ASLB to hear argument against Point Beach license renewal

April 8, 2021, 3:27PMNuclear News
Point Beach Units 1 and 2. Photo: NRC

An atomic safety and licensing board has been established to address a hearing request filed on behalf of an antinuclear group regarding the subsequent license renewal (SLR) application for NextEra Energy’s Point Beach reactors, located near Two Rivers, Wis. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission published notice of the panel’s formation in the April 2 Federal Register.

Virginia’s plan for nuclear in state’s energy strategy released

March 3, 2021, 6:58AMNuclear News

Virginia’s nuclear-sector stakeholders, led by the Virginia Nuclear Energy Consortium Authority (VNECA), have drawn up a plan for helping the state reach its goal of 100 percent carbon-free electricity generation by 2045.

Released late last month, Virginia is Nuclear: 2020–2024 Strategic Plan is the result of legislation, SB 549, signed into law last year. The law directed the state’s Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy; Secretary of Commerce and Trade; and Secretary of Education to work with VNECA and the Virginia Economic Development Partnership Authority to develop a comprehensive blueprint for the role of nuclear energy in Virginia’s overall clean-energy strategy.

“The nuclear industry is vital to Virginia, and the Lynchburg region in particular,” said state Sen. Stephen Newman, who sponsored SB 549. “Jobs, economic growth, and clean air are just three of the benefits the state will see from the plan. I am proud of the industry and look forward to seeing them move forward with the plan.”

Former SCANA CEO pleads guilty to fraud

March 1, 2021, 9:30AMNuclear News

The latest episode in the continuing saga of the failed nuclear expansion project at South Carolina’s Summer plant played out in federal court last week when the former chief executive officer of SCANA, Kevin Marsh, pleaded guilty to charges of fraud. According to the state attorney general’s office, Marsh will serve two years of a 10-year sentence, followed by three years of probation, provided he continues to cooperate with prosecutors. Marsh will also part with $5 million, which is to be used to help low-income ratepayers with their utility bills.

“This case is a good example of the power of our state grand jury and how our office uses it to hold the powerful accountable,” said South Carolina attorney general Alan Wilson. “While this criminal proceeding is not meant to repay the customers who spent billions of dollars on nuclear plants that were never finished, we hope they take some comfort from the fact that the former CEO of SCANA has pled guilty for his role in this debacle. A public utility and its officers must serve the public.”

NRC accepts Point Beach SLR application

January 26, 2021, 7:01AMNuclear News

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has accepted for review NextEra Energy’s subsequent license renewal (SLR) application for its Point Beach reactors, making them the fifth and sixth units currently under consideration for a second 20-year license renewal. (SLR applications for Dominion Energy’s North Anna-1 and -2 and Surry-1 and -2 are also being reviewed, while SLR approval has been granted for Exelon’s Peach Bottom and NextEra’s Turkey Point units.)

NextEra submitted the SLR application in November of last year—the first such application involving a Midwestern nuclear plant. The NRC approved the plant’s initial license renewal in December 2005, allowing Unit 1 to operate through October 5, 2030, and Unit 2 through March 8, 2033.

ASLB established for North Anna SLR application

January 7, 2021, 6:58AMNuclear News

The North Anna nuclear power plant. Photo: Dominion Energy

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has announced the establishment of an Atomic Safety and Licensing Board to address a hearing request filed last month concerning Dominion Energy’s subsequent license renewal (SLR) application for the two reactors at its North Anna plant. The application, submitted in August of last year, was docketed by the NRC in October.

The contention: Filed by three anti-nuclear groups—Beyond Nuclear, the Sierra Club, and the Alliance for a Progressive Virginia—the 71-page hearing request argues that Dominion’s environmental report, submitted in support of its application, “fails to satisfy” the National Environmental Policy Act, as well as 10 CFR 51.53(c)(2) and 51.45(a), “because [the report] does not address the environmental impacts of operating North Anna Units 1 and 2 during the extended SLR term under the significant risk of an earthquake that exceeds the design basis for the reactors.”

