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GE Energy seeks to build US nuclear plants


GE Energy seeks to build US nuclear plants

Nuclear plant fails to announce leaked iodine as radioactive

Construction Work at Nuke Reactor Finished

A nuclear plant problem raises interest, but not among neighbors

Russian environmentalists protest restart of Leningrad nuc station

Utah governor warns state could be stuck with nuclear waste

Hope Creek nuclear reactor shut down after steam pipe bursts


GE Energy seeks to build US nuclear plants

NEW YORK, Oct 15 (Reuters) - As U.S. nuclear power plants age and 

energy dependence worries grow, General Electric Co. aims to be a 

leader in building new U.S. nuclear plants, the head of GE's energy 

division said.

With U.S. oil futures at a record $55 per barrel and worries that 

recently built power plants are overly dependent on limited supplies 

of natural gas, utilities are giving nuclear a fresh look. And unlike 

power produced by coal and oil, nuclear produces no emissions.

"Nuclear has to be part of the solution," said John Rice, CEO of GE's 

energy business, which also builds energy-efficient turbines and 

invests in solar and wind energy, said about the future of U.S. power 


GE is helping to build a nuclear plant in Taiwan that will come on 

line in the next few years. It is also participating in research with 

the U.S. Department of Energy to consider building nuclear plants in 

the United States.

Rice said the new generation of U.S. plants would be safer than old 

plants and cost 20 percent less to build than plants of past years 

that cost billions of dollars.

"We have nothing active in the United States, we certainly hope that 

changes," he said of GE Energy, which accounted for 14 percent of the 

company's sales in 2003.


The U.S. could need as many as 100 plants to replace old ones in the 

next 35 to 40 years, said Rice.

In as few as 20 years, as many as 13 aging plants may need to be 

replaced. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has already granted 

that many plants 20-year extensions to their original 40-year 

operating licenses.

License extensions to plants beyond their first 60 years of 

operations could possibly be granted, but since nuclear is a 

relatively young industry, none have yet had to be considered. And 

extensions for operations beyond the first 60 years "would be a much 

tougher standard to meet than the first 20-year extensions," NRC 

spokesman Scott Burnell said.

Already site applications for brand new plants have been filed with 

the NRC. The first site applications in nearly 30 years have been 

filed with the NRC by three utilities, Dominion Resources , Entergy , 

and Exelon . If granted, the permits would allow the utilities 20 

years to build a nuclear plant on the site.

But first, solutions will have to be found in disposing of nuclear 

waste. The Bush Administration is proceeding with a plan to build a 

nuclear waste site in Nevada this year, despite a U.S. Court of 

Appeals decision ordering it to prevent radiation leaks for more than 

10,000 years.

"It's crazy we haven't gotten our heads around Yucca Mountain," said 

Rice. "There have been billions of dollars invested in it and the 

science is ... confident around the fact that you can look out 10,000 

years and the risk of a problem is remote."

In any event, the first plant will not be built without government 

help. That could include loan guarantees to help two or three 

companies come together and spread risk of building an initial plant, 

Rice said. "Once one gets under way, than it's a lot easier to do 

two, or three, or four."


Nuclear plant fails to announce leaked iodine as radioactive

TOKYO, Oct. 16 (Kyodo) - A small amount of radioactive substance was 

leaked into the environment Thursday from a spent nuclear fuel 

recycling plant in Ibaraki Prefecture, but the facility admitted 

Saturday to failing to disclose that the substance was radioactive.

The government-funded Japan Nuclear Cycle Development Institute only 

said in a press release earlier that "the indicator measuring the 

amount of iodine released rose temporarily" at its reprocessing plant 

in Tokaimura, without mentioning that it was radioactive iodine-129 

and that a monitor alarm was set off.

"It was not a situation where reporting is required by law, but 

perhaps we were careless in not having explained that it was a 

radioactive substance," a public relations official at the plant told 

Kyodo News.

