[ RadSafe ] [Nuclear News] Nuclear Workers From Pa. Plant Eligible For Compensation

Sandy Perle sandyfl at cox.net
Thu Jan 3 11:45:57 CST 2008

Happy New Year to all of my nuclear news distribution members!


Nuclear Workers From Pa. Plant Eligible For Compensation
Building of 3rd-generation Chinese nuclear plant to start
Africans reap rewards of nuclear demand
Exelon Nuclear Signs Agreement with GE Hitachi for Major Components
Six charged over Czech TV nuclear hoax stunt: television
UK seen giving green light to new nuclear plants
Public face of nuclear power plant dies in I-80 crash
Anniversary demo at AWE nuclear site
Payette site of proposed nuclear facility
BHEL, NPC in JV to manufacture nuclear reactors
Lepreau tools exposed to radiation will be on move

Nuclear Workers From Pa. Plant Eligible For Compensation

WTAE-TV Jan 3 - After a yearslong fight, tens of thousands of workers 
at a former nuclear fuel processing plant in Armstrong County are now 
eligible for government aid for their illnesses.

To qualify for the $150,000 in compensation, the workers must have 
worked at the plant in Apollo for at least 250 days between 1957 and 
1983 and have one of 22 different cancers.

Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corp., or NUMEC, began work in and 
around the tiny town of Apollo, about 30 miles east of Pittsburgh, in 
1957. The plant, which changed ownership over the years, produced 
fuel for nuclear submarines and other purposes.

Decades later, activists and former workers began questioning whether 
the plant had contributed to cancers among employees and townspeople. 
They petitioned the government for reparations. Lawsuits - some still 
pending - also followed.

On Saturday, the Apollo workers became part of a special compensation 
class for sick nuclear workers. Congress had until then to act on a 
recommendation made Nov. 29 by U.S. Secretary of Health and Human 
Services Mike Leavitt that the workers receive a special status from 
Congress that would entitle them to $150,000 each under a government 
program that compensates former nuclear workers. Leavitt made the 
decision following the recommendation of two boards.

Because Congress didn't act, Leavitt's recommendation became final.

Sick workers who do not have one of the 22 cancers may be eligible 
for compensation, but must meet different criteria.

More than 400 claims have already been filed by former workers or 
their beneficiaries, according to the Web site for the Department of 
Labor, which administers payments. Shelby Hallmark, director of the 
office of Workers' Compensation Programs, said the agency plans to 
have a town hall meeting in the area in February to answer questions.

It is under review whether workers at a sister nuclear fuel 
processing plant in Parks Township will also be eligible for 
compensation under the program.

Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., said in a statement on Wednesday that he was 
pleased with the decision because it removes a "significant hurdle" 
for the workers to receive compensation.

Patricia Ameno, who grew up in Apollo and has advocated on behalf of 
the workers and townspeople, also praised the decision. But Ameno 
said the government hasn't gone as far as it should to compensate the 
former workers struggling with health problems and to pay bills.

"I feel the government owes these workers who were essentially 
civilian veterans of a Cold War era who helped our country produce a 
product that they needed," Ameno said.

Building of 3rd-generation Chinese nuclear plant to start

BEIJING -- The construction of China's first third-generation nuclear 
plant, the Sanmen power plant, is set to begin in March, the State 
Nuclear Power Technology Company (SNPTC) said here Thursday.

Wang Binghua, SNPTC's chairman of the board, said the plant in East 
China's Zhejiang Province was expected to begin generating power by 
August 2013. It would also become the world's first AP1000 nuclear 

The AP1000 technology, designed by the US-based Westinghouse company, 
is an advanced technology approved by the US Nuclear Regulatory 
Commission, but it has never been actually used in any operating 
power plant.

The construction of the Haiyang nuclear power plant in Shandong 
Province using the same AP1000 technology will also begin later this 

The two plants shall have two reactors each. The last of them is 
expected to be operational by December 12.

The SNPTC would buy four third-generation PWRs from the Westinghouse, 
including its technologies, according to a contract signed last July.

