[ RadSafe ] [Nuclear News] Dominion Files Petition To Build Nuclear Reactor

Sandy Perle sandyfl at cox.net
Wed Nov 28 13:54:52 CST 2007


Dominion Files Petition To Build Nuclear Reactor
Nuclear foes protest Plant Vogtle expansion
For public, nuclear energy no longer foe but friend  
Industry Pushes Nuclear Loan Guarantees
Okla.: Costs Make Nuclear Power Unlikely
Slovak police: 3 arrested with nuclear material
Penn State says nuclear reactor leak fixed
Stored Nuclear Waste May End Up In The Columbia River
Former EPA Chief Touts Nuclear Power in Discussion at USC
Turkey's nuclear plant project seen starting in February 
Troops At Iraqi Nuclear Site Not Exposed To High Radiation

Dominion Files Petition To Build Nuclear Reactor

WASHINGTON -- Dominion Resources Inc. has become the third company to 
file a complete application to federal regulators to build a new 
nuclear reactor.

Dominion has scheduled an afternoon news conference Wednesday. The 
Nuclear Regulatory Commission said it received Dominion's application 

Federal regulators last week approved an early site permit for a 
third nuclear reactor at Dominion's North Anna Power Station in 
Louisa County. That decision allowed the Richmond-based company to 
complete preliminary site work. 

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has said the review process for new 
plants will take three and a half years. None of the companies have 
actually committed to building new plants.

Nuclear foes protest Plant Vogtle expansion

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Nov 28 - Holding signs, applauding 
and shivering in the wind outside the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's 
office in Atlanta, 21 staunch opponents of nuclear power, including 
one Indigo Girl, made their case Tuesday.

The occasion was the second to last day of a key public comment 
period related to Georgia Power's planned expansion of the Vogtle 
nuclear plant near Augusta.

The comment period on an environmental impact report on that plant 
closes at the end of the day Wednesday.

Georgia Power wants to add two more units to the two units already at 
the plant.

The group outside the NRC wants the public to weigh in against that 
expansion - or any nuclear expansion.

"We're few but we're strong," said Emily Saliers, the Indigo Girls 
member in the small crowd.

"Nuclear energy is not the answer," she said. "It's not clean, it's 
expensive, it's dangerous and its highly subsidized by the federal 

Georgia Power and its parent, Southern Co., are among a number of 
utilities now pushing to build nuclear units for the first time in 

The push has heavy support - including financial support - from 

Of the 21 opponents on hand, 11 took the mike.

Some had been fighting nuclear power since the first two Vogtle units 
were finished at great expense in the 1980s. Some had been at it 
since the 1970s.

Their issues haven't changed much.

The United States still has no final, central resting place for the 
radioactive waste reactors produce, for instance.

Nuclear plants remain costly to build. The activists passed out 
fliers showing the huge cost overruns that plagued the original 
Vogtle units.

The activists strongly opposed increased subsidies for nuclear 
builders now pending in Congress.

Those proposed subsidies include $50 billion in tax dollars to 
guarantee nuclear builders' loans.

A newly prominent issue is water. Nuclear power consumes lots of 
river water, now at a premium because of the region's drought.

Sara Barczak, of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, said an 
expanded Vogtle would consume as much water per day as is used by 
every resident inside the city limits of Atlanta, Macon, Augusta and 

Southern Co. said it couldn't vouch for Barczak's numbers, but said 
Plant Vogtle uses less than one percent of the Savannah River's 
average flow now and will use less than two percent of that flow if 

The company said it has safely stored waste for decades at pools and 
casks at its plant, and will continue to do so until a long-promised 
central repository opens at Yucca Mountain in Nevada.

The company has yet to give an estimate of what its proposed new 
nuclear units will cost customers.

But it's getting closer. The company expects to have a price from its 
vendor, Westinghouse, on Friday.

Beth Thomas, a spokeswoman for Southern's nuclear subsidiary, said 
that though Southern supports federal loan guarantees for the 
industry at large, it isn't counting on them for Plant Vogtle. 
However, it would take advantage of them if they became available, 
Thomas said.

