Monthly Archives: March 2012

NRC approves two new reactors in South Carolina

By Laura Scheele

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission on March 30 voted to clear the way for its Office of New Reactors to issue two licenses for two new AP1000 reactors at the V.C. Summer site in Parr, S.C. This marks the NRC’s second approval of nuclear units to be built in the United States in two months. In February, the NRC approved a license for Atlanta-based Southern Company’s Vogtle project, in Waynesboro, Ga. The NRC had not issued any new reactor licenses since 1978.

The five-member commission approved the license for the Summer project in a 4–1 vote, with NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko dissenting. Jaczko was also the lone dissenting vote for the Vogtle license. The NRC’s news release on the Summer approval can be found here, and the NRC staff is expected to issue the combined operating license for the project within 10 business days.

The vote clears the way for SCANA subsidiary South Carolina Electric & Gas (SCE&G) and Santee Cooper to build and operate the two new reactors at Summer. A SCANA spokesperson was quoted in The Augusta Chronicle as saying that about 1,000 workers have already been engaged in early site preparation for the project. The project will peak at about 3,000 long-term construction workers over three to four years, and the two units are expected to add as many as 800 permanent jobs when they start generating electricity. The Summer units are expected to begin operating in 2017 and 2018.

Soon there will be four new reactors with operating licenses in place under construction in the United States, and—with the Tennessee Valley Authority’s ongoing completion of Watts Bar-2 in Tennessee—five reactors total under construction.  Stay tuned to the ANS Nuclear Cafe for more coverage of the licensing decision.


Laura Scheele is the Communications and Public Policy Manager for the American Nuclear Society.

Nuclear Matinee: Sustainable energy choices for the 21st century

This video takes the stance that climate change and sustainability of the global human enterprise are two of the most critical issues of the 21st century. If we are to tackle these problems effectively, we need to make prudent, evidence-based choices about energy. This is the story told in this short animated video—the first to be featured in the ANS Nuclear Cafe “Friday Matinee” series.

For more information and to continue the discussion, visit BraveNewClimate.

ANS & ASME webinar on nuclear quality assurance March 29: Register Now!

Free industry webcast: Setting a new standard for quality in nuclear power

Date: March 29, 2012quality
Time: 8 AM PT/11 AM ET/4 PM GMT

Register now for this complimentary webcast.

Click Here >> Register Now

Learn how standards developing organizations are using lessons learned over the past 30 years to account for existing and next generation nuclear power plants and how standards management within nuclear facilities is imperative to nuclear operations.

With the recent vote by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to give license approval for the nation’s first two new nuclear power plants in 30 years, the U.S. nuclear industry took a major step toward returning to expansion after a long period of stability and safe operations. In the wake of the March 2011 incident at Japan’s Fukushima plant, however, safety and quality assurance continues to be a paramount issue in the nuclear supply chain and facility operations.

temp ans asme logo comboIndustry standards such as ASME NQA-1 and ANS-3.2 are continually being modified to improve support for next generation nuclear power plant operations. The existing generation of U.S. nuclear power plants has one standard for the design and construction of a nuclear facility and a separate standard for the operations of that facility. It became evident that this model would not apply to newer nuclear facilities.

Join the American Nuclear Society, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and IHS as they give you an exclusive opportunity to view the current state of managerial, administrative and quality, assurance in the industry, and the critical role of standards in ensuring quality throughout nuclear operations. Don’t miss this opportunity to understand the history of nuclear standards for managerial, administrative, and quality assurance and the changes needed to support the next generation of nuclear power plant operations.

Register now for this complimentary webcast.

Click Here >> Register Now


Marion Smith
Chair, ANS-3.2 Working Group – American Nuclear Society

Kevin Ennis
Director, Nuclear Codes and Standards – American Society of Mechanical Engineers

Chad Hawkinson
Vice President, Product Design Solutions – IHS, Inc.

Dan Yurman – Idaho Samizdat

For more information, please contact:

IHS logo tempDanielle Ulrich at
+1 303 858 6475 or 

15 Inverness Way East, Englewood, CO 80112, USA
Toll free: +1800 525 7052


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ANS President Eric Loewen kicks off March Madness tour of student sections


ANS President Eric Loewen launched a four-day “March Madness” visit on March 27 to four American Nuclear Society student sections. The March Madness tour is part of a series of events building toward the 2012 ANS Student Conference, to be held April 12–15 in Las Vegas, Nev. The conference is the nation’s premier venue for student professional development in nuclear science and technology. Students working in these disciplines gather with industry professionals to share and exchange research and ideas that are critical to the growth of the industry.

The schedule for the March Madness tour includes the following:

  • March 27:  Visit to the University of Illinois student section, followed by dinner with the Central Illinois ANS local section (currently in the process of revitalization).
  • March 28: Visit to Purdue ANS, including dinner with the student section on campus.
  • March 29: Seminar at the Westinghouse Core Engineering Department in Pittsburgh. Later in the evening, during dinner with the Pittsburgh ANS local section, Loewen will present members of the University of Pittsburgh ANS local section with an official charter.
  • March 30:  Meeting with the University of Michigan ANS student section.

Each student section visit will include a seminar presentation and meeting with faculty. The ANS Nuclear Cafe will use the March Madness tour as an opportunity to get caught up with each student section—stay tuned to this channel for more information and tour highlights!


Celebrating at Vermont Yankee: A successful rally on St Patrick’s Day

By Meredith Angwin

The Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant’s original Nuclear Regulatory Commission license expired on March 21, 2012 . The NRC, however, has renewed the license for another 20 years, and a recent court ruling will almost certainly allow the plant to operate for many more years. The American Nuclear Society’s Vermont Pilot Project (headed by Howard Shaffer) and the Energy Education Project of the Ethan Allen Institute (headed by me) thought it was time to celebrate! So, we held a rally on St. Patrick’s Day, Saturday, March 17, to celebrate the court ruling and 20 more years of Green Power.

Howard organized the rally to take place outside the plant gates at shift change. More than 80 people attended, including people of all ages and from all over the state. It was our largest rally so far! Howard bought some St. Patrick’s Day hats, and he encouraged people to make their own signs for the rally. Some examples:  “Only 7300 more days” and “Green and Clean.” Two local papers covered the rally, a major TV station put it on the evening news, and two radio shows interviewed me and ran announcements. Rally attendees and plant staff were all very happy with the results. Look at the faces in the pictures (at bottom). We were getting “thank you” emails from people for days! You can see more pictures and a short video on my blog post at Yes Vermont Yankee. We are grateful that Entergy, Vermont Yankee’s operator, allowed us to assemble on plant property just outside the main gates, and also for providing refreshments.

