[ RadSafe ] [Nuclear News] Appeal for new nuclear plants

Sandy Perle sandyfl at cox.net
Thu May 24 09:20:31 CDT 2007


Appeal for new nuclear plants
Blair commits to nuclear future as plans for five new power plants
U.S., China reach nuclear reactor deal
Strike at nuclear site stirs terrorism fears
Paul Newman endorses NY nuclear plant 
UK Study reveals prime nuclear sites  
Let nuclear plant workers vote on union, group asks

Appeal for new nuclear plants

The U.S. power industry needs to build 20 to 30 new nuclear plants by 
2030 to meet the nation's demand for electricity, according to Exelon 
Corp. chief executive officer John Rowe. But Rowe said the industry 
would need continuing help - from federal and state lawmakers, from 
regulators, and from the public - to meet that goal. 

In remarks prepared for delivery today to the annual Nuclear Energy 
Assembly in Miami, Rowe warned that Exelon and its counterparts faced 
major hurdles as they moved toward building a new generation of 
nuclear plants. (To read his speech, go to 

Since 2004, Exelon has been part of NuStart Energy Development, a 
consortium of 10 power companies and two reactor manufacturers that 
is one of several groups inching toward building new power plants.

Marilyn Kray, NuStart's president, said the consortium was preparing 
license applications for two demonstration reactors, based on designs 
by General Electric Co. and Westinghouse. 

Kray said both designs would be inherently safer and more economical 
than the nation's current reactors. For instance, the reactors would 
still use water for cooling the nuclear fuel, but would rely on 
gravity-based feeding systems, not pumps, to provide emergency 

Rowe said so-called passive safety systems should help ease concerns 
about the safety of nuclear power, which has won new support among 
some environmentalists because its generation does not contribute to 
global warming.

But he said other challenges still loom, including: 

Financing. Rowe said each new nuclear plant would probably cost about 
$5 billion, too large an investment for companies the size of Exelon 
or its competitors without a new wave of consolidation and without 
support from government. 

Nuclear waste. Rowe said the long-promised Yucca Mountain facility 
"will not happen soon - certainly not by the 2017 date currently 
advertised by the Department of Energy." The alternative, he said, is 
"long-term interim storage" under the auspices of the federal 

Infrastructure. He said the "intellectual and manufacturing 
infrastructure that once supported this industry has atrophied over 
the past 20 years," because of a lack of new projects.

Despite the challenges, Rowe said, the time was right for nuclear 
power to make a comeback, with fossil-fuel prices and demand climbing 
and the country "increasingly dependent upon foreign regimes - often 
hostile regimes - to heat and light our homes."

Blair commits to nuclear future as plans for five new power plants 
are revealed 

A blueprint for a new generation of power stations was revealed 
yesterday as Tony Blair committed Britain to a nuclear component in 
energy supply. 

The Government announced a five-month consultation exercise on its 
plans for new nuclear plants by the private sector but a private 
consultants' report for the Department of Trade and Industry raised 
suspicions that the consultation is a sham.

Critics called the consultation a "farce" and nuclear power would be 
a "dangerous, dirty white elephant". The report says new nuclear 
plants should be built predominantly in the South-east where the main 
demand for energy exists.

Many of the plants are on the coast, and could be at risk of flooding 
as a result of climate change causing a catastrophic rise in sea 
levels. But the report by Jackson Consulting says higher defences 
could be built to avoid coastal sites being ruled out.

The engineers said the new plants should preferably be sited on 
existing nuclear plants, but they could also be based at existing 
coal-fired or gas-fired power plants and a third option could be to 
build new nuclear plants on greenfield sites. It says a DTI expert 
group had already identified 12 sites potentially suitable for a new 
single reactor and 10 of the sites could be suitable for new twin 

The report grades the sites green, amber or red for their suitability 
for new reactors.