Meanwhile, the institute's public relations deputy head Yukio Shoji 

insisted it had no obligation to disclose the incident as it was not 

an accident and said, "For us, when we mention iodine, it means 

radioactive iodine."

The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency has criticized the institute 

and said it should be more careful in its announcements.

About 400,000 becquerels of radioactive iodine were leaked, or about 

one-14th the maximum amount that can be released in a day under 

safety regulations, the plant official said.

According to sources close to the case, an alarm rang around 11 a.m. 

Thursday after a midway ventilation monitor at a facility storing low-

level radiation substances detected a rapid rise in the amount of 

radioactive iodine.

A monitor at a ventilation pipe linked to the outside later also 

recorded a rise in the substance from the normal single-digit figure 

to 40 counts and leakage to the external environment was confirmed, 

the sources said.

The institute said it believes the iodine may have been produced by a 

chemical reaction between an alkaline liquid left in the pipes during 

a reprocessing procedure in May and acidic liquid used in Thursday's 


Monitoring of the amount of iodine-129 into the atmosphere is 

necessary as absorption of the radioactive substance into the human 

body leads to internal irradiation and thyroid cancer.

The predecessor of the institute, Power Reactor and Nuclear Fuel 

Development Corp., had been severely criticized for hiding video 

footage regarding a sodium coolant leak at its Monju fast-breeder 

nuclear reactor in 1995. It also submitted false reports to hide 

information on an explosion at the Tokaimura reprocessing plant in 



NRC extends review of Vermont Yankee request

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) - Enertgy Nuclear has yet to prove that it would 

be safe for the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant to increase power 

by 20 percent, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said Friday.

The NRC's Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation has notified Entergy 

that it has determined "that the information submitted by the 

licensee to date does not yet provide sufficient assurance that the 

(Vermont Yankee) steam dryer will remain capable of maintaining its 

structural intergrity" if the reactor increases its power.

The Friday ruling was not a rejection of the request to increase 

power. The NRC said, though, that it is clear approval will not come 

by the original Jan. 31 completion date.

The NRC said it is seeking further information from Vermont Yankee to 

address the concerns about the steam dryer.

The NRC said once the information is provided, the staff will review 

it and provide an evaulation to the Advisory Committee on Reactor 


When that happens, the NRC said it will set a more definitive 

schedule for completing the review.

The reliability of the steam dryer has been raised as an issue by 

critics of the power boost, including the nuclear watchdog group New 

England Coalition. Steam dryer cracking has been a problem at other 

plants' of similar design to Vermont Yankee after they have increased 

their power output.

In April, cracks were discovered in the Vernon plant's steam dryer.


A nuclear plant problem raises interest, but not among neighbors

SALEM, N.J. (AP) - Federal regulators and the out-of-town activists 

who monitor the activity of the three nuclear power plants a few 

miles from here reacted swiftly this week when one of the plants had 

to be shut down because of a small leak of radioactive steam.

But in the towns nearby, where being the neighbor of a nuclear plant 

has been part of life for more than a quarter century, Sunday's 

mishap isn't exactly the talk of the town.

Ronald Coleman, 51, a Salem resident who works at the local hospital, 

said he's concerned about what's happening at the plants owned by 

Public Service Energy Group. But it's not something that his 

neighbors ever discuss, he said - even this week, when the mishap was 

front-page news in the local newspaper.

On the street and in shops in downtown Salem, about eight miles from 

the Salem I, Salem II and Hope Creek plants that make up one of the 

nation's largest nuclear generating stations, several people said 

they weren't aware of any recent problems there.

Rich Gatanis, a township committeeman in nearby Carneys Point and 

owner of South Jersey Sporting Goods in Salem, said he has paid 

attention to the plant - and that he has faith in the behemoth 

employer that runs it in this sparsely populated southwest corner of 

New Jersey.

"When they do find a safety problem," he said, "they don't deny it."

But to the activists who follow the plants, the company doesn't 

communicate or address safety problems as well as it should.

