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DUKE ENERGY SCRAPS FLORIDA REACTOR PLANS

Duke Energy scraps Fla. reactor plans – Kristi E. Swartz, E&E News reporter
Published: Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Duke Energy Corp. has permanently scrapped its proposed nuclear reactors in Levy County, Fla., adding to the list of canceled projects. The Levy County proposal is the second one that Duke has abandoned in less than a week. The other one was slated for South Carolina. The utility’s decision was part of a wide-ranging settlement, announced this morning, with Florida’s Office of Public Counsel and other stakeholders in connection with a rate case. Still, Duke’s move has broader meaning for the nation’s baseload nuclear industry. The company’s proposed reactor projects were part of more than two dozen license requests, filed years ago, in various stages before the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Many of those applications have been pulled or are on hold. Also, Duke’s reactors were to use Westinghouse Electric Co. LLC’s AP1000 design. The mega-contractor filed for Chapter 11 federal bankruptcy protection earlier this year, throwing projects into doubt.

Flat electricity demand, an abundance of natural gas at cheap prices and the falling cost of renewable energy all have cut into the future of nuclear as a baseload option. As a result, five nuclear plants in competitive power markets have either closed or announced plans to close since 2013. That two projects have been shelved in regulated power markets within days of each other shows the difficulty of making the economics for nuclear work there, as well.

“Utilities make decisions about generation based on anticipated need,” said John Keeley, spokesman for the Nuclear Energy Institute, the industry’s trade group. “But in our current era of flat demand for electricity,” he said, “there isn’t much justification for large new generators of any type.”

Westinghouse filed for bankruptcy in March because of rising costs at projects in Georgia and South Carolina. The move goes to nuclear’s Achilles’ heel: The reactors are expensive to build and place significant financial risk on the utilities, contractors and their customers. Indeed, Scana Corp.’s South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. and state-owned Santee Cooper stopped building two reactors at V.C. Summer when the costs were too great for customers to bear.

All eyes on Vogtle
That decision has left Southern Co.’s Vogtle nuclear expansion project in southeast Georgia as the lone set of reactors under construction. Southern’s Georgia Power unit is scheduled to formally tell investors and state regulators whether it will finish Vogtle on Thursday. Analysts have said they expect the company to finish the project; the key question is the details in who pays for the additional costs.

Aside from Vogtle, Florida Power & Light Co. remains the only electric company with an AP1000 combined operating license application pending before the NRC, according to the agency. The utility continues to pursue a license to add two reactors at its Turkey Point nuclear plant near Miami, but it has not decided whether it will actually do so. A mandatory hearing on the license is “under review” at the NRC.

Westinghouse’s bankruptcy was one of the main reasons Duke shelved its William States Lee III nuclear station near Gaffney, S.C. Rising costs to build the reactors and the increased availability of natural gas and solar are other factors, the utility said late last week. Duke will keep the NRC-issued license in case it decides to pursue the projects later. Duke’s Florida unit has not discussed building reactors in Levy County, on the west coast, in years, but the utility has maintained that it was “preserving the option” to do so. Today’s settlement officially stops the project.

“The company will also no longer move forward with building the Levy Nuclear Project, and customers will not pay any further costs associated with the project,” Duke Energy Florida said in a statement. Duke has agreed to write off a wide range of costs associated with Levy, including the land, post-licensing charges and costs stemming from a lawsuit with Westinghouse over the canceled contract. Officially stopping Levy’s reactors from moving forward was a key objective for the Office of Public Counsel, which represents Florida’s consumers in utility cases.

