Current or recent nuclear power related topics of interest to the general public include:
The purpose of this page is to provide some background on the issues and provide links to sites discussing the issues in greater detail.
Over the past 5-10 years, the trend has been toward sale, or operating management transfer, of nuclear plants by smaller utilities to larger utilities. In addition, similar sized utilities have merged. The net effect of these actions has been to increase the engineering and technical support resources available for the management of nuclear plants. Also, the trend has been to standardize procedures and operating practices across the various fleets of nuclear plants.
Design Basis Reconstruction
Over the years, a number of architect-engineering organizations that designed the early large scale nuclear plants have either gone out of business or merged with others. As a result, the burden has fallen on the individual utilities to locally control the plant design. This has forced a significant workload on the engineering support staffs to keep the plant design and calculations current.
The original licenses for plant operation were issued for 40 years. Many plants will reach the end of the allowed license in the next 5 to 15 years. A number of plants have applied for extensions to allow continued operation. These applications are often filed 5 or more years before the end of the existing license. Such early requests allow time for the NRC to review the applications, related documentation, and ask questions and resolve any issues before the end of the current license term. The NRC has allowed a number of extensions. Concurrent with the approvals, NUREG-1437 Environmental impact statements and safety evaluations are issued. To date, safety evaluations and key NUREG documents issued include:
NUREG-1705 Safety Evaluation Report Related to the License Renewal of Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant, Units 1 and 2
NUREG-1723 Safety Evaluation Report Related to the License Renewal of Oconee Nuclear Station, Units 1, 2 and 3
NUREG-1739 Analysis of Public Comments on the Improved License Renewal Guidance Documents
NUREG-1743 Safety Evaluation Report Related to the License Renewal of Arkansas Nuclear One, Unit 1
NUREG-1759 Safety Evaluation Report Related to the License Renewal of Turkey Point Nuclear Plant, Units 3 and 4, Supplement 1
NUREG-1800 Standard Review Plan for Review of License Renewal Applications for Nuclear Power Plants
NUREG-1803 Safety Evaluation Report Related to the License Renewal of the Edwin I. Hatch Nuclear Plant, Units 1 and 2
More recent safety evaluation reports may be found in the NRC Staff NUREG report index.
Recent Terrorism Events
The World Trade Center and Pentagon plane attacks have raised concern as to how nuclear plants are protected from such events. Suicidal attacks using airplanes fully loaded with fuel were not considered in the design basis. However, airliner crashes, nearby explosions, and fires have been considered in the design of most plants. The plant safety analysis and the Appendix R regulations govern these design requirements.
In the 4 years since the 9/11 event, the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has hardened the security of US civilian nuclear plants to greatly reduce the likelihood of them being a terrorist target. Each plant has multiple barriers, as shown below, to prevent intrusion.
Guards are stationed throughout the plants. Roving guards patrol the plants with automatic weapons. The Security page provides more detail.
Many visitor centers located on plant sites have been shutdown. However, interested school and industry groups can still schedule tours. The NRC has deleted a lot of plant-specific information from their website. However, they still have educational materials available in the students and teachers part of their site.
A number of visitors to this website have expressed concern about where the US nuclear plants are located. The NRC map and table below identify the locations of all plants. In addition, the table identifies the plant licensing docket number, plant type (BWR or PWR), plant owner (or operator), and NRC region that monitors the plant.
The page United States Reactor Information provides a more detaiiled imagemap. In addition, more detailed maps (e.g. with aerial views) are available under certain circumstances.
