News

Xcel names Kelly 2014 Picture of Xcellence Award winner

December 16th, 2014
Author: Margie Church, Monticello
What does it take to be a leader of excellence? In Nuclear, it includes individuals nominated for demonstrating the values listed in the Picture of Xcellence, business planning and strategic principals for the benefit of the Xcel Energy Nuclear fleet, a member of the USA fleet. Michelle Kelly, manager, Monticello Performance Assessment, was chosen by...
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Third USA plant installs fuel pool probes to improve safety

December 15th, 2014
Author: Stephen Tait, Fermi 2
Crews at Fermi 2 will complete this month the installation of two 23-foot long probes in the used fuel pool that will improve the plant's ability to monitor water level during a loss of power.Fermi 2 is the third Utilities Service Alliance fleet member to install the probes. The USA fleet is using MOHR Test and...
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USA addressing cumulative impacts

December 15th, 2014
Author: Lisa Kuehl, Prairie Island
The USA Performance Improvement Core Peer Team has taken actions to embrace the INPO initiative to address cumulative impacts in the Corrective Action Program (CAP). Results of the short term actions to improve CAP effectiveness and efficiency include backlog reduction, behavioral changes and process changes are being noticed across the USA fleet. CAP backlog reductions One of the short term actions taken to...
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Innovative thinking frees liner, saves money

December 11th, 2014
Author: Stephen Tait, Fermi 2
The Fermi 2 radiological team was stuck between a rock and a hot spot. At the plant’s radwaste facility, the team uses a crane with a grapple to move containers, which are about 5 ½ feet tall by 5 feet in diameter and weigh between 5,000 pounds and 10,000 pounds each. The liners are filled with spent resin which...
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STP's Maintenance & Technical Training Programs Accreditation Renewed

December 10th, 2014
Author: Buddy Eller, STP
The National Nuclear Accrediting Board voted unanimously to renew the accreditation of USA fleet member STP’s Maintenance and Technical Training Programs. Accreditation renewal of these programs is one of the station’s 2014 Key Results. An eight-person STP team represented the Maintenance and Technical Training Programs at the National Nuclear Accrediting Board in Atlanta today. This team included Greg Hillman, Matt Hayes, Chancey...
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Hope Creek Operations Training Programs Accreditation Renewed

December 10th, 2014
Author: Grace Hymer, PSEG Nuclear
USA fleet member Hope Creek announced that the National Nuclear Accrediting Board renewed the accreditation of its Operator training programs for the next four years. This renewal is indicative of the confidence the National Nuclear Accrediting Board has in Hope Creek’s ability to safely operate, maintain, and improve plant performance. “Renewal of the Operations training programs is the reflection of...
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Luminant joins Utilities Service Alliance fleet

December 2nd, 2014
Author: Joe Delmar, PSEG Nuclear
The Utilities Service Alliance (USA) has formally announced that Luminant, which operates Comanche Peak Nuclear Power Plant located near Glen Rose, Texas will join the fleet of independent nuclear plant operators as a full member effective January 1, 2015. “We are pleased to welcome Luminant to the USA fleet,” said USA President and Chief Executive...
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Columbia breaks longest run record

November 17th, 2014
Author: Anna Markham, Energy Northwest
USA fleet member Columbia Generating Station surpassed its all-time best record of 505 continuous days on-line, on November 13 at 1:47 a.m. The current run began after the plant was re-started following Columbia’s 2013 refueling and maintenance outage, which ended June 25, 2013. Columbia’s next refueling outage is scheduled to begin May 9. “This record is attributable to the organization’s alignment around...
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USA Personnel Sharing hits homerun with Susquehanna & Cook

November 14th, 2014
Author: Susan Downs, PPL Susquehanna
One of the Utilities Service Alliance (USA) initiatives providing value to member stations across the country is the Personnel Sharing Agreement. Through this agreement, USA sites are able to supplement their staff during peak work periods such as outages, with experienced, high-performing staff from other sites. The arrangement is beneficial on a variety of fronts, including using experienced nuclear staff which...
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Elite state police team trains at Fermi

November 14th, 2014
Author: Stephen Tait, Fermi 2
The Michigan State Police visited Fermi 2, a Utilities Service Alliance fleet member, to conduct exercises with the plant’s Nuclear Security group. During the activities, the police’s Emergency Support Team — a specialized force that is deployed for extremely difficult or dangerous tasks such as hostage rescue, barricaded gunmen, high risk arrests and others —...
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USA Chief Nuclear Officers meet with Japanese counterparts

November 7th, 2014
Author: Joe Delmar, PSEG Nuclear & Chip Palazzo, Susquehanna
Chief nuclear officers (CNOs) representing the Utilities Service Alliance (USA) fleet participated in a recent briefing with their Japanese counterparts which included a tour of the U.S. nuclear industry’s new emergency response center in Phoenix and discussions on safety and emergency preparedness. The Japanese visit was scheduled following the fall 2013 visit by United States CNOs to the Fukushima Daiichi...
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PSEG Nuclear supports overseas fuel reliability program visit

