— Former Humboldt Bay nuclear plant technician talks about PG&E’s safety problems and retaliation against employees

The story of Humboldt Bay Nuclear Plant is an expose of PG&E and an expose of nuclear regulation. It’s happening now. Its dangers and warnings are critical for the public to heed.

Shut It Down Now! Former Humboldt PG&E IBEW 1245 Nuclear Plant Technician Bob Rowen On Nuclear Power

Bob Rowen was a Humboldt PG&E IBEW 1245 nuclear control technician at the power plant. He talks about being a control technician at the plant and what happened when he began to stand up for health and safety as a whistleblower. His fight to protect the workers and the community cost him his job when he raised health and safety concerns and he along with another nuclear control technician Forrest Williams were retaliated against and illegally terminated. He also recounts an effort to set up a criminal conspiracy frame-up by PG&E to charge him with planning to blow up the plant and a false document was sent to the FBI to blacklist him throughout the country to prevent him from working in any other nuclear plant in the US. He also reports on the role of his union IBEW 1245 and the media when a reporter from NBC Donald Widener tried to cover the story and was retaliated against by PG&E in actions that destroyed his career. He also discusses the case of PG&E Diablo Canyon nuclear plant whistleblower Neil Aiken. Aiken went to PG&E’s Board of Directors with his concerns over safety and was also targeted and fired. This interview was done on January 26, 2015. Rowen has written a book about his struggle called My Humboldt Diary: A True Story of Betrayal of the Public Trust, Nuclear Power at Humboldt Bay. For more information http://www.myhumboldtdiary.com

Production of Labor Video Project http://www.laborvideo.org

Unofficial transcript:

My name is Bob Rowen. I became a nuclear control technician at the Humboldt Bay nuclear power plant in Eureka. The plant went online in 1963, in August of 63, and I showed up in March of 1964.

My first job at the plant was apprentice instrument repairman, but within six months I entered the nuclear control technician training program. journeymanprogram in the PG&E system, I became a nuclear control technician.

I thought that I had found a career of a lifetime. When I got out of the Marines and went to work there and thought I was on the ground floor of a program that in an industry that was going to be second to none, but as I got into it, I found that it was not what it was all cracked up to be.

How long was the training program?

42 months. It was a very rigorous training program that requires a lot of hours on the weekends and at night learning all the things that we had to learn as well as classroom work during the day.

And so what happened when you started working there?

Well I I became involved in and developed a special interest in radiation protection.

The nuclear control technician program in those days consisted of actually three elements: nuclear instrumentation, radiation protection, and radio chemistry. What I was particularly concerned about the radiation protection aspect of the job, and so when I started studying all of the training materials that PG&E had provided, I found that they were not in agreement with what I had learned in the military.

I was a Marine Pathfinder and I trained in ABC warfare – atomic, biological, and chemical warfare. And the atomic part of that talked about the kinds of hazards associated with radiation that did not agree one bit with what PG&E was providing us. So I started asking some embarrassing questions. At first they weren’t necessarily challenging plant management but their responses led me to a confrontation with the management because I felt that I was being lied to

[unintelligible]

At one point, yes, because I believed in corporate America and I believed in the government. I thought the AEC would do everything that they were charged with in terms of their responsibilities of protecting employees and the general public. But it turns out that that wasn’t the case at all.

So you began asking questions And what happened?

Well, eventually I was told that if I was looking for trouble, I was going to find it. The plant engineer made that very clear to me and I told him, my response was, I’m not going to be bullied. I still had a lot of Marine in me in my mid-20s, and I just said, I’m not going to kowtow to you. I won’t do that.

Eventually I found myself faced with having to, well, for example I was ordered to sign false shipping documents. The spent-fuel shipping cask — and it’s a long story; it’s in my book; it spells out exactly what took place — but the shipping cask ended up with several? contaminations exceeding DOT regs, and the release papers that had my name pre-typed on as a nuclear control technician, and I said I’m not signing those papers because they’re false. And I was ordered to do it. So I signed them under protest. And then I put it in the radiation control log exactly what had taken place, and I had another serious set-to with the plant engineer. And that’s just one example of many things that happen.

