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[cdn-nucl-l] US power plant to produce tritium
Posted on the Elizabethton Star Online on January 14, 2002 and at:
Interesting news out of Tennessee.
TVA seeks public comment on Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant
By Kathy Helms-Hughes
Tennessee Valley Authority is seeking a license amendment from the
Nuclear Regulatory Commission to produce tritium for the U.S. Department
of Energy at its Watts Bar and Sequoyah commercial nuclear plants.
John Moulton, director of TVA media relations, said, "We are in the
process of seeking a license amendment so that we can produce tritium at
Watts Bar and Sequoyah if necessary. We're waiting on DOE to give us the
word as to whether they want that done and how much they want. We
haven't gotten that at this point."
Tritium, a radioactive isotope of hydrogen, is used to enhance the
performance of nuclear weapons and is a necessary component for all
weapons in DOE's stockpile. According to DOE, tritium decays at 5.5
percent per year and must be replaced periodically as long as the nation
relies on a nuclear deterrent.
While the National Security Policy states that the United States must
retain a nuclear deterrent capability, opponents say the use of
commercial reactors for defense purposes would undermine
nonproliferation efforts with other countries.
The notice of TVA's license amendment was published Dec. 17 in the
Federal Register (Volume 66, Number 242, Page 64998-65000). Comments on
TVA's application must be submitted in writing and must be received by
Wednesday, Jan. 16. They should be addressed to: Chief, Rules and
Directives Branch, Division of Administrative Services, Office of
Administration, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, D.C.
20555-0001. Comments should cite the publication date and page number of
the Federal Register notice.
TVA also is seeking public comment on a draft supplemental
environmental impact statement that examines environmental impacts of a
proposal to extend the operation of Units 2 and 3 and, possibly Unit 1
at Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant. Unit 1 has not operated since it was
severely damaged by fire in the late 1970s.
Renewal of the licenses would permit TVA to continue operating the
units an additional 20 years past the current 40-year operating license
terms. The supplemental environmental impact statement examines
potential impacts of restarting Unit 1 and increasing the power output
by up to 20 percent.
Copies of the draft SEIS may be requested from Donald W. Snodgrass at
TVA, CEB 4C, Muscle Shoals, Ala. 35662-1010, or by e-mail at
email@example.com. Written comments, due by Jan. 30, may be submitted
to Bruce L. Yeager, Senior Specialist, National Environmental Policy
Act, TVA, WT 8C-K, 400 W. Summit Hill Drive, Knoxville, Tenn.
37902-1499. Comments also may be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A public meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Jan. 17 at the Aerospace
Technology Training Center on the campus of Calhoun Community College
near Decatur, Ala., to provide an opportunity to comment on the draft
Under an agreement with the Department of Energy, TVA will be
downblending 33 metric tons of surplus highly enriched uranium at
Nuclear Fuel Services Inc. in Erwin for use at Browns Ferry. The project
is set to begin in 2003, with the first reload of the downblended fuel
to begin in 2005.