Those graded green are: Hinkley Point on the Somerset coast, Sizewell 
on the Suffolk coast, Bradwell on the Essex coast, Dungeness on the 
coast of Kent, Hunterston and Torness in Scotland, Hartlepool in 
north-east England, Wylfa in Wales, and Heysham in Lancashire.

Graded amber are: Calder Hall in Cumbria, Oldbury near Bristol, and 
Chapelcross near the Solway estuary in Scotland.

Britain's first private sector nuclear plant at Berkeley on the 
Severn estuary in Gloucestershire and Trydydd in Snowdonia, north 
Wales, are graded red as not suitable for new nuclear plants because 
of other problems with the sites.

Greenpeace said they had been trying under Freedom of Information 
rules to obtain the report since last year but it had been denied to 
them until yesterday when it was published on a website. The DTI put 
a disclaimer on the report, saying it was not government policy, but 
it will be seen as a blueprint for the future development of nuclear 

Mr Blair told MPs: "If we want to have secure energy supplies and 
reduce CO2 emissions, we have got to put the issue of nuclear power 
on the agenda."

Nuclear power was at the centre of the White Paper on energy 
published yesterday by the Trade Secretary, Alistair Darling. The 
document was delayed by Greenpeace demanding more consultation on 
nuclear power and Mr Darling said he was meeting the demands of the 
courts by allowing five months of consultation. Susan Kramer of the 
Liberal Democrats said: "This consultation is a total farce. 
Ministers have clearly already decided to back nuclear."

That view will be strengthened by the disclosure that an outline plan 
for the new nuclear power plants already existed. The planning White 
Paper will cut down the time for planning inquiries from several 
years to nine months.

Alan Duncan, the Tory energy spokesman, attacked the Government for 
failing to more explicit over its plans for nuclear power. Under the 
White Paper, all householders will have to get "smart" meters within 
10 years that will enable electricity companies to read their meters 
without calling at their homes. 

U.S., China reach nuclear reactor deal

WASHINGTON, May 23 (UPI) -- U.S. and Chinese nuclear energy 
regulators will share information on a new nuclear reactor that has 
not yet been built in the United States. 

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and China's National Nuclear 
Safety Administration signed a memorandum of cooperation as the 
Westinghouse Advanced Pressurized Reactor -- or AP1000 -- moves from 
concept to electricity generator. 

China plans to use the reactor as it ramps up nuclear energy capacity 
to meet growing demand for electricity. The NRC has certified the 
AP1000 reactor, though a plant using the model has not been licensed 
before. NRC's work on the AP1000 has been in the design phase, NRC 
spokesman Scott Burnell said. 

"As China moves forward on these projects the information they 
generate we will certainly look at to see what parts of that will be 
useful to our inspectors" if the reactors are licensed and built in 
the United States, Burnell said. 

While no new plant has been licensed since 1978, rising demand for 
energy, high monetary and pollution costs of oil and federal 
incentives for new nuclear may spur the industry on in the United 
States. The NRC expects applications for 19 new plants over the next 
three years, and 12 of the 28 reactors in those plants will be 

Strike at nuclear site stirs terrorism fears

The Energy Department, facing concerns that a fractious strike by 
unionized guards is leaving a nuclear weapons plant in Texas 
vulnerable to a terrorist attack, is dispatching its top security 
official to conduct an urgent assessment at the site, officials said 

The strike by 524 highly trained nuclear weapons guards is entering 
its sixth week at the Energy Department's Pantex plant near Amarillo, 
the nation's primary site for servicing nuclear weapons and one of 
the most heavily guarded industrial plants.

In response to the walkout, the Energy Department has reassigned 
supervisors, specially-trained bomb couriers and guards from other 
plants across the country to help protect the 25-square-mile 
facility, where fully assembled hydrogen bombs and thousands of 
components are stored in bunkers.

There are 210 replacement guards - less than half the normal 
complement - now at the site, according to William J. Desmond, chief 
of defense nuclear security for the Energy Department's National 
Nuclear Security Administration. He said the plant had eliminated 
vacations, training and low-priority duties to help cope with a 
smaller force.