Carla Heath, Vermont Yankee employee

Opponent rallies

Nuclear opponents considered March 21 to be a very significant day, and planned all sorts of activities around it. They held out hope that the state’s Public Service Board would come up with some reason to shut the plant down. Instead, another federal court injunction intervened.

One of the first of these events was the arrival on March 21 of a group of Buddhist monks at the power plant in Vernon. These monks started their anti-nuclear walk at Oyster Creek, and ended it at Vermont Yankee. (If you look at their itinerary, you can see that they did not actually walk the whole way.)

O'Donnell, Merkle, and monk from Grafton Peace Pagoda, NY

As the monks walked past Vernon, two plant supporters arranged to have their picture taken with one of the monks and a pro-Vermont Yankee sign. (Yes, the monk does look a little puzzled. Or perhaps he’s meditating.) The two women in the picture are Patty O’Donnell, former state representative from the town of Vernon and current Selectboard chair, and Ellen Merkle, married to a Vermont Yankee employee.

The big opponent rally

That picture set the stage for the next day. Plant supporters were not confrontational, but they were not hiding in the closet, either.

On March 22, 1300 people came to Brattleboro to protest the plant. They wore different hats indicating their “affinity groups,” and stilt-walkers and persons with megaphones accompanied them. Some demonstrators had taken the kind of training they needed in order to be arrested. (The protest organizers had said that only people who had taken non-violence training could volunteer to be arrested.) Over 100  protestors were arrested. Though the protest was peaceful, the town of Brattleboro was mostly shut down for several hours. This was much to the annoyance of many people who live and work in the town.

Once again, however, supporters were not intimidated by the numbers of opponents. Gwen Shaculmis, a lawyer, sat on the lawn of her building, surrounded by VY4VT signs, while the protestors began their rally across the street. She was interviewed several times in the local papers and on TV. As Alan Panebaker of Vermont Digger wrote:

While the protesters made noise and created a spectacle, subtle signs lined many lawns in Brattleboro supporting the plant, which provides 650 jobs directly and around 1,000 including contractors.

And a few groups held signs saying “VY 4 VT” as the parade marched by.

Gwen Shaclumis, an attorney from Brattleboro, stood across the street from
the common while the protest ramped up.

Shaclumis said opponents of the plant neglect the fact that it is a crucial part of the regional economy.

You can see a video of the protestors and Ms. Shaclumis here.

The meaning of it all

What did we hope to accomplish? What did they hope to accomplish?

We hoped to do two things in our rally. First, we wanted to give plant personnel a chance to celebrate and be glad about the court ruling, and to know they have supporters.

Second, we wanted to encourage other supporters, just by being there, by being on TV, by having press releases about the rally in local papers. The message here:  If we can speak up in favor of nuclear energy, so can other supporters. Howard and I do not take credit for the actions of other supporters. EVERYONE’s actions were part of a tapestry of pro-nuclear people who decided to be visible.

Did our rally achieve these two goals? Yes.

Did the opponent rally work? It undoubtedly encouraged the people at the rally. But I personally think that the whole stilt-walker, masks, funny hats business doesn’t convince anyone who is not convinced already. I don’t think that undecided people, watching on TV, would want to join the opponents’ rally. Street Theater is a tired old concept.  It’s so…so… ’60s, perhaps?

In my opinion, the last few days in Brattleboro were a major step away from the customary silence of pro-nuclear people. Many pro-nuclear people were there; many people chose to be visible. We all encouraged each other to make a difference.

Fran Gerard, local Vermont Yankee supporter







Thanks to Cam Twarog for wide-angle picture






Larry Cummings, VY engineer, Howard Shaffer, Kenyon Webber, VY engineer











Meredith Angwin is the founder of Carnot Communications, which helps firms to communicate technical matters. She specialized in mineral chemistry as a graduate student at the University of Chicago. Later, she became a project manager in the geothermal group at the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI). Then she moved to nuclear energy, becoming a project manager in the EPRI nuclear division. She is an inventor on several patents.

Angwin serves as a commissioner in the Hartford Energy Commission, Hartford, Vt.  Angwin is a long-time member of the American Nuclear Society and coordinator of the Energy Education Project. She is a frequent contributor to the ANS Nuclear Cafe.


For your reference: Nuclear News magazine

The March “reference” issue of Nuclear News magazine is available in hard copy and electronically for American Nuclear Society members (must enter ANS user name and password in Member Center). This issue—the 14th annual nuclear reference guide—includes:

  • Notes on the 2012 World List of Nuclear Power Plants
  • World List of Nuclear Power Plants
  • Nuclear Power Plants No Longer in Service
  • Abbreviations Used in this List
  • Power Reactors by Nation; Power Reactors by Type, Worldwide
  • Maps of Commercial Nuclear Power Plants Worldwide
  • U.S. Power Reactor License Renewal
  • New Power Reactor Projects in the United States; U.S. Power  Reactor Ownership/Operator Changes

There is also a special section titled Fukushima one year later that contains the following articles:

  • Decommissioning: The new goal of the Fukushima Daiichi road map, by Dick Kovan
  • In the United States, near-term changes and a wait for more data, by E. Michael Blake
  • IAEA mission endorses Japan’s safety assessment process, by Gamini Seneviratne

Other news in the March issue:  the Nuclear Regulatory Commission approves licenses for Vogtle-3 and -4; the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future releases final report; government of Spain chooses site for spent fuel and high-level waste storage; Canadian government commits over $1 billion for Port Hope area cleanup; proposed revisions to low-level waste regulations put on hold while the NRC studies issues; Virginia governor postpones decision on uranium mining in the state; USEC’s contract with Tenex for supply of low-enriched uranium takes effect; Kazakhstan is world leader in uranium production; NRC study of power reactor accidents finds “essentially zero” fatalities; new seismic model developed for reactors in central, eastern United States; steam releases reported at Byron, San Onofre; Watts Bar-2 startup could be delayed until 2014; first fully coupled accelerator-driven system begins operation in Belgium; two bids submitted for Fennovoima project in Finland; Russia’s joint venture with Alstom receives first turbine order; Czech construction company joins Westinghouse for Temelin reactor bid; banks agree on financing for power reactor project in Belarus; the U.K.’s Oldbury plant ceases operation; report says dose limit of 20 mSv/yr is achievable in Japan; IAEA updating safeguards analytical services; and much more.

