REACTOR LICENSE RENEWAL
WHAT'S THE RUSH?
Pilgrim's 40-year license to operate expires on June 8, 2012; and despite its age, failed design, and unresolved safety and environmental issues, there is concerted pressure to rubber-stamp Entergy's application to extend its license another 20 years, to 2032.
We believe that the license extension should be postponed until the lessons learned from Fukushima are fixed and all the unresolved safety and environmental issues are fully examined in hearings before the Atomic Safety Licensing Board.
Pilgrim is a carbon copy of the Fukushima reactors and could easily fail for the same fundamental reasons: loss of electrical power, serious design flaws, and human error.
Further, Pilgrim is an "antique." It was designed and built when the Ed Sullivan Show introduced the Beatles to America. The risks for catastrophe change as reactors age, just as the risk for accident and death due for people as they get older. How many household appliances or cars do you use that are over 40 years old?
An accident can destroy not only “America’s Hometown,” but the entire region, just like in Japan; but unlike the spread of dangerous radiation in a disaster, emergency plans to evacuate or shelter the population stops at 10 miles.
Additionally, the effects from daily operations need to be considered and mitigated, as required. Pilgrim emits radiation into our air and water daily. Allowable releases have not been lowered to match today's scientific understanding of radiation's harmful health effects, and offsite monitoring is insufficient to provide a reliable "Neighborhood Watch."
Last, Pilgrim directly impacts our marine environment. It uses an outdated method to remove excess heat that it generates – once-through cooling. It draws in over 500 million gallons of water daily from Cape Cod Bay, along with fish eggs and smaller fish. Unlike our fishermen, it has an "unlimited fishing permit." Pilgrim then discharges the water at up to 120 degrees (workers reported higher temperatures) scalding the marine environment. The net effect is harm to both our valuable marine economy and to our endangered species by depleting their food supply: this is not necessary. Technology exists to lessen the impact; like everyone else, Pilgrim should be required to employ the “best technology" available to minimize adverse environmental impact.
There is no reason to rush through the relicensing process. The NRC rules allow Pilgrim to operate on its original license until a decision is made on its application; there's time to do it right.
TO UNDERSTAND THE LICENSE RENEWAL PROCESS; CHECK ON THE STATUS OF CURRENT APPLICATIONS; AND LEARN
HOW TO PARTICIPATE VISIT THE NRC'S WEBSITE http://www.nrc.gov/reactors/operating/licensing/renewal.html
All License Renewal Adjudication Filings Now Available on
NRC's Electronic Hearing Docket (EHD)
How to Access EHD
· Go to NRC's Webpage http://www.nrc.gov/public-involve.html
· Click on "Adams"- left vertical menu
· In Adams Public Doc page, Click on "Electronic Hearing Docket" (EHD)
· This brings you to http://adams.nrc.gov/ehd/
· In EHD, the reactors are on the left menu- click on Pilgrim- http://ehd1.nrc.gov/EHD/FnBrowsePage.aspx?Library=EHD2_ADAMS^HQ2KAD108&Op=Browse
· Click on "Pilgrim 50-293-LR"
· Filings are organized under Board Orders, Commission Orders, Pilgrim Exhibits, Pilgrim Misc., Pilgrim Pleadings (Motions, Responses), Pilgrim Transcripts by year submitted
NEW: Pilgrim Watch Filed Four New Contentions (December 2010, January 2011, May 12, 2011, June 1, 2011 November 18, 2011)
PILGRIM’S BURIED ELECTRIC CABLES NOT ENVIRONMENTALLY QUALIFIED FOR MOIST ENVIRONMENT- filed Dec., 12, 2010 & Jan., 20, 2011
Problem: Most safety systems at Pilgrim depend on electrical power to perform its function to prevent major accidents. Electric power travels over miles of submerged electric cables not qualified for a wet environment. Most electrical cables at Pilgrim have been exposed to significant moisture over the past 40 years from snow, rain, and its location on low land directly beside Cape Cod Bay. For example, an NRC inspection (April 2010) of 3 manholes reported (2) were periodically submerged or partially submerged and the other always submerged. A recent NRC report indicated an increasing trend in underground cable failures, and the predominant contributing factor was submergence or moisture intrusion that degraded the insulation.
Solution: Require replacing electric cables that may be subject to submergence with ones qualified for a wet environment; or require a more robust inspection program. Currently: only cables 400 V or more are tested for cable insulation degradation once every six years; the inspection program is silent on the size of the sample required and what is required if deterioration is found; no baseline inspection before license renewal; and only one inspection each year for water collection in cable manholes and conduits.
Offsite Clean Up Cost in a Severe Accident - filed Nov., 29, 2010
Problem: For license renewal, Pilgrim is required to perform a cost-benefit analysis to weigh the costs of off-site consequences in a severe accident against the costs of mitigation to reduce the risk of an accident. Entergy submitted an analysis; but currently it is not possible to do a real analysis because the federal government has not decided: (1) the clean-up standard (how clean is clean, the driving factor in determining offsite costs); what agency (NRC, EPA, DHS) is in charge of clean-up (absent a lead agency cleanup will be delayed becoming more difficult and costly); and (3) who pays (Price Anderson, the nuclear industry’s indemnity act, covers only the cost of property damage not cleanup. Who will pay?)
Solution: One option is not to grant license renewal until these three issues are resolved; or second to require the licensee to perform a more conservative analysis to assure that more mitigations would become cost effective and thereby reduce the odds that a cleanup ever would need to be required.
PILGRIM WATCH REQUEST FOR HEARING ON POST FUKUSHIMA SAMA CONTENTION - Duration Releases- filed May 12, 2011
The Environmental Report is inadequate post Fukushima Daiichi because Entergy’s SAMA analysis ignores new and significant lessons learned regarding the possible off-site radiological and economic consequences in a severe accident.
