[ RadSafe ] [Nuclear News] Duke proposes $160 million in nuclear planning

Sandy Perle sandyfl at cox.net
Tue Dec 11 16:55:21 CST 2007


Duke proposes $160 million in nuclear planning
UniStar Nuclear submits design proposal for new reactor
British Energy Group to extend nuclear reactor use by five years
Canadian Nuclear Reactor May Reopen and Produce Medical Isotope 
Sellafield, Police Hunt Nuclear Worker About Bomb
Santa Susana Field Laboratory is closer to making Superfund list
Tories seek to bypass nuclear safety watchdog 
France, Libya sign deals on armaments, nuclear reactor 

Duke proposes $160 million in nuclear planning

Duke Energy Corp. expects to spend up to $160 million next year on 
developing its proposed Lee Nuclear Station near Gaffney, S.C. 

Duke has disclosed the estimate in filings with the N.C. Utilities 
Commission and the S.C. Public Service Commission. The company has 
sought rulings from both regulatory groups that its spending on 
planning for project is reasonable. 

Duke wants to be able to recover the development costs of the project 
whether or not the plant is built. 

The filing also discloses that, by the end of this year, Duke will 
have spent about $70 million on planning for the project. Duke got 
preliminary approval this year from the N.C. commission to spend up 
to $125 million on development costs. 

North Carolina's commission has set an April 28 hearing in Raleigh on 
Duke's proposed 2008 spending. Duke will file its initial testimony 
and exhibits by Jan. 11. The commission's public staff and other 
interested parties will have until March 31 to respond. Duke can file 
any rebuttal by April 14. 

Duke plans to make an initial filing with the Nuclear Regulatory 
Commission in the next several days seeking approval for the plant. 
It will ask for an operating license for two units, each producing 
1,117 megawatts. Duke has estimated the project's cost at $5 billion 
to $6 billion. 

The Charlotte-based company (NYSE:DUK) will apply for a certificate 
of public need from the S.C. commission early next year. 

Duke has not yet committed to building the nuclear plant. It says it 
is making the filings to keep its options open. But it has included 
at least some nuclear construction in its latest 20-year plan, filed 
just recently with N.C. regulators.

UniStar Nuclear submits design proposal for new reactor

A joint venture between Constellation Energy Group and a French 
energy giant designed to spark a "nuclear renaissance" cleared a 
hurdle Tuesday as an application was submitted to federal regulators 
to build a new type of nuclear reactor. 

The design certification application for the so-called evolutionary 
power reactor, or EPR, is the "cornerstone" of a business model 
launched by UniStar Nuclear LLC, a joint venture of Constellation and 
the EDF Group to build four new reactors in the U.S., officials said 
Tuesday. Areva Inc., based in Bethesda, is designing the reactors. 

The companies teamed in 2005 to market the EPR technology, which 
Unistar CEO George Vanderheyden in a statement called "the safest, 
most secure, advanced nuclear power plant technology available in the 
world today." 

"[T]oday's submittal is a major milestone in our efforts to build the 
first new fleet of nuclear power plants in the U.S. in three 
decades," Vanderheyden added Tuesday. 

Constellation (NYSE: CEG) has made nuclear energy one of its key 
priorities and wants to stake a claim as a leader providing what it 
says is clean, emissions-free power. The venture brings together 
Areva's experience building nuclear reactors and Constellation's 
experience operating the plants. 

The new plants are to be based on Areva's technologies, but the 
reactors are to be designed and built in the U.S. They are to be 
owned by Constellation and a variety of other investors, which could 
include banks or other energy companies around the country.

British Energy Group to extend nuclear reactor use by five years

LONDON: British Energy Group, the U.K.'s biggest electricity 
producer, said Tuesday it plans to extend the use of two nuclear 
reactors by five years because they're profitable even after output 
constraints, helping Britain towards ambitious climate-change goals.

The Hinkley Point reactor in Somerset, southwest England, and the 
Hunterston reactor on Scotland's west coast had been scheduled to 
close in 2011, 35 years after they were first fired up.

