plant shutdown
Dec 4
Representatives from Entergy Corp., Pilgrim's owner-operator, were offering a scheduled presentation to officials and residents at Plymouth Town Hall on Tuesday night, touting the nuclear plant's safety features and outlining post-Fukushima federal requirements for future improvement. 
During a table-top emergency preparedness drill earlier that day, staff discovered that the “bridge-conferencing” system that allows operators to remain in constant communication during an emergency wasn't working.
... I kept hitting him over and over ...why wasn’t the Met Tower reported to the NRC and the public. Why wasn’t it in an event report or as UE? Why didn’t the agency enforce this?
He never gave me a direct answer...so I would wait a few minutes and ask him the same question in different way. I did this at least three times.

So today we get this daily event report you see and shutdown on a steam leak...

No question about it, this guy was really intelligent. He had a lot of miles under his belt! He got what I was doing.
... This is for Entergy’s benefit.

So I called region 1 yesterday morning...their phone answering system is terrible. I get the regional administrator’s number and give the secretary a call. She gives me the number to the inspector’s boss. I leave a message on his telephone number. Right, I outline my past interest on this on the message recording, my complaint in their system...the issues I want to talk about with this. Maybe 10 am.

Then he called me back at around 2 pm...

I tell him right off the bat, I initiated your Met tower NRC inspection and the findings. He scoffs at this...no I said, I got it on your document system. You were responding to me complaint. Get a blah, blah, blah, my inspectors were working on that long before that, he said. I said, I doubt it, I waited for the LER and the inspection report, you guys were in la la land. You guys didn’t have a clue the met tower was out in blizzard Nemo and many times before that.

He was feeling me out if I had Pilgrim staff cooperation on it?

Just like his quick phone call back to me....he was wondering if I had cooperation on the phone bridge thingy being out yesterday and the upcoming daily event report. They probable had the drill in the morning table top. I wonder if he was wondering how much I knew about the steam leak.
... "conferencing lines” : is this entergy's property or the NRC's...or is it a private conferencing sevice?

Is this another thing we don't understand how it will perform in an emergency.
.. I talked about the new complexity we have with the national weather services with my boss buddy yesterday. We don’t understand how the communication lines are set up; we don’t have any understanding of the communications and computer junk in the National Weather Service, the organizational rules, their QA...

Right, we got a highly trained staff at the plant and we got a QA system over the whole deal. We got and dependent regulator who oversees everything. We don’t have that with the NWS. This is what supposed to make the met tower highly reliable.

Then he talks about there is very good procedures that allows using the NWS. I remind him, say you own a jet airplane and have the best and most expensive procedures in the world. Those procedures mean nothing unless the pilot is trained over and over again with how to operate the ship...and he says highly proficient at operating that craft.

Good procedures don't mean shit if they aren't tested over and over again in real world situations
.... A real accident might not use a conferencing line? Right, but then they wouldn’t have made it a NRC mandated daily event report.

Was the states involved with this boondoggle?
... His name was Ray Mckinley...he is the branch chief.
... Infrastructure issues continue to plague Plymouth's Pilgrim Nuclear
While officials briefed selectmen why Fukushima can't happen here, reactor had to be shutdown because of steam leak 
Read more: http://www.wickedlocal.com/plymouth/news/x182...
... Talked yesterday about the Palisades debacle. I would have thought Entergy would have learned from that painful episode. They were up and down a lot...very costly shutdowns...lost reputational points.

I thought they would never want to go that way again as a corporation...then we have the Palisades adventure all over again with Pilgrim.

I told Ray, this isn’t just about the Met tower...it was about a pattern of poor behavior at Pilgrim, back to Palisades...within Entergy for a very long time.

And they don’t seem to learn by their mistake...
.Feynman's Appendix to the Rogers Commission Report on the Space Shuttle Challenger Accident 
If a reasonable launch schedule is to be maintained, engineering often cannot be done fast enough to keep up with the expectations of originally conservative certification criteria designed to guarantee a very safe vehicle. In these situations, subtly, and often with apparently logical arguments, the criteria are altered so that flights may still be certified in time. They therefore fly in a relatively unsafe condition, with a chance of failure of the order of a percent (it is difficult to be more accurate). 
Official management, on the other hand, claims to believe the probability of failure is a thousand times less. One reason for this may be an attempt to assure the government of NASA perfection and success in order to ensure the supply of funds. The other may be that they sincerely believed it to be true, demonstrating an almost incredible lack of communication between themselves and their working engineers. 
In any event this has had very unfortunate consequences, the most serious of which is to encourage ordinary citizens to fly in such a dangerous machine, as if it had attained the safety of an ordinary airliner. The astronauts, like test pilots, should know their risks, and we honor them for their courage. Who can doubt that McAuliffe was equally a person of great courage, who was closer to an awareness of the true risk than NASA management would have us believe?Let us make recommendations to ensure that NASA officials deal in a world of reality in understanding technological weaknesses and imperfections well enough to be actively trying to eliminate them. They must live in reality in comparing the costs and utility of the Shuttle to other methods of entering space. And they must be realistic in making contracts, in estimating costs, and the difficulty of the projects. Only realistic flight schedules should be proposed, schedules that have a reasonable chance of being met. If in this way the government would not support them, then so be it. NASA owes it to the citizens from whom it asks support to be frank, honest, and informative, so that these citizens can make the wisest decisions for the use of their limited resources. 
For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled. 
Dr. Feynman discusses his experience on the Rogers Commission as part of his second autobiographical volume.
...For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled.
You get it, the implication was the NRC was sitting on the steam leak to dress up the pathetic shutdown history of Pilgrim. But it's occording to the rules.