November 6th, 2014
Author: Joe Delmar, PSEG Nuclear
USA fleet member PSEG Nuclear recently participated in an Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) fuel reliability program visit to Japan, Korea and Taiwan. The visit was well received thanks to the efforts of PSEG’s Director of Nuclear Fuels Don Notigan who served as a member of the program visit team. “I was extremely impressed with...
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Cook Unit 1 begins new 20-year operating license period

October 30th, 2014
Author: Bill Schalk, Cook
At midnight on October 25, USA fleet member Cook Nuclear Plant Unit 1’s original 40-year operating license ended and the plant began operation under the renewed license granted by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in 2005. The unit is now licensed to operate until 2034. “Welcome to the next generation of safe, reliable and low-cost electricity produced by Cook Nuclear Plant Unit 1,”...
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Xcel Energy, Monticello Nuclear Generating Plant Named Monticello Industry of the Year

October 23rd, 2014
Author: Pat Thompson, Monticello
The City of Monticello named USA fleet member Xcel Energy and the Monticello Nuclear Generating Plant the 2014 Monticello Industry of the Year recently.  A letter of congratulations from City Administrator Jeff O’Neill to Site Vice President Karen Fili and Chief Nuclear Tim O’Connor stated, “The event is an opportunity for the City to express...
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Salem Unit 1 begins refueling outage

October 21st, 2014
Author: Karen Miller, PSEG Nuclear
USA fleet member PSEG Nuclear’s Salem Unit 1 began its 23rd refueling outage Sunday night. PSEG Nuclear employees will be supported by 1,400 contractors during the outage. Together, they will complete more than 22,000 scheduled work activities. High level major work includes replacing various valves, relays, actuators, and seals; and replacing about one third of 193 fuel assemblies in the...
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Prairie Island sets record on continuous operations

October 13th, 2014
Author: Lisa Kuehl, Prairie Island
USA fleet’s Prairie Island Nuclear Generating Plant Unit 1 exceeded its previous record breaker-to-breaker run when it began its 29th refueling outage on October 8. The unit had been running for 644 consecutive days since January 2, 2013, the longest run ever of both units at Prairie Island. “An outage-to-outage run like this places us among the most reliable in...
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STP celebrates 25 years

October 9th, 2014
Author: Buddy Eller, STP
USA fleet member STP recently celebrated the 25-year commercial operation anniversaries of Unit 1 and Unit 2 in 2013 and 2014 respectively. As part of the celebration, STP hosted a reception and dinner to thank employees who have worked at the facility since the units went online. Many of the 350 employees have been with...
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Energy Northwest Safe Day event receives high praise

October 9th, 2014
Author: Anna Markham, Energy Northwest
Horns, employee chatter and music echoed the Deschutes parking lot recently as employees and guests participated in the Safe Day Event for USA fleet member Energy Northwest (EN). There were more than 40 informational booths spread throughout the parking lot for the event reinforcing safe practices at work and at home. To support the Safe...
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Monticello Open House attracts 850 attendees

October 8th, 2014
Author: Pat Thompson, Monticello
More than 850 people shrugged off a light rain and the lure of Vikings-Packers football to attend the Monticello Nuclear Generating Plant Community Open House on October 2 at the USA fleet member’s training center. Individuals and families flocked to the Open House from Monticello and dozens of cities in central Minnesota and the Twin...
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Boy Scouts earn Nuclear Science Merit Badge through PSEG Nuclear

October 7th, 2014
Author: Joe Delmar, PSEG Nuclear
USA fleet member PSEG Nuclear recently hosted a successful Nuclear Science Merit Badge workshop for area Boy Scouts at its Energy & Environmental Resource Center (EERC). Now in its fourth year, more than 600 Boy Scouts have visited the EERC to earn one of the more elusive merit badges. “The workshop is well received and...
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Girl Scouts get nuclear at Monticello and Prairie Island

October 7th, 2014
Author: Julie Weber, Monticello
A group of 180 Girl Scouts between 4th and 8th grades plus 70 leaders, had the opportunity to learn about nuclear science at USA fleet member Xcel Energy’s Prairie Island and Monticello stations. The scouts rotated through six activities to earn their Nuclear Science and Technology Activity Patch including a control room simulator demonstration, Atomic Jeopardy...
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Public shows support for PSEG Nuclear’s development efforts

October 3rd, 2014
Author: Joe Delmar, PSEG Nuclear
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) held two public meetings recently for USA fleet member PSEG Nuclear’s early site permit (ESP). The meetings solicited feedback on the NRC’s draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) for the ESP which concluded there are no environmental impacts that would preclude PSEG Nuclear from building an additional nuclear plant north of its existing Hope Creek Generation...
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TEPCO visits PSEG Nuclear

September 29th, 2014
Author: Grace Hymer, PSEG Nuclear
Four visitors from Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) visited USA fleet member PSEG Nuclear recently to present an informative and powerful presentation outlining firsthand accounts of the events at Fukushima Daiichi. While there, they participated in a tour of PSEG’s Hope Creek Generating Station.   The presentation included plant status of each unit leading up...
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Cook Unit 1 begins refueling outage following second consecutive record breaking run