The two plants will be kept in service until 2016 at an additional 
cost of at least £90 million, or $185 million, and British Energy 
will conduct separate studies on whether to extend the operational 
lives of its other six nuclear plants "in due course," it said.

"If they can get these to 40 years, it's quite supportive for the 
rest of the fleet," Iain Turner, an analyst at Deutsche Bank. "The 
stations are all solid bits of engineering. They will probably end up 
lasting a long time."

However, the British Energy chief executive, Bill Coley, said those 
who thought the life extensions might rule out the need for a 
generation of new reactors were mistaken.

 "It doesn't obviate the need for new capacity, but it makes the 
timing more manageable," he told Reuters.

British Energy runs eight UK reactors, generating about one-sixth of 
the nation's electricity.

Postponing the closure date of the two stations, which have a 
combined capacity of about 2,400 megawatts, may ease pressure on 
power producers to replace aging plants. Environmental restrictions 
will limit output at coal- and oil-fired plants with a total capacity 
of 11 gigawatts from next year, and those stations will need to close 
in 2015 at the latest. Nuclear plants produce less carbon dioxide 
than coal- and natural-gas-fed stations.

The UK government will decide next month whether to give the 
controversial go-ahead to a new generation of reactors after years of 
limbo in the wake of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.

If it does, it will join Russia, India, China and the United States 
in a global renaissance for the industry as the world seeks to wean 
itself off climate-damaging fossil fuels.

Coley said the life extensions would prevent the emission of 37 
million tons of CO2, which would have otherwise been generated by 
power plants filling the gap - equivalent to about half the annual 
emissions of a country like Portugal.

The company expects to spend an additional £90 million, or $183.6 
million, in the three years to 2008 to get Hinkley Point and 
Hunterston ready.

"We see this capex not just as supporting this life extension but 
also paving the way for further life extensions post-2016," said 
analysts at Deutsche Bank. "Their life extension is encouraging for 
the other plant too."

All except one of British Energy's ageing reactors are built to 
unique UK gas-cooled designs, but any new generation would almost 
certainly be pressurised water reactors of an international design.

Coley said the group was still in second-round talks with more than 
10 companies that are interested in playing a part in any new UK 
nuclear plants, and no party had been eliminated yet.

"Interest and enthusiasm is even higher now than when we began the 
whole process," he added.

British Energy is currently running Hunterston and Hinkley Point at 
reduced capacity of 60 percent after shutting them down last winter 
to repair boiler cracks.

It hopes to get them up to 70 percent over the next year, at which 
point it needs a power price of around 27 pounds per megawatt hour to 
make the life extensions economically viable, well below the current 
baseload price of around 55 pounds. Analysts at Citi noted that 
2008/09 would be the fourth year British Energy has spent around 300 
million pounds on its stations and it now looked unlikely that would 
ever fall back to the group's 170 million-a-year goal.

Canadian Nuclear Reactor May Reopen and Produce Medical Isotope 

Dec. 11 (Bloomberg) -- A Canadian nuclear reactor that produces as 
much as half the global supply of a radioactive material used for 
medical imaging may resume operations as soon as next week. 

The reactor was shut down Nov. 18 for upgrades, causing shortages of 
medical radioisotopes throughout North America and delaying 
surgeries, tests and treatments. Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. said 
today in a letter to two federal ministers that the upgrades would 
take until Dec. 20 to complete. The state-owned company also said the 
reactor might open earlier if regulators allow it to put off some of 
the improvements. 

The Canadian government may pass an emergency law to let the Chalk 
River, Ontario-based reactor operate for 120 days and resume 
production, CTV reported today, without saying where it got the 
information. Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in Parliament today 
that the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission's requirements are ``not 
in the public interest.'' 

AECL shut its Chalk River reactor down to finish a safety upgrade 
that will add cooling pumps and an electrical backup system to meet 
regulations. The nuclear regulator said today that it won't consider 
a proposal to postpone the work until the AECL files a complete 
application requesting that. 

MDS Nordion Inc., the closely held Ottawa-based supplier of 
radioactive isotopes for medical supplies to Bristol-Myers and 
others, said Dec. 5 in a statement that delayed sales will reduce 
earnings by as much as $9 million in the first quarter of 2008 before 
interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization. 

