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Showing posts from September, 2014

Exelon Makes the Nuclear Case in Illinois

Kathleen Barrón, Exelon’s senior vice president of federal regulatory affairs and wholesale market policy, had some strong words at a policy summit held by the Illinois Commerce Commission.“If the units at risk of closing today -- representing 43 percent of the state’s nuclear generation -- retire, they cannot be mothballed and later brought back online,” she said. “Together they represent more than 30 million metric tons of avoided carbon emissions, given that they will need to be replaced with fossil generation to provide the around-the-clock electricity needed to serve customers in the state.”That’s true. Nuclear energy is not really properly valued for its presence in the proposed EPA climate change rule (which of course could change before it is finalized), and one consequence of that would be that shuttered nuclear plants would lead to higher carbon emissions – and cause states to miss their targets. If you consider climate change an existential issue, it doesn’t get starker.Th…

Nuclear Fills in Big Blind Spot as the U.N. Gathers

Former EPA Administrator and New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman weighs in on climate change in the Boston Globe, but also tilts the discussion toward local concerns:During the polar vortex event, nuclear energy facilities around the country helped to save the day in the face of extreme weather. Because uranium fuel is plentiful and stable in price, nuclear energy facilities aren’t affected by the same type of fuel price fluctuations as other sources of energy. Neglecting clean energy sources such as solar, wind, and especially nuclear, can result in blackouts, increased power bills, and will take a heavy toll on our efforts to reduce greenhouse gases.I’ll add that uranium doesn’t get diverted to home heating, which really hurt the natural gas supply in New England last year. If predictions of a powerful winter come true, expect nuclear energy’s reliability to once again play a part in keeping people warm.Whitman’s larger point is that New England is becoming over dependent on …

NEI CEO Marv Fertel to Participate in Ex-Im Bank Press Conference

NEI CEO Marv Fertel will be participating in a press conference on the U.S. Export Import back today at 1:30 EDT in Room S. 115 at the Capitol. Also participating will be:

Sen. Cantwell
Sen. Manchin
Sen. Kirk
Sen. Graham
Ms. Kavia Kusum, President, Combustion Associates Inc.
Mr. Michael Richard, Director of Government and International Affairs, Westinghouse Electric Company
Mr. Dan Pfeiffer, Vice President of Government Affairs, Itron, Inc.
Mr. Patrick Wilson, Director of Federal and Government Affairs, Babcock & Wilcox
Mr. Steven Wilburn, CEO, FirmGreen

The U.N. Climate Summit

The United Nations Climate Summit September 24 has an interesting format. It brings together 120 heads of state (or their representatives)to “announce bold actions that they will be taking in their countries.” These, I assume, could be anything on-topic, so there may be some nuclear energy-related announcements. Everything could be kind of vague and feel-good – gestures toward energy efficiency, for example – or countries get very ambitious with their announcements. This is a U.N. effort, but should not be confused  with the Framework Convention on Climate Change. I suppose it’s okay to call the summit a bit more casual – or at least as casual as such a high-level meeting could be.Write Jerry Kremer over at the Huffington Post connects the summit with its location, focusing on New York state’s own emissions profile.While New Yorkers produce 8 metric tons of carbon dioxide per capita annually, the national average is more than 150 percent higher -- and in some states 300 percent highe…

Innovation Brings Safe, Reliable Nuclear Operations

The following post was sent to us by PPL Susquehanna’s Francis Golomb for NEI’s Powered by Our People promotion. Powered by Our People is part of the Future of Energy campaign that NEI launched earlier this year. This promotion aims to communicate innovation in our nation’s nuclear facilities in the voices of the people working at them.

Francis Golomb is an electrical journeyman in the predictive maintenance group at the Susquehanna nuclear power plant in Luzerne County, Pa. He’s worked at Susquehanna for 10 years after earning a certificate in electrical occupations from Pennsylvania College of Technology. He’s also a certified Level I thermographer. 

For more on this promotion, take a look at the featured content on our website and follow the #futureofenergy tag across our digital channels.