Continue reading
Advertisement

— EWG: PG&E reports nuclear reactor welding leak at Diablo Canyon facility

From Environmental Working Group

January 5, 2023

PG&E reports nuclear reactor welding leak at Diablo Canyon facility

EWG: Critical questions about coolant system damage go unanswered

SAN FRANCISCO – Pacific Gas & Electric found damage to part of a reactor cooling system at the aging Diablo Canyon nuclear plant in California, but it hasn’t yet answered key questions about the extent of the problem.

PG&E is the owner of the state’s last remaining nuclear power plant, and found the fault with the reactor coolant system during a routine inspection in October. PG&E detailed the damage in a report[1] to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, or NRC, in December.

The power company says the system had a crack in the welding of the wall of Diablo Canyon’s Unit 2 reactor, which was shut down for refueling. PG&E says the presumed cause was fatigue, which was caused by vibrations at the facility indicating a weld defect. The utility says the damage meant the unit fell short of NRC operating requirements.

PG&E says it repaired the leak, and the public and plant workers were never at risk. But the utility’s filing with the commission raises several questions, including:

  • When was the affected weld last inspected?
  • When does PG&E believe the crack in the weld formed?
  • Why had the weld flaw not been identified?
  • What was the size of the leak when it occurred?  

“The communities near Diablo Canyon deserve to know the full details of the incident, how it happened, why it wasn’t discovered earlier and how long it took for PG&E to identify the damage to the reactor coolant system,” said Environmental Working Group President and California resident Ken Cook

“The main reason for shuttering this aging facility is the potential threat it poses to the public – and PG&E’s overall safety record across its vast service area in the state is among the worst of any power company in the country,” Cook said.

Diablo Canyon’s latest problem highlights ongoing concerns about the stability of the facility and shows why EWG and others are pushing to shut the plant down. 

Yet state and federal officials are trying to keep the aging facility operating beyond 2025, when it’s slated to shutter under the terms of a settlement carefully negotiated between PG&E, California and environmentalists.

Last September, at the urging of California Gov. Gavin Newsom, the state legislature approved Senate Bill 846, a law that will keep the plant operating for five more years, until 2030. It will also give PG&E a $1.4 billion loan to cover costs during that extra time.

In November, the Biden administration announced it will give PG&E more than $1 billion in federal funding to keep the plant operating past its scheduled 2025 closure date.

PG&E has also petitioned the NRC to fast-track its October 31 request to extend the license of the twin Diablo Canyon reactors. Four environmental organizations, led by San Luis Obispo-based Mothers for Peace, or SLOMFP, have sent letters to the NRC warning it would violate federal law if it accepts the proposal. The other groups that signed the letters are EWG, Friends of the Earth and Committee to Bridge the Gap.

“PG&E cannot have it both ways,” claimed SLOMFP Board President Jane Swanson. “PG&E stopped preparing the reactors for continued operation in 2016 and voided their license renewal. The company has spent the past six years preparing to mothball the reactors and has saved money by not investing in future operations. It is too late to get a license renewal before the plant must shut down.”

###

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization that empowers people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. Through research, advocacy, and unique education tools, EWG drives consumer choice and civic action.

https://www.ewg.org/news-insights/news-release/2023/01/pge-reports-nuclear-reactor-welding-leak-diablo-canyon-facility

[1] nrc[dot]gov/docs/ML2235/ML22355A081.pdf

— PG&E asks to fast-track NRC safety requirements — Organizations respond with a second letter to NRC

From Mothers for Peace SLO

On December 6, 2022, in their second letter to the Commissioners of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) within the space of three weeks, four environmental organizations once again put the NRC on notice that the agency would violate federal law if it accepted Pacific Gas & Electric’s (PG&E’s) October 31 proposal to resurrect and fast-track its review of PG&E’s long-abandoned 2009 license renewal application for the twin Diablo Canyon reactors. San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace (SLOFMP), Friends of the Earth (FOE), Environmental Working Group (EWG), and Committee to Bridge the Gap (CBG) warned that PG&E’s proposal runs afoul of the NRC’s safety requirements and procedures and would violate the federal National Environmental Policy Act.

