The Ohio Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has proposed regulations to allow electric utilities to use fuel-cost clauses to recover gains or losses from trading Clean Air Act emission allowances....
Growing Nuclear Safety Problems Expand NRC's Watch List
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has placed 14 nuclear reactors on its watch list(emthe highest number in about 10 years(emdue to safety problems. The plant were placed on the watch list by senior NRC managers at their semi-annual performance review of operating nuclear plants and fuel-cycle facilities.
The NRC also sent a letter to Commonwealth Edison asking the utility to explain why it should be allowed to operate six nuclear units at three of its nuclear plants that are on the list. Commonwealth is improving performance at each site. The utility must list established criteria used to measure its performance in light of NRC's concerns and discuss proposed actions if those criteria are not met.
The Nuclear Energy Institute has responded to the NRC's expanded list by noting that the nuclear industry as a whole is performing at unprecedented levels of safety and reliability.
NEI President and CEO Joe F. Colvin said, "The NRC's discussions today could leave the unfortunate impression that all U.S. nuclear power plants are operating below their current record levels of safety." He added that, "The agency's decisions that some nuclear power plants warrant additional regulatory attention are based on subjective criteria, not on objective measures applied with consistency."
Commonwealth Edison's parent company, Unicom Corp., held a conference call with analysts to discuss its problems, according to Prudential Securities. Unicom advised that a series of independent assessments already had been launched by industry experts and company operators. Based on the information, Unicom had begun to address some of the NRC's concerns. Activities under way include improvements in operating and personnel procedures and the repair and replacement of equipment.
Prudential pointed out that, until now, there has never been a single utility with three nuclear plants on the watch list. Unicom is the largest nuclear operating utility in the U.s. with six nuclear plants, each containing two large operating units. Prudential said it remained "unconvinced at this state as to whether the company's latest new effort can lead to significant improvement."
The plants on the watch list are: Crystal River Unit 3; Dresden units 2 and 3; Indian Point Unit 3; LaSalle units 1 and 2; Maine Yankee; Millstone units 1, 2 and 3; Salem units 1 and 2, and Zion units 1 and 2. Eight of the 14 reactors are temporarily shut down. Six are generating electricity.
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