And, in case you missed it, the February and past issues of Nuclear News are available here. For example, the February issue contains the following feature stories:


97th Carnival of Nuclear Energy Bloggers

The 97th carnival of nuclear energy bloggers is up at Next Big Future

This post is the collective voice of blogs with legendary names which emerge each week to tell the story of nuclear energy.

If you want to hear the voice of the nuclear renaissance, the Carnival of Nuclear Energy Blogs is where to find it.

Past editions have been hosted at Yes Vermont Yankee, Atomic Power Review, ANS Nuclear Cafe, Idaho Samizdat, NEI Nuclear Notes, Next Big Future, and CoolHandNuke, as well as several other popular nuclear energy blogs.

The publication of the Carnival each week is part of a commitment by the leading pro-nuclear bloggers in North America that we will speak with a collective voice on the issue of the value of nuclear energy. While we each have our own points of view, we agree that the promise of peaceful uses of the atom remains viable in our own time and for the future.

If you have a pro-nuclear energy blog, and would like to host an edition of the carnival, please contact Brian Wang at Next Big Future to get on the rotation.

This is a great collaborative effort that deserves your support. Please post a Tweet, a Facebook entry, or a link on your Web site or blog to support the carnival.

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Good and bad news stories for nuclear 2011/2012

By Jim Hopf

After giving a brief update on recent Fukushima-related events in the United States, I’d like to talk about some good (but relatively unpublicized) things that have happened during what has otherwise been a very challenging year for the nuclear industry. Then I’ll discuss what, to me, was the most disconcerting story in the past year.

NRC response to Fukushima

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission published a series of new requirements for U.S. nuclear plants, as a result of its evaluation of the Fukushima event. Requirements include seismic evaluations and upgrades (if necessary), the addition of portable pumps and generators (sited at multiple, protected locations), and enhanced monitoring capability for spent fuel pools. For many older boiling water reactors, hardened vents may be required (if not already in place). Another requirement being discussed is the ability to maintain operations (and cooling) without off-site power indefinitely (as opposed to the current requirement of 4–8 hours).

During Senate testimony, NRC Chairman Jaczko and other commissioners appeared to disagree over the amount of time that will be required for plants to make the proposed changes. Jaczko stated that some of the changes are likely to take until 2017–2019 (something that he said he was “concerned” about), whereas other commissioners thought that the changes will be in place by 2016.

Good news in 2011/2012

We’re all aware of the fact that the final NRC licenses were finally granted for construction of the new Vogtle reactors. It is also true that the project is within budget and schedule so far. Some lesser-known bits of good news are discussed below.

NRC Accident Consequence Statement

This is one potentially very positive thing that happened for the industry recently, without much publicity or fanfare. In part as a result of its evaluation of Fukushima, the NRC released a position statement concerning the potential consequences of (even worst case) nuclear plant accidents. The NRC (finally) acknowledged what many of us have known for a long time. It stated that the risk to public health, even from a severe accident, is “very small”. It also stated that the risk of short-term fatalities from acute exposure was “essentially zero,” and that the scenario of a large amount of radiation being released very quickly
(thus requiring a rapid evacuation) was unrealistic.

This is probably as close as we’re going to get to a formal retraction of the earlier analyses/assumptions that formed the basis of emergency response planning over previous decades. These grossly unrealistic analyses predicted thousands of immediate deaths from acute exposure, followed by tens of thousands of long-term cancers. Chernobyl had already shown those analyses to be completely unrealistic, and (I suppose) Fukushima, with its complete lack of health impacts, was the final nail in the coffin.

But, alas, I suppose I’m being unrealistic in hoping that this could lead to some relief with respect to emergency planning requirements. Indeed, many seem to be drawing precisely the reverse conclusion, asking whether evacuation zones should be increased (never mind that many other facilities that are actually more dangerous, such as chemical plants, oil refineries, etc., do not have similar evacuation zones).

This is a shame, given that these evacuation zones/plans have always been an albatross around the industry’s neck that has been used relentlessly by nuclear opponents (e.g., the Shoreham plant). They always argue about how rapid evacuation may not be practical. Well, we’ve just (finally) realized that it’s not necessary!

Fukushima also showed that, even with respect to longer-term impacts, significant effects of even a worst-case meltdown do not extend beyond ~20–25 miles of the plant (in any direction). And yet we still hear people talking about populations as far as 50 miles from plants (e.g., New York City from the Indian Point plant).

Clean Energy Standard Legislation

The Senate Energy Committee finally released a detailed legislative proposal for a Clean Energy Standard. The final proposal is the result of many years of analysis and negotiation. While it is unlikely to pass (or be considered) this year, it is considered more likely to pass than other options such as comprehensive global warming legislation. It has the potential support of several moderate Republicans.

The good news is that the final details of the legislation appear to be rational and even-handed, and fairly good for the nuclear industry. The Standard requires that 85 percent of U.S. electricity generation be from “clean” sources by 2035. While the final version does allow partial credit for fossil sources like gas, the amount of partial credit scales (inversely) with the level of CO2 emissions (relative to a coal plant). Thus, non-emitting sources like nuclear would retain a significant advantage over gas, particularly in the later phases of the program (when an all-gas generation profile would no longer be able to meet the requirements).

SMRs Move Forward

The U.S. Department of Energy recently decided to provide $452 million in funding for licensing of small modular reactors (SMRs), over the next five years. The DOE is also making plans to host three SMR demonstration projects on the Savannah River Site. The three selected reactors are the 45-megawatt (MW) NuScale Pressurized Water Reactor (PWR), the 25-MW Gen4 Energy fast reactor, and a 140-MW PWR reactor from Holtec.

Hopefully, construction of the prototypes will speed the technological development of these reactors, although NRC licensing should occur in parallel. Use of the Savannah River complex may make siting these prototype reactors easier, which could speed licensing and deployment.

A New Low Level Waste Site (at last)

The Waste Control Specialists’ low level waste (LLW) site in Texas (near the New Mexico border) will soon begin operation. The site will take waste from 38 states. It will handle all types of LLW, including Class A, B, and C. Given the closure of the Barnwell site to out-of-compact waste, the Texas site is now the only site that accepts all classes of LLW from most states.