The NRC terminated the Diablo Canyon license renewal proceeding in 2018 when PG&E decided to close the reactors in 2024 and 2025. “PG&E cannot have it both ways,” claimed SLOMFP Board President Jane Swanson. “PG&E stopped preparing the reactors for continued operation in 2016 and asked the NRC to terminate the license renewal proceeding. The company has spent the past six years preparing to mothball the reactors and has saved money by not investing in future operations. They can’t reverse course and revive a license renewal application that was declared dead years ago at their own request.”

Last September, the California Legislature passed SB 846 to provide PG&E with economic incentives to request a five-year extension of Diablo Canyon’s license from the NRC. “With years of extended operations on the table for this outdated and potentially deadly nuclear facility, it is crucial that we cut zero corners,” said FOE Legal Director Hallie Templeton. “The California legislature has not provided PG&E carte blanche to seek exemptions and streamline relicensing. If it intends to continue operating Diablo, PG&E should be required to file an entirely new and up-to-date license renewal application, which the NRC must thoroughly analyze by the full letter of the law before reaching a decision.” 

The organizations also noted that PG&E had no legal basis for its request to exempt it from important federal regulations requiring an environmental analysis before the NRC can allow the reactors to operate beyond their current license terms.

“The last time the NRC did an environmental review for operation of the Diablo Canyon reactors was 1993,” said Ken Cook, EWG’s President and Co-founder. “Given the potentially extreme impacts and risks of continuing to operate Diablo Canyon, it would be both illegal and sheer folly to proceed with extended operation in the absence of a thorough and up-to-date Environmental Impact Statement.”

Dan Hirsch, spokesperson for CBG, commented, “PG&E’s request to be exempted from regulatory requirements for Diablo Canyon is very dangerous. If the requested exemption were granted, Diablo could keep running, potentially for many years, while the critical issues of whether it is safe to do so are not yet resolved. This creates the potential for an accident and massive radiation release to occur after license expiration and before a renewal decision could be made on those vital safety issues. It is the proverbial nuclear version of shooting first and asking questions later.”

These groups, which submitted their first letter to the NRC on November 17, pledged to continue their efforts to ensure that any license renewal application filed with the NRC by PG&E is reviewed with all the rigor required by federal safety and environmental laws.

Organizations 12.6.2022 letter to the NRC

Organizations 11.17.2022 letter to the NRC

https://mothersforpeace.org/organizations-send-a-second-letter-to-the-nrc/

— NRC deregulation of nuclear waste moves toward dumping in landfills

From Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility – PEER

For Immediate Release:  Wednesday, October 21, 2020
Contact:  Jeff Ruch (510) 213-7028; Kirsten Stade kstade@peer.org

Deregulation of Rad Waste Disposal Plows Ahead

Decommissioned Reactors OK-ed for Landfills in Big Gift to Nuclear Industry

Washington, DC —The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is finalizing a year-long drive to functionally deregulate disposal of massive amounts of radioactive waste. NRC’s  plan would allow commercial nuclear reactors to dump virtually all their radioactive waste, except spent fuel, in local garbage landfills, which are designed for household trash not rad-waste,  according to comments filed today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).

Today marks the end of public comments for an NRC “interpretative rulemaking” that would, in effect, abrogate longstanding requirements that virtually all such waste must be disposed of in licensed radioactive waste sites meeting detailed safety standards and subject to NRC inspection and enforcement.  Instead, NRC would grant generic exemptions for unlicensed waste handlers.