September 26th, 2014
Author: Bill Schalk, Cook
USA member Cook Nuclear Plant’s Unit 1 broke its previous record for capacity factor and completed its second consecutive breaker-to-breaker fuel cycle when it began its 25th refueling outage on September 24. The capacity factor of 101.4 percent beats the previous record of 101.3 percent that was set in the previous fuel cycle that ended...
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Monticello & Prairie Island host Spanish utility

September 16th, 2014
Author: Margie Church, Monticello
Two guests from Spain representing Spanish utility Endesa benchmarked at USA fleet members Prairie Island and Monticello in August. Jesús Añorbe Rodriguez and Ramón María María spent a few days at both stations interacting with plant operations’ staff to learn and share expertise. Both men were complimentary about the welcome they received and the free...
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New USA Work Management team meets

September 16th, 2014
Author: Joe Delmar, PSEG Nuclear
The new USA  Work Management Core Peer Team held their first face to face meeting in Minneapolis recently.  The team met to discuss site performance, identify common issues, finalize key performance indicators for the Work Management functional area and agree on business plan objectives for 2015. Appearing in the photo from left to right:  Joe...
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Collaboration with DevonWay wins Project of the Year

September 10th, 2014
Author: Sally N. White, DevonWay
USA supplier DevonWay Inc., a leading provider of enterprise cloud applications for the high-reliability process industry, is pleased to announce that the LabWay project with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Idaho National laboratory (INL) was awarded “Project of the Year” at the National Laboratories Information Technology (NLIT) Summit’s annual conference in San Francisco.The purpose of...
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STP’s Steinmann career spans four decades

September 9th, 2014
Author: Buddy Eller, STP
Garland Steinmann recently closed the books on a career at USA fleet member STP that has spanned nearly four decades. Hired as a Civil Engineer with Houston Lighting & Power (HL&P) in January 1975, he is the longest tenured STP employee. Following another stint on the turbine deck during recent Unit 1 outage, Garland is...
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Retrain your brain: avoiding slips, trips and falls

September 9th, 2014
Author: Stephen Tait, Fermi 2
On a recent workday, Anthony Brunet strapped to his boots a pair of coverings to increase — yes, increase — his chances of slipping on a nearby tile floor.  But all you safety specialists can rest easy.  The warehouse worker at Fermi 2, a USA fleet member, then donned a harness with a strap attached...
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USA EP team supports hostile action based drills

September 9th, 2014
Author: Joe Delmar, PSEG Nuclear
This year, USA fleet members and their emergency preparedness organizations are undertaking a new endeavor. Several members are conducting hostile action based (HAB) drills this year to test their response to a possible security threat at their station. To prepare for these unique drills, the USA Emergency Preparedness Core Peer Team is supporting these drills...
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USA stands tall at 20th Annual ANS Utility Working Conference

August 19th, 2014
Author: Chip Palazzo, PPL Susquehanna
This year, Utilities Service Alliance (USA) stepped up to co-sponsor “Cost Effective Excellence,” the 2014 American Nuclear Society’s Utility Working Conference held on Amelia Island, Florida, the week of August 11. With nearly 700 nuclear professionals and vendors in attendance, this year’s event marked 20 years of continued strong traditions associated with the popular industry...
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USA awards fleet agreement for valve services

August 18th, 2014
Author: Lynne Hilton, Utilities Service Alliance
After a months-long competitive bid process, the USA fleet-wide valve services agreement was awarded to incumbent Crane Nuclear. The scope of the agreement includes on-site maintenance and testing of motor-operated valves, air-operated valves, and other types of valves in the primary and secondary systems of the plant.   This agreement is important to the USA fleet...
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New INPO evaluation process pilots at Prairie Island

August 18th, 2014
Author: Lisa Kuehl, Xcel Energy
The Prairie Island Nuclear Generating Plant was the first plant in the industry to try on for size the new INPO evaluation process. The INPO mid-cycle evaluation is taking the form of a pilot, completed in three stages. For the first week, the full evaluation team was on site at Prairie Island; during the second...
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Two join Fermi 2’s leadership team

August 15th, 2014
Author: Stephen Tait, Fermi 2
Utilities Service Alliance member Fermi 2 welcomed two new members to its leadership team in recent weeks: Vito Kaminskas to serve as Site Vice President; and Mike Philippon as Director of Production, or plant manager.   Kaminskas brings more than 40 years of extensive nuclear experience in operations, maintenance and engineering; he was most recently the...
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PSEG WIN chapter recognized

August 14th, 2014
Author: Joe Delmar, PSEG Nuclear
PSEG Nuclear’s Women in Nuclear (WIN) chapter was recently honored at the U.S. WIN National Conference hosted in Boston.   Each year, US WIN recognizes small and large chapters who demonstrate excellence in its strategic objectives: professional development, public outreach and networking. U.S. WIN also recognizes overall chapter excellence. The PSEG WIN chapter is...
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Susquehanna’s Unit 2 successfully closes NRC 95002 Inspection

August 14th, 2014
Author: Chip Palazzo, PPL Susquehanna
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) 95002 Inspection Team informed USA member Susquehanna Station Thursday, July 31, that the organization had successfully completed its 95002 Inspection. NRC Inspectors said that the Station had demonstrated its understanding, conducted thorough evaluations and developed and implemented comprehensive corrective actions. An NRC public meeting will be scheduled. At that...
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ER team taking strides toward program improvement

August 12th, 2014
Author: Stephen Tait, Fermi 2
There’s a tri-fold at PSEG’s two nuclear power plants that helps explain Equipment Reliability. It’s given to new employees or visitors who — if outside the nuclear industry, for instance — may not know that term well.   On the first flap of literature it asks: “Why is Equipment Reliability important?”   Let us count...
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I want to drive the Zamboni!