The Environmental Report is inadequate post Fukushima Daiichi because Entergy’s SAMA analysis ignores new and significant lessons learned regarding the possible off-site radiological and economic consequences in a severe accident at a GE Mark 1 reactor very similar to Pilgrim. Data from TEPCO Unit 2 shows that its nuclear chain reaction continued to generate high levels of I-131 for over a month after scram despite the efforts of TEPCO to terminate chain reaction by injection of borated water. Pilgrim’s SAMA source terms have durations of at most 24 hours duration, the maximum plume duration allowed by the MACCS2 code, which assumes that once the accident begins with reactor scram, a reactor completely ceases production of "fresh" short-lived iodines, such as I-131, which pose great radiological hazard if inhaled or ingested. By design, MACCS2 is unable to model the consequences of an accident at a reactor where the fission chain reaction continues apace despite reactor scram. This phenomenon was also noted at the Chernobyl Unit 4 accident of April 26, 1986, where, after large amounts of materials were dropped on the uncovered core, the nuclear chain reaction was observed to greatly accelerate and reach a peak on May 1, 1986, which resulted in large unanticipated radiation exposures at the May Day parade in Kiev. It seems possible that the accident containment measures taken at both Chernobyl and Fukushima introduced neutron moderators which allowed the fission reaction that had probably been stopped to later begin anew. Because of the huge design differences between the two reactors, their ongoing chain reactions indicate a fundamental shortcoming in not just the MACCS2 code, but with all PRAs conducted using tools based on the NRC's PRA Procedures Guide. All known reactor accident analysis codes assume that I-131 available for release from a reactor core's inventory decreases according to its 8-day radiological half-life. No consequence code in the world allows the modeling of releases from reactor cores where the fission chain reaction continues many weeks after scram. While the resumption of fission at Chernobyl may have been ascribed to the graphite-moderated design, such is not the case at Fukushima and Pilgrim.
PILGRIM WATCH REQUEST FOR HEARING ON A NEW CONTENTION REGARDING INADEQUACY OF ENVIRONMENTAL REPORT, POST FUKUSHIMA - Increased probability of a severe accident and consequences than previously assumed -filed June 1, 2011
Based on new and significant information from Fukushima, the Environmental Report is inadequate post Fukushima Daiichi. Entergy’s SAMA analysis ignores new and significant issues raised by Fukushima regarding the probability of both containment failure, and subsequent larger off-site consequences due to failure of the direct torus vent (DTV) to operate.
In its SAMA analysis for PNPS, Entergy followed conventional NRC practice and assumed very low probabilities, not only that any accident would occur at all, but also that in the event of an accident there would not be:
(i) Pressure-build up within the containment;
(ii) A significant delay in even attempting to vent the containment because of operator error;
(iii) Failure/Inoperability of the Direct Torus Vent; and
(iv) Catastrophic failure of the containment.
The NRC years ago recognized that “Mark I failure within the first few hours following core melt would appear rather likely;" a 90% likelihood of containment failure.
The events at Fukushima showed that there is an equally high likelihood that the supposed “fix,” the DTV, will fail also. Three direct torus vents should have opened, one at each of the three Fukushima, Mark I reactors. All three failed to do so; and, as expected, all three containments failed.
Entergy’s prior SAMA analysis, based on hopeful, purely theoretical “facts” was plainly inadequate. It must be required to conduct a new analysis – based on what Fukushima has taught about reality.
Pilgrim Watch Request For Hearing On A New Contention Regarding Inadequacy Of Environmental Report, Post Fukushima - Cost/Benefit analysis did not model aqueous discharges offsite -Filed November 18, 2011
The contention reads:
Based on new and significant information from Fukushima, the Environmental Report is inadequate post Fukushima Daiichi. Entergy’s SAMA analysis ignores new and significant issues raised by Fukushima regarding the probability of both containment failure, and subsequent larger off-site consequences due, in part, to the need for flooding the reactor (vessel, containment, pool) with huge amounts of water in a severe accident, as at Fukushima. “An important limitation of the MACCS2 code is that it does not currently model and analyze aqueous transport and dispersion of radioactive materials through the subsurface water, sediment, soils, and groundwater. As demonstrated by the recent events in Japan, certain accident scenarios can result in large volumes of contaminated water being generated by emergency measures to cool the reactor cores and SFPs, with yet to be determined offsite radiological consequences. To determine the relative risk significance of these types of scenarios, (Pilgrim’s) Level 3 PRA must (model and analyze) the aqueous transport and dispersion of radioactive materials.” Further, there is no provision within the Severe Accident Mitigation Guidelines (SAMGs) for processing the water post accident. This important technical gap in Entergy’s SAMA needs to be addressed before closing this proceeding. As in Japan, enormous quantities of contaminated water are likely to enter Cape Cod Bay (adding to radioactive atmospheric fallout on the waters and contamination resulting from aqueous transport and dispersion of radioactive materials through subsurface water, sediments, soils and groundwater) and then flow to other water bodies and shores posing significant offsite consequences and costs, threatening the health of citizens and the ecosystem and damaging the economy.
In the license renewal process, the Applicant is required under 10 CFR §51(c)(ii)(L) to perform a severe mitigation analysis if they had not previously done so. The purpose of a SAMA review is to ensure that any plant changes that have a potential for significantly improving severe accident safety performance are identified and addressed.
Post Fukushima Daiichi, it plainly is necessary to redo Pilgrim’s SAMA analysis to take into account new and significant information learned from Fukushima regarding the probability of containment failure in the event of an accident and the concomitant probability of a significantly larger volume of off-site consequences due to the need for flooding the reactor (vessel, containment, pool) with huge amounts of water in a severe accident, as at Fukushima. This source of contamination would add to that resulting from aqueous transport and dispersion of radioactive materials through subsurface water, sediments, soils and groundwater, plus atmospheric fallout on the waters - resulting in three sources of contamination in the waters.