NRC declares its “intent” that these newly exempt disposal sites would be limited to “very low-level radioactive wastes” – a term undefined by statute – which NRC considers to be “below 25 millirem per year.”  Yet, NRC’s definition would allow public exposure to the equivalent to more than 900 chest X-rays over a lifetime, create a cancer risk twenty times higher than the Environmental Protection Agency’s acceptable risk range, thousands of times the risk goal for Superfund sites, or enough radiation to cause every 500th person exposed to get cancer.

“Once an exempt entity accepts radioactive waste, it enters a regulatory black hole, with no one  accountable for it,” stated PEER Pacific Director Jeff Ruch, pointing out that NRC’s plan eliminates the need for radiation monitoring, health physics personnel, design standards, and NRC inspections – all now required of licensed operators.  “Unlicensed radioactive waste dumps could operate in ways that endanger communities free from any NRC oversight.”

NRC’s cryptic justification merely indicates that the plan “would provide an efficient means by which the NRC may issue specific exemptions for disposal” but ignores impacts that would –

  • Transform many municipal dumps into radioactive repositories, with no safeguards for workers, nearby residents, or adjoining water tables;
  • Allow unlicensed radioactive waste dumps to expose the public to 2.5 times higher levels of radiation than the NRC now allows for licensed low-level radioactive waste sites, thus creating a strong incentive to send all the radioactive waste to unlicensed dumps; and
  • Eliminate the public’s ability to find out radioactive waste is being dumped near them.

At present, the U.S. has 104 commercial nuclear power plants, many of which are beginning, or will soon start, the decommissioning process.  Removing the need for licensed sites to handle the staggering amounts of debris from old reactors would be a major cost savings for that industry.

“NRC’s deregulation will make it nearly impossible to trace recycled radioactive waste flowing through the stream of American commerce,” added Ruch, noting that it may also create a market for the U.S. to import radioactive waste for cheaper disposal. “This plan would plunge the U.S. into the wild, wild West of radioactive waste disposal, on a par with a Third World nation.”

###

Read the PEER comments

View the NRC proposal 

https://www.peer.org/deregulation-rad-waste-disposal-plows-ahead/

— COVID-19 pandemic increases nuclear reactor disaster risk; NRC loosens rules, requires long shifts

Posted on BuzzFeed

Terrified Atomic Workers Warn That the COVID-19 Pandemic May Threaten Nuclear Reactor Disaster

April 9, 2020

By Harvey Wasserman

The COVID Pandemic has thrown America’s atomic reactor industry into lethal chaos, making a major disaster even more likely.  Reports from “terrified” workers at a Pennsylvania reactor indicate vital precautions needed to protect them may not even be possible.

Nationwide, with falling demand and soaring prices for nuke-generated electricity, the Pandemic casts a dark shadow over reactor operations and whether frightened neighbors will allow them to be refueled and repaired.

America’s 96 remaining atomic reactors are run by a coveted pool of skilled technicians who manage the control rooms, conduct repairs, load/unload nuclear fuel.

Because few young students have been entering the field, the corps of about 100,000 licensed technicians has been—-like the reactors themselves—-rapidly aging while declining in numbers.  Work has stopped at the last two US reactors under construction (at Vogtle, Georgia) due to the Pandemic’s impact, which includes a shrinking supply of healthy workers.

Every reactor control room requires five operators at all times.  But the physical space is limited there and in plant hot spots that need frequent, often demanding repairs.  Social distancing is virtually impossible.  Long shifts in confined spaces undermine operator safety and performance.

Of critical importance:  every 18-24 months each reactor must shut for refueling and repairs.  Itinerant crews of 1000 to 1500 technicians travel to 58 sites in 29 states, usually staying 30-60 days.  They often board with local families, or in RVs, hotels, or Air B&Bs. 

