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US utilities warn new rules could impact reactor closures
Operators have accelerated decommissioning plans following early plant closures and proposed changes to licensing rules are raising project risks, leading utility executives said at the 2016 Nuclear Decommissioning & Used Fuel Strategy Summit on October 3. There are currently 18 U.S. nuclear power plants being decommissioned and this will soon increase following a recent spate of plant closure announcements due to sustained low power prices.

NRC and Palo Verde Focus on Making Nuclear Outages Safer with FLEX
Bob BementThe following is a guest post by Bob Bement, Executive Vice President at the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station (PVNGS).Learnings from the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in March of 2011 are actually impacting U.S. nuclear industry operations today, making a safe fleet even safer. One of the most significant post-Fukushima initiatives was the implementation of Diverse and Flexible Coping Strategies (FLEX), which utilizes reliable portable equipment to provide operators with a powerful tool box for responding to the most extreme situations. The industry has made great strides in improving safety using the portable equipment to protect against events similar to the one at Fukushima, however there is still significant potential for increasing safety in other areas with this equipment. We’re doing just that at Palo Verde today and, with the support of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), it will be done industry-wide.Palo Verde achieved a green risk level for th

Operators urged to prioritize labor plans to control decommissioning costs
Nuclear operators planning to close reactors must set out detailed plans for labor reductions and other regulation-driven decisions to ensure decommissioning funds cover rising cost estimates, Tom Magette, PWC's Managing Director, Nuclear Capital projects & infrastructure, told the 2016 Nuclear Decommissioning & Used Fuel Strategy Summit on October 4.

US utility’s deferred reactor clean-up shows cost pressure on early closures
The 43-year-old Fort Calhoun PWR plant in Nebraska has a license to operate until 2033 but the plant is among a number of U.S. reactors which are to be closed earlier than planned amid tough power market conditions and a lack of state support. The plant, owned by OPPD and operated by Exelon Generation, is to be shut down October 24.Related Content: US operators urged to decommission immediately to prevent cost hikesNew York carbon credits keep FitzPatrick online; Utah selects site for first SMRUS operator contracts out decom work to speed progress, prioritize consumersUS reactor closures raise urgency of new decommissioning rulesImage: Image Caption: Omaha utility OPPD is closing its Fort Calhoun plant in Nebraska due to low power prices. (Image credit: OPPD)Channels: Decommisioning

Idaho government predicts economic boom from first SMR
Power cooperative Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS) revealed last month a preferred 35-acre site within the U.S. Department of Energy's Idaho National Laboratory (INL) on which NuScale will build the U.S.' first commercial SMR. NuScale is to deliver the 600 MW Pressurized Water Plant to UAMPS by 2024-2025 and the decision to choose a plot near Idaho Falls represents a significant boost to the city’s economy.Related Content: Rolls-Royce plans UK funding surge upon SMR design approvalSMR developers shrug off Brexit fears to deepen ties with UK suppliersUS utilities join forces with SMR vendors to speed developmentNuScale targets SMR cost below $90/MWh on wider deploymentImage: Image Caption: The material and fuels complex is one of many facilities on the 570,000-acre Idaho National Laboratory site. (Image credit: INL)Channels: Small Modular Reactors

As Hurricane Matthew Approaches Florida, Nuclear Plants Prepare
Matt WaldThe following is a guest post from Matt Wald, senior director of policy analysis and strategic planning at NEI. Follow Matt on Twitter at @MattLWald.When hurricanes approach, experts tell people to stock up on drinking water and on food that doesn’t require refrigeration, top off their car gas tanks and batten down the hatches. Nuclear reactors also make preparations, with a more formal procedure. With Hurricane Matthew approaching Florida's coast, those procedures are already well advanced.Plant operators make sure their fuel tanks are topped off too. In this case, it’s diesel fuel, for the emergency generators that would start up and provide electricity for on-site needs if the high-voltage grid went down. The diesels are tested at regular intervals, in foul weather or fair, to assure a reliable back-up supply of electricity. Plant workers secure anything that could blow away. The plants are prepared to house and feed a full complement of workers, who would stay at t

Innovation Fuels the Nuclear Legacy: Southern Nuclear Employees Share Their Stories
Blake Bolt and Sharimar Colon are excited about nuclear energy. Each works at Southern Nuclear Co. and sees firsthand how their ingenuity powers the nation’s largest supply of clean energy. For Powered by Our People, they shared their stories of advocacy, innovation in the workplace and efforts to promote efficiency. Their passion for nuclear energy casts a bright future for the industry.Blake Bolt has worked in the nuclear industry for six years and is currently the work week manager at Hatch Nuclear Plant in Georgia. He takes pride in an industry he might one day pass on to his children.What is your job and why do you enjoy doing it?As a Work Week Manager at Plant Hatch, my primary responsibility is to ensure nuclear safety and manage the risk associated with work by planning, scheduling, preparing and executing work to maximize the availability and reliability of station equipment and systems. I love my job because it enables me to work directly with every department on the plant

On Eve of Presidential Debate, Nuclear Energy is One Area of Agreement
Matt WaldThe following is a guest post from Matt Wald, senior director of policy analysis and strategic planning at NEI. Follow Matt on Twitter at @MattLWald.We’ve said it often: nuclear power is a foundation of a reliable power grid, holds down carbon emissions and is a staple of local economies. But it’s nice to hear it from others as well, and earlier this month, all those points were made by the Washington State Democratic Central Committee.The committee passed a resolution calling for continued operation of the Columbia Generating Station, a publicly-owned reactor that since 1984 has been churning out 1,190 megawatts of power, enough to meet the needs of about a million households, and about 8.2 percent of the electricity generated in the state in 2014. The reactor’s output is “continuously available regardless of weather conditions,” the resolution pointed out, and can help back up the rising levels of intermittent solar and wind power. Shutting it would mean the l

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