[ RadSafe ] Exelon studies 8 Texas sites for nuclear reactors

Sandy Perle sandyfl at earthlink.net
Sat Oct 7 13:11:43 CDT 2006


Exelon studies 8 Texas sites for nuclear reactors
Belarus warns Lithuania on nuclear storage site near border  
Reduce Fear Of Unknown, Says SNM Radiation Expert
Egypt will not start from scratch in nuclear area
Japan, S Korea to survey radiation in Sea of Japan

Exelon studies 8 Texas sites for nuclear reactors 

HOUSTON (Reuters) - Exelon Corp. (NYSE:EXC - news), the largest U.S. 
nuclear power producer, said it is "actively" evaluating eight sites 
in Texas as possible locations for a new nuclear reactor, a spokesman 
said on Friday. 
Chicago-based Exelon, which entered the Texas generation market in 
2002 with the purchase of two aging natural gas-fired power plants 
from TXU Corp. (NYSE:TXU - news), became the fourth company last week 
to say it wants to apply for a license to build a nuclear plant in 
Texas to meet growing power needs.

Of the 19 preliminary proposals for new U.S. reactors, Texas has 
attracted the most interest, with four proposals, according to data 
from the Nuclear Energy Institute.

The industry, dormant since the 1979 accident at the Three Mile 
Island nuclear station in Pennsylvania, is undergoing a rebirth amid 
growing environmental concern about carbon emissions from fossil-fuel 
plants and rising costs of natural gas.

President George W. Bush supports new nuclear construction and energy 
legislation passed in 2005 offers billions of dollars in incentives 
to owners of the first new plants to go into service.

Two other Texas generators, NRG Energy Inc. (NYSE:NRG - news) and TXU 
Corp., have proposed new reactors in the Electric Reliability Council 
of Texas, which serves about 85 percent of the state's power needs. 
In addition, an Amarillo-based real estate developer is working to 
attract a reactor to the panhandle region, outside ERCOT.

Exelon has not disclosed the size of the nuclear plant it is 
considering in Texas, but has narrowed its choice of reactor design 
to the General Electric ES Boiling Water Reactor of the Westinghouse 
Advanced Passive 1000 design, according to its letter of intent filed 
with federal regulators.

Princeton, New Jersy-based NRG owns 44 percent of the 2,560-megawatt 
South Texas Project, located southwest of Houston, while Dallas-based 
TXU owns 100 percent of 2,300-MW Comanche Peak station southwest of 
Fort Worth.

In June, NRG proposed adding two reactors, totaling 2,700 MW, at the 
South Texas location.

TXU said it was studying an expansion at Comanche Peak but did not 
disclose how much capacity it might build. TXU also said it was 
looking at other sites in Texas and sites outside the state.

Exelon spokesman Craig Nesbit said the company is pursuing a new 
Texas reactor on its own, but he would not dismiss the idea of a 
partnership with one of the other companies. "I would never shut the 
door on anything," he said.

Both NRG and TXU have said they would like to reduce the risk of 
building new reactors by attracting partners.

Exelon filed its letter with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission 
September 29, three days after TXU Chairman C. John Wilder told 
analysts in New York that the companies had dropped plans to swap 

Wilder said TXU was interested in an "asset swap" with Exelon to 
expand its generation outside Texas while helping Exelon alleviate 
market-power concerns related to its proposed merger with Public 
Service Enterprise Group (NYSE:PEG - news).

Exelon called off the $17.7 billion merger in mid-September, citing 
problems obtaining approval of the deal in New Jersey.

TXU, already the largest power generator in Texas, faces market-power 
limits as it seeks permits to build 9,000 MW of coal-fired generation 
to be completed before any new nuclear plants.

Exelon is also considering adding reactors in Illinois and as part of 
NuStart, a 12-member consortium looking at sites in Tennessee and 

Belarus warns Lithuania on nuclear storage site near border  

BOBRUISK, October 7 (RIA Novosti) - Belarus is ready to get involved 
in building a nuclear storage facility in Lithuania, but is opposed 
to its location near the country's border, President Alexander 
Lukashenko said Saturday. 

Lithuania's Ignalina nuclear power plant, scheduled to be shut down 
by 2009, is similar to the one in Chernobyl, Ukraine, where the 
world's worst nuclear accident happened in 1986. Lithuania's prime 
minister said in early September it will build a new nuclear power 
plant to resolve an energy crisis expected in 2009 and meet the 
European Union's nuclear safety requirements. 