Some 54 reactors have been scheduled for refuel/repairs in 2020. But there is no official, organized program to test the workers for the Coronavirus as they move around the country.

As the Pandemic thins the workforce, older operators are being called out of retirement.  The Trump-run Nuclear Regulatory Commission recently certified  16-hour work days, 86-hour work weeks and up to 14 consecutive days with 12-hour shifts.

Long-time nuclear engineer Arnie Gundersen warns of fatigued operators falling asleep on the job.  He recalls at least one exhausted worker falling into the highly radioactive pool surrounding the high-level fuel rods.  Operator fatigue also helped cause the 1979 melt-down that destroyed Pennsylvania’s Three Mile Island Unit Two.

The industry is now using the Coronavirus Pandemic to rush through a wide range of deregulation demandsAmong them is a move to allow radioactive waste to be dumped into municipal landfills. 

The NRC may also certify skipping vital repairs, escalating the likelihood of major breakdowns and melt-downs.  Nearly all US reactors were designed and built in the pre-digital age, more than 30 years ago.  Most are in advanced decay.  Atomic expert David Lochbaum, formerly with the NRC, warns that failure risks from longer work hours and deferred repairs could be extremely significant, and could vary from reactor to reactor depending on their age and condition.

The industry has also been required to maintain credible public health response plans should those reactors blow.  But Pandemic-stricken US hospitals now have zero spare capacity, multiplying the possible human fallout from an increasingly likely disaster.

Industry-wide the Pandemic has brought working conditions to the brink of collapse.  At Pennsylvania’s Limerick Generating Station, workers say they are “terrified” that the plant has become a “breeding ground…a complete cesspool” for the Coronavirus.  “I’m in a constant state of paranoia,” one technician told Carl Hessler, Jr., of MontcoCourtNews.

Others say social distancing is non-existent, with “no less than 100 people in the training room” and “people literally sitting on top of each other…sitting at every computer elbow to elbow.”  Shift change rooms, Hessler was told, can be    “standing room only.”  At least two Limerick workers are confirmed to have carried the virus.  COVID rates in the county are soaring.

Nuclear engineer Gundersen warns that limited control room floorspace and cramped conditions for maintenance can make social distancing impossible.  “Some component repairs can involve five workers working right next to each other,” he says.

Because reactor-driven electricity is not vital amidst this pandemic downturn, the demand for atomic workers to “stay home” is certain to escalate.  “I am concerned with Exelon & Limerick Nuclear Generating Station’s handling of the scheduled refueling—which has required bringing in workers from across the country during this pandemic,” says US Rep. Madeleine Dean in a statement likely to be repeated at reactor sites around the US.

“The potential increase of COVID-19 cases from 1,400 new workers not observing social distancing is staggering,” says epidemiologist Joseph Mangano of the Radiation and Health Project.  “The Limerick plant should be shut until the COVID-19 pandemic is over.”

Indian Point Unit One, north of New York City, will shut permanently on April 28.  Iowa’s Duane Arnold will close in December.

But Ground Zero may be Pacific Gas & Electric’s two 35-year-old reactors at Diablo Canyon.  PG&E is bankrupt for the second time in two decades, and recently pleaded guilty to 85 felonies from the fires its faulty wires sent raging through northern California, killing 84 people.  In 2010 a faulty PG&E gas line exploded in San Bruno, killing eight people.

Surrounded by earthquake faults, Diablo’s construction prompted more than 10,000 civil disobedience arrests, the most at any US reactor.  PG&E now admits its two Diablo nukes will lose more than $1.2 billion this year, more than $3.44 million/day.

Amidst its bitterly contested bankruptcy, PG&E may be taken over by the state.  But more than a thousand workers are slated in early October to refuel and repair Unit One, which the NRC says is dangerously embrittled.

Whether local residents concerned about both a nuclear accident and the spread of the Coronavirus will let them into the county remains to be seen.  So is whether they’ll be still operating by then.

