Saturday, August 25, 2007

Close-up of Vermont Yankee cooling tower collapse


Investigation begins at VY
By BOB AUDETTE, Reformer Staff
Brattleboro Reformer
Saturday, August 25

BRATTLEBORO -- Hard-hatted workers clambered over and around the wreckage that used to be the wall of one of Vermont Yankee's external cooling fans Friday, looking for clues as to why the structure gave way.

Tuesday afternoon, the plant had to ratchet back on its power output after the wall gave way, spilling plastic slats, asbestos panels and wood beams onto the ground between the two banks of 11 cooling fans each.

Normally, a visitor to the site would see water vapor rising from the cowling around each of the 22 huge fans and hear them spinning, sucking heat from the water and moving it into the atmosphere.

A visitor would also hear the more than 350,000 gallons of water a minute that flow through the system, falling through thousands of plastic slats to cool the water before returning it to reactor, where it is used to cool and convert steam produced by the reactor back into water.

Near the top of the cooling tower, a 52-inch pipe that runs along a platform abruptly ends where a section of the pipe fell to the ground during the collapse. The pipe carried the water from the plant and distributed it to the 11 fans in the bank creating what John Dreyfuss, director of nuclear safety assurance at Vermont Yankee, called "a little rainstorm inside there."

But on Friday, the fans were turned off. With the reactor running at 50 percent its thermal output is reduced, so the cooling towers are not needed. Though its power output has fluctuated since the failure, it is producing on average about 265MWe.

Over the next few days, workers will go through the tangle of debris piece by piece, trying to find the reason for the failure.

"Not the kind of equipment performance to expect," said Dreyfuss. "As we remove timbers, we'll also be performing our investigation to find out what happened," a process he called "very deliberative."

Operators will not crank the plant back up to full power until workers can confirm the structure of the cooling fans is sound, he said.

Prior to the wall failure, technicians had shut down the fan because employees had reported hearing noises coming from it, which they were unable to reproduce.

"There was no evidence of structural issues (at that time)," said Dreyfuss.

As for the debris that collapsed out from the wall, "most the material you see is cosmetic," he said.

On hand to assist in the investigation were state inspectors, two resident inspectors from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and officials from the state's Office of Homeland Security.

Dreyfuss said homeland security had determined the failure wasn't caused by sabotage, and discounted the notion that it was related to ongoing contract negotiations between Entergy, the owners of the power plant, and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, which represents 157 workers there.

"We've ruled that out as well," he said.

Entergy recently received permission to increase Vermont Yankee's power output by 20 percent, from 540MWe to 650MWe, but Dreyfuss said there was nothing to indicate the power uprate had anything to do with the failure.

But not everyone is convinced.

"Did increased water flow rate through the cooling towers, or higher cooling tower fan turning rates, cause the collapse?" asked David Lochbaum, nuclear safety engineer with the Union of Concerned Scientists, in an e-mail to the media. "If so, why didn't the company's and the NRC's pre-uprate reviews identify this threat and prevent it from happening?"

If they did miss the problem, he wrote, "what other misses have not yet revealed themselves?"

Nuclear reactors such as that at Vermont Yankee are 33 percent efficient, wrote Lochbaum.

"While the reactor core may produce three units of energy, only one unit of electricity is generated," he wrote. "The remaining two units of energy must be discharged to the environment as waste heat. Nuclear plants rely on large amounts of water to carry away this waste heat."

Vermont Yankee has a single-unit boiling water reactor that had a maximum reactor core power level output of 1593 Megawatts thermal before its uprate approval. At 120 percent, the plant produces 1912MWt.

Plant cooling is provided by either an open-cycle system, a closed-cycle system or a hybrid of the two. How the plant cools depends on various factors, including river and air temperatures, but its cooling systems are meant to minimize its impact on the river.

When the plant uses its closed-cycle system, the cooling towers dissipate heat to the atmosphere. When cooling towers are used, water from the river is used to replace vapor blown out by the fans. Most of the rest of the water is sent back to the plant's main condenser, thousands of metal tubes that carry cooling water which are used to cool steam from plant turbines and convert it back into water. That water is sent back to the reactor to produce more steam, and the water in the condenser is sent back to the towers for cooling.

In the open-cycle mode, no water passes through the cooling towers. Water is taken from the river and discharged south of the facility.

Bob Audette can be reached at or 802-254-2311, ext. 273.


Isabel Vinson contributed to last year. Her nude picture in front of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant ended up on the cover of the region's largest newspaper, The Brattleboro Reformer... I didn't know until a few minutes ago that she followed it up with a radio interview... where she shines, as usual!