August 11th, 2014
Author: Margaret Bridge, PPL Susquehanna
Ever since he was young and saw the ice maintenance crew driving a Zamboni to clean the ice at a hockey game, Bill Kahler from USA fleet member Susquehanna knew that driving the enormous ice-cleaning machine was an item on his bucket list. Recently, he was able to cross that item off by attending an...
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Fermi 2 table top exercise goes beyond typical

August 7th, 2014
Author: Stephen Tait, Fermi 2
As the team determined its next step in its unfolding emergency, an employee made a seemingly sensible suggestion: try to cool the Reactor Building by opening a certain hatch to increase air flow.   The person quickly realized his error: “That’s right, we have no power.”   His realization came several hours into a tabletop exercise at Fermi...
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Photos from the Field: STP hosts WANO small group CEO meeting

August 4th, 2014
Author: Buddy Eller, South Texas Project
Kazutaka Kakinoki, Executive Vice President of Shikoku Electric, presents STP President and CEO Dennis Koehl with a framed photo during the opening session of the WANO small group meeting in mid-July. The meeting was hosted by STP and included U.S. and internal CEO’s, and WANO Chairman Jacques Regaldo and the WANO directors. The two-day meeting...
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Celebrating 40 years of Prairie Island operation

July 11th, 2014
Author: Lisa Kuehl, Xcel Energy
Forty years ago, nuclear power generated by Prairie Island Nuclear Generating Plant began lighting hundreds of thousands of houses in the Upper Midwest as Unit 1 came online after several years of construction. A year later, Unit 2 came on line and the station took its place in the Northern States Power portfolio.   Four decades...
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It all adds up for local kids

July 10th, 2014
Author: Dave DiDonato, PSEG Nuclear
What is the sum of one day plus 16 different school districts, 17 math trials and more than 400 students? The answer: the Salem County Math Showcase and some stiff competition. This year marked the 14th annual event proudly sponsored by Utilities Service Alliance fleet member PSEG Nuclear.   The Math Showcase is an enthusiastically supported competition...
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USA Leadership Profile: Jay Wagner

July 9th, 2014
Author: Joe Delmar, PSEG Nuclear
You have extensive nuclear industry experience including several years at INPO. How has your experience prepared you for your role as PSEG Nuclear’s Management Council Rep?   With a Penn State Nuclear Engineering, Nuclear Navy, INPO, Peach Bottom Maintenance, and Zion System Engineering background, I acquired a combination of training, mentoring, knowledge, and experience that...
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Monticello takes efforts to reduce on-line dose exposure

June 24th, 2014
Author: Lisa Kuehl, Xcel Energy
Monticello Nuclear Generating Station has completed an effort to significantly reduce radiation-dose exposure and maintain reactor-vessel corrosion protection.   The On-Line Noble Chemistry (OLNC) project conducted its first water-treatment process in October, but future treatments will continue to pay dividends at the plant in Monticello, Minn.   “The On-line Noble Chemistry project will have the most meaningful...
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Successful Supplier Fairs held at Cook and Fermi

June 17th, 2014
Author: Lynne Hilton, Utilities Service Alliance
USA Supplier Fairs were held recently at two USA member station locations; Cook Nuclear Plant and Fermi 2 Power Plant. Both fairs were a success, with strong turn-outs and many connections.   “This was a great opportunity for many Suppliers to have a first time visit to Fermi and meet the actual plant users of...
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PPL, Riverstone to form one of the nation’s largest Independent Power Producers

June 17th, 2014
Author: Chip Palazzo, PPL Susquehanna
PPL Corporation (NYSE: PPL) and Riverstone Holdings LLC, a leading energy and power investment firm, announced Monday (6/9) a definitive agreement to combine their merchant power generation businesses into a new stand-alone, publicly traded Independent Power Producer. The new company, which will own and operate a diverse mix of 15,320 megawatts of generating capacity in...
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USA supplier AZZ|NLI saves Columbia $5M

June 16th, 2014
Author: Lynne Hilton, Utilities Service Alliance
Columbia station needed to replace 282 obsolete ITE 5600 Series motor control center (MCC) cubicles and went out to bid in 2013. Columbia had several objectives for this project, with one of the most critical being that the motor starters needed to be able to function under degraded voltage scenarios. In accident scenarios when all...
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Cook provides updates on Fukushima upgrades to NRC and House Committee chairs

