Vermont Yankee back up to 100 percent

first_imgAs of 3 pm, today, the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in Vernon is at 100-percent power (~ 615 megawatts MWe). The plant has operated continuously since returning to service from the October 2008 refueling outage – a total of 297 days.On Monday, Vermont Yankee notified the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that a supervisor tested positive during a random fitness for duty test Monday morning. The employee was a supervisor in the plant’s maintenance department. The employee’s site access has been revoked, and a review of previous work is being performed. The fitness for duty program is regulated by the NRC and applies to all persons who work in the nuclear industry. VY has a fitness for duty program that helps ensure a drug and alcohol free workplace. There was no threat to public health or safety as a result of Monday’s incident.VY’s annual Safety Day celebration was held on Thurs., Aug. 27. Highlighting this year’s Safety Day was a special program, recognizing that the Vermont Occupational Safety and Health Administration (VOSHA) has formally upgraded VY’s status in the Green Mountain Voluntary Protection Program to Star Level. Approval into GMVPP Star status is VOSHA’s official recognition of the outstanding effort made by the VY team on achieving commendable occupational safety and health work standards. The event included a GMVPP STAR flag raising ceremony.Source: Entergy Vermont Yankee. 9/2/2009last_img read more

Bar Moves to upgrade UPL to a felony

first_img January 15, 2004 Gary Blankenship Senior Editor Regular News Bar Moves to upgrade UPL to a felony Bar Moves to upgrade UPL to a felony Senior Editor Increasing the criminal penalty for the unlicensed practice of law from a misdemeanor to a felony has won the approval of the Bar Board of Governors, which has also receded from a position in reaction to proposed Senate confirmation of gubernatorial judicial appointments.The board, at its recent Amelia Island meeting, also heard that the legislature likely will look at restricting initiative amendments to the Florida Constitution and that adequate funding for the courts remains a top Bar concern.Legislation Committee Chair Alan Bookman brought the UPL issue to the board, noting that several legislators have talked about raising the criminal penalty for violating the state’s UPL laws from a first degree misdemeanor to a third degree felony. The issue was raised and extensively discussed with Bar President Miles McGrane during a House Judiciary Committee meeting last fall.Sen. Steve Geller, D-Hallandale Beach, recently introduced SB 422, which would increase the penalty, and Rep. John Quinones, R-Kissimmee, is expected to introduce a similar bill in the House.Bookman said the Legislation Committee unanimously endorsed the change, and the board added its unanimous support.On judicial appointments, Bookman said that it made political sense for the Bar to recede from the position taken by the Executive Committee last year in hasty response to a bill by Sen. Rod Smith, D-Gainesville, to have the Senate confirm, at least, a governor’s selection of any Supreme Court justice or DCA judge. The “emergency” position essentially espoused continued Bar support for the judicial selection process in place prior to 2001 legislation that changed how judicial nominating commissioners were chosen. Smith’s bill made little progress in the 2003 Session, but he has vowed to revive the issue in the coming year.Bookman acknowledged that his committee’s recommendation effectively leaves the Bar— for the moment —with no specific position on state judicial selection. And, he confirmed that withdrawing the position implies no Bar sentiment on Senate confirmation either.“We’ll see what develops,” he said. “But, we’re not going anywhere with this [the legislative position] and we might need a position that is more tenable based on what the 2004 Legislature does.”Board member Mayanne Downs added that the action does not mean that the board is giving up on its support for the former judicial appointment system, where the Bar appointed one-third of the members of all judicial nominating commissions. The governor, who also used to appoint one-third, now appoints all nine members of each commission, although the Bar makes nominations for four seats on each JNC.On a related matter, Bookman said the Bar needs to be especially ready this year to help the legislature on critical court funding issues. He noted one bill has been filed that would raise court filing fees from $200 to $300, earmarking $275 for the state and $25 for counties. The Bar may need to give advice about earmarking some of those fees for law libraries or legal aid programs.“Those are some of the issues that the legislature will call on us to assist, and we need to be ready,” Bookman said.Bar chief legislative consultant Steve Metz told the board: “You’re going to hear a lot this session about trying to put some reasonable restrictions on the way we amend the constitution.”He noted several recent initiative amendments that have been approved, adding that 51 petitions are currently circulating, and 15 to 20 have a realistic chance of making the November general election ballot.“Business leaders are afraid of how easy it is to change the constitution,” Metz said. “You will see the legislature try to put on the September ballot restrictions on citizens’ initiatives.”Some suggestions include requiring a 60 percent “yes” vote to amend the constitution or limiting the subjects that can be amended by an initiative petition. Metz said that Smith is chairing the Senate committee studying the issue, while the corresponding House committee is chaired by Rep. Joe Pickens, R-Palatka.The legislature also is in the unusual position of knowing who the leaders will be for the next two legislative bienniums, barring a major electoral upheaval, Metz told the board. Sen. Tom Lee, R-Brandon, will be Senate president in 2005-06, followed by Sen. Ken Pruitt, R-Port St. Lucie, for 2007-08. In the House, Rep. Allan Bense, R-Panama City, will be House Speaker for 2005-06, followed by Rep. Marco Rubio, R-Miami, in 2007-08. Rubio will be the first Hispanic to hold that post.“I think that is a good thing,” Metz said of knowing who the leaders will be for the next five years. “It does allow some stability in to the process.”last_img read more