Wang said the preparation work was right on track. The SNPTC had 
received 2.2 tons of technological documents from Westinghouse.

In addition, the company had agreed to purchase 4,000 tons of steel 
sheets from the country's largest steel maker, the Baosteel, to 
produce safety shells.

China currently has 11 nuclear generating units in operation. Three 
of them use domestic technologies, two are equipped with Russian 
technologies, four with French technologies and two are Canadian 
designed. All of them employ the second-generation technologies.

According to government plan, China will have an installed nuclear 
power capacity of 40 million kilowatts by 2020, accounting for four 
percent of the country's total.

Africans reap rewards of nuclear demand
Exploration boom raises hopes for jobs, revenues and fears about 

LUSAKA, Zambia (AP) Jan 2 -Resurgent global interest in nuclear power 
has made Zambia, a southern African country better known for its vast 
copper reserves, into a hotbed of uranium exploration.

The activity is part of a larger wave of uranium exploration and 
mining across the mineral-rich region, raising hopes of new jobs and 
tax revenue, while sparking debates over safety and security.

African Energy Resources Ltd., an Australian-owned mining outfit, is 
drilling on the southern border with Zimbabwe. Canadian-owned Equinox 
Ltd. said in November that there is high-grade uranium in the Lumwana 
open-pit copper mine in northwestern Zambia, and hopes to begin 
stockpiling it next year.

After a decades-long slump, uranium prices are high as South Africa, 
China, the U.S. and other countries look for cleaner and cheaper 
fossil-fuel alternatives.

"We are assured of a market in the sense that demand for nuclear 
power is increasing," said Maxwell Mwale, Zambia's deputy minister of 
mines and mineral development for large scale mining projects.

In anticipation of rising demand, Zambia's government is completing 
new regulations to cover the mining, processing and export of uranium 
products, in accordance with International Atomic Energy Agency 
standards, Mwale said.

Exploration is also ramping up across the border in Botswana. And 
Namibia's uranium exporting industry has seen a revival, too, with a 
$112 million (U.S.) expansion of the long-running Rossing open mine 
and the opening of a new mine in 2006 by Australian-owned Paladin 
Energy Ltd.

It's the "biggest push on uranium exploration since the late '70s," 
says Alasdair Cooke, executive chair of African Energy Resources, 
which has poured $8 million into its exploration project with Albidon 
Mining Ltd., in southern Zambia over the past three years.

Faced with domestic energy shortages, the government of South Africa 
released a draft nuclear energy policy in August pledging a rebirth 
in the country's uranium mining, processing and enrichment 
industries, and the construction of new nuclear reactors over the 
next decade.

South Africa, the region's economic powerhouse, gave up its nuclear 
weapons program following the end of apartheid in the 1990s but still 
has two nuclear reactors that produce 6 per cent of the country's 

The scramble for uranium marks a stark turnaround after a slump 
brought on by the 1986 disaster at Chernobyl that made nuclear power 
a dirty phrase, and the end of the nuclear arms race of the Cold War.

Concerns over climate change and pollution created by coal, along 
with high oil prices, have sent uranium prices from less than $10 per 
pound at the start of the decade to a current price of about $92 per 

"With the price increase we've seen in the last couple of years, the 
uranium resource is now quite economical (to mine)," says Harry 
Michael, chief operating of Equinox Minerals Ltd., an Australian and 
Canadian venture that is running Lumwana Mine, along Zambia's border 
with Congo.

Exelon Nuclear Signs Agreement with GE Hitachi for Major Components 
for Two ESBWR Nuclear Reactors in Texas

Power-Gen International 2007 NEW ORLEANS, LA.-December 11, 2007-
Illinois-based Exelon Nuclear, the nation's largest nuclear operator, 
has signed a major, multi-million dollar order with GE Hitachi 
Nuclear Energy (GEH) for large forgings and component fabrication for 
two next-generation ESBWR nuclear reactors, should the company decide 
to build a new nuclear power plant in Texas.

