NRC Delays New Reactors, Old Units Struggle To Stay Viable
The NRC had declared delays in the new reactor approval process for AP1000 and ESBWR reactor designs. They NRC wants to complete their analysis on information from Fukushima Daiichi before moving ahead with the process to possibly approve either new design. Meanwhile Nuclear power companies are forging ahead with preparing sites for the reactors they hope to build. An interesting twist in that power companies can start a project before getting approval for the reactor they intend to build. This is then frequently used to pressure the NRC because work and spending is already underway. It was a key circumstance during the initial approval process at North Anna.
The Oyster Creek reactor in New Jersey, one of the oldest in the US has announced they will shut down for good in 2019. In 2010 Excelon threatened to close Oyster Creek unless a mandate requiring them to build cooling towers was removed. It appears that the cooling tower issues may have been a major factor in the decision to cease operations. Containment corrosion and lawsuits over the lack of metals testing on the reactor were mounting against Oyster Creek. The people in the region and the state authorities were all working various angles to shut down the plant due to its many problems. They have succeeded. Now to just hope nothing bad happens at Oyster Creek before 2019.
At Davis Besse in Ohio, as they are replacing the reactor cap that has a pineapple sized hole in it, they discovered a long crack in the containment concrete. They had already sliced a hole in the containment dome to put the replacement reactor cap in. FirstEnergy claims none of this will degrade safety…..
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