This represents a significant victory, given the level of difficulty the nation has had in siting new LLW disposal facilities, anywhere, for many decades. This is the first site to open in 30 years. For some time, the political task of opening new LLW sites was thought to be intractable.

It should also be noted that within the same general area (in southeast New Mexico), the local communities around the DOE’s WIPP repository are actively seeking to host the nation’s spent fuel and high-level waste as well. There is some indication that the state government is willing to consider the option.

Sanity Prevails in France

The French government recently released a new long-term energy options evaluation that concludes that the most economical and practical option is to extend the operating life of its existing reactor fleet from 40 years to 60 years.

In the past, French policy had always appeared to be to replace its reactors with new ones after ~40 years of life.  Given the long-standing position in the United States that light water reactors (LWRs) could be run safely for 60 or more years, I’ve always found the (old) French position to be puzzling. I wondered if it was, in part, just a means of creating extra work to keep its domestic industry employed and on top of its game, similar to U.S. Depression-era make-work programs.

In any event, it seems like they’ve finally come to their senses. Any new nukes should be used to increase, not maintain, capacity (i.e., be used to replace fossil fuels). The cost savings will be enormous. Perhaps this new position is partly a result of Fukushima. With political support for new reactor construction much lower, perhaps the French government concluded that the only way their nuclear capacity would be maintained would be through extended operation.

The biggest bad news story of 2011/2012

Despite the positive news stories discussed above, my level of optimism for nuclear’s future was deeply shaken last year, not by the Fukushima event itself, but by the public/media/political reaction to it, particularly in Japan.

Here in the United States, Fukushima is somewhat less significant. Polls show only small reductions in public support. New nukes remain highly popular in most regions/locations where new reactors are being considered. Also, in the United States, several other factors, including the lack of any global warming policies on the horizon, the fact that the economic downturn suppressed future power demand growth, and low natural gas costs due to the shale gas “miracle,” loom larger over nuclear’s future.

In the rest of the world, however, Fukushima has had a surprisingly large impact on public opinion in many, if not most nations. In addition to Japan and Germany, anti-nuclear opinion has surged in other nations with strong nuclear programs, such as France and South Korea. The reaction in Germany does not surprise or upset me much. They are merely returning to their usual long-standing anti-nuclear position (with the 2022 nuclear phase-out date actually being two years later than a long-standing 2020 phase-out date). I was (and am) utterly dismayed, however, by the public/political reaction in Japan.

Japanese Reaction

If one asks the question of how big a natural disaster (e.g., earthquake) a nuclear plant should be able to take, the rational answer is clearly not “infinite.” One quite reasonable answer given by many people is that the disaster should be sufficiently large that if it did occur, a meltdown would be the least of their problems. One would think that Fukushima would be a textbook case of this, with ~20,000 deaths from the earthquake and tsunami, no immediate deaths from the meltdown, and few if any projected future deaths. It is also true that the number of evacuees and lost homes due to the earthquake and tsunami is larger than that from the radiation release.

But then, we watched in horror as the world’s attention (media, etc.) focused mostly on the plant meltdown, as opposed to the earthquake and tsunami. Not only were the enormous impacts of the earthquake and tsunami (deaths, etc.) deemed less newsworthy than the plant meltdowns, but so were the vastly larger ongoing health and environmental impacts of fossil fuel generation. Apparently, such logical thinking on our part does not adequately consider various psychological and political factors.

According to the World Health Organization, fossil-fueled power generation causes hundreds of thousands of deaths, worldwide, every single year (i.e., on the order of 1000 deaths every single day). Even conservative estimates, based on the pessimistic linear-no-threshold assumption, predict less than ~1000 eventual deaths from Fukushima. Thus, in terms of health impacts, worldwide fossil fuel power generation is having an impact equal to (or worse than) having a Fukushima event occur every single day. And that’s before considering global warming.

Despite these facts, the people of Japan, and their political leaders, are apparently ready to shut down their nuclear plants and replace them with vastly more dangerous and harmful fossil fuel generation. They are willing to do this even through it will mean greatly increased air pollution and CO2 emissions, and will have a devastating effect on their economy. Japan has always had an export-driven industrial economy with large trade surpluses. For the first time in memory, however, Japan will be running a trade deficit, primarily due to the increased fossil fuel imports that are necessary to replace their nuclear generation. In addition to horrendous health and environmental impacts, the fossil generation will result in markedly higher power costs. Many of Japan’s heavy industries have threatened to move off-shore.

Double standard forever?

These reactions, in Japan and elsewhere, are leading me to believe that there is a deeply-ingrained prejudice against nuclear power as a means of power production; one that may never disappear. Whether it is the legacy of the bomb, or is due to enormous media/political influence of the world fossil fuel industry (who knows?), the fact is that minor impacts from nuclear are given far more attention, and are far less tolerated, than far larger impacts from fossil fuels and other technologies.

The double standard is also alive and well in the United States. Not only has the U.S. nuclear industry accepted the NRC’s new requirements without significant resistance, but they’ve even proactively pursued improvements on their own, without being legally required to do so. And yet, in congressional hearings
and elsewhere, many are not satisfied with the rate or amount of improvement,
saying that having to wait over five years is an unacceptable risk. Meanwhile, old “grandfathered” coal plants in the United States are still not meeting the requirements of the 1970 Clean Air Act, the result being tens of thousands of annual deaths. Despite the fact that the public health risks in question are orders of magnitude larger in the coal plants’ case, apparently taking over 40 years is okay for them, whereas five years is too long for nuclear’s Fukushima upgrades.

Nuclear has always been held to standards thousands of times as strict (in terms of dollars spent per life saved, etc.) than fossil fuels. Before Fuksushima, with all the attention being paid to global warming, I had thought that the playing field might start to become somewhat more balanced. Now, after Fukushima, nuclear requirements are becoming even more strict (with any notions of regulatory relief being put to bed), whereas attempts are now being made (in the United States, anyway) to reduce regulations/requirements on fossil fuels even further. Humble requests to reduce air pollution and/or CO2 emissions are met with calls to eliminate the Environmental Protection Agency.

Thus, the spectacularly unlevel playing field will likely get even more unlevel. The Clean Energy Standard is the only hope left out there.

