[ RadSafe ] [Nuclear News] NRC gives thumbs up to Watts Bar Nuclear Plant

Sandy Perle sandyfl at cox.net
Tue Apr 10 11:32:25 CDT 2007



NRC gives thumbs up to Watts Bar Nuclear Plant

TXU seeks to build biggest U.S. nuclear plants

U.S. Visitors Push N. Korea To Close Nuclear Reactor

Russian atomic agency and Rusal to build nuclear plant and aluminum smelter

Navy Veteran Fighting For Radiation Compensation

Intel sued over microwave radiation leak

Experiment simulates radiation exposure



NRC gives thumbs up to Watts Bar Nuclear Plant 


SWEETWATER, Tenn. — The Nuclear Regulatory Commission gave its stamp of
approval for TVA’s operation of Watts Bar Nuclear Plant today at a public
meeting here. 


The plant’s performance for 2006 was classified as green, meaning that any
safety problems found during the NRC’s inspections were of low significance.


Jonathan Bartley, senior resident inspector at Watts Bar, said the NRC
conducted 4,087 hours of inspection-related activities at Watts Bar in 2006.
Based on the plant’s performance last year, NRC officials will conduct the
normal level of inspections during 2007. 


Watts Bar has one operating pressurized-water reactor. TVA is considering
whether to complete Watts Bar’s Unit 2 reactor, on which construction was
halted in 1985. 


The utility is conducting a study to determine the project’s cost and
scheduling, and a draft environmental impact statement is available for
public review and comments. 



TXU seeks to build biggest U.S. nuclear plants


Energy utility shifts focus from coal to nuclear in seeking to build biggest
ever U.S. nuclear plants, according to a report Tuesday.


NEW YORK (Reuters) Apr 10 -- Utility company TXU, which scrapped plans to
build eight coal-fired plants when it agreed to be acquired by two private
equity firms, is now hoping to build the biggest nuclear power plants in the
United States, said the Wall Street Journal.


TXU (Charts) has shifted its focus to nuclear power at a time when three
other utilities have also said they may build nuclear plants in Texas, said
the Journal, without citing sources.


The Journal said reactors selected by TXU would be designed and build by
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries of Japan, and would be 50 percent bigger than
TXU's current nuclear reactors.


TXU is being acquired by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Texas Pacific Group.



U.S. Visitors Push N. Korea To Close Nuclear Reactor


PYONGYANG, North Korea, (AP) April 9 -- A U.S. delegation pressed North
Korea on Monday to shut down its main nuclear reactor and allow in U.N.
inspectors even as the top U.S. negotiator said it would be difficult for a
weekend deadline on the closure to be met.


The American delegation said North Korea's top nuclear negotiator, Kim Gye
Gwan, told them his government would allow U.N. nuclear inspectors into the
country as soon as $25 million in disputed North Korean funds are released.


Details on North Korea's latest nuclear claims and an overview of the
world's nuclear weapons arsenal.


In a landmark international accord, North Korea promised Feb. 13, 2007, to
close down and seal its main nuclear reactor within 60 days in return for
50,000 tons of fuel oil. The move was that country's first step in
abandoning all nuclear weapons and research programs.


Kim, who is also vice foreign minister, met with New Mexico Gov. Bill
Richardson, a Democratic presidential candidate, and Anthony J. Principi,
President Bush's former veteran affairs secretary, in the North Korean


Principi said Kim told the Americans that it would be difficult to shut down
the Yongbyon reactor by the Saturday deadline called for in a Feb. 13
nuclear disarmament accord, which requires North Korea to seal the reactor
and a reprocessing facility in exchange for aid.


The International Atomic Energy Agency is slated to monitor and verify the
shutdown in what would be its first visit since 2002, when North Korea
expelled IAEA inspectors after U.S. officials accused the North of running a
secret uranium enrichment program.


The North agreed to shut the reactor only after the United States promised
to resolve the key financial issue within 30 days, which it failed to do
because of technical complications.


Kim "indicated that the North Korean government would invite the . . .
inspectors back the moment the funds are released," Principi said.


In Tokyo, U.S. nuclear envoy Christopher R. Hill said the deadline would be
difficult to meet because of the ongoing dispute.


North Korea has refused to move forward until the release of money frozen by
Macau authorities after the United States blacklisted a bank in the
Chinese-administered region in 2005 for allegedly helping the North launder


Richardson said his delegation pushed Kim for a show of good faith that
North Korea was ready to meet its obligations under the February deal,
asking for a meeting of the six nations involved in the nuclear disarmament
talks before the deadline.


The delegation is on a four-day trip to Pyongyang, the capital, to recover
remains of U.S. servicemen killed in the Korean War.


Richardson and Principi also visited the USS Pueblo, the only active-duty
U.S. warship in the hands of a foreign power. North Korea captured the spy
ship in 1968 and held the crew for 11 months.