|Plant Name||Docket Number||Reactor Type||Location||Owner/Operator||NRC Region|
|Beaver Valley 1||50-334||PWR||17 MI W of McCandless, PA||FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Co.||1|
|Beaver Valley 2||50-412||PWR||17 MI W of McCandless, PA||FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Co.||1|
|Calvert Cliffs 1||50-317||PWR||40 MI S of Annapolis, MD||Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant, Inc.||1|
|Calvert Cliffs 2||50-318||PWR||40 MI S of Annapolis, MD||Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant, Inc.||1|
|FitzPatrick||50-333||BWR||8 MI NE of Oswego, NY||New York Power Authority||1|
|Ginna||50-244||PWR||20 MI NE of Rochester, NY||Rochester Gas & Electric Corp.||1|
|Hope Creek 1||50-354||BWR||18 MI SE of Wilmington, NJ||PSEG Nuclear, LLC||1|
|Indian Point 2||50-247||PWR||24 MI N of New York City, NY||Entergy Nuclear Opeations, Inc.||1|
|Indian Point 3||50-286||PWR||24 MI N of New York City, NY||Entergy Nuclear Opeations, Inc.||1|
|Limerick 1||50-352||BWR||21 MI NW of Philadelphia, PA||Exelon Generating Co.||1|
|Limerick 2||50-353||BWR||21 MI NW of Philadelphia, PA||Exelon Generating Co.||1|
|Millstone 2||50-336||PWR||3.2 MI WSW of New London, CT||Dominion Nuclear Connecticut, Inc.||1|
|Millstone 3||50-423||PWR||3.2 MI WSW of New London, CT||Dominion Nuclear Connecticut, Inc.||1|
|Nine Mile Point 1||50-220||BWR||6 MI NE of Oswego, NY||Niagara Mohawk Power Corp.||1|
|Nine Mile Point 2||50-410||BWR||6 MI NE of Oswego, NY||Niagara Mohawk Power Corp.||1|
|Oyster Creek||50-219||BWR||9 MI S of Toms River, NJ||AmerGen Energy Co., LLC||1|
|Peach Bottom 2||50-277||BWR||17.9 MI S of Lancaster, PA||Exelon Generating Co.||1|
|Peach Bottom 3||50-278||BWR||17.9 MI S of Lancaster, PA||Exelon Generating Co.||1|
|Pilgrim 1||50-293||BWR||4 MI SE of Plymouth, MA||Entergy Nuclear Generation Co.||1|
|Salem 1||50-272||PWR||18 MI S of Wilmington, DE||PSEG Nuclear, LLC||1|
|Salem 2||50-311||PWR||18 MI S of Wilmington, DE||Public Service Electric & Gas Co.||1|
|Seabrook 1||50-443||PWR||13 MI S of Portsmouth, NH||North Atlantic Energy Service Corp.||1|
|Susquehanna 1||50-387||BWR||7 MI NE of Berwick, PA||PPL Susquehanna, LLC||1|
|Susquehanna 2||50-388||BWR||7 MI NE of Berwick, PA||PPL Susquehanna, LLC||1|
|Three Mile Island 1||50-289||PWR||10 MI SE of Harrisburg, PA||AmerGen Energy Co., LLC||1|
|Vermont Yankee||50-271||BWR||5 MI S of Battleboro, VT||Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Corp.||1|
|Browns Ferry 1||50-259||BWR||10 MI NW of Decatur, AL||Tennessee Valley Authority||2|
|Browns Ferry 2||50-260||BWR||10 MI NW of Decatur, AL||Tennessee Valley Authority||2|
|Browns Ferry 3||50-296||BWR||10 MI NW of Decatur, AL||Tennessee Valley Authority||2|
|Brunswick 1||50-325||BWR||2 MI N of Southport, NC||Carolina Power & Light Co.||2|
|Brunswick 2||50-324||BWR||2 MI N of Southport, NC||Carolina Power & Light Co.||2|
|Catawba 1||50-413||PWR||6 MI NW of Rock Hill, SC||Duke Energy Corp.||2|
|Catawba 2||50-414||PWR||6 MI NW of Rock Hill, SC||Duke Energy Corp.||2|
|Crystal River 3||50-302||PWR||7 MI NW of Crystal River, FL||Florida Power Corp.||2|