Our industry seems all too eager to accept unprecedentedly stringent requirements, for love of the engineering challenge, apparently. The most pertinent example is the acceptance of radiation dose rate limits (e.g., 100 mrem/yr) that are orders of magnitude lower than the levels for which any significant health impacts are seen. The fact is, in my view, that NO technology can survive (over the long term) while being on the receiving end of an enormous double standard (i.e., under a tremendously non-level playing field). Better technology (e.g., SMRs, etc.) is not the answer. We must ask ourselves what we can do to get policies enacted that will level the regulatory playing field, and how we can reduce the tremendous prejudice that society has against our technology. I have several thoughts on those issues, but I’ve run out of space for this column…



Jim Hopf is a senior nuclear engineer with more than 20 years of experience in shielding and criticality analysis and design for spent fuel dry storage and transportation systems. He has been involved in nuclear advocacy for 10+ years, and is a member of the ANS Public Information Committee. He is a regular contributor to the ANS Nuclear Cafe.

The ANS 2012 Thermal Hydraulics Young Professional Research Competition

By Elia Merzari

One of the missions of the American Nuclear Society’s Young Members Group is to promote participation of young members in the activities of the society. Boosting the involvement of young members in the technical programs of the society’s professional divisions is an important goal in this effort.

Every year since 2006, the Thermal Hydraulics Division (THD) and the Young Members Group (YMG) have organized the Thermal Hydraulics Young Professional Research Competition for ANS members with less than 5 years of professional experience after graduation or younger than 35 years old. The competition is also open to graduate students, but the first author of the summary is expected to present the work and be largely responsible for the research conducted.

Participants submit a summary to the ANS Winter Meeting, which undergoes the usual peer-review process. The accepted summaries and the corresponding presentations are then critiqued by a panel of judges organized by the THD at the winter meeting. The winner receives a plaque furnished by the THD.

The competition has enjoyed a growing success, in each of the last two years receiving 14 submissions or more. The majority of these summaries are from graduate students, but a growing number of papers comes from professionals working in national laboratories, research centers, and industry. The competition has proven to be an effective means for YMG members to become involved in THD activities—and vice versa. For example, I began my involvement in the YMG because of the competition, while, in turn, the THD also benefitted from the competition, with a significant increase in summary submissions observed in recent meetings, most of which are from young members.

Nathaniel Salpeter, the 2011 Winner, had this to say about the competition: “The Young Professional Thermal Hydraulics Competition was a constructive experience that provided a great platform not just for presenting my own research, but also for engaging with many extremely talented peers in a mutually beneficial setting where high quality research presentations, constructive peer review, and interaction with nuclear industry champions combine to form a model professional development competition.”

Overall, the Thermal Hydraulics Young Professional Research Competition is a remarkable success story of cooperation between the YMG and the technical divisions. Experience has shown that the dedication of some key people is essential. If you wish to volunteer to organize this competition or a similar one sponsored by a different division, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We are always looking to expand on this positive experience!

The next Thermal Hydraulics Young Professional Research Competition will be held in San Diego in conjunction with the ANS Winter Meeting in November. For more information, check the competition announcement or contact Wade Marcum. The submissions website for the ANS Winter Meeting opens on April 1.



Elia Merzari is the current YMG secretary. He works as a nuclear engineer at Argonne National Laboratory, where his research interests include nuclear thermal-hydraulics, modeling and simulation of nuclear reactors, and accelerator driven systems.

Federal judge: State can’t shut down Vermont Yankee over spent fuel

The plant dodges another bullet at least for now

Federal District Court Judge J. Garvan Murtha ordered on Monday, March 19, that the Vermont Public Service Board (PSB) cannot use the issue of spent nuclear fuel as a mechanism to deny a certificate of public good to the 40-year-old Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant.

Murtha wrote that the PSB cannot prevent the plant, owned and operated by Entergy (NYSE:ETR), from continuing to operate because of the necessity of continuing to store its current inventory and new spent fuel.

Last January, Murtha ruled that the State of Vermont’s legal efforts to shut down the plant were improperly driven by issues involving nuclear safety. He said that state law in this area is preempted by federal law and that regulation of nuclear reactor safety is the province of the federal government.

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission renewed the license in 2011 for the Vermont Yankee plant to operate for another 20 years. (See also Tamar Cerafici’s February 10 legal review of Judge Murtha’s decision here on ANS Nuclear Cafe.)

On February 27, Entergy filed an appeal of the ruling claiming that the PSB should not be able to stop Vermont Yankee from operating over the spent fuel issue. The judge concurred with the appeal saying that any effort to do so by the PSB would fall under the umbrella of nuclear safety regulation and was outside the jurisdiction of the state agency.

The Vermont Yankee plant on the banks of the Connecticut River in southern Vermont (file photo)

Murtha wrote that any act by the PSB to deny Entergy the authority to store new spent fuel on-site would force the reactor to shut down, thus slamming the door shut on revenue for Entergy and with it the loss of the workforce without the possibility of recovery.

The key part of the judge’s ruling this week is that Entergy can continue to operate past March 21 while its petition for a certificate of public good is pending before the PSB. He pushed back on Entergy’s request to set aside the requirement to have one at all.

The PSB told the Vermont news media that it would allow continued operation of Vermont Yankee for the time being, not because it agreed with the reactor operator’s issues, but because the federal court gave it no choice. It is not clear when the PSB will complete its work. One possible outcome is that it will wait until the 2nd U.S. Court of Appeals rules on the State of Vermont’s legal action in response to Judge Murtha’s ruling last January.

Legal experts say that the twin legal processes, an appeal by the State of Vermont to Judge Murtha’s January ruling, and the PSB’s deliberations are likely to take some time to work themselves out. In the meantime, the reactor will continue to operate, which shows that Entergy’s big bet to complete a fuel outage in 2011 is likely to pay off.

Separately, anti-nuclear activists say that they are planning protest demonstrations in Vermont, which may involve civil disobedience at the reactor plant’s front gate. A pro-nuclear demonstration last week brought out about 70 people.


Albert Einstein and the most elemental atomic theory

By Paul Bowersox

Albert Einstein’s birthdate was less than a week ago, on March 14,
in the year 1879.  Happy belated birthday, Albert!

