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PROS 2015 Summer Meeting

2015 PROS Meeting will be in Texas.

A NASA tour is planned. You will love the Gulf Coast. Plan your meeting now, and have some fun too.

Read page two. News continues, don't stop on page one.

Reactor shut down after fire at 3rd nuclear power plant (update)

A view of the Maanshan Nuclear Power Plant in Taiwan’s Pingtung County (file photo)

A view of the Maanshan Nuclear Power Plant in Taiwan’s Pingtung County

A reactor at a nuclear power plant in southern Taiwan has been shut down after a fire broke out in the plant, its operator says.

The fire at the Maanshan Nuclear Power Plant in Pingtung County, apparently caused by a short-circuited transformer, broke out late on Sunday and was extinguished by the plant’s own firefighters after 17 minutes, the Taiwan Power Company (Taipower) said in a statement.

Nuclear power in Japan - Court cases frustrate efforts to restart Japan’s nuclear plants

THE world’s biggest nuclear power plant runs along nearly 4 kilometres (2½ miles) of the coast of the Sea of Japan. At full pelt it generates enough electricity to supply 2.7m households. But the seven reactors at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa complex sit idle, along with the rest of Japan’s nuclear-power facilities. Four years after meltdown at the Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant, all Japan’s 48 usable reactors are the focus of safety concerns. An industry that once produced nearly a third of Japan’s electricity remains paralysed.

Scheduled 2015 capacity additions mostly wind and natural gas; retirements mostly coal

map of capacity additions, as described in the article text

In 2015, electric generating companies expect to add more than 20 gigawatts (GW) of utility-scale generating capacity to the power grid. The additions are dominated by wind (9.8 GW), natural gas (6.3 GW), and solar (2.2 GW), which combine to make up 91% of total additions. Because different types of generating capacity have very different utilization rates, with nuclear plants and natural gas combined-cycle generators having utilization factors three to five times those of wind and solar generators, capacity measures alone do not directly show how much generation is actually provided by new capacity of each type. Nearly 16 GW of generating capacity is expected to retire in 2015, 81% of which (12.9 GW) is coal-fired generation.

Japan plans to restart some nuclear plants in 2015 after Fukushima shutdown

Graph of Japan's net electricity generation by fuel, as explained in the article text

Previously one of the world's largest producers of nuclear-generated electricity, Japan has relied heavily on fossil fuels following the meltdown at Fukushima Dai-ichi and subsequent shutdown of the country's nuclear fleet. In 2013, when almost all of Japan's nuclear fleet was shut down, more than 86% of Japan's generation mix was composed of fossil fuels. In 2014, Japan's nuclear generation was zero. The Japanese government anticipates bringing online a few nuclear facilities in 2015.

Vermont Yankee nuclear facility retires after 42 years of commercial operation

On December 29, 2014, Entergy shut down its Vermont Yankee nuclear facility after 42 years in service. Located in southeast Vermont along the Connecticut River, Vermont Yankee was a 604 megawatt boiling water reactor that began commercial operation in 1972. It has generated nearly five million megawatt hours of electricity per year since 2010, accounting for 4% of New England's total electric generation and over 70% of generation in the state of Vermont in that time period.

Building Confidence and Trust during a Nuclear or Radiological Emergency

International Experts Meeting on Assessment and Prognosis Concludes

Intense discussions and sharing lessons learned as well as innovative ideas were the hallmarks of the ninth International Experts Meeting (IEM) which focused on assessment and prognosis in response to a nuclear or radiological emergency. Two hundred experts from 70 countries and five international organizations spent 20 to 24 April sharing best practice examples from different Member States regarding how assessment and prognosis can contribute to building confidence and trust during nuclear and radiological emergencies.

NUREG/BR-0523, Mitigating Strategies: Safely Responding to Extreme Events

OVERVIEW 

The March 2011 Fukushima accident underscored how important prior planning is when it comes to safely handling extreme events at a nuclear reactor. The NRC continues to conclude U.S. plants can survive many scenarios, such as loss of offsite power or flooding. After Fukushima, however, the NRC ordered every U.S. commercial reactor to have strategies for dealing with the long-term loss of normal safety systems. Instead of figuring out which events might happen, the order focused on significantly improving the plants’ flexibility and diversity in responding to extreme natural phenomena, such as severe flooding and earthquakes.

The plants’ strategies must protect or restore key safety functions indefinitely in the case of an accident. The strategies focus on keeping the reactor core cool, preserving the containment’s barrier that prevents or controls radiation releases, and cooling the spent fuel pool. Plants with more than one reactor must be able to do this for every reactor on the site at the same time.

The strategies must protect the plant indefinitely, so plants may need to bring in additional equipment or resources. The order reflects this by having three phases with different requirements.

Most wells near Duke Energy ash ponds contaminated

Most of the private wells tested near Duke Energy’s North Carolina coal ash ponds show contaminants above state groundwater standards, state regulators said Tuesday.

Of 117 test results mailed to power plant neighbors in recent days, 87 exceeded groundwater standards, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources said.

In nearly all cases, DENR said, the well water would still meet federal standards for municipal water supplies. But health warnings included with many of the results advised that the water not be used for drinking or cooking.

Dynegy CEO: We could have to cut Illinois jobs if Exelon gets bailout

The CEO of Illinois' second-largest power generator is warning lawmakers that they will put downstate jobs at his company's coal-fired power plants at risk if they approve Exelon's proposal to hike electric bills statewide in order to provide more revenue to its Illinois nuclear fleet.

Bob Flexon, chief executive of Houston-based Dynegy, said that Illinois effectively will be sacrificing jobs downstate to protect jobs mainly in the northern half of the state if it agrees to subsidize Exelon to stave off threatened nuke closures.

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