Dominion to pay $25-million civil penalty in SEC case

December 8, 2020, 12:05PMNuclear News

Dominion Energy has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $25 million to settle a lawsuit brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission against SCANA Corporation and subsidiary South Carolina Electric & Gas (SCE&G) regarding SCANA’s involvement in the failed Summer nuclear expansion project. Virginia-based Dominion acquired SCANA in January 2019.

Dominion disclosed in May that it had reached an “agreement in principle” with the staff of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement to settle the case for the above-stated amount.

The final agreement, which at this writing is still subject to approval by the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina, also calls for the payment of $112.5 million in “disgorgement plus prejudgment interest.” This penalty, however, will be deemed satisfied by SCANA and SCE&G’s settlement payments in related rate payer and shareholder litigation.

SLR application for North Anna units docketed

October 16, 2020, 12:00PMNuclear News

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has accepted for review an application from Dominion Energy to renew for 20 years the previously renewed operating licenses for North Anna-1 and -2, according to a notice published in yesterday’s Federal Register. Dominion submitted the application on August 24.

A version of the 1,899-page subsequent license renewal application without proprietary details is available to the public on the NRC’s website.

Five big US utilities committed to zero carbon emissions by 2050

September 17, 2020, 12:33PMAround the Web

Over the past three years, some of the country's biggest utilities have been committing to weaning themselves off carbon-emitting generation by 2050, reported a September 16 story from Green Tech Media (GTM).

Here's a look at the five largest U.S. utilities by market capitalization that have set net-zero targets so far:

ANS’s Bilbao y León picked to lead World Nuclear Association

September 15, 2020, 3:45PMANS News

Bilbao y León

ANS member Sama Bilbao y León, currently head of the Division of Nuclear Technology Development and Economics at the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency, will succeed Agneta Rising as the World Nuclear Association’s director general, the WNA announced this morning.

Rising, who took the reins of the WNA in January 2013, is the former vice president, environment, at Vattenfall AB; cofounder and former president of Women in Nuclear; and former president of both the European Nuclear Society and Swedish Nuclear Society. The WNA said that she is stepping down at the end of October “to move to new endeavors.” Rising will continue as director general until the end of October, with Bilbao y León serving as “director general in waiting” beginning October 5.

Second license renewal application filed for North Anna

September 9, 2020, 6:57AMNuclear News

North Anna nuclear power plant. Photo: Dominion Energy

Dominion Energy has filed an application with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to renew the North Anna nuclear power plant’s reactor operating licenses for additional 20-year terms, the Richmond, Va.–based utility announced on September 4. The NRC received the application on August 24.

North Anna, located in Mineral, Va., is home to twin 973-MWe three-loop Westinghouse pressurized water reactors. The filing makes the plant the second nuclear facility in the state to seek subsequent license renewal, after Dominion's filing in 2018 of a similar application to renew the licenses of its two Surry units—twin 874-MWe reactors. The NRC is currently reviewing that application.

(Following its April 2020 meeting, the NRC’s Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards issued a report recommending approval of the Surry SLR applications [NN, June 2020, p. 15].)

According to Dominion, the North Anna and Surry units produce 31 percent of the electricity for the company’s 2.5 million customers and 95 percent of the carbon-free electricity in Virginia.

New Year, New Committee, Diversity and Inclusion in ANS

February 21, 2019, 4:40PMANS Nuclear CafeDr. Lane Carasik

As I write this, I'm excited to know the future of the American Nuclear Society will involve the activities and efforts of the newly formed Diversity and Inclusion in ANS (DIA) Committee. The DIA Committee was formed after the 2018 Annual Meeting by expanding the Professional Women in ANS (PWANS) committee with the inclusion of Nuclear Pride, a LGBTQA+ nuclear organization. It is dedicated to giving a voice to all underrepresented and marginalized groups within ANS, including, but not limited to, women, persons of color, the LGBTQA+ community, and people with disabilities. This new committee is the result of the combined efforts of several people over several years to ensure all of these groups, named and not named, have a voice.