Albert Einstein, age 4

As a slightly overdue commemoration of Albert Einstein’s 133nd birthday, I would like to make a quick note of his most “elemental” contribution to atomic theory—he was the first person to show a way to prove the existence of atoms—using an ordinary microscope!

Atomic theory

When you really get down to it, “atomic theory” begins with a claim that matter is made of atoms. This sounds obvious enough to us today, but not very long ago, relatively speaking, chemists and physicists were known to debate this idea fiercely. The idea of atoms as a shortcut for thinking about how matter worked seemed quite useful even more than a century ago—but then again, so did ideas like a stationary earth at the center of the universe. When Einstein was a young man, atoms had never been observed. Was the idea of atoms actually “real?” Or was something else, perhaps something unexpected, going on?

1905 was a good year

The year 1905 was a good year for 26-year-old Albert Einstein. While working at the patent office in Bern, Switzerland, he completed his PhD dissertation. He published his Special Theory of Relativity, which later led to the General Theory of Relativity, which led to his designation as “the father of modern physics.” Einstein also in 1905 proposed that light energy can be absorbed or emitted only in discrete packets called quanta, a provocative contradiction of the then-prevalent wave theory of light—and this led to Einstein’s winning of the Nobel Prize. Einstein in 1905 also explained the equivalency of mass and energy, expressed by the famous equation e=mc2.

Yet these were not sufficient world-changing, revolutionary advances in physics for a single year. Einstein also in 1905 mathematically proved the existence of atoms, and thus helped revolutionize all the sciences through the use of statistics and probability.

Albert Einstein, age 25

An atomic view of a liquid

Atomic theory says that any liquid is made up of molecules (invisible in 1905). Furthermore, these molecules are always in random, ceaseless motion. The average behavior of these molecules produces the overall properties of any liquid that we observe. But Einstein realized that this random chaos of jostling, invisible molecules would produce statistical fluctuations—for example, once in a while a small group of invisible molecules could, just for a moment, move in mostly the same direction. Then, another nearby group of molecules could for a moment move mostly in a different direction. A visible object, immersed among these invisible, randomly jostling molecules, wouldn’t move much most of the time, since it would normally be buffeted from all sides evenly—but then occasionally it could be “pushed” in one direction and then moments later pushed in a different direction, showing a “zigzag” motion.

Brownian motion

The jittery motion of tiny observable particles had been described by botanist Robert Brown as early as 1827, and was not surprisingly known as Brownian motion. Measuring this motion, however, and explaining it mathematically had proven extremely difficult. What was required, in short, was Einstein’s realization that even though observable particles are much larger, they still generate pressure the same way as the invisible molecules in which they are immersed. So, if the concentration of large particles varies, they too flow to even out their concentration just like the atoms and molecules in which they are immersed.

Brownian motion demonstration

Using this insight, and some associated mathematics, Einstein was able to accurately calculate the average distance an immersed visible particle would travel in a given time. His mathematical laws governing the movements of invisible particles could be tested and measured by observing the motion of the visible— simply using a microscope and a stopwatch, and a fluid containing many uniformly sized tiny, yet visible, particles. Although this was quite tricky to test a hundred years ago, eventually Einstein’s calculations were fully confirmed by Jean Perrin in 1909, winning Perrin the Nobel Prize.

Some implications

The existence of atoms and molecules was confirmed. With Einstein’s calculations, one could determine the size of these invisible atoms and
molecules. Also, the idea that heat is the result of the motion of atoms and molecules was confirmed. And finally, the vital importance of statistics and probability in physics had been established. This was a pivotal achievement, considering the truly revolutionary discoveries in quantum mechanics that were about to ensue. More broadly, Einstein’s use of statistical fluctuations, and probability theory, eventually revolutionized the study of all complex systems—weather, climate, stock markets, and evolution, to name a few—and forever improved our understanding of how the world works.


Paul Bowersox is a regular contributor to the ANS Nuclear Cafe and admirer of the achievements of the nuclear pioneers.

Call to action: Educate and encourage students about nuclear science

 By Bethany Cargle

“Do power plants really use mouse traps and ping-pong balls to create energy?” asked a fifth grade boy at Steele Creek Elementary School. Why would he ask this question? The question was a legitimate one for students attending the RCS Nuclear–sponsored reading of the children’s picture book Nuclear Power: How a Nuclear Plant Really Works! at Steele Creek Elementary in Charlotte, N.C., during National Engineers Week.

Amelia Frahm, author of the book, read the book to the school children and described a fission chain reaction using a metaphor of ping-pong balls and mouse traps to help children understand how energy is produced in a nuclear power plant. This is why RCS Nuclear chose to donate Frahm’s book to Charlotte area elementary schools and sponsor the author reading.

As a supplier of nuclear and related engineering personnel, RCS Nuclear believes it has a responsibility to encourage young students to become engineers, especially because of the lack of interest sometimes found in students today. “These students are the future for the industries we supply engineers to, and it is the company’s responsibility to prepare them now,” said Carlos Garcia, ANS member and founder of RCS Nuclear.

In attendance at Frahm’s book reading were five sessions of 50 students; in total, approximately 250 fourth and fifth graders were there. Prior to the reading, the students were asked if they knew what nuclear engineers did or how nuclear energy was created. No student could give an answer, but they listened carefully as they learned how a nuclear plant works from the point of view of a lab rat, a blue bird, and a fat cat, who are characters in the book. Then, they laughed and enjoyed a video created by the author, which demonstrated the mouse trap and ping-pong ball fission chain reaction. These reactions prove that educating young students about nuclear energy and encouraging them to pursue a higher education and career in the nuclear industry is necessary and effective. When approached with information about nuclear science in a way that is enjoyable to them, it can spark a new interest in students and influence their future educational goals.

“What makes a Nuclear Plant Nu-cle-ar?” – a report by Birderson Cooper Produced by Tabitha Frahm and Amelia Frahm

It is the responsibility of companies, organizations, and individuals involved in the nuclear industry to participate in K-12 outreach programs and events such as National Nuclear Science Week and National Engineers Week. Messages need to be entertaining and tailored to engage young people using concepts they understand. For example, during the author reading at Steele Creek Elementary School, Amelia Frahm tapped into the fourth and fifth grade psyche and, in addition to the ping-pong ball and mouse trap metaphor, explained fissioning by using a spitball fight, with teachers being the control rods who stop the fission chain reaction/spitball fight. The students instantly related to this and truly got a simplified understanding of a fission chain reaction.