The computer code to model the cost-benefit analysis (MACCS2), that Entergy chose to use for its SAMA, does not currently model and analyze aqueous transport and dispersion of radioactive materials; and there is no provision within the Severe Accident Mitigation Guidelines (SAMGs) for processing the water post accident, just as there was no discussion in NUREG/CR-5634. Lessons learned from Fukushima show that we are now placed at significant risk. As in Japan, if there should be a severe accident at Pilgrim, enormous quantities of contaminated water are likely to enter Cape Cod Bay and other waters (adding to the radioactive atmospheric fallout on the water and runoff) posing significant offsite consequences and costs, threatening the health of citizens and the ecosystem and damaging the economy. NEPA requires that these technical gaps be addressed prior to any licensing decision. Absent addressing these gaps, Entergy fails to satisfy the purpose of its required SAMA review to ensure that any plant changes that have a potential for significantly improving severe accident safety performance are identified and addressed.
 SECY-11,0089, Enclosure 1, pg., 29; http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/commission/secys/2011/2011-0089scy.pdf; and Commission Voting Record, Decision Item SECY-11-0089, September 21, 2011, http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/commission/cvr/2011/2011-0089vtr.pdf
NEW: Mass. Attorney General Filed New Contentions (June 2, 2011) Spent Fuel
The AGO filed numerous filing June 2, 2011 on spent fuel storage asking to suspend license renewal until the new and significant information learned from Fukushima may be brought forward by the AGO’s experts.
WILL THE LIGHTS STAY ON IF PILGRIM IS NOT RE-LICENSED?
At the April 6, 2011 Massachusetts State House Hearing called in response to the Fukushima accident and its implications for the Commonwealth, ISO New England testified. The video is accessible at http://www.malegislature.gov/Events/EventDetail?eventId=733&eventDataSource=VideoService&videoSource=jnt ; ISO’s presentation is from 121.50-145.
Beginning at 138.56 on the video, Senator Downing, on behalf of Senator Wolf, asked ISO what the effect on the grid would be if Pilgrim were not relicensed – in other words, would the lights stay on?
Mr. Roark, ISO, replied that we would have other sources to make up power that would be lost if Pilgrim shut down. I note that Pilgrim when Pilgrim shuts down for refuelingthe lights remain on in the region.
Mr. Roark opined that there may be a need for transmission upgrades in the area; however he noted that ISO was working on transmission upgrades to Cape Cod that would be ready in a few years and would likely have spill- over effect to Pilgrim’s geographic area. Transmission upgrades go through three stages- study, citing and construction. (Video at 143)
PILGRIM NUCLEAR POWER STATION LICENSE RENEWAL APPLICATION PROCESS
Pilgrim Watch and the Massachusetts Attorney General took part in the adjudication process in Entergy’s license renewal application for the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station. Lessons learned; what happened; how to access key filings?
Pilgrim Watch submitted five contentions for consideration, Pilgrim Watch’s Request for Hearing and Petition to Intervene in Pilgrim’s License Renewal.
1. The Aging Management Plan does not adequately inspect and monitor for leaks in all systems and components that may contain radioactively contaminated water.
2. The Aging Management Plan is inadequate because it does not adequately monitor for corrosion in the Drywell Container.
3. The Environmental Report is inadequate because it ignores the true off-site radiological and economic consequences at Pilgrim in its Severe Accident Mitigation Alternative (SAMA) analysis.
4. The Environmental Report fails to address Severe Accident Mitigation Alternatives (SAMAs) which reduce the potential for spent fuel pool water loss and fires.
5. New Information shows that another twenty years of operations at Pilgrim may have greater off-site radiological impacts on human health than was previously known.
Two of these contentions concern defects in the Applicant’s Aging Management Plan, and three concern defects in the Applicant’s Environmental Report. We believe that all of these contentions should be admissible and met the requirements of 10 CFR § 2.309.
To view Pilgrim Watch’s Motion to Intervene, see: NRC Document library at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams/web-based.html. Adams Accession Number ML061630125
The Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (ASLB) accepted for adjudication two motions, Contention 1 and 3:
regarding inspection of underground leaks: The board will limit
the contention to buried pipes and tanks that fall within those
described in 10 CFR part 54. As so limited, the admitted contention
reads as follows: The Aging Management program proposed is inadequate
with regard to aging management of buried pipes and tanks that contain
radioactively contaminated water, because it does not provide for
monitoring wells that would detect leakage.
Contention 1: Sufficiency of Aging Management Plan Regarding Buried Pipes and Tanks that may contain radioactively contaminated water
Entergy and NRC Staff argued that the Aging Management Program (AMP) is sufficient. The AMP Buried Piping and Tanks Inspection Program is described in Appendix A and B of Pilgrim's license renewal filing. It says that buried components will be inspected when excavated during maintenance, and that a focused inspection will be performed within ten years unless an opportunistic inspection occurs within this period. “Inspections via methods that allow assessment of pipe condition without excavation may be substituted for inspections requiring excavation solely for the purposes of inspection.” These latter inspections can include phased array Ultrasonic Testing (UT) technology that provides indication of wall thickness for buried piping without excavation. The application says that use of such methods to identify the effects of aging is preferable to excavation for visual inspection, which could result in damage to coatings or wrapping. (Application, B.1.2, page B-17). However, UT methods to measure the thickness of the component, as stated by the applicant would not necessarily detect a hole or crack in the component. And “array UT technology” implies testing only selected areas of the pipe/tank, not testing along the entire structure’s surface area. Simply testing selected areas can miss holes, cracks or vulnerably thin sections of these components. The application also states that these methods have not been used in the past, so there is no operating experience to rely on. The AMP requires that an additional inspection must occur sometime during the last 10 years of the original licensed operations. There are no specifics provided in the regulation concerning which components must be inspected, the sample size or location of the inspections.
Pilgrim Watch maintained that neither the Aging Management Program for buried pipes and tanks, nor the inspections and tests performed as part of routine maintenance and operation, provide reasonable assurance that the effects of aging will be managed such that the buried pipes within scope and under consideration will perform their intended functions consistent with the current licensing basis for the period of extended operation. Therefore in order to protect public safety, the aging management program must be enhanced or supplemented with: (1) a more robust inspection system; (2) cathodic protection; (3) a base line inspection prior to license extension; and (4) an effective monitoring well program or the Application must be denied.