She said the company doesn't need the guarantees as much as power 
companies in some other states because Georgia has a regulatory 
approval process that cuts down on financial risks.

For public, nuclear energy no longer foe but friend  

Vienna, Nov 28 (DPA) The days when nuclear energy was the embodiment 
of environmental danger seem long gone. With global warming at the 
top of the international agenda, nuclear power has turned 'green.' 

World leaders are set to debate a successor to the Kyoto Protocol in 
December in Bali, Indonesia, with pressure growing for key players 
such as the US, China and India to cut carbon dioxide emissions 
blamed for global warming. Under those conditions, a global revival 
of the nuclear industry may be on the books, experts say.

'If they want an agreement where the US, but also China and India are 
to join, the exclusion of nuclear energy won't be acceptable,' Hans-
Holger Rogner, a nuclear energy expert at the International Atomic 
Energy Agency (IAEA), told DPA.

The world's energy demands are expected to double within the next few 
decades, as rising nations such as China and India continue their 
charge to the top of the world's industrial leagues.

Around the world, 32 nuclear power stations are currently under 
construction - 16 of them in Asia, according to the latest assessment 
by the IAEA, published in late October. India alone plans to expand 
its share of nuclear-generated energy eightfold to 10 percent by 

At present, 435 operational reactors in 30 countries provide 15 
percent of the world's energy, with individual countries supplying 
from 2 percent (China) to 78 per cent (France) of their needs from 
nuclear power, says the IAEA, the UN's nuclear watchdog.

While that figure is actually lower than the 437 that were in 
operation 10 years ago, applications to build new plants, which 
sometimes can take a decade, have been on the rise along with 
rebounding public confidence in nuclear power since the 1986 
Chernobyl nuclear disaster and the accident at Three Mile Island in 
the US in 1979.

In the US, more than 50 percent of people are now in favour of 
nuclear energy, recent surveys said, up from just above 40 percent in 

The pattern across Europe is more varied, but even there, 166 
reactors are currently in operation, with debate on the issue re-
emerging in once resolutely anti-nuclear states such as Germany and 

Consumers in the developed world would still prefer non-nuclear 
energy sources, but if costs come into play the pendulum quickly 
swings towards pro-nuclear, experts say.

'As long as it is cheap, the public does not care too much,' said 
Rogner, who is also a member of the UN-backed Intergovernmental Panel 
on Climate Change (IPCC).

'An accident would be an absolute showstopper in the western world. 
...but developing countries would not hesitate even one second,' he 

Even green campaigners, who formerly regarded nuclear power as the 
source of all-evil, have either endorsed nuclear energy because of 
its low greenhouse gas emissions or moved on to more promising 

The complete nuclear power process emits only between 1 and 6 grams 
of carbon equivalent per kwh (kilowatt-hour) compared with coal's 
1,000 to 1,300 grams/kwh).

Other factors adding to nuclear's new-found green credentials are 
improvements in technology and performance, which put it on a par 
with renewable alternatives like wind and make it more secure than 

While eco-concerns dominate changing attitudes to nuclear power, 
several other issues have played into a possible nuclear revival - 
rising energy prices, energy security, and geopolitics.

Many nations are concerned that oil and gas sources depend on states 
in geo-politically fragile regions such as the Middle East. Uranium, 
the main material for nuclear fuel, is located in stable countries 
such as Australia, South Africa and Canada.

Price is another issue. The cost of initial investment in nuclear 
power is high, but operation costs are low. With ever rising oil 
prices, the bitter pill of initially capital-intensive nuclear energy 
may become interesting even for developing countries.

'Oil prices of $20-30 are history. But even if oil prices go down to 
$40-50, nuclear energy would be feasible for many countries,' Rogner 
said. Oil prices are currently close to $100 per barrel.

Still, to change attitudes for good, the nuclear industry and 
governments will have lessons to learn.