June 16th, 2014
Author: Bill Schalk, Cook Nuclear Plant
“A lot has happened in the nuclear industry and specifically at Cook since the accident at Fukushima and we’re pleased that you’ve come to Cook so we can share it with you.”   That was the opening statement made by AEP Senior Vice President and Chief Nuclear Officer Larry Weber who had the unique opportunity to address...
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Performance Improvement team to streamline CAP process

June 16th, 2014
Author: Lisa Kuehl, Xcel Energy
The USA Performance Improvement Core Peer Team is taking a leading role in responding to the INPO cumulative impacts initiative. For a coordinated approach, the team is implementing actions to resolve issues identified in the Corrective Action Program at the USA fleet plants.   INPO published a guidance document, “Industry Cumulative Impact Short-Term Actions,” to address the...
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Cook Nuclear Plant personnel recognized with TIP award for reactor vessel bolt repair

June 13th, 2014
Author: Bill Schalk, Cook Nuclear Plant
You have a bolt problem.   Some of the bolts holding together a system vital to your operation are damaged. They are secured in place with a welded lock bar that has to be removed along with the bolt. New bolts have to be torqued to an exact specification. There are no tools available for...
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Monticello receives prestigious NEI Training and Technology TIP honors

June 13th, 2014
Author: Lisa Kuehl, Xcel Energy
Xcel Energy and the Monticello Nuclear Generating Plant Training Center picked up a prestigious Top Industry Practice (TIP) Award from the Nuclear Energy Institute at the Nuclear Energy Assembly in Arizona.   The Monticello training team won an award for developing a training simulation that enhances preparedness of various accident scenarios. Using 3-D graphics and a video...
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USA Executive Summit a success

June 9th, 2014
Author: Joe Delmar, PSEG Nuclear
The Utilities Service Alliance (USA) recently concluded its 20th Annual Nuclear Generator and Supplier Executive Summit in Carlsbad, California. Close to 500 conference attendees and their guests from over 125 different companies attended this leading industry event.   This year’s theme was Cumulative Impact – All of this & Safe, Economic Operation Too. Speakers included several...
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USA Raises Money for the ASPCA

June 8th, 2014
Author: Lynne Hilton, Utilities Service Alliance
Through the combination of corporate donations and a charity casino night held at this year’s Executive Summit, $16,000 was raised for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). The mission of this worthy organization is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. The...
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USA Announces 2013 Suppliers of the Year

June 7th, 2014
Author: Lynne Hilton, Utilities Service Alliance
The votes are in!! The 2013 Utilities Service Alliance (USA) Suppliers of the Year are Frham Safety Products, Material Supplier of the Year, and Crane Nuclear, Services Supplier of the Year. The winners were announced on Thursday at at USA’s 20th Annual Executive Summit being held in Carlsbad, California.   Suppliers are chosen for this prestigious award...
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Xcel Energy wins 2013 Optimizer Award

June 7th, 2014
Author: Jeff Dehn, Xcel Energy
With $6.6 million in savings and avoided costs, Xcel Energy received this year’s Utilities Service Alliance (USA) Optimizer Award. The award is given to the USA member with the largest amount of savings earned through the aggressive use of USA programs, projects and contracts as reported in the Annual Savings Report.   Because of Xcel...
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USA board announces new leadership

June 4th, 2014
Author: Joe Delmar, PSEG Nuclear
The Utilities Service Alliance (USA) Board of Directors announced the election today of PPL Susquehanna’s Tim Rausch as board chairman and Energy Northwest’s Brad Sawatzke as board vice chairman.   Rausch had previously served as vice chairman and succeeds PSEG Nuclear’s Tom Joyce who completed two terms as board chairman. Rausch will serve a two-year...
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Cost Effective Excellence: 2014 Utility Working Conference and Vendor Technology Expo sponsored by USA

May 21st, 2014
Author: Chip Palazzo, PPL Susquehanna
Achieving excellence in the nuclear industry poses a challenge to every utility, large or small, particularly in light of increased performance expectations and heightened budgetary concerns. Doing so with an eye on cost-effectiveness only multiplies our challenge – and the difficulties increase exponentially. But excellence on a budget is achievable. Join your USA peers this...
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Continuous Improvement Award Finalist Spotlight: Graybar Electric

May 20th, 2014
Author: Lynne Hilton, Utilities Service Alliance
As mentioned last month, many excellent suppliers applied for USA’s annual Continuous Improvement (CI) Award, and though we couldn’t give awards to all of these suppliers, we wanted to. This article is the second in a series of articles spotlighting our Continuous Improvement award finalists and the innovative things they are doing in the nuclear...
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USA Leadership Profile: Fred Eisenhuth, USA Management Council Representative, PPL Susquehanna

May 19th, 2014
Author: Chip Palazzo, PPL Susquehanna
Fred Eisenhuth, PPL Susquehanna’s Management Council (MC) Representative and MC Sponsor for Operations and Outage Excellence Core Peer Teams has invested more than three years with Utilities Service Alliance (USA). But his service as ‘MC Rep’ with USA – at first blush, three years doesn’t sound like an extensive history – taps into Fred’s 36...
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Columbia Evacuates for Emergency Drill