"I am convinced that the Pantex site is secure," Desmond said.

But outside critics disagree. The Energy Department's top security 
officer, Glenn S. Podonsky, will go to Pantex next week to conduct a 
higher-level assessment.

In late April, Podonsky told the Senate Armed Services Committee that 
the plant site was well defended but that a long strike could erode 
security and strain the nation's entire nuclear weapons 

Podonsky is expected to conduct performance exercises to assess how 
well the ad hoc guard force would respond to armed terrorists. A 
spokesman for Desmond said the special assessment was being conducted 
at his agency's request.

Desmond said he believed the Energy Department could weather the 
strike indefinitely. The striking guards' lost wages, he said, have 
saved the agency about $200,000, even though it has flown in 
replacement workers and put them up in hotels.

But Desmond's upbeat assessment is disputed by union and watchdog 
officials, who say security at the plant is deteriorating as the 
strike drags on.

Mike Stumbo, chief of the National Council of Security Police, said 
the strike had "absolutely" eroded security at the site, given that 
the supervisors are working up to 14-hour shifts, seven out of eight 
days, and are not familiar with Pantex's unusually stringent 

The plant, about 17 miles northeast of Amarillo in the Texas 
Panhandle, is ringed by four layers of security fences, high guard 
towers with gun ports, and an assemblage of sensors intended to 
detect a terrorist strike force long before it could reach a weapon.

The Project on Government Oversight, a watchdog group that has 
focused on nuclear security and safety, called for a shutdown of 
Pantex operations last week in a letter to Energy Secretary Samuel W. 

"The current security situation is untenable," wrote Danielle Brian, 
executive director of the group.

The strike does not appear anywhere near a settlement. The former 
union president has been accused of holding unauthorized meetings 
with management, and he quit his post during a chaotic rank-and-file 
meeting and then crossed his own picket line the next day, Stumbo 

"We have never seen a situation like this," he said.

Though Texas is a "right-to-work" state, where union membership is 
not required for employment, only four guards have crossed the strike 
line, the union says.

Stumbo said he had traveled to Washington three times since the 
strike began, asking members of Congress and the Energy Department to 
federalize the guards, who work for BWX Technologies, the contractor 
that operates the Pantex plant.

Paul Newman endorses NY nuclear plant 

WASHINGTON - Call him Cool Hand Nuke. Paul Newman weighed in 
Wednesday on the Indian Point nuclear power facility in the New York 
suburbs, pronouncing it safer than military bases he had visited. 

The actor and salad dressing salesman visited the Buchanan, N.Y., 
facility on Monday, according to Jim Steets, a spokesman for Entergy 
Nuclear, the company that owns Indian Point.

Newman, the star of such films as "Cool Hand Luke," "Slap Shot" and 
"Nobody's Fool," praised the nuclear power facility as an important 
part of the region's energy future because it doesn't produce 
greenhouse gases, which contribute to global warming.

Through a statement issued by an industry group, Newman said he was 
impressed with the safety measures in place at Indian Point - a key 
worry point for local residents, some of whom want the plant, 35 
miles north of midtown Manhattan, shut down as a potential target of 

In stark contrast to his "Cool Hand Luke" character, who was always 
trying to break out of prison, Newman was apparently given a security 
card to enter the highly sensitive area.

"What I saw exceeded my expectations," Newman said in the statement. 
"No Army or Navy base I've ever visited has been more armored, and I 
couldn't walk 30 feet inside the plant without swiping my key card to 
go through another security checkpoint."

Newman called the plant an important source of electricity for 
millions of New Yorkers.

UK Study reveals prime nuclear sites  
Is Hinkley Point the most suitable location for a new reactor? 
Hinkley Point, in Somerset, is the best place to build a new nuclear 
power station, according to a confidential report commissioned by 

It lists 14 suitable sites around the UK but says existing nuclear 
plants in Southern England are the best choice. 