2013 Pilgrim shutdowns and glitches
Jan. 10-17: Both recirculation pumps tripped, followed by a head drain valve leak.
Jan. 20-24: Leaking safety valve.
Feb. 8-16: Winter storm, 169 hours down.
Aug. 22-26: All three main water pumps shut down.
Sept. 8-17: Steam pipe leak.
Oct. 14-21: Off-site power to plant unavailable because of NStar problem, which caused initial shutdown. Plant remained closed for two days after power restored because of faulty mechanical pressure regulator, which caused water levels in the nuclear reactor to become too high.
Dec. 4: Leaky steam valve. Reactor still down.
July 15: Loss of control room alarms. Plant stayed online. Alarms came back on with no explanation. Reason for malfunction never found.
July 16: Heat wave warmed seawater temperatures, forcing the plant to power down to about 85 percent intermittently. Federal regulation requires seawater, used for cooling the reactor, to be no warmer than 75 degrees.
Sources: NRC website and Entergy press releases


Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Hinsdale NH Route 119 Bridges Abandoned By NHDOT and Concord

It is interesting to think if the discovery and the 10 year plan were structured to come out together? I think discovery was withheld until the plan came out and I am grateful.

I got about a 5% confidence factor that the 10 year plan has any meaning at all.

Probably got a 65% confidence factor the bridge will be shut down or weight restricted by 2022...got a 75% confidence factor the bridge construction will be significantly delayed past 2022.
I got this a little while ago. So now it is on to the worthless legislators and governor...
*** SELECT 10YR PLAN PROJECTS: Monadnock Region & Western NH *** 
Hinsdale Bridge Replacement – Added back into the plan, for preliminary engineering work beginning in 2016 and construction in 2021-2022.
I got the feeling they are spending $500 dollars of bureaucrat money to save $30 bucks to shut off one bridge light. Like to know what is the KW cost of electricity between Hinsdale, the NHDOT and the ratepayers cost.

It is the same old thing with the weak kneed NH Democrats. We put them in the governorship and give them the house, once they owned everything...and they didn't use their power to contest the ideology of the republican extremist or neutralize them.  Can't tell them apart...can't even see them.
New Hampshire shuts off Arch Bridge lights to save money

BELLOWS FALLS -- Village residents heading to Walpole, N.H., may notice their trip across the Arch Bridge is much less illuminated than it used to be.
That's because the New Hampshire Department of Transportation is shutting off what it calls non-essential lights on state-maintained roads in response to severe budget limitations. Bill Boynton, the public information officer with NHDOT, told the Reformer this process started about two years ago as a cost-saving measure.
"We had our utility budget at the DOT virtually cut in half. That was a couple of years ago," he said, adding the Arch Bridge's lights were turned off on Friday, Nov. 27. "It was driven mostly by costs. But many lights were put up for want, rather than need."
Boynton said New Hampshire owns nearly all of the Arch Bridge.
There are roughly 3,000 lights on roads maintained by New Hampshire and each one costs about $30 a month to illuminate, he said. While there are no federal requirements for lighting on bridges, Boynton said, the state is abiding by national lighting standards.
"Everything is being reviewed on a case-by-case basis and it's a lengthy process," he said, mentioning a bridge on New Hampshire Route 18 was deemed essential. "For the most part, lighting on bridges is for aesthetics, and not required for highway safety."
Members of the Rockingham Selectboard and the public were told about the discontinuance of the lights when Municipal Manager Willis D. "Chip" Stearns II mentioned it in his manager's report during a Selectboard meeting on Dec. 3. Selectboard Chairman Tom MacPhee facetiously asked Stearns if the state was shutting off the lights to save money to repair the Vilas Bridge, which also connects the village to Walpole and has been closed to vehicular traffic in 2009, much to the dismay of local residents.
MacPhee told the Reformer he was shocked to hear Stearns' news.
"That sounds crazy to me, because it is a safety issue," he said when told about Boynton's explanation. "I'm very surprised they picked the Arch Bridge as non-essential.
There is a three-way stop where the bridge touches down in Vermont.
Though he understands NHDOT's need to save money, the chairman said the Selectboard may draft a letter to send to NHDOT to inquire about its rationale behind the decision.
In defense of the state's discontinuance of the lights, Boynton said there were also plenty of complaints about light pollution -- or excessive artificial light -- from residents on the New Hampshire side of the bridge. He also said many towns and cities affected by the discontinuance have the option of taking on the responsibility of financing and maintaining the lights.
Rockingham Highway Supervisor Mike Hindes said he noticed one of the light bulbs over the Arch Bridge was out about a year ago and reached out to NHDOT to replace it, which he does not believe was done. He said he got an e-mail last week from a NHDOT representative about the lights' discontinuance.
The few lights on the Anna Hunt Marsh Bridge and Charles Dana bridges, which link Brattleboro to Hinsdale, N.H., and the ones illuminating the road in between them will not be affected by the budget cuts because the electricity is funded by the town of Hinsdale.
There are no lights on the United States Navy Seabees Bridge, which connects Brattleboro and Chesterfield, N.H.
Domenic Poli can be reached at dpoli@reformer.com, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoli_reformer.
Hinsdale NH Bridges Abandoned NHDOT and Concord