With the future of the nuclear industry at stake—-along with the possibility of more reactor mishaps—-the whole world will be watching.

Harvey Wasserman’s Solartopia!  Our Green-Powered Earth is at www.solartopia.org, along with The People’s Spiral of US History.  His California Solartopia Show is broadcast at KPFK/Pacifica 90.7fm Los Angeles; his Green Power & Wellness Show is podcast at prn.fm.  For a full one-hour expert podcast discussion of the impact of the Cornoavirus on nuke power, click here.

https://buzzflash.com/articles/terfied-atomic-workers-warn-that-the-covid-19-pandemic-may-threaten-nuclear-reactor-disaster

Posted under Fair Use Rules.

— NRC says San Onofre Holtec nuclear waste containers are all damaged and SCE knew in January; community meeting Nov. 29

From San Onofre Safety
November 29, 2018

Handout: https://sanonofresafety.files.wordpress.com/2018/11/nrc-allholteccanistersdamaged2018-11-29.pdf 

The Holtec nuclear waste storage canisters at San Onofre are lemons and must be replaced with thick-wall casks.

11/29/2019 Oceanside:   The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) admits in their November 28, 2018 NRC Inspection Report and Notice of Violation, ML18332A357 (page 8 and 9) every Holtec canister downloaded into the storage holes is damaged due to inadequate clearance between the canister and the divider shell in the storage hole (vault).  The NRC states canister walls are already “worn”.  This results in cracks. Once cracks start, they continue to grow through the wall.

The NRC stated Southern California Edison (and Holtec) knew about this since January 2018, but continued to load 29 canisters anyway.  Edison’s August 24, 2018 press release states they plan to finish loading mid 2019.

The NRC states Edison must stop loading canisters until this issue is resolved.  However, there is no method to inspect or repair cracking canisters and the NRC knows this.

Attend November 29th SONGS Community Engagement Panel meeting. Tell the NRC and Edison:
The Holtec thin canister system is a lemon and must be replaced. Demand they replace all thin-wall canisters with proven thick-wall casks before it’s too late. Ratepayers didn’t pay for lemons.  

  • QLN Conference Center, 1938 Avenida Del Oro, Oceanside, CA 92056
  • November 29, 2018 5:30 PM – 8:30 PM
  • More meeting details at songscommunity.com website

For the rest of the story: 

— Public comments opposing de facto permanent parking lot dump at WCS, TX needed by March 13!

From Beyond Nuclear
February 9, 2017

Waste Control Specialists (WCS) in West Texas has applied to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for a license to construct and operate a “centralized interim storage facility” for 40,000 metric tons of commercial irradiated nuclear fuel, more than half of what exists in the U.S.

The “host” county, Andrews, has a large Latin American population, as well as many low income residents; so too does Eunice, New Mexico, just four miles from WCS across the state border.

This de facto permanent parking lot dump would launch 4,000 high-risk Mobile Chernobyl train car shipments, traveling through most states (see map, right; click here for a larger version).

A significant number would initially travel by barge on surface waters — Floating Fukushimas on lakes, rivers, and seacoasts — just to reach the nearest rail head. Dirty Bomb on Wheels security risks would abound.

On Thurs., Feb. 23, from 1-4pm Eastern, NRC will hold an environmental scoping public comment opportunity, accessible by call-in teleconference and/or Webinar (in-person attendance is also an option for those near enough NRC’s HQ in Rockville, MD).

NRC’s Webinar link will go live in real time. The toll free call-in/teleconference number is (800) 619-9084; Passcode 3009542.

Beyond Nuclear has assembled sample comments you can use to prepare your own, for oral submission at next week’s meeting, whether in-person or via Webcast/call-in, and/or for written submission by the March 13th deadline, via email, online Web form, or snail mail. Please take part, make comments, and spread the word! More

——————————————————–

Public comments are needed in opposition to Waste Control Specialists (WCS) in West Texas, which seeks to open a de facto permanent parking lot dump for up to half the commercial high-level radioactive waste in the U.S., upstream of the Ogallala Aquifer, vital drinking and irrigation water supply for numerous High Plains states, from Texas to South Dakota.