"Belarus is ready to get involved economically, diplomatically and 
financially to address the matter of building a nuclear waste storage 
facility in Lithuania," Lukashenko said, adding his country was 
against the site being built near the Belarusian border. 

He said Lithuania was going to build a facility to store nuclear 
waste from the Ignalina NPP five kilometers from the Belarusian-
Lithuanian border. 

"We have enough leverage to ensure that the facilities are not built 
near the Belarusian border," he said. "The decision to build [it] 
should be made by taking into account the interests of other states." 

He said he hoped the two countries will resolve the issue "in a 
civilized manner." 

Lithuania and Estonia dismissed earlier media reports that the Baltic 
states would build a joint storage facility for nuclear waste in 

Local media cited Estonian MEP Andres Tarand as saying that his 
Lithuanian counterparts had repeatedly suggested that Estonia, 
Latvia, and Lithuania would share responsibility for storing nuclear 
waste. The three Baltic states agreed to build a nuclear power plant 
in Lithuania by 2015. 

Getting The Facts, Understanding Science And Beneficial Applications 
Reduce Fear Of Unknown, Says SNM Radiation Expert

Radiology / Nuclear Medicine News - Say the word nuclear and it 
conjures up mistaken ideas about radiation, an invisible, odorless 
and intangible force that allows doctors to non-invasively see into 
the body. Say the words nuclear medicine, and its powerful reality is 
that it is highly beneficial to life, said Jonathan M. Links, former 
SNM president, who has written an overview on understanding 
radiological and nuclear terrorism in the October issue of the 
Journal of Nuclear Medicine. 

"When people hear the words radiation and radioactivity, they 
initially think negative thoughts," said Links, professor and 
director of the Center for Public Health Preparedness at Johns 
Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Md. "The 
public's perception of the risks of radiation is that radiation is 
highly risky. It's best to get the scientific facts. In reality, 
radiation - a release of energy - allows doctors to effectively 
diagnose and treat disease," noted Baltimore's radiation terror 
expert and co-author of "Understanding Radiological and Nuclear 
Terrorism as Public Health Threats: Preparedness and Response 

The use of nuclear medicine - giving tiny amounts of radioactive 
materials to patients to examine molecular processes in the body to 
diagnose and treat a variety of diseases - continues to grow and 
evolve. Every major hospital in this country has a nuclear medicine 
department. Last year, 19.7 million nuclear medicine procedures were 
performed on 17.2 million women, men and children in more than 7,200 
medical sites in the United States - a 15 percent increase from four 
years ago. Every day, about 55,000 women, men and children undergo 
nuclear medicine (also called molecular imaging) procedures to 
evaluate heart disease, detect cancer and determine response to 
treatment, diagnose and evaluate brain disorders and locate stress 

When it comes to nuclear medicine, Links says the public should keep 
in mind these facts. 

* Nuclear medicine/molecular imaging procedures are an invaluable way 
to gather medical information that would otherwise be unavailable, 
require surgery or necessitate more expensive diagnostic tests. 

* The radiation dose to the body a patient may receive from a 
diagnostic nuclear medicine study is typically equal to or less than 
the natural "background" radiation dose a person may receive every 
year from rocks, soil, space (air travel), building materials and 

* In use for more than 60 years, nuclear medicine is an established 
medical specialty that is older than CT, MRI and ultrasound imaging. 
As nuclear medicine techniques merge with new technologies, hybrid 
imaging and advances in molecular biology, a new era in molecular 
imaging will add to the understanding of the molecular basis of 
disease. Molecular imaging will provide a way to integrate 
information about location, structure, function and biology, leading 
to a new package of noninvasive imaging tools that could have vast 
potential for improving patient care. 

* Terrorists use the threat of radiation-of setting off a "dirty 
bomb" (radioactivity packaged with conventional explosives) or an 
improvised (crude) nuclear device-to create a climate of fear, says 
Links. From a public health perspective, this is more a psychological 
weapon than a physical weapon for a community. "Radiation is an 
especially powerful terrorism weapon because it instills considerable 
fear," notes Links. To counter "the terror of terrorism," Links 
suggests integrating excellent crisis communication with every 
disaster plan created. Public safety and health officials need to 
communicate with the public about what safeguards are in place to 
prevent terrorist actions and what plans and infrastructure are in 
place to rapidly respond to the public's needs. "Terrorists succeed 
if we give in to the fear because that's what they want. Their target 
isn't those who may get injured or killed in an explosion-it's all 
the rest of us," said Links. 