The ASLB modified Pilgrim Watch’s original contention. As originally accepted by the Board in 2006, Petitioner’s Contention 1 said: “The Aging Management Program proposed is inadequate with regard to aging management of buried pipes and tanks that contain radioactively contaminated water, because it does not provide for monitoring wells that would detect leakage.” On October 17, 2007 (Summary Disposition Order), the ASLB modified its original order to say that leaks per se were beyond scope, and that the issue under Contention 1 was: “…whether Pilgrim’s existing AMPs have elements that provide appropriate assurance as required under relevant NRC regulations that the buried pipes and tanks will not develop leaks so great as to cause those pipes and tanks to be unable to perform their intended safety functions.” On December 19, 2007 and January 11, 2008, the Board modified Contention 1 yet again, this time limiting it to leaks of radioactive water that were so great as to permit a design base failure. The effect of the interlocutory decisions was to prevent Pilgrim Watch from including within scope a number of the key ways in which the Aging Management Program (AMP) did not provide reasonable assurance that radioactive or other leakage from buried pipes and tanks would comply with the current licensing basis (“CLB”) during license renewal.
The Board denied Pilgrim Watch’s Petition, Initial Decision, LBP- 06-848, October 30, 2008
Pilgrim Watch filed an appeal with the NRC Commission Pilgrim Watch Petition for Review of LBP-06-848, November 12, 2008 - Adams Accession Number ML083240599. In the appeal, Pilgrim Watch outlined the errors in the Board’s Decisions. In both its Interlocutory and Initial Decisions, the Board improperly limited the scope of the hearing to exclude specific CLB requirements that (1) leakage of radioactive water must be prevented and monitored to assure compliance with the CLB dose limits to the public and control of releases of radioactive materials to the environment and (2) whether or not leaks are “too great,” radioactive water leaks from buried pipes and tanks must be “promptly identified and corrected.” Leak prevention and detection is an implicit element in the AMP during license renewal. Also, in its Initial Decision, the Board applied an improper standard of “reasonable assurance;” and also improperly refused to consider evidence presented by Pilgrim Watch before the hearing was closed.
Pilgrim Watch subsequently filed, Pilgrim Watch's Notice to the Commission Regarding New and Significant Information Pertaining to Pilgrim Watch's Petition for Review of LBP-06-848, January 21,2010 to inform the Commission of the following. On December 2, 2009, the NRC staff issued SECY-09-0174. In SECY-09-0174, at 3, the staff reviewed current regulations and reached a conclusion diametrically opposed to that of the ASLB. According to the Staff, “With regard to buried piping, the goals of current regulations are to ensure that the piping is able to perform its intended safety function by supplying sufficient fluid flow and to maintain inadvertent releases below licensee’s technical specifications or other applicable limits.” (Italics added) On pages 6 and 7, the staff says:
On December 2, 2009, the NRC staff issued SECY-09-0174. In SECY-09-0174, at 3, the staff reviewed current regulations and reached a conclusion diametrically opposed to that of the ASLB. According to the Staff, “With regard to buried piping, the goals of current regulations are to ensure that the piping is able to perform its intended safety function by supplying sufficient fluid flow and to maintain inadvertent releases below licensee’s technical specifications or other applicable limits.” (Italics added) On pages 6 and 7, the staff says:
Conclusions: With regard to buried piping, the goals of current regulations are to ensure that the piping is able to perform its intended safety function by supplying sufficient fluid flow and to maintain inadvertent releases below licensee’s technical specifications or other applicable limits which apply at the site boundary. (pg 7, italics added)
Thus, SECY-09-0174 makes clear that the ASLB was incorrect in concluding that the only thing that matters about buried pipes and tanks was that are so great as to permit a design base failure.
Filings Available - NRC's Electronic Library
To view all the many filings in this case go to the NRC Document library http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams/web-based.html , begin “Adams Search” and enter “Pilgrim Watch.”
The major filings are as follows:
* Pilgrim Watch Presents Statements of Position, Direct Testimony And Exhibits Under 10 CFR 2.1207, March 3, 2008 ML080740410.
Exhibits include, for example: Exhibit 1, Gundersen Decl. and CV; Exhibit 2, Ahlfeld Decl. and CV; Exhibit 14, Entergy's
"Exhibit 5," Buried Pipes Tanks Inspection Monitoring Program (BPTIMP); Exhibit 25, approximate location Pilgrim's Monitoring Wells
* Evidentiary Hearing Transcript, April 2008 - Adams Accession Number ML081070329
* Pilgrim Watch Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law, June 2009 - Adams Accession Number ML081650345
* Entergy Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law, June 2009 - Adams Accession Number ML081640506
* NRC Staff Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law, June 2009 - Adams Accession Number ML081610820
* ASLB Ruling on Contention 1, October 2008 - Adams Accession Number ML083040206
* Pilgrim Watch Petition for Review of LBP-06-848 - Adams Accession Number ML083240599
* Entergy’s Answer Opposing Pilgrim Watch’s Petition for Review, November 2008- Adams Accession Number ML083380181
* NRC Staff’s Answer Opposing Pilgrim Watch’s Petition for Review, November 2008- Adams Accession Number ML083300089
* Pilgrim Watch Reply to Entergy’s Answer in Opposition to Pilgrim Watch’s Petition for Review, December 2008- Adams Accession
* Pilgrim Watch Reply to NRC Staff’s Answer in Opposition to Pilgrim Watch’s Petition for Review, December 2008- Adams Accession
(1) Scope: We advise that subsequent Petitioners do not restrict the motion to intervene to only those systems and components containing radioactively contaminated water; instead we recommend a motion with words to the effect, “The Aging Management Plan does not adequately inspect and monitor for leaks in all buried systems and components within scope or in the partially buried sections of systems and components within scope.”
