U.S. nuclear plants will be allowed to keep workers on longer shifts to deal with staffing problems in the coronavirus pandemic, raising worries among watchdogs and some families living near reactors that employee exhaustion will increase the risks of accidents. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s decision to temporarily allow longer worker shifts is one way the industry is scrambling to keep up mandatory staffing levels through what will be weeks or months more of the outbreak. The shift extensions would allow workers to be on the job for up to 86 hours a week. Currently, they’re generally allowed to work up to 72 hours in a seven-day period. As part of the waiver, workers could be assigned to 12-hour shifts for as many as 14 days in a row.
ABC News 2nd April 2020 read more »
The nearly decade-long effort to build two new reactor units at the Vogtle Nuclear Generating Station in Georgia has endured cost overruns, delays and calls to abandon the project. It kept moving forward despite all of that, but the impact of the coronavirus may force Vogtle work to slow down or even stop for a time. Southern Co., the parent of Vogtle project lead developer Georgia Power, highlighted the disruptions of the COVID-19 virus to utility supply chains, finances and planning, according to its filing Wednesday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Work on the Vogtle additions of Units 3 and 4—which were planned to be operational by 2021 and 2022, respectively—is continuing but could foreseeably stop temporarily.
Power Engineering 1st April 2020 read more »
The U.S. government´s efforts to clean up Cold War-era waste from nuclear research and bomb making at federal sites around the country has lumbered along for decades, often at a pace that watchdogs and other critics say threatens public health and the environment. Now, fallout from the global coronavirus pandemic is resulting in more challenges as the nation´s only underground repository for nuclear waste finished ramping down operations Wednesday to keep workers safe. Over more than 20 years, tons of waste have been stashed deep in the salt caverns that make up the southern New Mexico site. Until recently, several shipments a week of special boxes and barrels packed with lab coats, rubber gloves, tools and debris contaminated with plutonium and other radioactive elements were being trucked to the remote facility from South Carolina, Idaho and other spots. That’s all but grinding to a halt.
Daily Mail 3rd April 2020 read more »