|Farley 1||50-348||PWR||18 MI SE of Dothan, AL||South Nuclear Operating Co., Inc.||2|
|Farley 2||50-364||PWR||18 MI SE of Dothan, AL||South Nuclear Operating Co., Inc.||2|
|Harris 1||50-400||PWR||20 MI SW of Raleigh, NC||Progress Energy||2|
|Hatch 1||50-321||BWR||11 MI N of Baxley, GA||South Nuclear Operating Co., Inc.||2|
|Hatch 2||50-366||BWR||11 MI N of Baxley, GA||South Nuclear Operating Co., Inc.||2|
|McGuire 1||50-369||PWR||17 MI S of Charlotte, NC||Duke Energy Corp.||2|
|McGuire 2||50-370||PWR||17 MI S of Charlotte, NC||Duke Energy Corp.||2|
|North Anna 1||50-338||PWR||40 MI NW of Richmond, VA||Virginia Electric & Power Co.||2|
|North Anna 2||50-339||PWR||40 MI NW of Richmond, VA||Virginia Electric & Power Co.||2|
|Oconee 1||50-269||PWR||30 MI W of Greenville, SC||Duke Energy Corp.||2|
|Oconee 2||50-270||PWR||30 MI W of Greenville, SC||Duke Energy Corp.||2|
|Oconee 3||50-287||PWR||30 MI W of Greenville, SC||Duke Energy Corp.||2|
|Robinson 2||50-261||PWR||26 MI from Florence, SC||Carolina Power & Light Co.||2|
|Saint Lucie 1||50-335||PWR||12 MI SE of Ft. Pierce, FL||Florida Power & Light Co.||2|
|Saint Lucie 2||50-389||PWR||12 MI SE of Ft. Pierce, FL||Florida Power & Light Co.||2|
|Sequoyah 1||50-327||PWR||9.5 MI NE of Chattanooga, TN||Tennessee Valley Authority||2|
|Sequoyah 2||50-328||PWR||9.5 MI NE of Chattanooga, TN||Tennessee Valley Authority||2|
|Summer||50-395||PWR||26 MI NW of Columbia, SC||South Carolina Electric & Gas Co.||2|
|Surry 1||50-280||PWR||17 MI NW of Newport News, VA||Virginia Electric & Power Co.||2|
|Surry 2||50-281||PWR||17 MI NW of Newport News, VA||Virginia Electric & Power Co.||2|
|Turkey Point 3||50-250||PWR||25 MI S of Miami, FL||Florida Power & Light Co.||2|
|Turkey Point 4||50-251||PWR||25 MI S of Miami, FL||Florida Power & Light Co.||2|
|Vogtle 1||50-424||PWR||26 MI SE of Augusta, GA||South Nuclear Operating Co., Inc.||2|
|Vogtle 2||50-425||PWR||26 MI SE of Augusta, GA||South Nuclear Operating Co., Inc.||2|
|Watts Bar 1||50-390||PWR||10 MI S of Spring City, TN||Tennessee Valley Authority||2|
|Braidwood 1||50-456||PWR||24 MI SSW of Joilet, IL||Exelon Generating Co.||3|
|Braidwood 2||50-457||PWR||24 MI SSW of Joilet, IL||Exelon Generating Co.||3|
|Byron 1||50-454||PWR||17 MI SW of Rockford, IL||Exelon Generating Co.||3|
|Byron 2||50-455||PWR||17 MI SW of Rockford, IL||Exelon Generating Co.||3|
|Clinton||50-461||BWR||6 MI E of Clinton, IL||AmerGen Energy Co., LLC||3|
|D.C. Cook 1||50-315||PWR||11 MI S of Benton Harbor, MI||Indiana Michigan Power Co.||3|
|D.C. Cook 2||50-316||PWR||11 MI S of Benton Harbor, MI||Indiana Michigan Power Co.||3|
|Davis-Besse||50-346||PWR||21 MI ESE of Toledo, OH||FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Co.||3|
|Dresden 2||50-237||BWR||9 MI E of Morris, IL||Exelon Generating Co.||3|
|Dresden 3||50-249||BWR||9 MI E of Morris, IL||Exelon Generating Co.||3|
|Duane Arnold||50-331||BWR||8 MI NW of Cedar Rapids, IA||Nuclear Management Co., LLC||3|
|Fermi 2||50-341||BWR||25 MI NE of Toledo, MI||Detriot Edison Co.||3|
|Kewaunee||50-305||PWR||27 MI E of Green Bay, WI||Nuclear Management Corp.||3|