The result would be to bring into play not only buried components that may contain radioactive liquids but also the buried pipes and tanks for the fuel oil system, the station blackout diesel generator system, the fire protection system and the water inflow piping that do not contain radioactive material but are within scope. Additionally including the buried sections of components within scope would allow consideration of the below grade portion of spent fuel pools, for example.
(2) Regarding the sufficiency of the Aging Management Program (AMP) consider if the program includes: robust inspection system, cathodic protection, a base line inspection prior to license extension, and an effective monitoring well program.
(3) Is the adequacy of the Aging Management Program judged simply on whether it provides “reasonable assurance” that the components will not leak so much as to cause a design base failure (argued by the applicant and ASLB in Pilgrim’s case); or whether the standard is to assure that the Current Licensing Basis (CLB) will be maintained throughout the renewal period based upon 10 C.F.R § 54.21 and 10 C.F.R § 54.29 (Pilgrim Watch’s position).
(4) Does the Applicant provide the requisite level of proof to demonstrate “reasonable assurance?” The applicant has the burden of proving reasonable assurance by a clear preponderance of the evidence. Metropolitan Edison Co. (Three Mile Island Nuclear Station, Unit 1), ALAB-697, 16 N.R.C. 1265, 1271 (1982) (citing 10 C.F.R. § 2.325).
Pilgrim Watch found that the majority of the Board failed to recognize that proving “reasonable assurance” with a “clear preponderance” of the evidence [North Anna Envtl., Coalition v. NRC, 533 F. 2d 655, 667-68 (D.C. Cir. 1976)] is a two step process. Without defining what level of assurance is “reasonable assurance,” there is no way in which any Board, or the NRC Commission, can determine whether Entergy, or any other licensee, has proved, by a “clear preponderance” that an undefined standard has been met. In short, if the standard for “reasonable assurance” is not defined, there is no way to determine if a “clear preponderance of the evidence” shows that the standard of “reasonable assurance” will be met.
Contention 3: Applicant's SAMA analysis is deficient.
Motion as accepted by Board
The Applicant’s SAMA analysis is deficient in that the input data concerning (1) evacuation times, (2) economic consequences, and (3) meteorological patterns are incorrect, resulting in incorrect conclusions about the costs versus benefits of possible mitigation alternatives, such that further analysis is called for.
Entergy's Motion for Summary Disposition - Appeal - Commission Remand
Entergy's Motion for Summary Disposition
Entergy moved for Summary Disposition on May 17, 2007. On October 30, 2007 a majority of the Board (Majority) granted Entergy’s motion [Memorandum and Order Ruling on Motion to Dismiss Petitioner’s Contention (Order)]. In an extensive dissent, Chief Judge Young correctly said, (Order, p. 40), “Notwithstanding applicable controlling precedent, my colleagues have in all practical effect weighed the evidence in an attempt to “untangle the expert affidavits and decide ‘which experts are more correct,’” and in doing so have also inappropriately found some of the information provided by Intervenors to be improper based on incorrect characterizations of what we did and did not exclude in admitting Contention 3…” Pilgrim Watch Petitioned the Commission to review the Order and conclude, as did Judge Young, that the Majority overlooked and ignored genuine issues of material fact that petitioners presented through their reputable experts and improperly granted Entergy’s Motion for Summary Disposition.
Meteorology: Entergy assumes a straight-line Gaussian plume distribution model whereas Pilgrim Watch’s expert, Dr. Bruce Egan, demonstrated that a variable trajectory model instead was appropriate for Pilgrim’s coastal location and would yield different results. See Declaration Dr. Bruce Egan, June 2007 attached to Pilgrim Watch’s Answer - Adams Accession Number ML071840568.
Note also that Dr. Egan has provided testimony in support of the New York Attorney General’s intervention on the SAMA analysis in the license renewal application for Indian Point. There he demonstrated that the straight-line Gaussian plume model again underestimated consequences and instead a variable trajectory model was required in Indian Point’s hilly terrain and river-side location.
Economic Consequences: The entire applicant’s cost calculations, and the Majority’s “findings,” assume Gaussian Plume meteorological inputs, and, as a result, that a radiological release will affect only a very small area –key hole or wedge. Proper inputs specific to Pilgrim indicate a far larger affected area (potentially including the densely populated centers of Boston, Providence and Cape Cod in summer); greater consequences/costs and a large increase in evacuation times. These were ignored by the Majority’s cost-benefit analysis. In addition other costs were either ignored or underestimated. Pilgrim Watch showed that the inputs and the MACCS2 used by the applicant is not the proper diagnostic tool to assess economic consequences. The Petitioner went to David Chanin who coded the cost model of the MACCS and MACCS2. He stated [Chanin Declaration for Pilgrim Watch] that, ““I have spent many many hours pondering how MACCS2 could be used to calculate economic costs and concluded it was impossible. (and) Speaking as the sole individual who was responsible for writing the FORTRAN in question, which was done many years prior to my original work in SAND 96-0957, I think it’s foolish to think that any useful cost estimates can be obtained with the cost model built into MACCS2….The economic cost numbers produced by MACCS2 have absolutely no basis…If you want to discuss economic costs, I’d be glad to discuss SAND96-0957, but the “cost model” of MACCS2 is not worth anyone’s time.”
See Declaration David Chanin, June 2007 attached to Pilgrim Watch’s Answer - Adams Accession Number “ML071840568;”
Evacuation Time estimates: With respect to evacuation, the majority accepted the Applicant’s unrealistically low time estimates that relied on: (1) an inappropriate model for the Pilgrim site, the straight-line Gaussian Plume Model; and (2) the incorrect assumption of Entergy’s evacuation time estimate contractor, KLD Associates, that not everyone within 10 miles of Pilgrim would have to evacuate - instead only those 2-miles around and others in the direction of the narrow radiation plume, most within the 2-5 mile wedge. KLD ignored shadow evacuation of those outside the 10 mile zone and KLD’s time estimates ignored peak traffic times. Increased exposure from delayed evacuation and consequent projected health related costs in the evacuee population would be greater if an appropriate variable trajectory plume model and correct assumptions were used in KLD’s time estimates. [See Pilgrim Watch’s Answer to Entergy’s Motion for Summary Disposition, June 29, 2007 at 10-23,25,30,33,41-43,54-55,57,59,65,72,87-89; and attached Egan Decl. at 3. 5-7; Zeigler and Town of Duxbury Selectman Martecchini Decl. regarding “shadow evacuation” (June 20, 2007)- Adams Accession Number ML071840568].