May 16th, 2014
Author: Chuck Forrester, Energy Northwest
USA Member Columbia Generating Station conducted an Emergency Response Operations training drill (ERO Team A) on May 6 with overall solid performance and with no significant ERO performance deficiencies noted. All of the emergency centers successfully activated within expected timelines, and classification, notifications, and Protective Action Recommendations were timely and accurate.   However, this was...
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Door-to-Door Safety

May 15th, 2014
Author: Dave Lefor, Cook Nuclear Plant
We use them every day at work, home and most locations that we visit. Most of us don’t give a second thought to opening or closing a door because it’s part of our daily routine. Doors are not as benign as they look, in fact each year thousands of door accidents take place. Some of...
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Earth Day Round-up: USA members show their support of the environment

May 13th, 2014
Author: Lisa Kuehl, Xcel Energy; Dave Lefor, Cook Nuclear Plant; Angela Walz, Energy Northwest
This past Earth Day, many USA member stations celebrated by holding planet-protecting events within their local communities. Below are some highlights of the good things our members are doing for the environment.   Prairie Island employees partner with local high school for earth day activities   Employees from the Prairie Island Nuclear Generating Plant volunteered to make a...
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DTE Energy files application for Fermi 2 license renewal

May 12th, 2014
Author: Stephen Tait, DTE Energy
Utilities Service Alliance member DTE Energy filed an application with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission on April 30 to renew the license for its Fermi 2 nuclear power plant.   U.S. nuclear power plants were originally licensed for 40 years of operation. For Fermi 2, the original license ends in 2025. A successful license renewal process...
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Photos from the Field: Columbia's dry cask storage campaign

May 5th, 2014
Author: Kelly Rae, Columbia Generating Station
Reactor maintenance crews at USA member Columbia Generating Station guide in a multi-purpose canister in preparation for the site’s dry cask storage campaign. The last cask loading at Columbia was six years ago. This spring, nine new casks, each filled with 68 spent fuel assemblies, will methodically make their way to the Independent Spent Fuel...
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Monticello begins external flooding barrier project

April 24th, 2014
Author: Lisa Kuehl, Xcel Energy
This spring, USA Member Monticello Nuclear Generating Plant began an External Flooding Barrier Project to enhance flood protection strategy by installing permanent infrastructure. This infrastructure will decrease the time required to install temporary flood protection in the event of the design-basis probable maximum flood.   The installation of a bin wall along the north side...
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USA’s Cook’s Nuclear Plant partners with local fire departments to form a District Technical Rescue Team

April 23rd, 2014
Author: Bill Downey, Cook Nuclear Plant
At all USA sites, we know that “nuclear is different” and it is reflected in just about every aspect of our jobs. We also know that because we are different, we often train and prepare for things that others don’t in order to protect our plant, our people and the public.   The Fire Brigade...
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Prairie Island announces new plant manager

April 21st, 2014
Author: Lisa Kuehl, Xcel Energy
Prairie Island named Chris Younie as the new plant manager effective April 21, 2014. Younie comes to Prairie Island from INPO, where he has been a Plant Evaluation Team Leader.   Prior to joining INPO in 2007, Younie worked at Callaway in Fulton, Mo., where he was manager of Business Operation and Operations. He also spent...
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USA Fleet spring outage overview

April 14th, 2014
Author: Buddy Eller, South Texas Project
Several USA plants have completed or have refueling and maintenance outages ongoing this spring. Below is a brief recap of USA outage activities.   Fermi’s Outage   Fermi 2 completed its 16th refueling outage early this year. The plant completed more than 15,000 separate activities during the outage, including inspections and equipment maintenance activities.  ...
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Continuous Improvement Award Finalist Spotlight: UniTech Services Group

April 14th, 2014
Author: Lynne Hilton, Utilities Service Alliance
Many fine suppliers applied for USA’s annual Continuous Improvement award, which was awarded in January of this year. Though we couldn’t give awards to all of these suppliers, we wanted to, so throughout the year we are going to spread the word about the good things our suppliers have been up to. This article is...
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Prairie Island retirees mentor to build robot

April 10th, 2014
Author: Lisa Kuehl, Xcel Energy
Former employees Don Fricke, Brad Goudy and Chuck Propst put aside work, not their minds. These retirees from USA member Prairie Island have been using their time and talents to mentor local students. As part of the US FIRST Robotics Program, these retirees spent January and February helping a Red Wing High School, Red Wing,...
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Q&A with USA Site Leadership Team Member Grover Hettel

April 8th, 2014
Author: Kelly Rae, Columbia Generating Station
Columbia Generating Station’s Operations Vice President Grover Hettel has served on the Utilities Service Alliance’s senior leadership core peer team for about two years. Hettel recently sat down to talk about being a part of the USA team.   What is the USA site leadership team?   The site leadership team (SLT) is made up of vice president representatives...
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After focus on t-mods, success for USA plants

April 4th, 2014
Author: Stephen Tait, Fermi 2
Picture this in your plant: Improper fasteners holding together an air conditioning unit, a random drain hose leading to a floor drain or a pipe without the proper heat-resistant insulation and/or coatings.   
It shouldn’t be too difficult to imagine — these are some of the examples of unauthorized temporary modifications once found at plants in the...
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USA names Manager-Performance Analysis