|La Salle 1||50-373||BWR||11 MI SE of Ottawa, IL||Exelon Generating Co.||3|
|La Salle 2||50-374||BWR||11 MI SE of Ottawa, IL||Exelon Generating Co.||3|
|Monticello||50-263||BWR||30 MI NW of Minneapolis, MN||Nuclear Management Co.||3|
|Palisades||50-255||PWR||5 MI S of South Haven, MI||Consumers Energy Co.||3|
|Perry 1||50-440||BWR||7 MI NE of Painesville, OH||FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Co.||3|
|Point Beach 1||50-266||PWR||13 MI NNW of Manitowoc, WI||Nuclear Management Co., LLC||3|
|Point Beach 2||50-301||PWR||13 MI NNW of Manitowoc, WI||Nuclear Management Co., LLC||3|
|Prairie Island 1||50-282||PWR||28 MI SE of Minneapolis, MN||Nuclear Management Co.||3|
|Prairie Island 2||50-306||PWR||28 MI SE of Minneapolis, MN||Nuclear Management Co.||3|
|Quad Cities 1||50-254||BWR||20 MI NE of Moline, IL||Exelon Generating Co.||3|
|Quad Cities 2||50-265||BWR||20 MI NE of Moline, IL||Exelon Generating Co.||3|
|Arkansas Nuclear 1||50-313||PWR||6 MI WNW of Russellville, AR||Entergy Operations, Inc.||4|
|Arkansas Nuclear 2||50-368||PWR||6 MI WNW of Russellville, AR||Entergy Operations, Inc.||4|
|Callaway||50-483||PWR||10 MI SE of Fulton, MO||Union Electric Co.||4|
|Columbia||50-397||BWR||12 MI NW of Richland, WA||Energy Northwest||4|
|Comanche Peak 1||50-445||PWR||4 MI N of Glen Rose, TX||TXU Electric & Gas||4|
|Comanche Peak 2||50-446||PWR||4 MI N of Glen Rose, TX||TXU Electric & Gas||4|
|Cooper||50-298||BWR||23 MI S of Nebraska City, NE||Nebraska Public Power District||4|
|Diablo Canyon 1||50-275||PWR||12 MI WSW of San Luis Obispo, CA||Pacific Gas & Electric Co.||4|
|Diablo Canyon 2||50-323||PWR||12 MI WSW of San Luis Obispo, CA||Pacific Gas & Electric Co.||4|
|Fort Calhoun||50-285||PWR||19 MI N of Omaha, NE||Omaha Public Power District||4|
|Grand Gulf 1||50-416||BWR||25 MI S of Vicksburg, MS||Entergy Operations, Inc.||4|
|Palo Verde 1||50-528||PWR||36 MI W of Phoenix, AZ||Arizona Public Service Co.||4|
|Palo Verde 2||50-529||PWR||36 MI W of Phoenix, AZ||Arizona Public Service Co.||4|
|Palo Verde 3||50-530||PWR||36 MI W of Phoenix, AZ||Arizona Public Service Co.||4|
|River Bend 1||50-458||BWR||24 MI NNW of Baton Rouge, LA||Entergy Operations, Inc.||4|
|San Onofre 2||50-361||PWR||4 MI SE of San Clemente, CA||South California Edison Co.||4|
|San Onofre 3||50-362||PWR||4 MI SE of San Clemente, CA||South California Edison Co.||4|
|South Texas 1||50-498||PWR||12 MI SSW of Bay City, TX||STP Nuclear Operating Co.||4|
|South Texas 2||50-499||PWR||12 MI SSW of Bay City, TX||STP Nuclear Operating Co.||4|
|Waterford 3||50-382||PWR||20 MI W of New Orleans, LA||Entergy Operations, Inc.||4|
|Wolf Creek 1||50-482||PWR||3.5 MI NE of Burlington, KS||Wolf Creek Nuclear Operating Corp.||4|
The page United States Reactor Information provides a more detaiiled imagemap. In addition, more detailed maps (e.g. with aerial views) are available under certain circumstances.
Recent Events at Nuclear Plants
The NRC maintains several pages on recent events.
Recent significant events and hot topics addressed by the NRC include:
The NRC biennially periodically updates NUREG-1350, Information Digest.