It also reveals the first UK nuclear reactor was sited at Harwell, in 
Oxfordshire, in the late 1940s, because it was "a pleasant place to 

The government stressed the report was a "discussion paper only". 

Independent consultants drew up a list of the most suitable sites for 
new nuclear plants, based on the criteria that existing nuclear power 
stations were the most suitable for development. 

The report sets out the "major business, economic, safety, 
environmental and technical factors that could influence the 
selection of a site". 


It says there would be "little point" in the government considering 
nuclear power if no suitable sites were to become available. 

1. Hinkley Point
2. Sizewell
3. Bradwell
4. Dungeness
5. Hunterston
6. Hartlepool
7. Torness
8. Wylfa
9. Heysham
10. Calder Hall
11. Oldbury
12. Chapelcross
13. Berkeley
14. Trawsfynydd 
Source: Jackson Consulting report, April 2006

"The availability of potential sites will therefore directly affect 
the government's view of the overall feasibility of a new nuclear 
build programme," the report adds. 

Hinkley Point was deemed the most suitable, with only planning 
consent for an additional power line and possible conflict with a 
nearby wind farm standing in the way of development. 

It was also available for new development "now," the document says. 

Global warming 

Sizewell, in Suffolk, is seen as the next most suitable, only needing 
planning permission for power lines and "investigation of grid 

The least suitable of the 14 listed was Trawsfynydd, in Wales, which 
uses a large man-made reservoir to cool its reactor. 

But its inland location may prove attractive if the government 
decides global warming is a major factor in the siting decision - it 
has said rising sea levels could make coastal sites unsuitable over 
the 100-year lifespan of a nuclear plant. 

Three of the suggested sites - Hunterston, Torness and Chapelcross - 
are in Scotland but the final decision on new nuclear plants is 
likely to rest with the Scottish Parliament. 

Scotland's First Minister, Alex Salmond has said there is "no chance" 
of any nuclear power plants being built in Scotland, setting up the 
prospect of a showdown between Westminster and Holyrood. 


The siting report was produced by Jackson Consulting in April 2006 
for the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), which published it on 
Wednesday as a supporting document to its energy White Paper. 

  It should be not too far from London, there should be easy access 
to a University; there should be some degree of isolation 

Sir John Cockcroft, 1948 article on siting nuclear reactor 

The government is planning its own investigation into suitable 
locations for nuclear reactors, which will be launched in 2008 - if 
the government decides to back nuclear power. 

Launching the White Paper on Wednesday, Trade Secretary Alistair 
Darling said his "preliminary view" was to allow more nuclear plants, 
but there would be a five-month consultation period. 

There will be a separate consultation on the criteria used for 
choosing the location of new reactors. 

If the government decides to back nuclear power, it will carry out a 
Strategic Siting Assessment (SSA) to identify the best sites in the 
UK for new nuclear plants. 

The government says the SSA will speed up the planning process as it 
will "deal with siting matters that are sufficiently generic for them 
to be sensibly addressed nationally". 

Wildlife habitats 

Local people will still be able to object to the building of new 
nuclear power plants - but only on strictly local grounds, such as 
noise and traffic problems. 

They will not be able to object on wider environmental grounds - such 
as the potential effects of radiation and nuclear waste. 

European legislation protecting wildlife habitats must also be met. 

But the issue of whether a particular location is the most suitable 
place to build a nuclear reactor will be off limits as it will 
already have been decided by the SSA. 

Critics say the government has caved in to pressure from the nuclear 
industry, which has lobbied for the planning process to be 

But the government says it wants to avoid lengthy and expensive 
public inquiries, citing the Sizewell B inquiry which it said cost 
£30m and only 30 of 340 days devoted to local issues. 

Airfield sites 

The Jackson Consulting report also reveals the Department of Trade 
and Industry has been working on the policy planning assumption that 
10 new reactors will be built. 

