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Offshore Wind Projects Receive Boost from Massachusetts and Biden Administration

LCG, March 31, 2021--The Governor of Massachusetts signed legislation last Friday that authorizes the state to direct utilities to purchase an additional 2,400 MW of offshore wind energy by 2027.

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NV Energy's Greenlink Nevada Transmission Project Approved by PUCN

LCG, March 25, 2021--The Public Utilities Commission of Nevada (PUCN) on Monday approved proceeding with NV Energy's Greenlink Nevada transmission and renewable energy initiative. NV Energy's planned investment in Greenlink is over $2.5 billion.

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Industry News

Boric Acid Leak in Texas Reactor Worries Other Plant Owners

LCG, May 1, 2003A routine inspection at a Houston, Texas nuclear plant resulted in the discovery of mysterious and foreboding boric acid residue.

After Ohios Davis-Besse nuclear plant suffered a large hole in its reactor head from boric acid-related corrosion, the nuclear industry has stepped up its efforts regarding especially susceptible plants. Although Davis-Besse has yet to return to service, other similarly engineered plants have increased inspections to prevent such dramatic corrosion.

However, in the case of the South Texas Project plant, corrosion seems to have occurred in a much more problematic region, the bottom of the reactor.

In March, plant inspectors found two small minute boric acid deposits underneath the reactor vessel. While a leak of this type will have no effect on public health, ensuring the safety of the technician responsible for fixing the holes is challenging at best.

Beyond mere repair, the finding has worried those who run or own the other 68 U.S. nuclear plants of similar design. Reactor 1 underwent inspections more rigorous than those required by NRC and is a mere 15 years old. If the leaks turn out to be associated with normal wear and tear, the finding would come as bad news all around.

Boric acid is used to absorb extra neutrons produced in nuclear reactors. Radiation, high temperatures, and stress (force per area), combined with acidic conditions, can result in the oxidation, or corrosion, of metal, even specially designed alloys like steels.

South Texas Project Nuclear Operating Company, which is responsible for daily operation of Reactor 1 as well as a second reactor on-site, has not been able to determine a cause for the deposits and has told the Nuclear Energy Regulatory Commission that the plants reactor will be disassembled in order to investigate the leak further.

The reactor has 1,250 megawatts of capacity and was initially shut down for refueling. CenterPoint Energy Inc. and American Electric Power Company, as well as San Antonio and Austin municipal utilities jointly own the plant.

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