The region around WCS has a high proportion of low income, Latin American residents, and is already heavily burdened with nuclear activities and dirty fossil fuel industries. WCS would launch unprecedented numbers of irradiated nuclear fuel train and barge shipments through many states.

Sample comments you can use to write your own:

Beyond Nuclear sample comments on a variety of subject matter:

Risks of De Facto Permanent Parking Lot Dump at WCS; 

Risks of Loss of Institutional Control if De Facto Permanent Parking Lot Dumps are Abandoned, Containers Fail, and Release Catastrophic Amounts of Hazardous Radioactivity into the Environment;

SEED Coalition & Public Citizen’s Texas Office have prepared sample comments you can use to write your own for submission to NRC by the March 13, 2017 deadline;

Public comments previously submitted to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for a proceeding re: Private Initiatives to carry out centralized interim storage can now also be used — “recycled,” so to speak! — to prepare comments to NRC re: WCS’s scheme (the comments to DOE were due Jan. 27, 2017);

Link to instructions on HOW (snail mail, email, as well as online web form) to submit your public comments to NRC by the March 13 deadline

Please see entries below on Beyond Nuclear’s Centralized Interim Storage website section, for more information.

http://www.beyondnuclear.org/centralized-storage/2017/2/9/public-comments-opposing-de-facto-permanent-parking-lot-dump.html

— “Interim” parking lot dump for 50% of U.S. nuclear waste in Andrews, Texas? NRC public scoping hearing February 23; attend and comment — in person, by phone, by webinar, by email

From Beyond Nuclear

February 8, 2017

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has, at long last, published the announcement for its quickly approaching HQ meeting, at its Rockville, MD HQ, re: WCS, TX’s environmental scoping public comment opportunity, to be held on Thursday, February 23, 2017. Please attend in person if you can, or by Webcast/Teleconference Call-In. Please pre-register in advance to make oral public comments for the official record, raising various concerns in opposition to WCS’s application.

NRC’s announcement is posted at: https://www.nrc.gov/pmns/mtg?do=search.results&pageno=1&StartDate=2/23/2017&EndDate=2/23/2017

Here are those details and additional links:

Date/Time: 02/23/17, 1:00PM – 4:00PM

Purpose:

To conduct a public scoping meeting for the NRC’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Waste Control Specialist LLC (WCS) license application to construct and operate a consolidated interim storage facility (CISF) for spent nuclear fuel at the WCS site in Andrews County, Texas. At the meeting, the NRC will receive comments from the public on the appropriate scope of issues to be considered in, and the content of the EIS. [more…]

Participation: Category 3

Teleconference/Webcast

[Here is the Webinar info.:

Webinar

Webinar Link:https://video.nrc.gov/
Webinar Meeting Number:None
Webinar Password:None

Here is the teleconference/call-in info.:

Teleconference

Bridge Number: 8006199084
Passcode: 3009542]

[Yes, comments can be submitted orally via the Webcast/Call-in options. Please sign up in advance — see below — and do make comments!]

Location [yes, in person attendance is an option, and oral comments can be made there]:


NRC One White Flint North
11545 Rockville Pike
Commission Hearing Room
Rockville MD

NRC Contacts:

James Park
301-415-6954

Debbie Miller
301-415-7359

From NRC’s Public Meeting Schedule: Meeting Details link: https://www.nrc.gov/pmns/mtg?do=details&Code=20170198

Members of the public who will attend the meeting in person, and those wishing to present oral comments [via Webcast and/or teleconference/call-in] may register in advance by contacting Mrs. Debra Miller at (301) 415-7359, or by email to Debra.Miller@nrc.gov, no later than February 21, 2017. Those comments may be limited by the time available, depending on the number of persons who wish to speak. Please provide name and company or organization for each attendee. Arrive 30 minutes early to allow time for security registration.