The government has stressed the actual number of new reactors will be 
decided by the nuclear industry, which may decide not to build any at 

The report also reprints an article first published in 1948 by Sir 
John Cockcroft, on how the decision was reached to site Britain's 
first nuclear reactors at Harwell, in Oxfordshire. 

"We considered the desirable location for the future Establishment. 
It should be not too far from London, there should be easy access to 
a University; there should be some degree of isolation and lastly the 
countryside should be pleasant to live in," wrote Sir John. 

After a brief tour of airfield sites, a shortlist was drawn up and 
Harwell was chosen as the site for the Atomic Energy Research 

Britain's first military reactor was sited in a more remote location, 
at Windscale, now Sellafield, in Cumbria, in 1947, using a US siting 
system which said it should be 25 miles from any town of 10,000 
people or more.

Let nuclear plant workers vote on union, group asks

About 700 workers at three Progress Energy nuclear plants could 
become the utility's first employees in the Carolinas to join a labor 

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers on Wednesday 
asked the National Labor Relations Board for a secret ballot 
election, representing a year-long drive that began at the Brunswick 
nuclear plant near Wilmington last year and spread to two other 
nuclear plants this year.

The Raleigh-based Fortune 500 corporation is fighting the union's bid 
to organize company workers at the Shearon Harris nuclear plant in 
Wake County, the Brunswick nuclear plant near Southport and the H.B. 
Robinson nuclear plant in Hartsville, S.C.

"We are opposed to unionization. Period," Progress Energy spokesman 
Rick Kimble said. "We don't need a third party to come in and disrupt 
the teamwork that we have currently."

C.J. King, the union's regional organizing coordinator in Nebraska, 
is aiding the drive in the Carolinas. He said that workers are 
concerned about eroding pensions and health-care benefits. Progress 
Energy began a companywide reorganization in 2005 that led to early 
retirements for about 1,500 veteran employees and led to reduced 
pensions and benefits for other workers.

"A majority of the employees are positive for the union," King said. 
"The big push was the pension plan, and the frustration over: 'We had 
no input in it.' "

The union said that a majority of production and maintenance workers, 
such as mechanics and operators, have signed authorization cards 
expressing interest in joining the union. Federal labor law requires 
that the union show it has support from 30 percent of the workers who 
would be unionized before a secret-ballot vote can be held.

The attempt to unionize workers comes as Progress Energy is trying to 
license a new nuclear reactor at Shearon Harris and requesting to add 
20 years to the reactor license to operate the plant until 2046. Both 
licensing bids are opposed by critics of nuclear power and 
environmental organizations. The union supports nuclear expansion as 
an opportunity for its members.

The union's drive excludes clerical, technical and professional 
employees, as well as supervisors and security guards.

June 1 hearing possible

The labor board has not set a date for the vote, but it scheduled a 
June 1 hearing in case Progress Energy and the union can't agree on 
who is eligible to vote. The labor board's goal is to hold elections 
within 42 days of a petition filing, said Howard Neidig, the board's 
assistant regional director in Winston-Salem.

The union represents about 2,000 workers at Progress Energy's 
operations in Florida.

The union's attempt to organize at the Brunswick plant was fought by 
Progress Energy officials, who said that having union contracts and 
policies at one nuclear plant could create inconsistencies in the 
company's Nuclear Generation Group. The labor relations board agreed, 
dismissing the union's case in February.

"The company pushed the other two plants into this mix," King said.

Then the union began organizing at Shearon Harris and the Robinson 
plants. Union officials began meeting with workers, distributed 
information and appointed volunteer organizers. The union also has a 
Web site -- pgnunion.com -- to promote the unionization cause.

Progress Energy has countered with its own informational meetings and 
has made anti-union buttons available to managers and employees.

"The union is hitting pretty hard with their campaign rhetoric," 
Kimble said. "It's unclear to us what the employees think they'll 
gain from union representation." 

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
Fax:(949) 296-1144

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

Global Dosimetry Website: http://www.dosimetry.com/ 
Personal Website: http://sandy-travels.com/ 

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