She has it blogged at: "radio interview oooh"

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Indian Point Demonstration in Manhattan Sept 7th



For Details
Spread all over New York!!!

Another NRC Email to GE On Commercial Airplanes Crashing Into Reactors

Time that the NRC comes clean, time that the aftermath of a plane crashing into a nuclear reactor like Entergy's Indian Point be included in the EIS and Environmental Scoping Process...and yes, this email also was found on ADAMS. For profit companies can know the TRUTH, but host communities cannot...what a crock of CRAP.

This is not the Official Agency Record. See the image file for the Official Agency Record.

R. Brown Ltr Re Issuance of Order Imposing Safeguards Information Protection Requirements and Fingerprinting and Criminal History Records Check Requirements.
Go To Best Hit Return to Results Find More Documents Like This One (This will delete your previous results.)

1 Safeguards Information is a form of sensitive, unclassified, security-related information that the Commission has the authority to designate and protect under Section 147 of the AEA.

June 15, 2007

Mr. Robert E. Brown
General Manager, Regulatory Affairs
General Electric Company
3901 Castle Hayne Rd, MC A-45
Wilmington, NC 28401


Dear Mr. Brown:

The Commission has decided to require, through rulemaking, that nuclear power plant designers perform a rigorous assessment of design features that could provide additional inherent protection to avoid or mitigate the effects of an aircraft impact, while reducing or eliminating the need for operator actions, where practicable. In anticipation of this requirement, and to assist designers in completing this assessment, the Commission has decided to provide the beyond design basis, large commercial aircraft characteristics specified by the Commission to plant designers who have the need-to-know and who meet the NRC [?] ’s requirements for the disclosure of such information. The specified aircraft characteristics that are the subject of the enclosed Order (Enclosure 1) are designated by the Order as Safeguards Information (SGI),1 in accordance with Section 147 of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended (AEA).

In a letter dated June 26, 2004, General Electric Company (GE) requested authorization to possess certain information designated by the NRC [?] as SGI and described GE's program for protecting that SGI against unauthorized disclosure in accordance with 10 CFR 73.21. In its May 10, 2005, response to that letter, the NRC [?] agreed to provide GE with the requested SGI, and noted that, based on a review of GE's implementing procedures and observation of GE's facilities, it had determined that GE provided assurance that it will protect the SGI in accordance with the requirements of 10 CFR 73.21. Though the NRC [?] recognizes that GE has continued to maintain that SGI protection program, and that implementation of that program is consistent with the requirements of 10 CFR 73.21, GE is not legally-bound by the May 10, 2005 letter to comply with those provisions. Therefore, in order to provide a legally enforceable requirement for GE's continued protection of SGI, as well as to impose the additional fingerprinting requirements that have become effective pursuant to the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct) since GE implemented its SGI protection program in 2005, the NRC [?] is issuing the enclosed Order to GE to impose requirements for the protection of SGI, as well as for the fingerprinting of all persons who have or seek access to this SGI.

R. Brown - 2 -

Before GE grants an individual access to SGI, GE must submit the fingerprints of the individual to the NRC [?] for an FBI criminal history records check. The results of the FBI criminal history records check will be provided to GE and that information must be considered by GE when making a determination of whether an individual, who has a need-to-know SGI, may be given access to SGI (see Attachment to the Order and Enclosure 2 to this letter).

Certain categories of individuals are excepted by rule from the fingerprinting requirement [10 CFR 73.59], including Federal, State, and local law enforcement personnel; Agreement State inspectors who conduct security inspections on behalf of the NRC [?] ; members of Congress; certain employees of members of Congress or Congressional Committees who have undergone fingerprinting for a prior U.S. government criminal history check; and representatives of the International Atomic Energy Agency or certain foreign government organizations. In addition, the NRC [?] has determined that individuals who have active federal security clearances, or who have had a favorably-decided U.S. Government criminal history check within the last five (5) years, have already been subjected to fingerprinting and criminal history checks and, thus, have satisfied the EPAct fingerprinting requirement.

In order to implement the enclosed Order, GE must nominate an individual who will review the results of the FBI criminal history records check to make SGI access determinations. This individual, referred to as the “reviewing official,” must be someone who seeks access to SGI. Based on the results of the FBI criminal history records check, the NRC [?] staff will determine whether this individual may have access to SGI. If the NRC [?] determines that the individual may not be granted access to SGI, the enclosed Order prohibits that individual from obtaining access to any SGI. The NRC [?] process that will govern this determination, and the rights of the individual nominated to be the reviewing official, are described in Enclosure 3. Once the NRC [?] approves a reviewing official, that reviewing official, and only that reviewing official, can make SGI access determinations for other individuals who have been identified by GE as having a need to know SGI, and who have been fingerprinted and have had a criminal history records check. The reviewing official can only make SGI access determinations for other individuals, but cannot approve other individuals to act as reviewing officials. Only the NRC [?] can approve a reviewing official; therefore, if GE wishes to have a new or additional reviewing official, the NRC [?] must approve that individual before they can act in that capacity.