There are many opportunities for the nuclear industry to get involved in securing its future. Research and use the many resources that are available to assist in your K-12 outreach. It is important to become active with schools and youth organizations, rather than remain passive and hope that students are getting encouragement solely from their teachers and administration. Pass along your passion for your profession and the nuclear industry to young people, and reach the ones who may never have considered a nuclear career if not for your support.

Suzy Hobbs Baker introduces Amelia Frahm and Nuclear Power: How a Nuclear Plant Really Works! at the ANS Nuclear Cafe.

Some resources from the American Nuclear Society:

See ANS Public Information for much more.



Bethany Cargle is a recent graduate from the University of North Carolina- Charlotte with a B.A. in Communication Studies. She is the Marketing Specialist at RCS Nuclear (, a professional staffing service provider for the nuclear industry, and is a member of the Piedmont-Carolinas American Nuclear Society chapter.

96th Carnival of Nuclear Energy Bloggers

This post is the collective voice of blogs with legendary names which emerge each week to tell the story of nuclear energy.

If you want to hear the voice of the nuclear renaissance, the Carnival of Nuclear Energy Blogs is where to find it.

Past editions have been hosted at Yes Vermont Yankee, Atomic Power Review, ANS Nuclear Cafe, Idaho Samizdat, NEI Nuclear Notes, Next Big Future, and CoolHandNuke, as well as several other popular nuclear energy blogs.

The publication of the Carnival each week is part of a commitment by the leading pro-nuclear bloggers in North America that we will speak with a collective voice on the issue of the value of nuclear energy. While we each have our own points of view, we agree that the promise of peaceful uses of the atom remains viable in our own time and for the future.

If you have a pro-nuclear energy blog, and would like to host an edition of the carnival, please contact Brian Wang at Next Big Future to get on the rotation.

This is a great collaborative effort that deserves your support. Please post a Tweet, a Facebook entry, or a link on your Web site or blog to support the carnival.

This week’s Carnival

Yes Vemont Yankee – Meredith Angwin

  • Why Nuclear Is Regulated at the National Level

Many people in Vermont claim that Vermont should have the right to regulate nuclear safety.  Yes Vermont Yankee points out that pharmaceutical drug approval, nuclear power, and airline safety are all regulated at the national level. Angwin shows that national regulation of complex technologies is a very good thing.

ANS Nuclear Cafe – Howard Shaffer

  • Back to the Vermont Public Service Board: Square One – or Before!

The Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant received a 20-year extension of its operating license from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission – but also is required to be issued a renewed Certificate of Public Good (CPG) from Vermont’s Public Service Board to continue operating.  This blog post untangles the legal thicket for readers, reporting from a Vermont Public Service Board Pre-conference Hearing packed to the brim with lawyers, representatives, the media, and public pro- and anti-nukes.

NEI Nuclear Notes – Dave Bradish

  • MIT study on managing renewables

The blog highlights MIT’s latest report on whether a large-scale penetration of renewables can be managed in the US. The report is a sobering read for renewable advocates. There are five main areas of concern with wind and solar that emerged from the symposium and it looks like many regulations and systems will have to change in order to accommodate renewables. There are many more interesting stats on this issue at NEI’s post so stop by.

Atomic Power Review – Will Davis

  • The AEC on Public Attitudes toward Nuclear Energy

This blog presents a document that everyone involved in communicating with the public about nuclear energy will want to read; Appendix III of the obscure WASH-1250 report.  This document gives a history of public sentiment toward nuclear energy from the early days through 1973, and helps explain the early activities of anti-nuclear organizations as well.

Neutron Economy – Steve Skutnik

  • Looking Back One Year Later

The blog reflects on the aftermath of the Great Tohoku Earthquake and its aftermath, an event which sparked Skutnik and his colleagues to start their blog in an attempt to convey accurate information about nuclear technology to the general public free of the sensationalism which prevailed around the time of the Fukushima crisis.

Idaho Samizdat – Dan Yurman

  • Talking Fukushima One Year On

A panel convened by the American Nuclear Society reports no one has died from radiation exposure at Fukushima and that the health effects from radiation exposure are too small to measure.  Also, the panel questioned the technical basis for the NRC’s call for a 50 mile evacuation zone around the Fukushima reactor complex.

Deregulate the Atom – Rick Maltease

A one year retrospective on why the Fukushima Nuclear event unfairly dominated the news media.

Next Big Future – Brian Wang

The World Nuclear Association has an update of the nuclear reactors that are starting (or restarting after complete overhauls) from 2012 through 2017. There are 46 reactors that are scheduled to start from 2012 to 2014.

Kevin Jianjun Tu is a senior associate in the Carnegie Energy and Climate Program, where he leads Carnegie’s work on China’s energy and climate policies. He also worked in China 1995-2001 in large China natural gas and petroleum companies. His analysis is that China should go slow on approving new nuclear reactors.

China’s 2020 nuclear target is widely expected to fall to 60 to 70 gigawatts (GW), while China’s nuclear advocacy groups are still actively lobbying the government to set the 2020 nuclear target as high as 80 GW.

ANS Nuclear Cafe

  • Nuclear Inspiration – Suzy Hobbs Baker

“Modern physics is a field that is as complex as it is beautiful.”  The blog interviews nuclear engineering Ph.D. candidate Kallie Metzger, whose passion for science also inspires beautiful works of art – and a marvelous nuclear-inspired art exhibit. Examples are displayed online.

# # #

What a difference a prime minister makes

Japan’s new political leadership represents a sea change in the post-Fukushima era

By Dan Yurman

Japan PM Yoshihiko Noda

Want to know what the difference is between the current Japanese prime minister relative to his predecessor? The answer is how he deals with the issue of nuclear energy and blame for the ways TEPCO and the government contributed to the Fukushima crisis.

Former PM Naoto Kan threw a temper tantrum in the TEPCO emergency center and in a statement that loosely translates as “off with their heads,” called for the permanent closure of all the nation’s nuclear reactors.

Current PM Yoshihiko Noda accepts that the government and TEPCO made serious mistakes, but says that the country can do better and he is committed to restarting the nation’s 54 reactors, which provide 30 percent of Japan’s electricity. He also must reverse the nose dive the country’s economy has taken and rebuild the communities shattered by the earthquake and tsunami.