Why is the Dispute Important? A proper SAMA analysis means whether the community will get the added safety enhancements that w e deserve as the 40 year old reactor goes forward another 20 years.
Entergy says that “the SAMA closest to becoming potentially cost-effective had a baseline benefit of approximately $2.5 million.” This figure is based upon Entergy's use of the inappropriate straight-line Gaussian plume model inputs. Entergy ignores its own estimates of per person costs and the total potentially effected population. Using Entergy’s own estimates, “baseline benefit” using a variable trajectory severe accident plume will be far more than $2.5 million: within only the 0-10 mile SSW sector, the potential cost could exceed $3 Billion, and the potential cost to those within 50 miles could be over $1 trillion. The Staff also ignores Sandia National Laboratory’s 1982 ($81.8 Billion, based on 1980 dollars) estimate of the cost of a Pilgrim core melt, and Dr. Beyea’s more recent study for Mass AG estimating the cost from a C-137 Spent Fuel Pool Fire at PNPS at $105-488 Billion (PW Ans. at 43 and 88).
Contrary to the Board’s conclusion, “there are facts at issue which can effect whether or not a particular SAMA (or mitigation) is cost effective.”
Pilgrim Watch's Appeal to NRC Commissioners (November 2008)
The fundamental issue was whether disputed material facts made granting Entergy's summary disposition improper. The Board majority misunderstood (or ignored) important material disputed facts, improperly weighed evidence in violation of summary judgment rules and failed to review evidence presented in light most favorable to PW.
NRC Commissioner's Remand (March 26,2010) CLI-10-11
The Commission over-ruled the Board and sent a portion of the contention back for hearing (CLI-10-11). A scheduling conference call will occur May 4, 2010. Pilgrim Watch field a Motion for Reconsideration April 5, 2010 in order to broaden the scope of the hearing to where it properly belongs. The Commission has yet to rule on the Motion for Reconsideration.
Pilgrim Watch's Motion for Reconsideration (April 5, 2010)
Pilgrim Watch argues that in the Commission's Order, sections III.A and B, the Commission Order correctly found that Contention 3 raised disputed issues of material fact with respect to “input data concerning … meteorological patterns” (“the majority’s decision is not sufficiently comprehensive to support the summary disposition of Contention 3;” “genuine factual issues remain.” (CLI at 25) Accordingly, the Commission Order correctly reversed the majority’s summary dismissal of the meteorological patterns issue in Contention 3 and remanded the issue for hearing. (CLI at 26)
However, the Commission Order went beyond whether summary disposition was justified. The Commission rewrote Contention 3 to limit “input data concerning ….economic consequences” to exclude any input data concerning the effects of a spent fuel accident; and, even in the NRC’s limited accident scenario, to exclude inputs concerning decontamination/interdiction clean-up costs and health costs, all of which are indisputably “economic consequences. (CLI at 28-30). The Commission Order went on to further limit input data concerning economic costs “to the extent that … meteorological patterns may materially call into question the relevant economic cost and evacuation timing conclusions in the Pilgrim SAMA analysis.” (CLI at 36-37)
The Commission’s decision to rewrite Contention 3 and to limit the inputs that require “further analysis” was wrong, could not have been reasonably anticipated by Pilgrim Watch, and should be reconsidered.
To view all the many filings in this case go to the NRC Document library http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams/web-based.html , begin “Adams Search” and enter “Pilgrim Watch.”
The major filings are as follows:
Primary “lessons learned”
(1) Meteorologist: Engage a meteorologist and become familiar with the expert declarations filed in Pilgrim’s and Indian Point’s License Renewal Adjudications so that you will understand whether the plume distribution model used by the Applicant was inappropriate and served to minimize consequences.
(2) Computer Code: Determine if the applicant used the MACCS or MACCS2 computer code and if so learn about the inherent assumptions and deficiencies in those codes.
Contention 4: The Environmental Report fails to address Severe Accident Mitigation Alternatives (SAMAs) which reduce the potential for spent fuel pool water loss and fires.
Pilgrim Watch, like the Massachusetts Attorney General, filed a motion regarding spent fuel storage. Likewise the New York Attorney General’s Office and Riverkeeper have done likewise in Indian Point’s License Renewal Application.
The Atomic Safety Licensing Board ruled that they would not accept Pilgrim Watch’s motion for adjudication claiming that NRC rules governing license renewal do not allow adjudication on spent fuel pools in discussions regarding SAMA analyses. Pilgrim Watch explained in the Petition for Review why the Board’s ruling was incorrect. The Board referred to the wrong section of the rules, Section 6 in NUREG – 1437 (GEIS), when they should have looked at Section 5.
Specifically: The pertinent portion of the GEIS, Section 5, deals with severe accidents. Nothing in it excludes the spent fuel pool that has the largest inventory of radioactive material and hence the potential for the most severe consequences. Severe accidents are defined in Section 5 because of their severe consequences, and are “severe” whether regardless of whether they originate from the core or the spent fuel pool. The ASLB, Entergy and NRC Staff mistakenly relied instead on Section 6 of the GEIS that deals with normal operations. Section 6 specifically says that, “Accidental releases or noncompliance with the standards could conceivably result in releases that would cause moderate or radiological impacts. Such conditions are beyond the scope of regulations controlling normal operations…” GEIS, Sec. 6.1. Severe accidents are not part of normal operations so Section 5 should apply.
Further Pilgrim Watch brought forward new and significant information that should have triggered the inclusion of the spent fuel in the environmental review.
