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NUCLEAR:

Top DOE official, experts head to the Hill to discuss industry's fate

A top Obama administration official and industry experts are slated to meet with House members this week to discuss the future of U.S. nuclear reactors, a power source facing tough market conditions and what some say is unfair treatment under U.S. EPA's Clean Power Plan.

A House Science, Space and Technology subcommittee, chaired by pro-uranium-mining Republican Rep. Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming, will hear testimony Thursday from Pete Lyons, the Energy Department's assistant secretary at the Office of Nuclear Energy, and Daniel Lipman, the executive director of policy development at the Nuclear Energy Institute.

NRC:

Chairwoman faces tough questions, partisan spats in last Hill hearing

Allison Macfarlane's last appearance today on Capitol Hill as chairwoman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission was marked with a lengthy grilling from a top Democrat and a partisan spat over Democrats' off-the-floor approval yesterday of a controversial NRC nominee.

Sen. Barbara Boxer of California, the outgoing chairwoman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, took Macfarlane to task for the agency's oversight of nuclear plants in her home state of California. Boxer accused the agency of withholding documents from Congress and moving too slowly to make safety upgrades following the 2011 disaster in Japan. She also said the NRC is joining forces with Russia to block a European proposal that requires nuclear plants be protected against severe earthquakes and natural disasters.

CLIMATE:

Nuclear industry faults 'fundamentally flawed' EPA power plan

The nuclear industry's largest trade group called U.S. EPA's Clean Power Plan "fundamentally flawed" and called for the proposal to be reworked to ensure that the country's 100 nuclear plants stay open.

The Nuclear Energy Institute -- officially weighing in on the proposal for the first time -- told EPA that while the proposed regulations under the Clean Air Act's Section 111(d) recognize the need for carbon-free nuclear power, the proposal does little to help make that happen.

NUCLEAR:

Violations at Fla. plant highlight NRC concerns over flooding emergencies

On Jan. 9, a freak storm dumped a record rainfall on central Florida's Treasure Coast, inundating the St. Lucie nuclear power plant facing the Atlantic Ocean. Storm drains failed, and 50,000 gallons of water flooded the plant's Unit 1 reactor auxiliary building through improperly sealed electrical passages, disabling core cooling pumps. The incident surprised and jarred the NRC, which has made flooding threats to U.S. reactors a top regulatory priority following the 2011 tsunami at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan.

Had the reactor tripped during that storm, all of the emergency core cooling pumps would have been submerged. Under that scenario, "after 24 hours, the plant would not achieve a 'safe and stable' condition and reactor core would be damaged, unless emergency recovery action succeeded," according to a Nuclear Regulatory Commission notice of violation against the St. Lucie plant owner, Florida Power & Light Co. (FPL), a subsidiary of NextEra Energy. The NRC notified FPL on Nov. 19 that it would be subject to increased safety inspections because of the violations.

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About this report

The devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan has spawned a major nuclear disaster. E&E examines the implications for energy, the environment, security and public health.

Nuclear Nation

Scores of nuclear power reactors dot the United States. There are 103 reactors that are licensed to operate and 14 undergoing decommissioning. Many others are in planning stages; the four furthest along in the Nuclear Regulatory Commission licensing process are shown on this map. Click on a site icon for more details on the U.S. NRC website.

Zion 1, Illinois Zion 2, Illinois Humboldt Bay, California Vallecitos Boiling Water Reactor, California San Onofre 1, California LaCrosse Boiling Water Reactor, Wisconsin Dresden 1, Illinois Peach Bottom 1, Pennsylvania Three Mile Island 2, Pennsylvania Nuclear Ship Savannah, Maryland Fermi 1, Michigan Indian Point 1, New York Millstone 1, Connecticut Summer 3, South Carolina Summer 2, South Carolina Vogtle 4, Georgia Vogtle 3, Georgia McGuire 2, North Carolina McGuire 1, North Carolina North Anna 2, Virginia North Anna 1, Virginia Surry 2, Virginia Surry 1, Virginia Brunswick 2, North Carolina Brunswick 1, North Carolina Catawba 2, South Carolina Catawba 1, South Carolina Vogtle 2, Georgia Vogtle 1, Georgia Hatch 2, Georgia Hatch 1, Georgia Saint Lucie 2, Florida Harris 1, North Carolina Watts Bar 1, Tennessee Fort Calhoun, Nebraska Cooper, Nebraska Pilgrim 1, Massachusetts Seabrook 1, New Hampshire Vermont Yankee, Vermont FitzPatrick, New York Ginna, New York Perry 1, Ohio Davis-Besse, Ohio Monticello, Minnesota Duane Arnold, Iowa Fermi 2, Ohio Palisades, Michigan Kewaunee, Wisconsin Clinton, Illinois Callaway, Missouri Columbia Generating Station, Washington Wolf Creek, Kansas River Bend 1, Louisiana Waterford 3, Louisiana Robinson 2, South Carolina Summer, South Carolina Grand Gulf 1, Mississippi Crystal River 3, Florida Saint Lucie 1, Florida Oconee 2, South Carolina Oconee 3, South Carolina Oconee 1, South Carolina Palo Verde 2, Arizona Palo Verde 3, Arizona Palo Verde 1, Arizona Browns Ferry 2, Alabama Browns Ferry 3, Alabama Browns Ferry 1, Alabama Sequoyah 2, Tennessee Sequoyah 1, Tennessee Quad Cities 2, Illinois Quad Cities 1, Illinois Peach Bottom 3, Pennsylvania Three Mile Island 1, Pennsylvania Peach Bottom 2, Pennysylvania Nine Mile Point 2, New York Nine Mile Point 1, New York Calvert Cliffs 2, Maryland Calvert Cliffs 1, Maryland Salem 2, New Jersey Hope Creek 1, New Jersey Oyster Creek, New Jersey Salem 1, New Jersey Millstone 3, Connecticut Millstone 2, Connecticut Indian Point 3, New York Indian Point 2, New York Susquehanna 1, Pennsylvania Susquehanna 1, Pennsylvania Limerick 2, Pennsylvania Limerick 1, Pennsylvania Beaver Valley 2, Pennsylvania Beaver Valley 1, Pennsylvania Dresden 3, Illinois Dresden 2, Illinois La Salle 2, Illinois La Salle 1, Illinois Braidwood 2, Illinois Braidwood 1, Illinois D.C. Cook 2, Michigan D.C. Cook 1, Michigan Byron 2, Illinois Byron 1, Illinois Point Beach 2, Wisconsin Point Beach 1, Wisconsin Prarie Island 2, Minnesota Prarie Island 1, Minnesota Arkansas Nuclear 2, Arkansas Arkansas Nuclear 1, Arkansas South Texas 2, Texas South Texas 1, Texas Comanche Peak 2, Texas Comanche Peak 1, Texas Diablo Canyon 2, California Diablo Canyon 1, California San Onofre 3, California San Onofre 2, California Farley 2, Alabam51 Farley 1, Alabama Turkey Point 4, Florida Turkey Point 3, Florida

Proposed and expected to proceed to final NRC licensing

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