Concerns about nuclear proliferation, safety, security and the 
storage of toxic nuclear waste still have to be addressed, advocates 
of nuclear energy say. And transparency must be increased in order to 
reassure the public that the positive aspects of nuclear power really 
do outweigh the dangers. 

Industry Pushes Nuclear Loan Guarantees

Constellation Energy Executive Says Nuclear Plans Will Be Delayed 
Without Loan Guarantees 

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Constellation Energy Group Inc. will not break 
ground on a new nuclear plant in Maryland next year unless a federal 
loan-guarantee program is in place, an executive from the power 
company said Wednesday.
"If the loan-guarantee program is able to materialize in early 2008 
so we are able to secure loan guarantees for construction of a new 
plant at the end of 2008," the company's board could move forward, 
said Michael Wallace, president of Constellation Energy Generation 
Group. "If it doesn't, we won't."

The Energy Department last month said it will guarantee loans for up 
to 80 percent of the construction cost of new nuclear reactors, but 
that budget constraints mean the earliest any company proposing a new 
reactor could benefit is 2009.

Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman said then that he would seek 
"substantial" budget increases for loan guarantees to support seven 
to eight nuclear plants.

"The trend line is positive and encouraging, but today we're not 
there," Wallace said at a conference in Washington, referring to the 
industry's ongoing dialogue with the Energy Department, Congress and 
the White House. But he said it's not a question of whether it will 
happen, but when.

Three companies already have submitted complete construction and 
operating license applications for new reactors to the Nuclear 
Regulatory Commission, and Constellation filed a partial application 
earlier this year for a proposed new reactor in Lusby, Md.

Dominion Resources Inc. on Tuesday became the third company to file a 
complete application for a new nuclear reactor, at its North Anna 
Power Station in Louisa County, Va., following the Tennessee Valley 
Authority, which last month applied for new reactors at the 
Bellefonte nuclear power station near Scottsboro, Ala. NRG Energy 
Inc. in September was the first company in about 30 years to submit a 
new application to build and operate new reactors, at its Bay City, 
Texas, power plant site.

No companies have committed to building new plants, which are 
expected to cost more than $5 billion, without a reliable loan-
guarantee program because of the risks to their financial health, 
Wallace said.

Constellation's market cap is nearly $18 billion, compared with about 
$54 billion for Exelon Corp., the nation's largest nuclear producer. 
Neither can afford to bet its balance sheet on a single project, he 

Global competition for resources also will tighten. French nuclear 
engineering company Areva SA this week said it hopes to sell as many 
as six more nuclear reactors to China following a record $11.9 
billion order to build and supply fuel for two. Constellation also 
has a joint venture for the new reactors with Areva.

"The supply chain, which is already pretty thin, is going to be 
really, really stressed," Wallace said.

Besides financing, other business concerns to consider include the 
regulatory process, environmental issues, waste management and the 
ability to produce electricity at a competitive price, said Marvin 
Fertel, senior vice president at the Nuclear Energy Institute trade 
group. Nuclear regulators say the review process for new plants will 
take up to 42 months.

If CEOs are considering building a new coal or nuclear plant, they 
know it will be a 10-year project and that means they will get blamed 
if it fails, and their successors will likely get the credit if it 
succeeds, Fertel said.

Wallace said 2015 is the earliest possible date that Constellation's 
new reactors would come online, and that could get pushed back by 
three years because of the lack of loan guarantees and other risks.

Okla.: Costs Make Nuclear Power Unlikely
Oklahoma City (KSWO News) - Oklahoma power producers said Tuesday the 
high cost and lengthy construction time for a nuclear power plant 
make it unlikely they will turn to nuclear energy to meet rising 
consumer demand for power in the state.

John Wendling, director of power supply operations for Oklahoma Gas & 
Electric Co., said OG&E is the largest generator in the state with 
6,200 megawatts of capacity but is still too small to afford the cost 
of a nuclear power plant, estimated by industry officials at between 
$5 billion and $6 billion.