The long-lead items agreement requires GEH to supply the major 
components needed for developing nuclear power plants, including the 
manufacturing of ultra-large forgings, reactor pressure vessels and 
steam turbine generators.

Initiating the procurement and fabrication of such schedule-critical 
components is necessary to assure their availability if Exelon 
decides to proceed with building a new plant.

"Signing this agreement with GEH helps us preserve the option to 
build a new nuclear plant should we decide to do so in the future," 
said Thomas S. O'Neill, Exelon Nuclear's vice president of new plant 
development. "We're pleased to be working with GEH as we continue our 
assessment of potential sites."

Exelon is in the process of selecting a location in southeast Texas 
as a viable site as part of its application for a combined 
construction and operating license for the potential ESBWRs.

"We are very excited to be working with Exelon and appreciate the 
confidence the operator of the largest U.S. nuclear fleet has placed 
in GEH," said Andy White, president and CEO of GEH.

This single Exelon agreement marks GEH's third and fourth ESBWR long 
lead items order with a U.S. utility. Entergy Nuclear and Dominion 
also have selected the ESBWR for potential single-unit nuclear 
projects and signed ESBWR component orders with GEH.

The ecomagination SM certified, 1,520-megawatt (MW) ESBWR-one of two 
Generation III+ reactor designs being considered by U.S. utilities 
for potential construction-is the latest evolution of the standard 
boiling water reactor. The ESBWR incorporates advanced natural 
circulation and passive safety systems, which rely on natural forces 
such as gravity, evaporation and condensation for plant operations 
instead of the large numbers of active pumps and valves used by 
existing reactors.

In all, the ESBWR design eliminates 11 systems from previous designs 
and has 25 percent fewer valves, pumps and motors. By incorporating 
simplified design features and fewer components, the design allows 
for faster construction and lower operating costs, as well as 
enhanced safety.

Exelon Corporation is one of the nation's largest electric utilities 
with more than $15 billion in annual revenues. The company has one of 
the industry's largest portfolios of electricity generation capacity, 
with a nationwide reach and strong positions in the Midwest and Mid-
Atlantic. In Texas, the company owns or controls about 3,700 
megawatts of natural gas fired generation within Electric Reliability 
Council of Texas (ERCOT). Exelon distributes electricity to 
approximately 5.4 million customers in northern Illinois and 
Pennsylvania and gas to approximately 480,000 customers in the 
Philadelphia area. Exelon is headquartered in Chicago and trades on 
the NYSE under the ticker EXC.

Six charged over Czech TV nuclear hoax stunt: television

PRAGUE (AFP) - Six Czechs were charged Wednesday over an incident in 
June 2007 when a TV channel was hacked into, transforming scenes of a 
mountain beauty spot into a nuclear mushroom cloud, Czech TV 

The six, all from the capital Prague, were charged with propagating 
false information and scaremongering after the stunt and could face 
jail sentences of up to three years or a heavy fine, the broadcaster 
and victim of the hacking, Czech Television, added.

Hackers broke into the early-morning Panorama programme -- which 
regularly displays webcam scenes of Czech beauty spots -- and 
inserted images of a mushroom cloud following a nuclear explosion.

The broadcaster denounced the piracy saying the images of a nuclear 
mushroom were "very unsuitable and could have frightened a lot of 

But the group allegedly behind the action -- who work as an artistic 
collective -- have already been controversially awarded a 333,000 
koruna (12,580 euros, 18,350 dollar) prize for young artists by the 
country's national gallery at the end of last year.

UK seen giving green light to new nuclear plants

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain is expected to give the go-ahead to a new 
generation of nuclear power stations next week, sparking a frenzy of 
deal-making by nuclear firms as well as a fresh challenge from 
environmental campaigners.

"I don't think the government has any other option," said analyst 
David Cunningham at Arbuthnot Securities. "It's a necessary evil."

Nuclear operators say they could have new UK plants running by 2017, 
helping Britain to meet its 2020 goals for combating climate change.