Dale Coffin, the spokesman for AECL, said the company would be able 
to start delivering isotopes within 3 days of reopening the reactor.

Sellafield, Police Hunt Nuclear Worker About Bomb

Dec. 11 (Bloomberg) -- Sellafield Ltd., which conducts atomic fuel 
processing and cleanups for the U.K. Nuclear Decommissioning 
Authority, is helping police to trace a man in connection with a bomb 
discovered in northwest England. 

Police are looking for Darren Morris, 30, after a ``small rudimentary 
explosive device'' was found at his home in Egremont yesterday, 
according to a statement from Neil Wardley, a spokesman for Cumbria 
Police. The police are ``concerned for his safety,'' after he was 
last seen in a pub yesterday afternoon, according to the statement. 
The device was made safe, it said. 

``We're basically assisting the police in trying to find him,'' John 
Reynolds, a spokesman for Sellafield, said today in a telephone 
interview. Morris has worked for at least one contractor at the 
Sellafield site, Reynolds said, adding that he wasn't employed by 
Sellafield itself. 

``This is an isolated incident,'' Gary Slater, acting superintendent 
of Cumbria Police, said in the statement.

Santa Susana Field Laboratory is closer to making Superfund list

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has determined that a former 
nuclear and rocket engine testing facility at Boeing's Santa Susana 
Field Laboratory near Simi Valley should be added to the national 
Superfund cleanup list.

In a letter sent last week to California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, 
the EPA's San Francisco office recapped the history of chemical and 
radioactive contamination at the 2,850-acre hilltop lab that first 
began operations as a nuclear research facility in 1948. Later, it 
also became a rocket engine testing facility.

According to the EPA, soil and water poisoned with trichloroethylene, 
estimated at more than 500,000 gallons, forced the closure of on-site 
drinking wells in 1980. And 32 years of nuclear testing at the lab 
produced radioactive pollutants that have tainted water at the 
location and could affect "municipal drinking water supplies in the 

The federal agency has reviewed the field lab in the past, but 
previously looked only at radiological contaminants and then 
concentrated on just a portion of the lab site.

"When we look at the site as a whole, we feel that it would qualify 
for the National Priorities List," said Mike Montgomery, regional 
chief of the Superfund program.

The new designation would mean more funding for ongoing cleanup and 
would shift oversight from the state to the federal government.

The EPA has asked the governor's office to respond in writing within 
30 days.

If Schwarzenegger agrees with the recommendation, the EPA's regional 
office would forward its request to its Washington, D.C., 
headquarters for final approval.

"This is a great development. We've been praying for this for 20 
years," said Daniel Hirsch, president of the nuclear policy watchdog 
group Committee to Bridge the Gap. "We now pray that the governor 
does not block it at the last minute."

Boeing spokeswoman Blythe Jameson said the company, which is 
primarily responsible for cleaning the field lab it purchased from 
Rockwell International in the summer of 1996, does not expect any 
drastic changes if final oversight is transferred from the state 
Department of Toxic Substances Control to the U.S. government.

In September, Boeing pledged that it would clean up its portion of 
the land, 2,400 acres, to "acceptable community" standards and turn 
it over to the state. NASA owns the remaining portion of the lab 

"The EPA's decision will not affect Boeing's commitment to clean up 
the site," Jameson said.

Harper vows 'no accident' as Tories seek to bypass nuclear safety 
OTTAWA - Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government has introduced 
legislation to bypass Canada's nuclear safety regulator in a bid to 
end a critical shortage of medical isotopes. 

Harper promises the move will not lead to a nuclear accident. He 
contends that the Liberal-appointed Canadian Nuclear Safety 
Commission is responsible for the medical crisis because it refuses 
to allow Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. to restart a nuclear reactor 
that produces half the world's medical isotopes. 

The radioisotopes produced by the reactor at Chalk River, Ont., are 
used in diagnostic tests for cancer and heart conditions. 