In the event that the individual nominated as the GE’s initial reviewing official is not approved by the NRC [?] to have access to SGI, the individual may appeal this decision by following the procedures in Enclosure 3. GE may then nominate a different individual to be the reviewing official. If GE decides to withdraw the nomination of an individual as a reviewing official after submitting fingerprints to the FBI through the NRC [?] , the NRC [?] will still complete the review process for determining access to SGI.

GE is required to submit fingerprints in accordance with the enclosed Order. The current processing fee is $27.00 per submission and payment must accompany the request. Details regarding fingerprint submittals and payment of fees are found in the Attachment to the Order. If the person GE nominates as reviewing official already has a national security clearance, please submit that person’s name along with documentation that supports the claim. NRC [?] staff will verify that the nominated individual has the necessary clearance to be able to be approved as reviewing official.

R. Brown - 3 -

The enclosed Order is effective immediately. These requirements will remain in effect until the Commission determines otherwise.

The enclosed Order requires that GE respond to the Order within twenty (20) days of the date of the Order, and implement the requirements of the Order before providing access to SGI to any individual. Please contact Anissa Coates at (301) 415-1897, or via email [?] to ARC3@nrc [?] .gov, to facilitate resolution of any issues or questions related to compliance with the requirements of the enclosed Order.

GE’s responses to the Order (not fingerprint cards) must be submitted to the Director, Office of New Reactors, and should be addressed to the attention of Anissa Coates, Mail Stop O-17F3. The following mailing addresses should be used:

For normal postal delivery, mail to:

Director, Office of New Reactors U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Washington, D.C., 20555-0001 Attn: Anissa Coates, Mail Stop O-17F3

For delivery services requiring a street address, mail to:

Director, Office of New Reactors
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
One White Flint North
11555 Rockville Pike
Rockville, MD 20852-2738
Attn: Anissa Coates, Mail Stop O-17F3

Please include the docket number listed below in all your correspondence to the NRC [?] . In addition, GE responses shall be marked as "Security-Related Information - Withhold Under 10 CFR 2.390." The enclosed Order has been forwarded to the Office of the Federal Register for publication.

Nuclear Reactors and Airplane Attacks

Now, we are all aware that citizens are not allowed to have access to, or even discuss the DBT under the guise we could be tipping off terrorists by holding such discussions. Never mind a community being allowed to know the real risks associated with being forced to play host to a aging, fatigued, FAC plagued reactor such as Indian Point. Besides, the NRC and Entergy have told us that the chance of air planes crashing into Nuclear Reactors are so remote, that consideration of the risks associated with such a scenerio are not even worth considering.

OK, then maybe someone from the NRC (Sam Collins?) can explain to me why air planes flying into reactors, the danger of planes and immenent risks play such an important part of the NRC email (copied below)that discusses phone call protocols. Seems that the risks of planes being highjacked and flown into nuclear reactors is a far more real event than the NRC and Homeland Security want to let on. Said letter was found on the NRC Adams site doing a very simple search.[ResultsReturnPage]=results_list.html&CQ_CUR_DOCUMENT=47

June 25, 2007


SA-07-01 Rev. 1


The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC [?] ) has identified the benefit of expediting the verification of caller identity in the case of a threat or attack to a nuclear power plant. This is especially important in the case of an airborne threat.


Appendix G, “Reportable Safeguards Events,” to Title 10, Section 73.71, “Reporting of Safeguards Events,” of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR 73.71) provides the current reporting requirements for security-related events. In addition, the Commission has previously advised licensees of the need to expedite their initial notifications to the NRC [?] in NRC [?] Bulletin 2005-02, “Emergency Preparedness and Response Actions for Security-Based Events,” dated July 18, 2005. This Security Advisory (SA) provides guidance regarding a voluntary process intended to enhance the efficiency of initial notifications and reduce the resource impact of the existing caller identification protocol.

The current verification protocol involves several steps. First, the NRC [?] receives threat information from an external source (e.g., the North American Aerospace Defense Command and the U.S. Northern Command) and telephones the licensee main control room. To verify that the caller is actually the NRC [?] , the licensee has two options. While the licensee stays on the line, another member of the licensee’s staff can call the NRC [?] Operations Center to verify the authenticity of the call. Alternatively, the licensee can hang up the phone and call the NRC [?] Operations Center to perform the verification. NRC [?] staff would perform a similar process if the NRC [?] Operations Center receives a call from the licensee to notify the agency of a security threat or an actual attack.