The government green light, expected on Tuesday, is likely to be 
accompanied by publication of an Energy Bill to be fast-tracked 
through parliament alongside the Climate Change Bill and the Planning 

The trio of bills form the backbone of the government's new energy 
and climate policy for the next decades.

The British decision is also being closely watched by other 
governments, many of which increasingly view nuclear power as an 
essential part of the energy mix to keep the lights on and combat 
global warming from burning fossil fuels.

But they face varying degrees of public opposition.

While the United States is well on the way towards a new generation 
of nuclear plants, other countries like Germany are phasing out 
nuclear power because of safety concerns.

The UK public is divided on the issue, with 44 percent saying 
companies should have the option of investing in new nuclear and 37 
percent disagreeing.

In February a high court judge overturned the British government's 
initial go-ahead, saying it failed to consult the public properly.

Greenpeace says a decision in favor of nuclear next week would still 
be unlawful, largely because people were given flawed information in 
the second consultation and because there is still no plan for 
radioactive waste.

However, the judicial decision in February was on the basis of 
procedure rather than content, so a fresh legal challenge might have 
to follow a different tack.


But many think the government would prefer a legal challenge from 
environmentalists to risking missing its CO2 targets due to the 
unreliability of renewable energy from sources such as wind and waves 
and to public reluctance to cut energy use.

Britain's main nuclear power firm British Energy is in talks with 
more than 10 companies to form partnerships for constructing plants, 
most likely in southern England.

The company is upgrading links from the UK electricity grid to its 
four southern sites -- Sizewell on the east coast, Hinkley in the 
southwest and Dungeness and Bradwell in the southeast.

If given the green light, it will form joint-venture companies with 
international partners, each one linked to a specific site, sources 

"Each of those four British Energy sites has been judged to be 
viable, but they're not necessarily the only sites," said Tony Ward 
of Ernst & Young's utilities team.

He warned that with just over 30 nuclear plants under construction 
globally, and many more planned, utilities would have to move quickly 
to get themselves ahead of expected bottlenecks in the supply chain.

Business Secretary John Hutton has stressed the importance of a wide 
range of energy sources in recent speeches, which many interpret as a 
vote for new nuclear.

"He seems to be laying the groundwork for a decision," said a 
Greenpeace spokesman. "But he's sailing very close to the wind, as 
the government can't yet say it's made up its mind." 

Public face of nuclear power plant dies in I-80 crash

Luis Ramos also known for his involvement with state and national 
education boards and in community.

(Times Leader) Luis Ramos, who has been the public face of the 
Susquehanna nuclear plant since 2004, died Tuesday when his 1997 
Hyundai Accent swerved off Interstate 80 and onto the median in 
Foster Township then struck a tree.

He was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident, which occurred 
at about 7:30 p.m., according to state police at Hazleton.

The 57-year-old Puerto Rico native had been working for PPL Corp. 
since 1973, in positions that dealt with the public at the 
corporation´s Allentown headquarters. When the public-relations 
manager position opened up at the nuclear plant in Salem Township, 
Ramos moved to Shickshinny.

He was tailor-made for the position, according to Dan McCarthy, the 
company´s director of corporate communications, because he understood 
the contentious nature of the nuclear industry.

"The thing that was great about Lou was he respected people, so he 
respected people´s opinions even if they disagreed with him. ... He 
wasn´t the kind of a guy to beat you over the head if you disagreed 
with him," he said. "He was the kind of guy who just loves being with 
people, getting along with people and explaining to people what we do 
at the company."

But another major portion of Ramos´ life was his community 
involvement. He had served on the state Board of Education and was 
appointed to the U.S. Senate Republican Task Force on Hispanic 
Affairs. He helped raise money for various charities in the Berwick 
and Allentown areas.

But perhaps his most distinguished and influential service began when 
President Bush named him to the National Assessment Governing Board 
in 2004. The board sets policy for the National Assessment of 
Educational Progress, often known as the "nation´s report card."