"As an individual company, we're not big enough," Wendling told state 
lawmakers at a meeting of the House Energy and Technology Committee 
where producers and an official with the Washington, D.C.-based 
Nuclear Energy Institute discussed the future of nuclear energy in 

Wendling and representatives of other power producers said nuclear 
energy is one of many options they consider when deciding how to keep 
up with Oklahoma's growing demand for electric power. But licensing 
and construction of a nuclear power plant would take up to 10 years, 
too long to meet the demand producers will face in the next five 

"Part of it is how long does it take to build the asset," Wendling 
said. "We need to be able to understand the risks."

Mike Kiefner, chief operating officer of the Grand River Dam 
Authority, said it may require the financial resources of all of 
Oklahoma's energy providers to afford the cost of a nuclear power 

Wendling also said energy providers need to educate the public about 
the safety and reliability of nuclear energy to overcome what he 
called "the Three Mile Island syndrome," a reference to the 1979 
nuclear accident in Pennsylvania.

Following the meeting, an environmentalist, Jean McMahon of Fort 
Gibson, said she opposes nuclear energy, describing nuclear power 
plants as "extremely dangerous."

"They still have nowhere to store the waste," said McMahon, who wore 
a polar bear suit on which "No Nukes _ Solar Yes" was written on the 

Last month, the Oklahoma Corporation Commission rejected a $1.8 
billion, 950-megawatt coal-fired plant proposed by OG&E, Public 
Service Company of Oklahoma and the Oklahoma Municipal Power 

Public Service Company of Oklahoma is a subsidiary of American 
Electric Power.

The utilities said they needed the massive Red Rock plant to keep up 
with Oklahomans' growing appetite for energy. Using coal as a fuel 
would diversify their fuel mix and help keep consumer costs low.

"We're all concerned about power and the cost of power," commission 
Chairman Jeff Cloud told lawmakers. He said nuclear power is clean, 
reliable and inexpensive, but raising the issue "can be, no pun 
intended, politically radioactive."

Mike McGarey, director of state outreach for the NEI, said 104 
nuclear reactors in the U.S. currently provide 20 percent of the 
nation's power. Nuclear power has the lowest production costs of any 
fuel and is the largest source of emission free electricity in the 
nation, McGarey said.

However, utilities have been reluctant to build new plants due to 
high construction costs, uncertainty over how to dispose of nuclear 
waste and a licensing process that costs hundreds of millions of 
dollars, Cloud said.

"That upfront cost has been a deterrent," Cloud said.

But demand for electricity nationally is expected to rise 45 percent 
by 2030, and nuclear power is one way to increase generating 
capacity, Cloud said.

"Other states are moving in that direction. Oklahoma is not in the 
game yet," Cloud said.

Oklahoma is one of 19 states that does not have a nuclear power 
plant, Cloud said. In the 1970s, PSO proposed the Black Fox nuclear 
power plant near Inola in eastern Oklahoma but abandoned it after a 
nine-year battle with opponents.

In the seven-state region that includes Oklahoma, nuclear plants are 
operating in Kansas, Arkansas, Missouri and Texas. Colorado and New 
Mexico also do not have nuclear plants.

In September a power producer in Texas, NRG Energy Inc., submitted 
the first application for a new nuclear reactor in the U.S. in nearly 
30 years. NRG's application to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is 
for two new units at its facility in Bay City, Texas, about 90 miles 
southwest of Houston.

Slovak police: 3 arrested with nuclear material
BRATISLAVA, Slovakia - Police said Wednesday three people have been 
arrested for attempting to sell a small amount of an unspecified 
nuclear material.

Police spokesman Martin Korch said specialists were examining the 
radioactive material seized in Slovakia. He said the three allegedly 
planned a deal to sell the material, which weighs a kilo, or 2.2 
pounds, for $1 million. 

Two of the suspects were arrested in eastern Slovakia, the other in 
Hungary. All three were in areas near the border with Ukraine.

Korch said the material was being examined and did not confirm a 
report carried by the Slovak news agency SITA that it was enriched 
uranium. Uranium enrichment can yield either fuel for nuclear power 
stations, or be used for nuclear warheads.

The suspects were not identified.