See, the “Governors Advisory Commission on Intermodal Transportation” ,  the Executive Council and ten year plan are inconsequential  to the damage with the loss of our bridge may bring to us.

The way I see it from a year ago, we got way less chance on the replacements in the next ten years than a year ago. The NH political finacial and idealogical warfare crisis is worsening.
Our obsolete bridges are a symbol of the damage happening all through NH and the nation...
I consider all the “Governors Advisory Commission on Intermodal Transportation” ,  the Executive Council and ten year plan are con jobs with all the politicians are throwing nothing but peanuts at us.
Like washing salt off our bridge late last summer.

DOT chief details highway funding worries; Senate president opposes gas tax hike

State House Bureau
CONCORD — Facing a yearly $20 million deficit in the state highway fund, Department of Transportation Commissioner Christopher Clement told a House panel Tuesday the DOT faces 700 layoffs in fiscal year 2016.

He said without additional revenue, 20 of the 89 highway sheds will close, along with one of the six district offices in the state.

The state's highway fund receives about $120 million a year from the gas tax and about $105 million to $110 million from vehicle registrations.

He said without additional revenue, 20 of the 89 highway sheds will close, along with one of the six district offices in the state.

The state's highway fund receives about $120 million a year from the gas tax and about $105 million to $110 million from vehicle registrations.

A proposal to increase the gas tax by 12 cents over three years passed the House last session, but was killed in the Senate.

Senate President Chuck Morse, R-Salem, said Tuesday night the DOT cannot keep asking for more money.
"We're going to have to look at reducing spending ... rather than increase taxes or tolls," Morse said. "We produce the budget and (Clement) needs to live within his means."

A bill sponsored by Sen. Jim Rausch, R-Derry, Senate Transportation Committee chairman, will be introduced in the 2014 session to raise the gas tax 4.5 cents, which would raise $32 million a year for highways.
Morse said he would not support Rausch's bill.

"I continue to oppose a gas tax increase," he said. "It hurts the people who can least afford it."

Clement told the House Public Works and Highways Committee in fiscal year 2016, the state's 13 bridge maintenance crews, which repair the majority of the state's red-listed bridges, would have to be reduced to seven.
The current winter maintenance policy of having the roads "black and wet in two-and-a-half hours" won't hold, he said, noting it will take longer.

Patrick McKenna, the department's Director of Finance, said the 300-member engineering staff, which designs and inspects federal projects, will be cut in half.
"We may come up with the $250 million to finish the (Interstate 93 expansion project between Salem and Manchester), but not have the engineers to do it," said Patrick McKenna, the department's Director of Finance.
DOT officials said the problems stem from the loss of one-time money, leaving the department with a projected deficit of $48 million for the 2016 fiscal year, and $105 million deficit for 2017.

Over the past few years, the state's highway fund has been boosted from the "sale" of the I-95 high level bridge between Portsmouth and Kittery, Maine to the Turnpike system, which has about $30 million a year.
The state also bonded operating expenses for the department, but that avenue is maxed out, according to Clement.

He said ideally the state should be paving 500 miles of roads a year so that all the state's roads will be repaved every 10 years, but instead about 300 miles of roads are repaved a year, making it a 15-year cycle.
Although about 10 to 15 red-listed bridges are repaired and moved off the list every year, more bridges than that are added each year, he said. (The only path to a possible new bridge is getting it red-listed...but they won't make the call on it with our bridges. But more bridge jobs are piling up and we are getting less word done.)

"We've been doing less with less," Clement said.

Although he assumes the federal highway department will provide the $150 million a year it currently provides, Clement said, that is uncertain. In the past, the authorization would be for multiple years so the state could depend on the money, but now the federal budget is funded on continuing resolutions on a year-to-year basis.
Clement told the committee the state's turnpike fund paid for by tolls is in better shape due to two toll increases in the last six years, but the I-93 expansion from Salem to Manchester will come to a halt in October 2016, unless $250 million is found to complete the project from exit three to Manchester.
The last construction contract paid through authorized funding will be before the Executive Council today. After that contract, no others will be awarded without additional revenue from a new source, Clement said.