May 28: NRC Hearing Talking Points

NRC DOG & PONY SHOW May 28: aka Annual Assessment Meeting for Vermont Yankee. (6:30-8:30, BUHS, directions below). According to the Brattleboro Reformer (5.20.14) “The meeting will include a brief presentation on the decommissioning process followed by a formal question-and-answer session regarding plant performance and regulatory oversight topics.” If the NRC can talk about decommissioning, so can we. Without any formal role for citizens in the process, we need to take every opportunity to get in the record. With that in mind, we offer a few suggestions for talking points by those of us living in the evacuation zone.
  • We are the ones most at risk from a nuclear accident. The NRC should protect the public, not the nuclear industry’s profits.
  • People living in the evacuation zone deserve a seat at the decommissioning decision making table. The NRC should support the “Nuclear Plant Decommissioning Act of 2014,” a Senate bill put forth by Senators Sanders, Markey and Boxer.
  • People living in the evacuation zone deserve emergency planning protection during decommissioning.  The NRC should support the “Safe and Secure Decommissioning Act of 2014,” a Senate bill put forth by Senators Sanders, Markey and Boxer. It would “would prohibit the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) from issuing exemptions from its emergency response or security requirements for spent fuel stored at nuclear reactors that have permanently shut down until all of the spent nuclear fuel stored at the site has been moved into dry casks, which are a more secure and safe option for storage. “
  • People living in the evacuation zone deserve prompt removal of spent fuel from the overstuffed fuel pools, not the sixty year grace period allowed by SAFSTOR. The NRC should support “Dry Cask Storage Act of 2014″.

Read more about the three Senate bills here.

  • If you want to talk “safety” take a look at our VY Time Line  for 2014 and for Timeline 2013 for Yankee issues. Here’s a sample:
  • A conduit flood seal between an exterior manhole and the switchgear room failed. 2 feet of water is found in the conduit below the switchgear room, which are centers for electrical cables going from the control room to other parts of the reactor.  Two additional water infiltration areas were found later. NRC inspection found that water from a dredging operation did leak into manholes leading to “vital” switchgear rooms. The plant was closed at the time for refueling. (March 19-22 2013)
  • Four times in June and July, monitors registered “false positives” for high radiation. (July 25 2013)
  • Another radiation monitor had faulty readings in the week prior to published reports on Monday, August 26 2013. The NRC said in a letter to the state that “the most recent incident involved a radiation detector that was replaced in the last month.
  • A leak occurred in in a key safety system, the “high pressure coolant injection system,” and released a “small amount of radioactivity” within the reactor building, was reported to the NRC and was repaired. (Sept. 19 2013).
  • A low-level alarm of low oil levels was discovered to be a loose compression fitting on a recirculation pump’s motor oil reservoir. Power was reduced to 14% while repairs made. (Sept. 24-25 2013).
  • “On 11/7/13, it was identified that a missing conduit flood seal between an outside manhole and the West switchgear room compromised the flooding design of both the East and West switchgear rooms. Repair of the seal is in progress…. internal flooding of both Switchgear Rooms could affect (a.) safe shutdown, (b.) removal of decay heat, (c.) control of release of radioactive material and (d.) mitigating an accident.” NRC event notification report (Nov. 8 2013)
  • Entergy blames a contractor for failing to make repairs to missing flood seals (see March above).
  • VT Yankee blew a fuse in an electrical control circuit for the condenser steam jet air ejectors, requiring the reactor to reduce power for a few hours. (Jan. 21 2014)
  • NRC’s quarterly inspection report of VT Yankee (Feb. 6 2014)
    • includes a “green” low level safety violation for failing to make a repair in a timely manner (“the deficient flooding pathways designed to withstand a flood event.” See leaky flood seal, March and November 2013).
    • indicates reduced reporting (of 22.5%) by workers for the month before and month after the closure announcement. The state is also reviewing the report.
  • VT Yankee reduced power to 32% to repair two of its three feed water pumps because the seals were leaking. (FVT Agency of Natural Resources says Vermont Yankee is not in compliance with Clean Water Act or state water quality standards. Brattleboro Reformer. (April 8).eb. 24-25 2014).
  • On Nov. 4 2013, a worker called police when a ” ‘suspicious item’ that resembled a pipe bomb” was discovered. Upon arrival, the police officer recommended the bomb squad be called in, but instead “Entergy employees duct taped a piece of string to the pipe, stood back and pulled the string to see if it ‘went off,’ according to the report.” VtDigger.org (March 21)
  • VT Agency of Natural Resources says Vermont Yankee is not in compliance with Clean Water Act or state water quality standards. Brattleboro Reformer. (April 8 2014).
  • Yankee burped radioactive steam Times Argus (April 30 2014

The NRC’s public hearing is at 6:30pm in at Brattleboro Union High School. It is in the Auditorium so they must be expecting a crowd.  There will be security bag checks at the door. Also, signs, banners, posters and displays affixed to any sticks, poles, or other similar devices will not be permitted in the meeting room.” Here is a Map link for directions.

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