April 3rd, 2014
Author: Joe Delmar, PSEG Nuclear
The Utilities Service Alliance (USA) has named Andrew Brown as the fleet’s Manager-Performance Analysis effective immediately. Brown is on loan from fleet member Xcel Energy where he spent the past six years coordinating performance indicators, corrective action and other performance improvement related programs. He also served as project manager for the rollout of Observation Way...
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Xcel Energy receives Corporate Partner Award

April 2nd, 2014
Author: Lisa Kuehl, Xcel Energy
Building strong business relationships can have many benefits. Recently, USA member Xcel Energy received the Corporate Partner Award for demonstrating its commitment to maintaining relationships with a broad base of suppliers.   The award, given by the National Association of Minority Contractors-Midwest Chapter, acknowledges Xcel Energy for its contract with minority supplier Shaw-Lundquist to build a 77,000-square...
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Students from “closed” Russian city visit PSEG Nuclear

March 27th, 2014
Author: Joe Delmar, PSEG Nuclear
Each year, thousands of students visit USA fleet member PSEG Nuclear and its Energy & Environmental Resource Center (EERC) community information center. Recently, a group of students from the Russian “closed city” of Novouralsk made the visit as they toured the United States to learn more about the American nuclear industry. The visit was organized...
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STP employees support Relay for Life

March 19th, 2014
Author: Buddy Eller, South Texas Project
STP employees were out in force on Friday, March 7, participating in the annual Matagorda County American Cancer Society Relay for Life event. The walkathon to support cancer research began at 6 p.m. Friday and ended with the closing lap Saturday morning at 5 a.m. A total of more than $113,000 was raised at this...
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PSEG Nuclear and AREVA extend contract

March 18th, 2014
Author: Joe Delmar, PSEG Nuclear
USA fleet member PSEG Nuclear has extended, through 2022, the contract signed with USA supplier AREVA Inc. for outage and maintenance activities at the Salem and Hope Creek Generating Stations.   As an extension of the contract signed in July 2013, AREVA will continue to provide its technical support to PSEG’s pressurized and boiling water reactors...
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The synergies of a fleet: Alpha contamination controls and monitoring

March 11th, 2014
Author: Stephen Tait, DTE Energy
In early February, Radiation Protection representatives from each of the Utilities Service Alliance fleet members gathered for a week-long work shop at DC Cook with a singular goal: developing a fleet-wide program to control and monitor alpha contamination.   The effort that stems from EPRI’s revision to industry guidelines for alpha contamination; the industry has until...
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USA Fukushima team ensuring plants can respond

March 10th, 2014
Author: Joe Delmar, PSEG Nuclear
March 11, 2014 marks the third anniversary since the accident at the Fukushima Plant in Japan. The lessons learned from this event have had worldwide implications. Within the United States, new rule making and industry initiatives have been put in place to ensure that all our plants can respond to a beyond design basis accident....
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Cook Plant employees rally to assist distressed wildlife

March 7th, 2014
Author: Bill Schalk, Cook Nuclear Plant
This winter certainly has taken its toll on all of us. The cold, snow and ice have seemed to come in relentless waves. Knowing how each trip outside makes us feel, one can only imagine what it’s been like for area wildlife. Their normal food, water and shelter have been minimized or eliminated and the...
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USA’s Columbia shares science, engineering concepts with local children

March 6th, 2014
Author: Angela Walz, Energy Northwest
Nearly 150 children showed up to school on a Saturday last month to learn about science and engineering, but mostly to have some fun. Utilities Service Alliance member Columbia Generating Station, operated by Energy Northwest, hosted its second annual Kid’s Engineering Day on Feb. 22 in Kennewick, Wash.   The Energy Northwest chapter of U.S. Women in...
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Q & A with PSEG Nuclear’s Tom Joyce

February 28th, 2014
Author: Joe Delmar, PSEG Nuclear
PSEG Nuclear President & Chief Nuclear Officer (CNO) Tom Joyce has served as Utilities Service Alliance (USA) Board Chairman for almost four years. Joyce recently sat down to discuss his involvement in USA. Can you discuss why PSEG Nuclear joined USA in 2008? Prior to joining the USA fleet, Salem and Hope Creek had not...
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Q&A with STP's President and CNO Dennis Koehl

February 18th, 2014
Author: Buddy Eller, South Texas Project
STP Nuclear Operating Company President and CEO Dennis Koehl provides an overview of the company’s decision to rejoin the Utilities Service Alliance (USA) on Jan. 1, 2014, and the goals and objectives for the year ahead.   Can you discuss STP’s decision to rejoin USA?   We believe that the USA member fleet has a structure in place that...
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STP honored by employee serving our country

February 14th, 2014
Author: Buddy Eller, South Texas Project
In many ways, James Williams is a lot like any other teammate at STP. He enjoys working for the company, and has spent the past five years as an ISI engineer. James hopes to be a part of the team that "helps STP get that shine back" and also grow and develop with the company...
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Photos from the Field: Outage work commences at Fermi 2