The assessment is given every two years to about 120,000 students in 
grades 4, 8 and 12 in randomly selected public and private schools on 
various topics, including reading, writing, math and science.

Ramos was one of only two Pennsylvanians on the 26-member board. The 
other is Andrew Porter, the dean of the University of Pennsylvania´s 
Graduate School of Education.

"He was a guy who came across as deeply committed to equity access to 
quality education," Porter said. "Lou spoke up strongly on those 
issues several times at our meetings; I think, actually, carried the 

He championed the issues of low-income and minority students, Porter 
said, particularly watching the assessment´s use of technology and 
ensuring it tests students´ education, not their familiarity with new 

"I really liked the guy," Porter said

Anniversary demo at AWE nuclear site

BBC News Jan 2 - AWE is the headquarters of Britain's nuclear 
development programme Anti-nuclear campaigners are planning to 
surround Britain's atomic warhead "factory" in Berkshire to mark 50 
years since the first protest at the site.  

The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) said it would hold a huge 
march at the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) at Aldermaston on 
Easter Monday.

The UK's submarine-launched nuclear defence system, Trident, is being 
upgraded at the site.

The first protest there was in 1958 when 10,000 people marched from 

A CND spokesperson said the aim of the event was to surround the base 
and to hold a day of entertainment, including music and theatre. 

Payette site of proposed nuclear facility

While many were doing last-minute Christmas shopping or baking 
holiday goodies, Tona Henderson joined nearly 400 other people in 
Payette to hear about a proposed nuclear power plant there.
Although proposed in a different county, Henderson said she is 
concerned that the site only about 20 miles as the crow flies from 
her home and that of her family and friends.

A presentation was made Dec. 20 by Bill Fehrman from MidAmerican 
Nuclear Energy Company.

MidAmerican is pursuing the possibility of using a site next to 
Little Willow Road for the plant. MidAmerican has several energy-
generating sites in other states and sees Payette County as a 
potential location for providing "cost-effective, reliable and 
environmentally conscious energy," Fehrman said in a letter to the 
Payette community.

BHEL, NPC in JV to manufacture nuclear reactors

Indian Expreess Jan 2 - Two state-run undertakings, Bharat Heavy 
Electricals Ltd (BHEL) and the Nuclear Power Corporation (NPC), will 
soon form a 50:50 JV for manufacturing nuclear reactors. The board of 
directors of both the companies have given consent for the proposed 
JV. The JV company will produce reactors of 700 mw and 1,000 mw for 
nuclear power projects. The initial investment will be worth Rs 500 

Informed sources told FE, "The JV, to be formed very soon, will be 
instrumental in manufacturing reactors for the nuclear power capacity 
addition proposed by NPC. BHEL may in turn rope in Alstom or any 
other player to bring in expertise in this segment."

NPC, with an installed nuclear capacity of 3,900 mw, has launched the 
plan to increase the total nuclear capacity to 20,000 mw by 2020. It 
has launched the capacity addition of 3,920 mw comprising 440 mw at 
Kaiga 3 and 4, 440 mw at Rajasthan, 2,000 mw at Kudankulam and 500 mw 
at Kalpakkam. Besides, the Centre has approved sites for the addition 
of 6,000 mw comprising 2x1,000 mw at Jaitapur (Maharashtra), 2x1,000 
mw Kudankulam, (Tamil Nadu), 2x700 Kakrapar (Gujarat) and 2x700 
Rawathbhata (Rajasthan). At Jaitapur, NPC has proposed to set up a 
capacity of 10,000 mw in phases.

BHEL's move is crucial as it has already launched its plan to 
increase its manufacturing capacity to 15,000 mw by 2009. BHEL has 
formed JV with NTPC for carrying out engineering, procurement and 
construction (EPC) activities in the power sector on mutually 
beneficial terms. BHEL designed, manufactured and commissioned 
equipment accounts for around 70% of NTPC's installed capacity. The 
company has so far supplied state-of-the-art power generating 
equipment of various ratings corresponding to nearly 19,000 mw for 
NTPC projects, through international competitive bidding (ICB), 
against global tenders.