The prime minister told the Commons today: "There will be no nuclear 

France, Libya sign deals on armaments, nuclear reactor 

PARIS - Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi received encouraging words from 
France - and cut deals for $14.7 billion in contracts for armaments 
and a nuclear reactor - on his first official visit Monday to a 
Western country after renouncing terrorism and doing away with 
weapons of mass destruction.
President Nicolas Sarkozy described the contracts as rewards for 
Tripoli's improved behavior.

"We must encourage those who renounce terrorism, who renounce the 
possession of nuclear arms," Sarkozy said after a meeting with 

He did not elaborate on the accords for a civilian nuclear reactor 
for a desalination plant and armaments. A signing ceremony was 
scheduled for Monday evening. One of Gadhafi's sons told French daily 
Le Figaro that a $4.4 billion deal to buy Airbus jets was also on the 

Gadhafi was long known as the champion of armed struggle and a 
sponsor of state terrorism.

But his country started moving back into the international fold with 
its 2003 decision to dismantle its clandestine nuclear arms program. 
The same year it paid $2.7 billion to families of the victims of the 
1998 Pan Am bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland, then agreed to pay $170 
million in compensation to the families of the 170 victims of the 
1989 bombing of a French UTA passenger jet.

Sarkozy is the first Western leader to extend an invitation to the 
flamboyant "guide of the Libyan revolution" since his falling out 
with the West in the 1980s.

"France must speak with all of those who want to return to the road 
of respectability and reintegrate the international community," 
Sarkozy said.

Gadhafi's visit brought protests and complaints, including from 
Sarkozy's own minister for human rights.

Gadhafi was castigated by French politicians, philosophers and others 
before his plane landed on Monday - International Human Rights Day. 
Police detained a group of nearly 30 protesters at Paris' human 
rights plaza, according to AP Television News. Up to 80 were arrested 
around Paris, both foes and partisans of Gadhafi, the website of the 
daily Le Figaro reported.

Human Rights Minister Rama Yade expressed disgust with the symbolism 
of the chosen date of International Human Rights Day.

"It would be indecent, in any case, that this visit be summed up with 
the signing of contracts," she said in an interview published Monday 
in the daily Le Parisien. For France to avoid "the kiss of death," it 
must ensure respect for human rights in Libya, she said. "Col. 
Gadhafi must understand that our country is not a doormat."

Sarkozy said later that he had stressed to Gadhafi the need "to 
progress on the road to human rights." As for Yade, the president 
said that as human rights minister her convictions were "perfectly 
normal" and he shared them.

Yade's boss, Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, suggested he was 
resigned to the visit, calling it a way to "return to normal 
relations" with Libya.

The trip "will, I hope, allow us to highlight this country's return 
to the international community," Kouchner told France Inter radio.

Sarkozy wants to keep France in the running for hefty contracts in 
oil-rich Libya but also to send a signal to countries such as Iran, 
involved in a standoff over its disputed nuclear program, that 
benefits await those who abide by international rules.

Gadhafi last visited France in 1973. He took his first step toward 
ending years as an outcast in a meeting with European Union officials 
in Brussels in 2004, a year after announcing he was dismantling 
Libya's clandestine nuclear weapons program.

His visit follows his decision in the summer to free five Bulgarian 
nurses and a Palestinian doctor who had spent eight years in Libyan 
jails on allegations that they had contaminated more than 400 
children with the AIDS virus. The release was the final obstacle to 
normalizing ties.

The six were released after mediation by the EU and Cecilia Sarkozy, 
the president's former wife who negotiated with Gadhafi. Sarkozy then 
traveled to Libya. The Sarkozys have since divorced.

Last week, France signed a nuclear cooperation accord with Algeria, 
Libya's neighbor in North Africa. There, Sarkozy said sharing 
civilian nuclear technology with Muslim nations "will be one of the 
foundations of a pact of trust" the West must conclude with Muslim 
Sander C. Perle
Global Dosimetry Solutions, Inc.
2652 McGaw Avenue
Irvine, CA 92614 

Tel: (949) 296-2306 / (888) 437-1714  Extension 2306
Fax:(949) 296-1144

E-Mail: sperle at dosimetry.com
E-Mail: sandyfl at cox.net 

Global Dosimetry: http://www.dosimetry.com/
Mirion Technologies: http://www.mirion.com/

More information about the RadSafe mailing list