Helping the plant operate safely and reliably

I perform several different types of equipment testing that help detect potential issues before they become problems. One common type of testing is the …

Site Selecting Jobs and Investments in the Electricity Market

If you need evidence of the power and value of the electricity market, Site Selection has you covered. The self-described magazine of corporate real estate strategy and area economic development has published a listing of utilities that have added the most jobs and invested the most resources in the last year. Site Selects lists the top 10, always a popular round number for this kind of endeavor. Frankly, the numbers of jobs in particular surprised and delighted me. These are the companies
(most of them, also delightful) with nuclear holdings:
Alabama Power: the Southern Company subsidiary's economic development team helped companies create 1,810 new jobs in 2013 with total capital investment closing in on $2 billion.
American Electric Power: AEP hosted 10 educational forums across its service territory attended by more than 400 community partners and elected officials. [Writer Adam Bruns didn’t get job/investment numbers for AEP.]
Duke Energy: The calendar year 2013 saw the tea…

Why Diablo Canyon is Safe from Earthquakes

This morning in a conference call with nuclear energy bloggers, NRC Chairman Allison Macfarlane, in response to a direct question about the safety of the Diablo Canyon Power Plant, said "[We] believe the plant is safe ... Otherwise it still wouldn't be operating." For the why behind that conclusion, you ought to review two reports that were released yesterday afternoon.

On Wednesday, PG&E released a report confirming the seismic safety of Diablo Canyon Power Plant. The report, the Central Coastal California Seismic Imaging Project, is 14 chapters long, but the bottom line is delivered succinctly by The Tribune, the paper of record in San Luis Obispo.

The report will now be peer reviewed by an NRC committee that includes Neal Driscoll, a professor of geology and geophysics at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego. When asked about the report after its release yesterday ...
[Driscoll] said PG&E marshaled many state-of-the-art tools for the study…

Nuclear Advocate Serves as 'Technical Conscience' at Vogtle 3 & 4

The following post was sent to us by Southern/Georgia Power’s Sarah Gillham for NEI’s Powered by Our People promotion. Powered by Our People is part of the Future of Energy campaign that NEI launched earlier this year. This promotion aims to communicate innovation in our nation’s nuclear facilities in the voices of the people working at them.

Sarah is the maintenance rule coordinator at Vogtle 3 & 4. She has been in the nuclear industry for four years, choosing to make a career in the industry after two summer internships in her field. 

For more on this promotion, take a look at the featured content on our website and follow the #futureofenergy tag across our digital channels.
How long have you been in the nuclear industry? 
I have been employed full time for four years and have two summers of previous experience as an intern.

What is your job and why do you enjoy doing it? 
I am currently serving as the maintenance rule coordinator at the Vogtle 3 & 4 site. I am also responsible …

NRC Rebuts Daily Caller on Nuclear Plant Security

Just a few minutes ago, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission released a statement rebutting a story that appeared yesterday at the Daily Caller concerning security at the Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Plant:
There have been several recent news stories contending that security is lax at the nation’s nuclear power plants. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, they are among the best-protected sector of our national infrastructure.

NRC requires nuclear power plant owners to take a graded approach to physical protection focusing on the areas most important to safety. For example, the area encompassing a nuclear power plant and its safety equipment is the Protected Area. NRC regulations require stringent access control measures before personnel and vehicles can enter a Protected Area. Within the Protected Area are the Vital Areas, which have even more access barriers and alarms to protect important equipment. All plants are required to have security checkpoints into the Protected Area.…

About an Office and Its Meaning

FOX Architects, which designed NEI’s offices here in Washington DC, has won the Pinnacle Award from the International Interior Design Association. It’s in the category for interior fit-outs of between 20,000 and 100,000 square feet. Of course, this has everything to do with the quality of work done by the architect and its contractors, not the nature of nuclear energyOr does it?When NEI came to the end of its 20 year lease on I Street, it found itself in a revived and newly vibrant city. F Street is closer to Capitol Hill than I Street, but for many years F Street was an eyesore, almost a generic representative of a decaying downtown. In the last 10 years, as DC finally shook off the impact of suburbanization, the virtues of city living became manifest to an affluent, and younger, cohort. Consequently, DC went on a building binge, with both office buildings and residential complexes rapidly changing the skyline. But it remains a distinctively short skyline due to building height rest…

Why the Daily Caller is Wrong About Nuclear Power Plant Security

Earlier today, Alex Pappas of The Daily Caller published a story concerning security at Exelon's Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant. The story included video of Pappas driving his car past a deactivated checkpoint and into the plant's parking lot. Since the story was first published, it was subsequently featured on Fox and Friends as well as Special Report with Brett Baier.