Korch said Slovak and Hungarian police have been working together on 
the case for several months. He declined to give any further details, 
saying they would be released on Wednesday.

There have been concerns that Eastern Europe could be a source for 
radioactive material for a so-called "dirty bomb."

In 2003, police in the neighboring Czech Republic arrested two 
Slovaks in a sting operation in the city of Brno, after they 
allegedly sold undercover officers bars of low-enriched uranium for 

Penn State says nuclear reactor leak fixed

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) -- Penn State University's nuclear research 
reactor is operational again after the school said workers stopped a 
leak in the reactor's cooling pool.

Resurfacing of the Breazeale Nuclear facility pool and repairs to a 
pool divider wall appeared to have plugged the leak that first 
appeared Oct. 9, though no specific source for the leak was 
identified, the university said in a statement yesterday.

The 71,000-gallon pool was refilled Nov. 20, and the reactor put back 
in operation four days later.

The school had characterized the problem as a minor leak of "slightly 
radioactive water" that posed no danger to employees, students, the 
community or the environment. The building remained open for classes 
and research unrelated to the reactor, while workers made repairs to 
the pool.

Stored Nuclear Waste May End Up In The Columbia River

Millions of gallons of hazardous waste resulting from the nation's 
nuclear weapons program lie in a remote location in southeastern 
Washington state called Hanford. Beneath this desert landscape about 
two million curies of radioactivity and hundreds of thousands of tons 
of chemicals are captured within the stratified vadose zone below 
which gives rise to complex subsurface flow paths. These paths create 
uncertainties about where the contaminants go and what happens to 
them. With the mighty Columbia River bordering much of the site, 
where these nuclear wastes migrate, their composition and how fast 
they are traveling are of vital importance to both people and the 

The November issue of Vadose Zone Journal features a series of papers 
addressing the mysteries within the vadose zone beneath Hanford. The 
series outlines scientific work funded by the Department of Energy 
and carried out by scientists at Pacific Northwest National 
Laboratory and contributing associates with other national 
laboratories, universities and contractors. 

The detailed series outlines how researchers have investigated 
Hanford's vadose zone to better understand the migration of these 
contaminants, ultimately reducing or stemming their flow toward the 
Columbia River, thereby protecting the river and the people living 
downstream. By studying the geologic, biologic, geochemical and 
hydrologic conditions at the Hanford site, the researchers seek to 
understand and manipulate the factors that control contaminants' fate 
and transport. 

To date, studies show that fine-grained sediment layers along with 
rain, snowfall and other climatic conditions affect contaminant 
transport. For three decades, scientists have studied what happens 
when water enters and exits the soil, particularly how it affects the 
movement of the contaminants under various conditions. 

"Understanding how hydrology and chemistry are interacting below the 
land surface in the vadose zone and the factors that control those 
interactions are keys to ultimately dealing with the legacy from 
nuclear waste production at the Hanford site," said Glendon Gee, 
Laboratory Fellow at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Gee is 
lead author on the overview paper of the series. 

Chemical studies indicate that a number of contaminants, such as 
cesium, react strongly with Hanford sediments and move only under 
extreme conditions. Researchers found that another contaminant, 
uranium, reacts with the sediments in complex ways and its migration 
varies under different conditions. Other contaminants, such as 
tritium and nitrate, are relatively mobile. These contaminants have 
been transported deep into the vadose zone and reached the 
groundwater. Carbon tetrachloride and other organic compounds have 
moved in complex ways, as both vapor and liquid, and reached the 

Additional studies of the fate and transport of contaminants in the 
vadose zone are ongoing at the Hanford Site. These studies will 
characterize the extent of contaminant plumes, determine how fast or 
slow they are migrating and evaluate remediation solutions. 

Former EPA Chief Touts Nuclear Power in Discussion at USC

Student Groups Say Investments in Nuclear Energy Take Away from 
Finding a Renewable Energy Source

A handful of people spoke against the idea of a nuclear powered 
United States during a Nov. 19 discussion at USC led by former 
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Christine Todd Whitman.