February 14th, 2014
Author: Stephen Tait, DTE Energy
  The head lamp of Fermi 2 journeyman mechanic Duane Gritter illuminates the work area for Bob Boes (left) and David Jones (right), who are replacing a drain valve on a Steam Jet Air Ejector system at Fermi 2.   Boes, from D.C. Cook, and Jones, from Palo Verde, are at DTE Energy’s Fermi 2...
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USA Fleet shows support through jump up calls

February 13th, 2014
Author: Stephen Tait, DTE Energy & Joe Delmar, PSEG
Throughout the nuclear industry, benchmarking and sharing operating experience are used to share lessons learned and address emergent plant issues. Within the USA fleet, the Core Peer Teams (CPTs) have gone a step further by initiating jump up calls to offer real time support to their counterparts. It is through these calls that fleet members...
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PPL Susquehanna takes Team Building to the Mountain

February 12th, 2014
Author: Chip Palazzo, PPL Susquehanna
Nestled in Northeast Pennsylvania near the Pocono Mountains, USA member PPL Susquehanna has taken team building to a new level – this time, to the top of the mountain. Thursday evenings during the winter season, nearly two dozen members of Team Susquehanna and a few of their friends gather to compete in downhill ski and...
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Scientech wins the Continuous Improvement Award for the second time

February 11th, 2014
Author: Lynne Hilton, Utilities Service Alliance
A surprised Dan Meils received the USA Continuous Improvement Award on behalf of the Curtiss-Wright business unit Scientech at the USA SCM Winter Conference. “A lot of work went into this,” stated Meils, general manager for Scientech. “The whole Scientech team is very proud and honored.” Scientech was the winner of very first Continuous Improvement...
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USA Members Fermi and Columbia bring home the gold

February 10th, 2014
Author: Lynne Hilton, Utilities Service Alliance
When DTE Energy was announced as the winner of USA’s Super Saver Award, the look on Karin Cozzi’s face was priceless. “I was just so surprised,” stated Cozzi, supply chain manager from Fermi, “I didn’t expect us to win.”   The Super Saver award winner is announced each year at the USA Supply Chain Management...
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USA SCM CPT holds first face-to-face meeting

February 7th, 2014
Author: Lynne Hilton, Utilities Service Alliance
The USA Supply Chain Management (SCM) Core Peer Team (CPT) held its first face-to-face meeting recently in conjunction with the SCM Winter Conference. The team became an official Core Peer Team this year though they began holding monthly conference calls last October.   USA already has a long-standing Supply Chain Management team, but creating a Core...
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Director of Site Operations named at Prairie Island

February 4th, 2014
Author: Lisa Kuehl, Xcel Energy
Scott Sharp was recently announced the Director, Site Operations at Xcel Energy’s Prairie Island plant. “Scott’s knowledge of the industry, commitment to the safe and reliable operation of the plant and understanding of the business planning process will be a great asset to this position,” said Site Vice President Kevin Davison. “He has led us...
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Steam Generator Replacement project takes center stage during Prairie Island’s outage

January 23rd, 2014
Author: Lisa Kuehl, Xcel Energy
When the new steam generators in Unit 2 at USA member Prairie Island were declared in-service on Dec. 16, 2013, it was the culmination of a project that was nearly seven years in the making. It began in 2006 with a contract with AREVA to manufacture the generators in Chalon St. Marcel, France. With that...
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STP "original" retires after 30 years of service

January 23rd, 2014
Author: Buddy Eller, South Texas Project
STP Outage Director Jesse Wells will retire in May after a career that spans nearly three decades. His career has seen every significant milestone in the station’s commercial operating history. Last fall’s Unit 2 refueling and maintenance outage was his 18th outage as an Outage Director.“When I think of the WE team at STP, the...
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PPL Susquehanna inks deal with Transnuclear, Inc./AREVA

January 22nd, 2014
Author: Chip Palazzo, PPL Susquehanna
PPL Susquehanna recently signed a contract with Transnuclear, Inc./AREVA to supply Dry Shielded Canisters (DSC) to enhance PPL Susquehanna’s spent fuel storage program at the dual unit power station in Northeast Pennsylvania. The contract also provides member benefits to the USA fleet through increased business opportunities and rebates.“This contract marks a successful conclusion to an...
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Letter from the President & CEO

January 22nd, 2014
The last year has been one of significant progress for the Utilities Service Alliance (USA). As we enter this new year, I would like to reflect on where we have been and our plans for 2014.During 2013, we concentrated on implementing fleet-like behaviors to prevent declining performance from occurring and helping stations where performance challenges...
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Cook Plant's Weber named 2013 Nuclear Professional of the Year

January 21st, 2014
Author: Bill Schalk, American Electric Power
USA board member Larry Weber, AEP senior vice president and chief nuclear officer, was named the 2013 Nuclear Professional of the Year by the North American Information System on Occupational Exposure at their annual symposium Jan. 6. Weber was recognized for his involvement in the U.S. nuclear industry’s response to the accident at the Fukushima...
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