[Please see entries below, for more background details and links to additional information. Please attend by watching the webcast and/or calling in. Please sign up to make comments at the meeting. Additional written comments can be made until March 13th. Legal intervention deadline is March 31st (or forever hold your peace). See entries below for links to more info.

See http://www.beyondnuclear.org/centralized-storage/

http://www.beyondnuclear.org/centralized-storage/2017/2/8/nrc-environmental-scoping-mtg-for-public-comment-on-wcs-tx-c.html

— Massachusetts: Seawater leak forces 72% power reduction at Pilgrim; NRC said plant has “poor maintenance, poor engineering practices, and equipment reliability problems”

By Michael P. Norton STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE
February 7, 2017

A seawater leak at Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station has prompted plant operators to sharply reduce energy output there.

Control room operators reduced power to about 50 percent on Monday afternoon, Feb. 6, after there was an indication of a leakage into the Plymouth plant’s condenser.

A power plant spokesman told the News Service on Tuesday morning that the plant is now operating at 28 percent while repair work is undertaken.

Entergy Pilgrim Station spokesman Patrick O’Brien did not have an estimate of how much seawater leaked into the plant’s condenser.

“There is no challenge to worker or public health or safety and no radiologial release occurred as a result of this brief leak,” he said in a statement. “The reduction in power enabled operators to isolate the leakage so workers can make repairs. Restoration of full power will follow the repair.”

Pilgrim experienced a similar seawater intrusion last year, O’Brien said.

After a final planned refueling the plant this year, Pilgrim owner Entergy plans to shut the plant down in 2019.

Critics of the plant point to repeated problems there that have necessitated shutdowns as proof that the plant should close now. Pilgrim officials say the plant is safe and have repeated over the years that the safety of the public and plant staff has not been put at risk.

The coastal power plant closed down for a week in December to repair a steam leak.

The plant was also in the news recently after media outlets obtained an internal Nuclear Regulatory Commission email documenting safety concerns found at the plant during an NRC inspection in December.

[See http://www.beyondnuclear.org/home/2016/12/8/misdirected-nrc-email-reveals-overwhelmed-safety-workforce-a.html  ]

The email detailed “poor maintenance, poor engineering practices, and equipment reliability problems” at the plant, which can produce 680 megawatts of power using its boiling water reactor.

http://pembroke.wickedlocal.com/news/20170207/seawater-leak-forces-reduced-power-at-pilgrim-nuclear-power-plant

— Beyond Nuclear calls for NRC to name U.S. reactors with potentially defective Areva parts

From Beyond Nuclear
December 28, 2016

Beyond Nuclear is calling for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to name the U.S. reactors that might be operating with defective parts imported from France. While potentially affected French reactors have closed down as a safety precaution, the U.S. NRC has refused to even name the affected reactors let alone mandate precautionary closures until the parts are checked. Beyond Nuclear is filing an emergency enforcement 2.206 petition and a Freedom of Information Act Request to demand that the NRC release the full list of reactors with flawed parts; inform the affected reactor communities of the risks; and require the shutdown of reactors with potentially defective reactor components.

As Beyond Nuclear’s Kevin Kamps stated in our press release:“Every one of those potentially defective parts are safety-significant and could lead to meltdown if they fail.”

A Greenpeace France report indentified 19 U.S. reactors at 11 sites that could be operating with defective safety-essential components from Areva’s Le Creusot forge in France. They are:

Prairie Island in Minnesota; North Anna and Surry in Virginia; Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania; Arkansas One in Arkansas; Turkey Point and St Lucie in Florida; DC Cook in Michigan; Salem in New Jersey; Callaway in Missouri; and Millstone in Connecticut. The Crystal River reactor in Florida was also listed but is now permanently closed.