Filings - Pilgrim Watch
Pilgrim Watch’s Motion to Intervene, Contention 4, May 2006- Adams Accession Number ML061630125
ASLB Memorandum and Order (Ruling on Standing and Contentions of Petitioners Massachusetts Attorney General and Pilgrim watch (LBP-06-23) - Adams Accession Number ML062890259
Pilgrim Watch Petition for Review LBP-06-23 (Spent Fuel Storage) Memorandum And Order (Ruling On Standing And Contentions Of Petitioners Massachusetts Attorney General And Pilgrim Watch) Issued October 16, 2006 - Adams Accession Number ML083240599
Primary Lessons Learned
There is no need to reinvent the wheel; read: the Massachusetts Attorney General’s filings in Entergy’s license renewal application of Pilgrim and Vermont Yankee; the New York Attorney General’s filings and Riverkeeper’s filings in Indian Point’s License Renewal Adjudication on spent fuel. Last see the comments to NRC’s Proposed Waste Confidence Decision Update NRC-2008-0482 . Especially valuable are: Comment (26) by Diane Curran Prepared for Texans for a Sound Energy Policy, et al. on Waste Confidence Decision Update and Consideration of Environmental Impacts of Temporary Storage of Spent Fuel After Cessation of Reactor Operation and Comments by various Attorney Generals (comment 13, 15 and 21).
Massachusetts Attorney General
Commonwealth’s Contention on Risks of Spent Fuel Pool Accidents
The Massachusetts Attorney General filed a Motion to Intervene in Entergy’s License Renewal Application for Pilgrim and Vermont Yankee on the environmental consequences of spent fuel storage. The AGO argued that, “Entergy’s application failed to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and other applicable law because the application failed to address new and significant information on the risk of severe accidents involving spent fuel pools caused by terrorist attacks, natural phenomena, equipment failure, or operator error.” The new and significant information included a 2001 Report by the National Academies of Sciences, an expert report prepared by Dr. Gordon Thompson on spent fuel pool vulnerability, and an expert report by Dr. Jan Beyea on the consequences of a pool fire- thousands of cancers and billions of dollars of economic damages contaminating well beyond the borders of Massachusetts. In light of this new information, the NRC must revisit the conclusion of the 1996 License renewal Generic Environmental Impact Statement (GEIS) that spent fuel pool storage posed no significant environmental impacts. The AGO also asked the NRC to reverse its policy of refusing to consider the environmental impacts of intentional attacks based upon the decision of the 9th Circuit Court in the San Luis Obispo for Peace vs. NRC case.
Pilgrim- Massachusetts Attorney General's Request for a Hearing and Petition for Leave to Intervene with Respect to Entergy Nuclear Operations Inc.'s Application for Renewal of the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant Operating Licensee Massachusetts, May 2006 -Adams Accession Number ML061630088
Massachusetts Attorney General's Request for a Hearing and Petition for Leave to Intervene with Respect to Entergy Nuclear Operations Inc.'s Application for Renewal of the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant Operating License , May 2006- Adams Accession Number 061640065
NRC Rejects Commonwealth’s Contentions: The Atomic Safety Board denied the Motion, October 16, 2006, claiming that the contention impermissibly challenged NRC’s regulation precluding consideration of the environmental impacts of spent fuel storage and terrorism in NRC license renewal proceedings. NRC had determined in the 1996 GEIS that spent fuel pool storage impacts are insignificant. The ASLB concluded that the Commonwealth must instead petition the NRC to change its rules or seek a waiver of the regulations.
Memorandum and Order (Ruling on Standing and Contentions of Petitioners Massachusetts Attorney General and Pilgrim Watch) (LBP-06-23), October 2006-Adams Accession Number ML062890259
Commonwealth Files Alternative Rulemaking Petition: While disagreeing with the ASLB’s decision, the Attorney General Petitioned the NRC for a Rule Change.
Massachusetts Attorney General's Petition for Rulemaking to Amend 10 CFR part 51 (PRM 51-10), August 25, 2006, ADAMS Accession NO ML062640409.
Commonwealth files administrative appeals of ASLB decisions: To preserve its rights, the Attorney General filed administrative appeals to the NRC Commissioners.
The Commission denied the appeal in CLI-07-03, January 22, 2007.
Initial Proceedings before 1st Circuit Court of Appeals: Simultaneously the Attorney General appealed to the First Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston to make spent fuel storage part of re-licensing procedures for the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station, Plymouth MA, and the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station in Vernon, Vt. on March 22, 2007. The Commonwealth asked the Court to reverse and remand CLI-07-03 and direct the NRC to withhold any final decision in the license applications for Pilgrim and Vermont Yankee until the Commission considers and rules on the Commonwealth’s new and significant information in accordance with NEPA and AEA and any further rulings by the court and the Commission applies those considerations and rulings to these relicensing proceedings.
The Court determined that it could not rule because the NRC had not issued a final order regarding the rulemaking petition; and that the Commonwealth would have the opportunity in the future to raise these issues as an Interested State and, as appropriate, seek judicial review. NRC’s decision to dismiss the Commonwealth from the individual proceedings was not a final order with respect to the Commonwealth’s NEPA and AEA claims involving spent fuel pool accidents.
Subsequently in 2008 the NRC issued its Rulemaking Making Decision denying the Commonwealth’s Petition for Rule Change (PRM 51-10) as well as a parallel petition filed by the state of California (PRM 51-12).
See Notice of Denial of Petitions for Rulemaking PRM 51-10 and PRM 51-12, NRC ADAMS Accession No. ML081890124; Fed. Reg. 46,204, August 8, 2008, Rulemaking decision.
The Commonwealth and two other states have appealed the Rulemaking Decision, and those three appeals are pending in the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
See Massachusetts v. United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission, No. 08-2267
(1 st Cir. filed Sept. 30, 2008)(now under Order of transfer to the Second Circuit). State of New York v. United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission, No. 08-3903-ag (2nd Cir. Filed Aug. 8, 2008). Blumenthal v. United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission, No. 08-4833-ag (2nd Cir. filed Oct. 1, 2008).