Russian atomic agency and Rusal to build nuclear plant and aluminum smelter


MOSCOW (AP ) Apr 9 : The Russian atomic energy agency and the aluminum giant
Rusal announced plans Monday to build a nuclear power plant and an aluminum
smelter in the country's Far East.


The agency, Rosatom, and United Company Rusal will conduct a feasibility
study by the end of the year and then establish a timetable for construction
of the plant and smelter, foreseen under a joint agreement on long-term
investment projects, the two said in statement.


The project would help to meet a target set by President Vladimir Putin of
raising the proportion of nuclear-generated power by 2030 to at least 25
percent, as well as helping to meet Rusal's large electricity requirements.


The statement said that the project would be configured as a public-private
partnership, enabling Rusal and Rosatom to seek government financing
earmarked for infrastructure development.


"The program will provide a platform for an economic upturn across large
areas of the country," the head of Rosatom, Sergei Kiriyenko, said.


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The statement did not say exactly where the two facilities would be.


Russia has 31 reactors at 10 nuclear power plants, accounting for about 17
percent of the country's electricity generation.


The first deputy prime minister, Sergei Ivanov, reiterated Monday that the
first floating nuclear power plant, to provide power for the Arctic port of
Severodvinsk, should go online in 2010 and said that there were plans for
seven such plants along Russia's northern and eastern coasts, the Interfax
news agency reported.


Rusal combined its assets last month with a rival, Sual, and the Swiss-based
commodities trader Glencore International, creating United Company Rusal and
surpassing Alcoa of the United States as the largest aluminum producer.


The company operates in 17 countries across five continents.



Navy Veteran Fighting For Radiation Compensation


(AP) LAS VEGAS An Navy veteran in Las Vegas isn't giving up his fight for
compensation for what he says was exposure to radiation from nuclear blasts
set off over the Pacific Ocean in 1962.


64-year-old Michael Hirschhorn is one of relatively few veterans who have
successfully navigated a maze of disability paperwork to win an appeal.


He says he hopes his case will set a precedent for others among the
half-million veterans who some say were exposed to ionizing radiation during
atmospheric nuclear weapons tests.


The Defense Threat Reduction Agency says the officials were wrong when they
called nuclear tests in Hirschhorn's case were "high altitude" blasts.


In reality, the tests were conducted as much lower "air bursts" that created
strong updrafts that Hirschhorn maintains caused widespread distribution of
highly radioactive fallout.


Nevertheless the agency stands by its assessment in Hirschhorn's case
because it believes Hirschhorn's ship didn't receive an appreciable
radiation dose.



Intel sued over microwave radiation leak 


Man claims blast seriously injured him


A CONSULTANT WHO worked for Applied Materials as a technical engineer
consultant is suing Intel for allegedly exposing him to high levels of
microwave radiation.


Mark Scheer worked at Intel's Hillsboro fab and was checking an HDP machine
when he claimed that he was exposed to the radiation leaking from another
processing chamber, leading to serious injuries.


He alleges that Intel failed to maintain the HDP machine, didn't conect its
water port to the chamber applicator body which left a gap through which the
radiation leaked, and failed to adequately test for microwave leaks before
bringing the HDP machine online.


The incident, which happened in 2005, resulted in him suffering injuries to
the head and brain, loss of vision, and cataracts in both eyes. He wants a
jury to award him damages for past and future medical expenses, damages for
loss of income, and damages for the disabilities.



Experiment simulates radiation exposure


STATE COLLEGE, Pa., April 10 (UPI) -- An international team will live in a
small shelter in the Utah desert for two weeks this month in a NASA
simulation of Martian exploration. 

The experiment, called Crew 61, is sponsored by the National Aeronautics and
Space Administration's Spaceward Bound program and the Mars Society. 


The last of the 2006-07 season's missions, the focus of the two weeks will
be on emergency preparedness, including simulations and protocol development
for extravehicular activity emergencies, radiation poisoning prevention, EVA
radiation emergency protocols and an emergency air quantity/location study. 


The five crew members from the United States, Peru, Belgium and Spain will
live in a two-story, 26.5-foot diameter circular habitat called the Mars
Desert Research Station. 


"This is a unique mission, the first dedicated to emergency preparedness,"
said Irene Schneider Puente, a Penn State graduate student in geosciences
and a study participant. Schneider will monitor three hypothetical different
radiation warning systems during the mission. 


Schneider, a native of Madrid, will also serve as the crew physicist,
responsible for all Spanish communications and for writing the science
mission reports.



Sandy Perle 

Senior Vice President, Technical Operations 

Global Dosimetry Solutions, Inc. 

2652 McGaw Avenue

Irvine, CA 92614


Tel: (949) 296-2306 / (888) 437-1714 Extension 2306 

Tel: (949) 419-1000 Extension 2306

Fax:(949) 296-1144


Global Dosimetry Website: http://www.dosimetry.com/ 

Personal Website: http://sandy-travels.com/ 


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