* Nuclear medicine professionals are knowledgeable about the uses and 
effects of radiation, and should assist with local police, fire, 
public safety and health departments in developing community response 
plans to ensure that local and federal first responders can address 
issues or circumstances linked to possible terrorist attacks. Links, 
who works with officials from the Centers for Disease Control and 
Prevention and the Department of Homeland Security, encourages 
nuclear medicine professionals to contact local authorities and 
become identified as subject matter experts. "All preparedness starts 
locally," said Links. "Nuclear medicine professionals should actively 
seek out such collaboration and be part of planning and preparedness 
activities now," he said. 

* Given heightened concerns about terrorism, sensitive radiation 
detectors are used in major cities and public transportation 
facilities. Individuals who receive nuclear medicine procedures may 
trigger detector alarms and be stopped by security personnel. Common 
radioisotopes that are used in many nuclear medicine studies that 
could set off radiation monitors, each with varying half lives or 
decay time, include technetium-99m, fluorine-18 (FDG) and thallium-
201. Most recent problems with radiation monitors have been with the 
use of iodine-131, which is used to treat hyperthyroidism, thyroid 
cancer and lymphoma. 

* Your physician can help you avoid any security problems by 
providing a letter containing the following information: the 
patient's name, name and date of the nuclear medicine procedure, the 
related radionuclide, its half life, the administered activity and 24-
hour contact information. This letter should provide specific details 
about who should be contacted. Outside of normal working hours, the 
contact person should have access to an appropriate source of 
information so the information in the letter can be independently 

"Understanding Radiological and Nuclear Terrorism as Public Health 
Threats: Preparedness and Response Perspectives" appears in the 
October issue of the Journal of Nuclear Medicine, which is published 
by SNM, an international scientific and professional organization of 
more than 16,000 physician, technologist and scientist members. Other 
co-authors include Daniel J. Barnett and Cindy L. Parker, both Johns 
Hopkins Center for Public Health Preparedness; Department of 
Environmental Health Sciences, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of 
Public Health, Baltimore, Md.; David W. Blodgett, Southwest Utah 
Public Health Department, St. George, Utah, and Johns Hopkins Center 
for Public Health Preparedness, Baltimore, Md.; and Rachel K. 
Wierzba, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, 

Egypt will not start from scratch in nuclear area
Egypt, Politics, 10/6/2006 

In an interview with the Egyptian magazine al-Musawir, to be 
published today, Egypt's Electricity Minister Hassan Younis said 
talks will be held soon at the People's Assembly and the Shura 
Council on the nuclear alternative in order to begin implementing the 
peaceful nuclear program.

He noted that establishing a nuclear station would need eight to nine 
years and cost about US $ 2 billion for 1000MW.

About the number of nuclear stations to be set up, Younis said Cairo 
would establish nuclear stations according to the development 

Asked if Egypt would export all its needs of Uranium, he said Egypt 
is Uranium rich. He noted that Egypt had been using the nuclear 
energy in the medical uses for a long time and it would now use it in 
generating electricity.

Younis added that Egypt had programs to further develop wind energy, 
noting that there were wind farms in Zafrana. The minister went on to 
say that Egypt was establishing its first solar power station.

On the other hand, Electricity Minister Hassan Younis held a meeting 
Thursday with leaderships of the Egyptian Nuclear Safety Authority 
(NSA) to discuss prospects of the national watchdog playing its part 
in a project for establishing nuclear stations.

Younis said the NSA played a key role in licensing and operating 
nuclear research reactors at the Egyptian Atomic Energy Authority 
(AEA) in line with safety rules of the International Atomic Energy 

The AEA is the main source of expertise and studies upon which the 
Egyptian peaceful nuclear program will be based, he said.

The NSA will work on developing its capabilities and reviewing its 
structure via comparison with similar bodies in developed countries 
having nuclear programs, he said.

He noted that Egypt had cadres capable of establishing nuclear 
stations, adding that setting up a nuclear station would take eight 
to nine years.

He added that initial studies on the nuclear alternative as a source 
of energy in Egypt have been finalized, noting that a feasibility 
study prepared for the purpose in 1986 would be updated.

Japan, S Korea to survey radiation in Sea of Japan

TOKYO  Oct 7 - A Japan Coast Guard research ship left Moji port in 
Fukuoka Prefecture on Saturday to survey the level of radiation in 
the Sea of Japan with South Korean researchers. 

Three South Korean researchers from the country's National Fisheries 
Research and Development Institute and the Korea Institute of Nuclear 
Safety are aboard the ship Kaiyo for the survey project through Oct 
14. The researchers will collect samples of seawater and soil from 
six spots, including waters near the disputed Takeshima Island, which 
is called Dokdo in Korean.

Sandy Perle

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