The EPA chief under President Bush from 2001 to 2003, Whitman serves 
as co-chair of the pro-nuclear Clean and Safe Energy Coalition. 
"We´re going to need conservation, we´re going to need renewables and 
we´re going to need base power," she said in her talk at USC, "and 
that is where I come out saying well I think nuclear is something 
that we´ve got to continue to look at."

But Leslie Minerd, a member of the South Carolina Sierra Club and the 
local activist group Carolina Peace Resource Center, said focusing on 
conservation and renewable energy is more important. "If we could 
conserve instead of being such energy hogs, that doesn´t mean we have 
to completely give up our lifestyle," Minerd said.

Nuclear power makes up 20 percent of the nation´s energy sources and 
can meet a projected 40 percent increase in U.S. energy demand by 
2030, Whitman said. 
Conversely, renewable energy, which includes wind, solar and 
geothermal sources, provides just 2.5 percent of the country´s energy 
supply, she said. "Jimmy Carter tried the `let´s turn the thermostats 
down to 68 and wear an extra sweater,´ but nobody paid any 
attention," Whitman said.

Whitman said renewable energy should be researched more but is 
limited by transmission problems. "If we don´t fix our transmission 
grid in this country, none of it´s [renewable energy] going to 

Perhaps, but between 1947 and 1999 the U.S. government spent $151 
billion in energy subsidies, much of it for the nuclear power 
industry, said Sara Tansey, a member of the USC group Students 
Advocating a Greener Environment. "That´s the kind of money that 
nuclear has been stealing from an actual renewable, safe, clean 
energy future," Tansey said.

Minerd concurred. "It´s been propped up through taxpayer dollars 
every step of the way," she said of the nuclear industry.

Gerald Rudolph, Carolina Peace Resource Center´s spokesman for 
nuclear issues, questioned the safety of the nuclear power industry. 
"If it´s so safe, then why are they unable to get insurance the same 
way all other industries get insurance?" Rudolph asked.

Safety, funding and waste storage are common concerns people have 
with nuclear power, Whitman said. But as for a solution, she said, 
"Nuclear is certainly not a magic bullet. It´s not the answer to 
everything, but I believe it needs to be part of our answer." 

Turkey's nuclear plant project seen starting in February 

ANKARA (Thomson Financial) - Turkish authorities are expected to 
invite bids for the construction of the country's first nuclear power 
plant in February, Energy Minister Hilmi Guler said. 

TETAS, the state-run company to market the plant's power production, 
"could make the (tender) announcement on February 21," the Anatolia 
news agency quoted Guler as saying. 

Turkey's Atomic Energy Institute (TAEK) is working on technical 
criteria for the plant, a process expected to conclude by December 
21, he said. 

The government has said it plans to build three nuclear plants with a 
total capacity of about 5,000 megawatts to prevent a possible energy 
shortage and reducing dependence on foreign supplies. 

"We estimate that the investor will start construction next year and -
- considering that this will take five years -- nuclear power will 
come on stream sometime in 2013 or 2014," TAEK chairman Okay 
Cakiroglu said. 

Amid opposition from environmentalists, parliament passed a bill 
earlier this month setting the legal framework for nuclear plants, 
authorising the energy ministry to run and finalise construction 
tenders and decide on the plants' capacity and location. 

The law guarantees that the state will buy the plants' production for 
15 years. 

Guler said although the government prefers the private sector to 
undertake the project, a joint venture between the private and public 
sectors or construction by the public sector alone could also be 

Troops At Iraqi Nuclear Site Not Exposed To High Radiation

FORT CAMPBELL, KY (AP) -- An Army medical expert says he thinks 
soldiers who were stationed at an Iraqi nuclear facility in Iraq are 

Colonel Mark Melanson from the Walter Reed Army Medical Center spoke 
at a meeting yesterday at Fort Campbell.

Melanson says more than 750 soldiers were tested for exposure since 

Members of the 101st Airborne Division were among soldiers who served 
at the Tuwaitha nuclear complex.
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/
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