“The important thing is, they will write off” the combined operating license, said Charles Rehwinkel, deputy public counsel. Duke has also agreed to build more solar, add a battery storage project and set up an electric vehicle pilot program. A small rate increase remains in place, but it is lower now that Duke will absorb millions in nuclear-related costs.

http://nuclearstreet.com/nuclear_power_industry_news/b/nuclear_power_news/archive/2017/08/28/another-tense-week-for-u.s.-nuclear-industry-082801#.Wabhv4qQzJx

HOUSE ENERGY AND COMMERCE COMMITTEE APPROVES BILL (HR 3053) TO REVIVE YUCCA MOUNTAIN PROJECT

RADWASTE SUMMIT MEETING, SEPTEMBER 5-7, 2017

The Radwaste Summit will be held September 5-7, 2017 at the JW Marriott Resort in Summerlin, NV. This year’s meeting will explore changes to existing policies, budget allocation, project priorities, etc. for the nuclear industry under the new administration and the Republican-controlled Congress.

The early bird deadline for the RadWaste Summit is right around the corner. With the changes in the White House and Congress coupled with a new DOE secretary now in place, the priorities, regulations, and opportunities facing the radioactive waste management sector are ever-changing and of critical importance to stay on top of.

In 2017, we’ll cover topics including:

• Tank waste treatment facility commissioning
• Commercial waste disposal priorities and advocacies
• Decommissioning case studies
• Major DOE cleanup sites
• WIPP progress
• NRC and DOE priorities
• And more!

The uncertainty facing the industry combined with the opportunities that will come into play with the new distribution of budget dollars to the radioactive waste management industry make the 2017 RadWaste Summit one that you can’t afford to miss out on. Chances to network and meet with the top industry players as well as government decision makers will lead to new business, strategic partnerships, and beyond.

The early bird deadline is Friday, April 21st!

RADIOACTIVE WASTE TO BE HAULED THROUGH MISSISSIPPI

WLOX
Monday, March 13th 2017, 7:57 pm EDT
Posted by Marsha Thompson, News Anchor

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) –
Starting in April, low level radioactive waste will once again be transported through Mississippi. The shipments will go to the nation’s only underground nuclear waste repository in New Mexico.

Inside MEMA headquarters are reminders of past nuclear radiation symbols and instruments. Decades later, different preparations are about to get underway as shipments of the waste are carried along Interstate 20 west.

MEMA spokesman, Greg Flynn. “These are very low level,” said MEMA spokesman Greg Flynn. “Basically, it’s radioactive trash from what I understand, some gloves, booties and hats from a nuclear facility that are just going out to the storage facility in New Mexico.”

The shipments resume more than three years after they were stopped in response to a radiation release that contaminated part of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant at the Carlsbad field office in New Mexico. The nuclear storage plant was closed.

MEMA officials are in a pro active mode, getting information out via a road show event this week along the active transportation routes.

“You get to see what the containers look like,” said Flynn. “You get to talk to the experts who can tell you why it’s 100% safe what is coming through here. It is very low level stuff. So to put a lot of rumors to rest, the Department Of Energy is being very proactive and they are doing this all along the route out to New Mexico.”

Copyright 2017 MSNewsNow. All rights reserved.

DOE REOPENS THE WIPP FACILITY IN NEW MEXICO

On December 23, 2016, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) authorized the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) to reopen. On January 4, 2017, the facility began moving waste into the underground disposal facility.

The WIPP facility resumed disposal operations after almost three years of recovery operations following the early 2014 underground fire and a subsequent unrelated fire.

In July 2016, DOE approved strict new waste acceptance criteria for the WIPP facility. DOE sites will not be able to ship waste to the facility unless it meets the new criteria.

NRC RELEASES SECY 16-0106 REQUESTING COMMISSION APPROVAL TO PUBLISH FINAL RULE RE LLRW DISPOSAL (10 CFR PART 61)

On October 3, 2016, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) published SECY-16-0106, which seeks Commission approval to publish a final rule in the Federal Register that would amend Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR) Parts 20, “Standards for Protection Against Radiation,” and Part 61, “Licensing Requirements for Land Disposal of Radioactive Waste.” According to SECY-16-0106, NRC staff intends to publish implementing guidance concurrently with the final rule.