Moreover, BHEL has also formed JV with the Tamil Nadu Electricity 
Board (TNEB) to set up the first 2x800 mw supercritical power 
project. The JV is expected to be in place in about three months and 
work on the project is expected to commence shortly thereafter. The 
boilers and their auxiliaries would be manufactured by BHEL at its 
Tiruchirapalli and Ranipet works in Tamil Nadu. These 800 mw coal-
fired units will be able to harness the multiple benefits of higher 
plant efficiencies, economies of scale and to generate electricity in 
an environment friendly manner. BHEL is also currently in talks with 
various states including Maharashtra for the formation of similar 

Lepreau tools exposed to radiation will be on move

OTTAWA (Canadain news Service) Jan 2 - NB Power will be shipping 
decontaminated tools that were exposed to radiation at the Point 
Lepreau nuclear reactor to the new Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. 
warehouse in Saint John during the refurbishment of Atlantic Canada's 
only nuclear station.

The tools will travel on public roads from the nuclear station to the 
warehouse run by Atomic Energy of Canada, the federal Crown 
corporation that's the main contractor for the mammoth $1.4-billion 

NB Power and AECL executives have reassured the Canadian Nuclear 
Safety Commission that the shipments will be conducted safely under 
the watchful eyes of a health physicist at Lepreau and another person 
who will oversee receipt of the tools in Saint John.

A staff expert with the nuclear safety commission said that while the 
shipments will increase in volume and complexity, the procedure is 

"There are strict regulations in place to ensure that there's no 
contamination or loose contamination and the transfers are done in 
appropriate containers," Ken Lafreniere, the Canadian Nuclear Safety 
Commission's employee at Lepreau, told the commission at a hearing in 

"We are satisfied that they will undertake those activities safely."

The decontamination of the tools and their shipment fall under NB 
Power's nuclear licence for Lepreau and under various regulations for 
the shipment of dangerous goods.

AECL has to apply for a separate licence to accept the material at 
the Saint John facility, situated on the former Saint John 
Shipbuilding site on Bayside Drive.

One reason tools have to go back and forth is that AECL has built a 
mock reactor in Saint John to allow its workers and contractors to 
practice their tasks before they enter a radioactive environment at 

The shipments are but one example of the steps the nuclear partners 
are taking in the face of the challenges posed by the mammoth 

NB Power has stationed staff in Korea full-time to monitor the 
quality of the tubes being manufactured there.

The tubes have suffered from premature wear and been at the centre of 
costly shutdowns in recent years. They're a key component being 
replaced to extend the life of the reactor for another 25 to 30 

"We want to make sure that they are going to last 25 years with no 
issues like we've been having in the last few years," Gaetan Thomas, 
vice-president of nuclear for NB Power, told the hearing.

"We've been burned once, we don't want to get burned twice. So, we 
are very, very, very rigourous on quality."

NB Power has also anticipated the need to ensure that when Lepreau is 
up and running again, it has experienced staff despite forecasts that 
a generation of station operators is set to retire.

The nuclear plant expects to lose 125 people over the next five 
years, or close to 20 per cent of its staff, said Thomas.

Hiring began in earnest three years ago and about 40 new people have 
come on board.

"We are in a better position with control-room operators and shift 
supervisors than we've ever been," said Thomas, adding that the 
recruitment process has been boosted by NB Power being recognized as 
one of the country's top 100 employers, and possibly the high dollar 
and the shedding of jobs in some other industries.

"We will have the proper resources to start up this plant and to run 
it for a long time," he said.

In response to questioning, Thomas also assured the nuclear safety 
commission that the safe and successful operation and refurbishment 
of Lepreau is the first priority for the utility and for its 
partnership with AECL.

The prospect of building a second reactor -- which AECL is studying 
at the request of the provincial government -- comes second, he said.

Thomas said NB Power is watching closely to ensure AECL staff in New 
Brunswick is working on the first priority and "that they are not 
working on an ACR 1000," the next generation of Candu reactors.
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/

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