"What we can tell from the outside, this is one more example of the 

safety culture at PSEG," said Norm Cohen, a Linwood resident and the 

director of Unplug Salem, which advocates shutting down the plants.

Cohen said he sees a troubling trend of relatively small problems 

that he links to improper maintenance at the plants.

"You can't say that one of them is going to melt the plant down," 

Cohen said. "It's the mind-set that the plant is slowly 


Both a company spokesman and officials at the Nuclear Regulatory 

Commission said that until the cause of the leak is determined, they 

won't comment about its cause.

On Sunday, a steam pipe, 8 inches in diameter, in the Hope Creek 

turbine building ruptured shortly after 5:30 p.m. There were no 

workers nearby and officials said while radiation levels rose, they 

stayed well below allowable limits.

"At no point was nuclear safety compromised," said Skip Sindoni, a 

spokesman for the power company.

When the rupture was discovered, company officials decided 

immediately to manually shut down the plant. In doing so, they 

struggled to find the right level of water that covers the 

radioactive fuel and prevents it from overheating.

Diane Screnci, an NRC spokeswoman, said the water level was never 

less than 10 feet above the fuel.

PSEG reported the incident immediately to the NRC, which announced on 

Thursday that it had sent a special team of investigators to 

determine the cause of the mishap.

Screnci said the agency conducts such investigations a few dozen 

times a year at nuclear power plants across the nation and that they 

normally take about a week.

Besides telling the nuclear regulators about the mishap, PSEG did not 

release any statements to the media or tell people who live near the 

plant about what had happened.

"They don't tell us much," said Coleman, the hospital worker.

But Sindoni said the company did respond to questions received from 

people who learned about the incident through the NRC Web site.

He said while problems that spur special NRC investigations are 

relatively rare, it is not unusual for one of the Salem plants to be 

shut down at times other than their regular stoppages every 18 


PSEG said Hope Creek will remain closed pending the company's own 

investigation of the steam leak.


Russian environmentalists protest restart of Leningrad nuclear power 


ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) - Russian environmentalists protested the 

restart of a Chernobyl-type nuclear reactor near St. Petersburg, 

alleging that it has caused ecological danger to the Baltic Sea and 

its surroundings.

Experts from the Green World ecological organization told a news 

conference in St. Petersburg on Thursday that reactor No. 1 at the 30-

year-old Leningrad nuclear power station had begun test runs this 

month after renovation without undergoing an environmental impact 


"This is a crime against the Baltic region," said Green World, which 

is based in Sosnovy Bor, near the nuclear plant.

The renovation, which was begun in December, was rushed and "the 

personnel of the station was not well trained to serve the new 

equipment", alleged Oleg Bodrov, head of Green World.

However, Sergei Averyanov, head of the plant's information service, 

said that the environmental impact evaluation was not required by 

law, and that the reactor staff had undergone special training.

The station is the main supplier of electricity to St. Petersburg, 

and there are plans to transport some of its power to Finland.

The RBMK -1000 reactor is the oldest at the station. It is of the 

same type as the reactor at the nuclear power plant in Chernobyl, 

Ukraine, which exploded in 1986 in the world's worst atomic disaster.

The Leningrad reactor was automatically shut down during a test run 

Sunday when its emergency security system signaled an alarm. The 

nuclear plant information service said that the reasons for the 

shutdown were not yet clear.

The environmentalists said they had registered a number of ecological 

problems in the vicinity of the reactor over the past several years.

They alleged that pine trees growing in Sosnovyi Bor, located 5 

kilometers (3 miles) from the plant, had three times as many changes 

to cell development as similar trees growing 30 kilometers (18 miles) 


"This way, a pine tree signals to us about unfavorable environmental 

conditions," said Vladimir Zimin, a Green World specialist.

He said the cell changes were caused by low-level radiation and 

chemical pollution.

Zimin also said the plant's waste water was destroying marine food 

chains in Koporskaya Bay in the Gulf of Finland.