Information regarding SECY-16-0106 and related documents may be found at the following links:

• ML16188A307 – SECY-16-0106: Final Rule: Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal (10 CFR Part 61)(RIN 3150-AI92) (10 page(s), 9/15/2016) http://www.nrc.gov/docs/ML1618/ML16188A307.pdf

• ML16188A371 – SECY-16-0106: FRN: Final Rule: 10 CFR Part 61 Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal (RIN 3150-A192) Enclosure 1 (288 page(s), 9/15/2016) http://www.nrc.gov/docs/ML1618/ML16188A371.pdf

• ML16189A050 – SECY-16-0106: RA: Final Rule 10 CFR Part 61 Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal (RIN 3150-A192) Enclosure 2 (46 page(s), 9/15/2016) http://www.nrc.gov/docs/ML1618/ML16189A050.pdf

The rule is before the Commission for review and is not final until the Commission votes.

For additional information on SECY-16-0106 and related documents, please contact either Gary Comfort at (301) 415-8106 or at Gary.Comfort (at) nrc (dot) gov or Stephen Dembeck at (301) 415-2342 or at Stephen.Dembek@nrc.gov.

NRC ISSUES NEW DOCUMENTS RE DECOMMISSIONING TIMELINESS RULE IMPLEMENTATION AND ASSOCIATED REGULATORY RELIEF

On September 27, 2015, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) issued Regulatory Issue Summary (RIS) 2015-19, Revision 1, Decommissioning Timeliness Rule Implementation and Associated Regulatory Relief.

The intent of the new document is to correct the reference for Administrative Letter 96-05, Revision 1, and to clarify language pertaining to the time period for completing decommissioning in the subsection labeled “Requirement To Begin Decommissioning.” In addition, the NRC is taking the opportunity to provide additional clarification to the sections “Alternate Schedules for Decommissioning” and “Requesting an Alternative to the DTR’s Timeliness Requirements.”

For additional information, please contact Greg Chapman, NMSS, at (301) 415-8718 or at Gregory.Chapman@nrc.gov.

NEW MANIFEST INFORMATION MANAGEMENT SYSTEM WEB SITE AND DATA

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has established a new Manifest Information Management System (MIMS) website. DOE is in the process of transferring datA from the old website to the new one.

The MIMS website is used to monitor and report the management of commercial LLRW in the U.S. and is accessible to all interested parties. The new web site address is http://mims.doe.gov.

Please contact Douglas Tonkay of the DOE’s Office of Disposal Operations at (301) 903-7212 or at Douglas.Tonkay@em.doe.gov for additional information.

TEXAS RELEASES DRAFT TWO-YEAR STORAGE RULE FOR COMMENT

In early September 2014, the Texas State Department of Health Services (TSDHS) released for public comment draft revisions to both 25 Texas Administrative Code (TAC) §289.251 concerning exemptions, general licenses, and general license acknowledgements and 25 TAC §289.252 concerning licensing of radioactive material.

Among other things, the draft revisions seek to implement a two-year limit on the storage of disused sources for both specific and general licensees.

Public comments on the draft revisions were due by September 29, 2014.

The draft rules can be found at http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/radiation/draft.shtm.

NRC RELEASES FINAL GEIS ON CONTINUED STORAGE OF SPENT NUCLEAR FUEL

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) releases the final Generic Environmental Impact Statement (GEIS) for the Continued Storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel. The document addresses the environmental impacts of continued storage of spent nuclear fuel beyond the licensed life for operations of a commercial nuclear reactor and provides a regulatory basis for the NRC’s final rule, “Continued Storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel,” which was approved in August 2014.

The final rule and GEIS were renamed by the NRC from “waste confidence” to “continued storage of spent nuclear fuel.”

The final GEIS is published in NUREG-2157, which can be found on the NRC’s website at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/nuregs/staff/.

Please contact Sarah Lopas of the NRC at (301) 287-0675 or at Sarah.Lopas (at) nrc (dot) gov for additional information regarding the final GEIS.