Department of Energy and Private Spent Fuel Storage Facilities
By law, the spent fuel and the plutonium in the fuel has always belonged to the US government. In the 60's and 70's, utilities expected to be able to send the spent fuel to a reprocessing facility after about 1.5 to 2 years storage in the cooling pools onsite. President Carter restricted this option because of concern about plutonium proliferation. As a result, in the 80's utilities were forced to expand the storage space onsite by "re-racking" their storage racks in the storage pools. Subsequently in the 90's, a number of plants started using large metal spent fuel storage casks onsite.
In 1982, Congress charged the Department of Energy (DOE) to start accepting spent fuel for long term storage starting in January 31, 1998. This law required the utilities to collect a fee for the government. Throughout the various government administrations since that time, DOE has continued to move back the projected date when they can accept spent fuel.. At the same time, DOE has been using the "waste fund" money for purposes not directly related to spent fuel storage. As a result, a number of utilities sued DOE to require them to take the spent fuel as a contractual obligation.
In the 90's, the utilities realized that DOE would be unable to meet their needs with re-racking and onsite storage . Some have initiated projects with Indian communities, as sovereign entities, to allow interim storage until the DOE waste repository is available. Current projects are progressing in Utah. The following sites provide background on the issue:
Congress approved Yucca Mountain, Nevada for the final storage of the spent nuclear fuel.
Fuel used in commercial nuclear reactors, usually in the uranium dioxide form, contains 3 to 5% uranium-235. The remainder of the uranium is U-238. Since the 1940's, the U.S. government has controlled the enrichment process. Plants in Tennessee, Kentucky, and Ohio used gaseous diffusion to concentrate the U-235. In Europe, the newer gas centrifuge process is used. In the 90's, the U.S. government decided to privatize the enrichment facilities through formation of the United States Enrichment Corporation. In addition, the United States entered into an agreement with Russia to purchase highly enriched uranium (greater than 20% U-235) from material removed from disassembled weapons. As a result of these purchases, the U.S. will require less use of the enrichment facilities. In the 2008-2010 timeframe, the Russian materials should account for ~ 50% of the U.S. enriched uranium needs.
Sites providing information on this issue are:
For many years, the US has typically considered radiation, even at low levels, to present some harm. This model is referred to as the "linear, no-threshold (LNT)" hypothesis. Over the years, successive scientific studies have been done resulting in publication of the Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation (BEIR) reports. Recent versions have been published by the National Academies Press, whose documents may be viewed on-line for free; in some cases, the documents may be downloaded for free.
Recent studies have led to increasing debate about whether the LNT model is appropriate. Sites and searches providing information on this contentious issue are:
Transportation of Nuclear Waste
Since the 1960's, radioactive waste has been shipped by train or truck within the United States. In earlier days, spent naval and military reactors were shipped to the Idaho Chemical Processing Plant near Idaho Falls, Idaho. Commercial spent fuel was shipped to West Valley, NY and Morris, Illinois. Throughout the period, low level waste shipments (e.g. spent resin) have gone to Barnwell, SC, Hanford, WA and Beatty, NV. Some groups have expressed concern about anticipated shipments of spent fuel assemblies to Yucca Mountain, Nevada. These concerns focus on transportation accidents. Prior to any major change in shipments (from the current 2400), public protection should be assured by addressing the issues - (1) what is the anticipated frequency and major routes for these shipments, (2) what is the anticipated frequency of accidents involving these shipments, (3) if accidents occur, is there sufficient containment to ensure there will not be radioactive release affecting the public or the environment due to expected causes - rollover, fire, crash, (4) are local agencies familiar enough with emergency plans addressing radioactive materials. If these questions can be satisfactorily addressed, then shipments could be expected to occur.
Sites addressing this issue are:
Decommissioning of Nuclear Power Plants
Since the 1940's when the original government production reactors were built, nuclear plants have been built, shutdown, and decommissioned. Older commercial plants decommissioned have included Elk River (MN), Pathfinder (SD), Shippingport (PA), Shoreham (NY). More recently, plants undergoing decommissioning include - Yankee-Rowe (MA), Connecticut Yankee (CT), Maine Yankee (ME), Trojan (OR), Humboldt Bay and Rancho Seco (CA), and Zion (IL).
Pages that address how decommissioning is conducted and the issues that must be addressed include:
Copyright © 1996-2006. The Virtual Nuclear Tourist. All rights reserved. Revised: February 10, 2006.