Averyanov, the plant spokesman, said he had no information about cell 

development changes in the pine trees, but said the effect of the 

waste water in the Gulf of Finland was not dangerous. It is "the cost 

of the people's benefit from having electric power," he said.


Utah governor warns state could be stuck with nuclear waste

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Gov. Olene Walker warned Thursday that a 

temporary nuclear waste storage facility in Utah could start taking 

shipments before the government has approved a final destination for 

the waste.

It's a move, Walker said, that could doom the state to a life 

sentence of storing and bearing the safety risks of spent nuclear 


Speaking before the U.S. Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board, Walker 

said the storage facility planned for the Skull Valley Goshute Indian 

Reservation could begin operating four years before federal officials 

have approved the troubled Yucca Mountain storage facility in Nevada -

 the proposed permanent repository for the nation's nuclear waste.

If the Private Fuel Storage site is finally licensed in the Skull 

Valley area, it could accept up to 40,000 tons of nuclear waste 

shipped from across the country by trains. Utah has no nuclear power 


"The citizens in Utah and states along the transportation corridors 

will be asked to trust the federal government at the same time the 

government is testing the reliability of that commitment," Walker 

said in prepared remarks.

Walker questioned whether the Yucca Mountain site waste dump would 

ever overcome the state of Nevada's vigorous opposition and finally 

be allowed to accept waste from all over the country.

Even if it does become licensed, she said it might not be able to 

accept the waste temporarily stored in Utah because of capacity 


However, John Parkyn, chairman and CEO of Private Fuel Storage LLC, 

said Utah officials shouldn't let hang-ups at Yucca Mountain affect 

plans here to store the waste.

"Part of our job is to solve a national problem as a nation," he 


The Goshute waste storage site has been equally embattled, 

spiderwebbing through the court system and regulatory commission 

meetings since 1997. Parkyn said the final hurdle was convincing 

federal regulators that the site wasn't in danger of a jet fighter 

crashing into it. The Air Force flies thousands of training missions 

each year over the sprawling Utah Test and Training Range near the 


Still, Parkyn said the site wouldn't be able to start accepting waste 

until 2007, instead of 2006, as Walker suggested.

Parkyn enumerated, in a slide presentation, safety precautions site 

officials were taking to put worried residents at ease.

He described high-tech trains, built from scratch to meticulous 

mechanical specifications for the single purpose of hauling the 

waste, that would communicate more than 20 aspects of the train's 

operating condition live via satellite to operators.

He said the spent fuel rods would remain in specially designed and 

federally regulated casks the entire time - during transport and in 

storage at the facility - to further reduce the risk of an accident.

Parkyn also disputed Walker's suggestion that the waste wouldn't ever 

leave Utah, stressing that, "We're simply a temporary or interim 

storage site."

Congress created the U.S. Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board to 

monitor the Yucca Mountain repository. The agency has no official 

authority, but makes recommendations to Congress and the Department 

of Energy on the project.

It also has no say in the proposed waste storage site in Utah, but 

board member Mark Abkowitz said the board wanted to have the meeting 

in Salt Lake City to hear about potential waste transportation 



Hope Creek nuclear reactor shut down after steam pipe bursts

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - Federal investigators are trying to determine 

what caused a steam pipe to rupture inside the Hope Creek nuclear 

power plant, forcing operators to shut the reactor down Sunday night.

A Nuclear Regulatory Commission inspection team remained at the Salem 

County power plant Thursday, spokeswoman Diane Screnci said.

Radioactive steam did escape into the power plant's turbine room, and 

some was released through air vents, she said. The amount of 

radioactivity detected was less than 1 percent of what federal 

regulations allow.

"And there was no measurable contamination, no contaminated areas 

created in the turbine building or outside," Screnci said.

Workers at the plant run by Public Service Enterprise Group first 

noticed the steam leak around 6 p.m.

They reduced power, and they shut the entire plant down within 30 

minutes, Screnci said.


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

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

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


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