Want third-party confirmation of that? Check out a major paper by James Acton and Mark Hibbs titled, “Preventing Another Fukushima.” The paper puts its lead emphasis on the need for an independent nuclear safety agency, something Japan didn’t have on March 11, 2011.

Nothing outside our imagination

Perhaps most important is the change in Japan’s world view when it comes to nuclear energy. It is that nothing is outside the possibility of imagination.

Prior to March 11, TEPCO repeatedly and negligently rejected sound technical advice about protecting its coastal reactors from tsunami and earthquakes, saying such disasters were “outside its imagination.” That’s no longer the case under PM Noda.

In a press conference held last week PM Noda said, “We can no longer make the excuse that what was unpredictable and outside our imagination has happened. Crisis management requires us to imagine what may be outside our imagination.”

In making this statement, Noda is acknowledging that the government shares the blame in part because its safety regulators and business leaders were “blinded” by the “false belief” in the country’s technological mastery.

“The government, operator, and academic world were all too steeped in a safety myth. Everybody must share the pain of responsibility,” Noda said.

Restarting Japan’s reactors

In laying out the view that there is no haven from accountability, Noda also is setting the stage for restart of the nation’s reactors. As of March 13, 52 of the 54 reactors are closed and the other two will close in April.

The economic effects are already cascading across the nation, with its first trade deficit in 30 years and a highly annoyed steel industry threatening to go offshore with production if the electricity from the reactors isn’t restored and soon.

Japan is less than 50-percent self sufficient on food production. This means that its high value heavy industrial exports, which require lots of electricity, are what keep its balance of payments from going in the red. Pull the plug on manufacturing exports and you’ve also yanked the rug out from under the economy. The key to all this is electricity, and with 30 percent of it coming from nuclear reactors, they can’t stay turned off for long.

Noda has committed to convincing provincial government officials to agree to the restart of the reactors. That will be a tough sell. In fact, the provincial government in Fukushima province is so hard over about the impact of the reactor crisis there that it wants the government to scrap the four undamaged reactors at the Fukushima Daini site. There is, of course, the delusional policy of his predecessor, PM Kan, who wanted all the reactors off right away. Japan is paying for that folly with huge bills for fossil fuel imports. It can ill afford to sustain that kind of buying spree.

Kan comes in for a roasting

PM Noda may have painted the word “accountability” with a broad brush, but various groups looking into the Fukushima crisis have a narrower focus. In particular, the Rebuild Japan Initiative Foundation (RJIF) has issued a 400-page report. In searing language, especially for face-saving Japan, the group wrote:

“Top government officials without expert knowledge and experience ordered haphazard countermeasures,” and . . . “orders from the prime minister’s office may have raised the risk of creating unnecessary confusion and worsened the accident further.”

The RJIF report leaves no doubt how hard the criticism is on the government and TEPCO.

“The emerging crisis at the plant was complex, and, to make matters worse, it was exacerbated by communication gaps between the government and the nuclear industry.

These players were thoroughly unprepared on almost every level for the cascading nuclear disaster. This lack of preparation was caused, in part, by a public myth of absolute safety that nuclear power proponents had nurtured over decades and was aggravated by dysfunction within and between government agencies and Tepco, particularly in regard to political leadership and crisis management.

The investigation also found that the tsunami that began the nuclear disaster could and should have been anticipated and that ambiguity about the roles of public and private institutions in such a crisis was a factor in the poor response at Fukushima.”

The report’s findings are based on interviews with over 300 government and nuclear industry leaders. One of the key findings is that trust between the prime minister’s office and the Nuclear Industrial Safety Agency evaporated when hydrogen explosions took place at three of the Fukushima reactors. At that point the prime minister’s office took matters into its own hands, bypassing the safety agency. The report says that PM Kan “aggravated the situation” through micromanagement.

There are three other commissions investigating the Fukushima crisis. One of them, from the Japanese parliament, has subpoena power. What hasn’t been raised so far is whether or not charges of criminal negligence will be filed against TEPCO officials and some in the government. That may come in time from a panel being run by the Japanese parliament.

Kan’s legacy a drag on progress

PM Kan’s chief spokesman during the crisis, Yukio Edano, is now the head of the METI agency, which still houses the Nuclear Industrial Safety Agency. He’s been a proponent of going slow in terms of restarting the reactors. Progress to reform the nuclear safety agency by making it independent have also dragged on. Rebuilding public confidence in restarting the reactors will require a thoroughly independent nuclear regulatory agency. The cabinet has approved a legislative package, but whether it will go anyway remains a question.

On the other hand, the current government manager of the Fukushima crisis, Goshi Hoshano, is a realist and has pushed back on Edano’s defense of his former boss’s policy of permanent shut down of the nation’s reactors. He’s pushed for safe decommissioning of the damaged Fukushima reactors and control of the huge volumes of radioactive water on the site.

The fact that Kan is out of power and Noda is in charge may be the real difference in getting the commercial reactors back in operation. That doesn’t mean it will happen quickly or without a lot of political arm wrestling.  Reuters reported on March 14 that 80 percent of those responding to a newspaper poll did not trust the government’s promises of improved safety for the nation’s nuclear reactors.

Kan is under fierce attack for his failings during the crisis, but that doesn’t translate into support for restart. The real challenge the government faces is to close the gap between deep public skepticism about nuclear power in general, which was created because of the “myths” of nuclear safety that pervaded the halls of power prior to March 11.


Dan Yurman publishes Idaho Samizdat, a blog about nuclear energy, and is a frequent contributor to ANS Nuclear Cafe.

NRC/Fukushima Hearing in US Senate Today 10AM ET

NRC Commissioners Magwood, Svinicki, Chairman Jaczko, Apostolakis, Ostendorff

A hearing titled “Lessons from Fukushima One Year Later: NRC’s Implementation of Recommendations for Enhancing Nuclear Reactor Safety in the 21st Century” will be held in the U.S. Senate this morning at 10:00 AM EDT.  Witnesses will include NRC chairman Gregory Jaczko and fellow NRC commissioners Kristine Svinicki, George Apostolakis, William Magwood, and William Ostendorff.

The hearing will be webcast live starting at 10:00 AM ET.  Watch hearing from beginning archived here.  The hearing will also be broadcast live on C SPAN cable television.  XM satellite radio subscribers can listen to the audio broadcast of the hearing on C-Span Radio on Channel 119. Please see this earlier Nuclear Cafe post for more details.