The current verification protocol involves the use of resources that may be better suited to other tasks, such as licensee immediate actions for an imminent threat and notifying additional State and local first responders. Under the new protocol, the NRC [?] will exchange an authentication code with the licensee’s main control room to verify the caller’s identity whenever a caller makes a threat notification. The proper use of the code will provide a short, simple means of caller authentication that may eliminate the need to perform a callback, unless desired, and will still maintain reasonable assurance of the caller’s identity.

Due to feedback from industry representatives, the Agency is issuing this revision to remove the word “imminent” to avoid confusion with the use of the term with respect to aircraft threats. The revision also clarifies when use of the authentication code is appropriate. Specifically, the code is intended to be used as an operational aid by licensee main control room staff and NRC [?] Headquarters Operations Officers (HOOs) to facilitate rapid caller authentication during a threat or physical attack event.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Seeking Information On Entergy's Hired Legal Guns

As we prepare our contentions, and Petition to Intervene, it is obvious that odd's suggest we will be doing battle with Entergy's hired legal guns over at Pillsbury, Winthrop, Shaw, Pittman, LLP. Further, our guess is we'll face former NRC INSIDER David R. Lewis. We are looking for information on the law firm, and it's Nuclear TOP GUN, David R. Lewis. Examples of their filings, any dirt that might be out there, complaints against the attorney, or the law firm that have been filed. Send your information to

Company Contact, and information on David R. Lewis from the internet:

Mr. David R. Lewis
Pillsbury, Winthrop, Shaw, Pittman, LLP
2300 N Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20037-1128
David R. Lewis home

Mr. Lewis is a partner in Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman's energy group. Prior to joining Pillsbury, he worked under an honors program as an attorney-advisor to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Atomic Safety and Licensing Board in 1982-83.

Mr. Lewis has been involved in numerous initial licensing, license amendment, restart, license renewal, decommissioning, enforcement and whistleblower proceedings. In these proceedings, he has successfully represented his clients in the full range of issues associated with the siting, operation, economics, environmental impact and decommissioning of nuclear units. Mr. Lewis is the leading practitioner in nuclear plant license renewal. He represented Baltimore Gas & Electric Company in the first application for renewal of an operating license for a commercial nuclear plant, and has assisted numerous other utilities with their license renewal efforts. He is a member of the Nuclear Energy Institute's (NEI) License Renewal Working Group and the author of the Report on the Renewal of Nuclear Power Plant Operating Licenses for the Committee on Nuclear Technology and Law of the Association of the City of New York.

Mr. Lewis has also been involved in reactor design certifications and is on the leading edge of new plant licensing work, assisting with the development of an early site permit application and proposals for combined construction permit and operating licenses. He is a member of NEI's COL Task Force and Financial Issues Task Force.

Mr. Lewis has been extensively involved in nuclear business and organizational transactions. He has represented numerous clients in the sale or acquisition of nuclear plants, in sale-leaseback transactions, in the formation of operating companies, and in approvals related to the formation of holding companies, mergers, spin-offs, and electric utility deregulation.

Mr. Lewis has considerable experience assisting contractors of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) on nuclear matters. He is the author of "An Industry Perspective on the External Regulation of DOE Facilities" and has advised on space nuclear applications.

Mr. Lewis was recently acknowledged as a leading Energy/Nuclear lawyer for the District of Columbia in the third edition of CHAMBERS USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business for 2005-2006.

Entergy, Indian Point Lying Again...Have No Intent of Meeting August 24th Siren Deadline

Entergy has known for quite some time now (notified NRC in May) that they will not be able to meet the August 24th Siren system deadline. Question is, will the NRC start fining them on a daily basis, or instead bend over backwards and MODIFY their order in a fashion that gives Indian Point more time to comply? Sure we will know where we stand on Friday...this from a July document from the NRC:

Pursuant to section 223 of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended, any person who willfully violates, attempts to violate, or conspires to violate, any provision of this Order shall be subject to criminal prosecution as set forth in that section. Violations of this Order will result in additional enforcement action. Also, the requirements of this Order may be modified or relaxed by the Director, Office of Enforcement, where good cause is shown, such as implementation delays that clearly were not under the control of Entergy. In addition, the NRC has been verbally informed by Entergy that some additional time beyond August 24, 2007, may be needed to place the new ENS in service, and that if so, Entergy would supplement its May 23, 2007 response to the NOV. NRC will review Entergy’s supplemental response, if submitted, and may modify or relax this Order, if appropriate, as provided in the enclosed Order.