In the appeal to the Circuit Court, the Commonwealth will argue that the NRC relied on extra-record evidence, classified studies, and other undisclosed documents never subject to public review or comment or an environmental impact statement process, and it offered only conclusory assurances without record support on the adequacy of mitigation measures to address spent fuel pool risks raised in the Commonwealth’s rulemaking petition. See the Preliminary Statement inserted below.
The ASLB then issued LBP-08-22 to resolve remaining issues before it and approve the license renewal. The ASLB determined that unless appealed LBP-08-22 shall become the final action of the commission and terminated the Pilgrim relicensing proceeding.
The Attorney General also filed a Petition for Review of LBP-08-22 with the NRC Commission, December 2008 arguing that the NRC cannot close out the Pilgrim relicensing while the question of whether it complied with statutory preconditions (NEPA, AEA)to relicensing is still being adjudicated in a separate pending proceeding. Hence the NRC wither can defer concluding the relicensing until he litigation is completed and the court ruling is properly addressed in the relicensing or condition the license extension on compliance with the court ruling.
Petition for Review of LBP-08-22, December 1, 2008 Adams Accession Number ML083190045
Process - Lessons Learned
(1) Finances: The expense of litigation (filing, witness and legal fees) and lack of resources for many in the public result in the public’s inability to fairly participate in the process. Although the rules say that. “Where an Intervenor would call a witness but for the Intervenor's financial inability to do so, the Licensing Board may call the witness as a Board witness and authorize NRC payment of the usual witness fees and expenses. The decision to take such action is a matter of Licensing Board discretion which should be exercised with circumspection. If the Board calls such a witness as its own, it should limit cross-examination to the scope of the direct examination.” Consumers Power Co. (Midland Plant, Units 1 & 2),-ALAB-382, 5 NRC 603, 607-08 (1977). The problem of course is there are expenses beyond witnesses – filing /copying fees and legal fees; and, “the decision to take such action is a matter of Licensing Board discretion.” A solution would be for the NRC to assess all licensees to establish a “kitty” for Petitioners to tap in once they are accepted into the adjudicatory process and meet a pre-determined qualifying financial level.
(2) NRC Staff: The adjudication technically is between two parties, the Applicant and the Petitioner. The problem is that the NRC Legal and Technical Staff take an active role in all respects similar to the two parties – filing motions, replies, presenting witnesses, etc. In cases to date the NRC has taken the side of the Applicant so that the Petitioner is placed at an unfair disadvantage - 2 to 1. A solution to consider is to change the procedure so that the NRC Staff should simply be allowed to file amicus briefs, as appropriate.
(3) Document Research, Level Playing Field: Petitioners are not given the same ease of access to ADAMS documents as the NRC Legal and Technical Staff – who only theoretically are neutral but in reality represent the Applicant. The NRC Staff can go straight to a "bundling" code...and get everything on a particular issue under review up on the screen in one index in one shot. The public is not given access to these bundles or codes; therefore to do research requires accessing each document as an individual search, wading through tons of extraneous and useless documents and then loading up a pdf on the world's slowest and most dysfunctional website. Petitioners need equal access.
(4) NRC license renewal regulations are internally inconsistent- one section contradicts another. The regulations need to be updated to resolve inconsistencies and go out to comment before becoming finalized.
(5). The ASLB and NRC Staff fail to apply their own regulations: Spent fuel pool accidents are a prime example. They have consistently, and incorrectly, argued that all spent fuel issues are Category 1 and for all practical purposes “off the table.” Their own rules say otherwise. The ASLB, NRC and industry look to the wrong section of the rules, Section 6 in NUREG – 1437 (GEIS), when they should look at Section 5.They point to Section 6 of the GEIS that specifically deals with “The Uranium Fuel Cycle and Solid Waste Management” under normal operations, rather than Section 5 of the GEIS, which deals with “Environmental Impacts of Postulated Accidents.” Section 5 includes definitions of “severe” and “accident” and does not limit these to reactor accidents in any way. Section 5 focuses on potential consequences to determine whether or not a potential accident is severe – and thus spent fuel pool fires are within the scope of a Severe Accident Mitigation Analysis. The question is not what the source of the Severe Accident is rather the consequences – and the spent fuel pools have the largest inventory of radioactive materials and hence the greatest potential consequences in a severe accident. Additionally a spent fuel pool accident can cause an accident in the reactor, greatly magnifying its potential consequences. (5) Hearings: During the so-called “informal hearings,” the ASLB alone asks the parties experts questions; it was noted in Oyster Creek’s and Pilgrim’s Hearings that there was not equal time given to the Applicant and Petitioner – the former getting the “lion’s share.” The solution to make the hearings more equitable is to change the rules so that cross examination is allowed along with opening and closing statements.
The Testimony presented to the Senate Subcommittee presents a long list of Petitioner’s views on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s reactor relicensing process. The paper presents testimony, starting with an outline of the current problems and recommendations for improvements. The relicensing process is deficient and there are severe weaknesses in the oversight of reactor safety. If not addressed, these issues will further undermine confidence in the NRC and raise the risk of an accident that could severely harm the public and the nuclear industry. Read the Testimony at http://www.nirs.org/reactorwatch/licensing/20080710testimonyrenrcreform.pdf
The Atomic Energy Act (AEA) precludes the NRC from licensing any new nuclear power plant or re-licensing any existing nuclear power plant if it would be “inimical . . . to the health and safety of the public.” 42 U.S.C. § 2133(d).
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires that before licensing or re-licensing nuclear power plants, the NRC must evaluate, in an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), the environmental impacts of licensing decisions that have a significant environmental impact. 42 U.S.C. § 4332(C). NRC regulations include the licensing of nuclear power plants among actions that require the preparation of an EIS. 10 C.F.R. § 51.20(b)(2).