We shot a note to Kory Raftery at Calvert Cliffs to get his take on the story:
The fences and checkpoints you see at Calvert Cliffs are only a small part of our defense in depth security strategy. In fact, much of our defense lies in the things you can’t see.

Due to its location and the network of barrier systems in place, perimeter fencing and manned vehicle checkpoints are not required to keep our plant, our workers and our community safe. Manned entrance facilities are not required at many U.S. nuclear facilities and Calvert recently redeployed officers to strengthen its overall security presence. Simply…

Protecting Clean Energy at North Anna Power Station

The following post was sent to us by Dominion’s Richard Hanson for NEI’s Powered by Our People promotion. Powered by Our People is part of the Future of Energy campaign that NEI launched earlier this year. This promotion aims to communicate innovation in our nation’s nuclear facilities in the voices of the people working at them.

Richard is the manager of protection services at North Anna Power Station in Louisa County in Central Virginia. He’s worked in the nuclear industry for 11 years.

For more on this promotion, take a look at the featured content on our website and follow the #futureofenergy tag across our digital channels.

Tell us about yourself, and how long you’ve been in the nuclear energy industry.
I am the manager of protection services at North Anna Power Station. We’re owned by Dominion Virginia Power and I’ve been in the nuclear industry for approximately 11 years.

Why do you enjoy what you do?
I enjoy what I do because I get a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day. …

Leslie Barbour Retires Leaving NEI and the Industry Poised for Growth

The following is a guest post by Leslie Barbour, Director of Legislative Programs for NEI. 

After 21 years working at the Nuclear Energy Institute as an industry lobbyist, I retire today with a great sense of accomplishment for what the industry has achieved during this time. When I was hired in 1993, the industry was negotiating a success path for used fuel disposal that would enable companies to ship fuel to Yucca Mountain, Nevada. President Clinton had just appointed Hazel O’Leary as the first woman and first African American Secretary of Energy. We soon realized that nuclear energy was not a favored energy option of the Administration when she demoted the Office of Nuclear Energy’s leadership from Assistant Secretary to Director. The Administration then began cutting nuclear energy R&D funding from $147 million in 1994 to $2 million in 1998. The only program left was support for universities. The industry suffered the loss of the gas reactor and sodium cooled reactor programs …

Ex-Im Bank Keeps Nuclear Supply Chain Bustling in North Carolina

The following is a guest post by Ted Jones, Director of International Supplier Relations for NEI.

Certain foes of Ex-Im Bank have claimed that it only benefits a handful of companies, and that no one else would notice if Congress allows its charter to expire on September 30. But the economic impact of Ex-Im Bank is far broader than its ideological foes are willing to admit, extending deep into the supply chains of the larger companies. Many of the Bank’s indirect beneficiaries are unaware of its importance to their business.

To show the indirect impact of Ex-Im Bank, today we are holding a roundtable discussion with business leaders in North Carolina, where a concentration of the U.S. nuclear supply chain represents a vital part of the state and regional economy. A 2013 study conducted by Clemson University valued the direct and indirect impact of the nuclear supply chain in the Carolinas at $20 billion, employing 29,000 people.

Lindsey Crisp, CEO of Carver Machine Works in Washingt…

Energy Markets and City Councils

Brent Ridge, Energy Northwest’s Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, contributes an editorial to the webzine Clearing Up, which covers energy issues in the northwest. He notes that Columbia Generating Station has been operating without incident for almost 30 years. He also focuses on initiatives taken to improve costs to ratepayers and Columbia’s impressive worker safety record:As Clearing Up noted last week, cooperation between EN, the Bonneville Power Administration and the Northwest power community on a regional debt management strategy will result in as much as $1.8 billion in savings for ratepayers.and:Energy Northwest employees and contractors are now exceeding 12 million hours worked without a lost-time injury.Columbia has lately attracted some scrutiny from anti-nuclear energy activists, which actually strikes me as odd. Washington state is a very environmentally aware place and, whatever nuclear energy’s contribution to keeping the state’s clean air profile high, that …