May Update

There are a full slate of events on decommissioning issues scheduled for May and June.

May 13 6-8:30pm: Let’s Talk, Let’s Do: Community Decommissioning Meeting sponsored by New England Coalition on Nuclear Pollution (NEC). Wednesday, May 13, 2015 from 6pm to 8:30pm. This meeting will be at the Brattleboro Food Coop Community Room, which is accessible through #7 Canal Street, Brattleboro.  This meeting is open to all.  A continued dialog from the April 8 meeting is scheduled with individuals from all viewpoints on what the community can do to expedite Entergy Vermont Yankee decommissioning to standards most protective of people and the environment. NEC will also share a brief update on our attendance at the status conference last week in Montpelier before the Public Service Board regarding Docket 8300 (Entergy’s application for certificate of public good for the 2nd dry cask storage pad, in lay terms).  Note to date we are the only public interest group to apply for party status. For additional information, contact Clay Turnbull @ 802-257-0336 or necnp@necnp.org.

Evacuation Planning Zone

June 1: NRC Deadline for comments on NRC’s finding that there are no environmental impacts from Entergy’s request to eliminate the evacuation planning zone. http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2015-04-30/html/2015-10126.htm

The State of Vermont wants the EPZ to be maintained until 2020, and said Entergy had not “done adequate analysis about the potential for ‘hostile action’ on the now-closed plant, a plane crashing into the spent fuel pool in the reactor building, and other potential scenarios, including a fuel handling mishap.” RH 04.09.15 State Fights to Continue EPZ. This week, according to MassLive on-line, “The state of Vermont is weighing its options in responding to a request by Entergy Nuclear to eliminate the ten-mile evacuation zone around the decommissioned Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant.” MassLive.com/05.05.15.Vermont Opposes Requests. For Entergy’s point of view, an article by Bob Audette of the Brattleboro Reformer was posted in VtDigger 04.28.15 NRC Says No Significant Env. Impacts in Reducing EPZ.

On April 12th, MA Rep. Paul Marks sponsored a decommissioning forum in Greenfield. 50 citizens attended. Much of the public comments and questionswere  focused on the EPZ http://www.recorder.com/home/16514413-95/residents-air-concerns-on-vt-yankee-planning

DRY CASK STORAGE

Vermont’s Public Service Board (PSB) will decide whether or not to grant Entergy a permit to build a new storage pad at Vermont Yankee. A site visit and public hearing will be held June 4th (time and location to be set). Note that this is Docket 8300; here is the PSB Pad schedule for the next year. Over the next year, the PSB will hear from Entergy, the State of Vermont, the New England Coalition on Nuclear Pollution and others as to the merits of Entergy’s application. The Brattleboro Reformer has an article here.

There is already one storage pad on the Vermont Yankee site, which was approved with conditions by the PSB in 2008. There are 8 casks currently on that pad. This is an application to build a second pad. The technical term for a pad is ISFSI (Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation). We use the term “high level radioactive waste” — rather than the industry’s term “spent fuel.” People use the word “spent” when they feel exhausted, that they have no energy left. But this is highly radioactive material that can still do a lot of damage. Otherwise, why spend hundreds of millions of dollars to store the stuff? Plus, there is a lot of it: 2,996 fuel rods, over 900 tons. Nuclear engineer Arnie Gundersen says this is “the equivalent of radiation from 700 atomic bombs.”

By 2020, Entergy is committed to move it all from the fuel pool above the reactor into dry casks located on the first and second pads. It will sit there until the industry or the federal government come up with a solution as to what to do with the radioactive waste currently sitting on-site of 104 nuclear reactors in the US.

OpEd on Oyster Creek decommissioning: This is an excellent op-ed about a New Jersey nuclear reactor due to close in a few years. Details aside, the entire thing could be about Yankee (like Yankee it is a Fukushima twin). 5 bullet points at the end suggest actions the state could take which we should consider, including “an aggressive independent advocate should be hired full time to protect” the states’ and citizens’ interests. But one thing we have learned, which New Jersey has not, is that all the money is in the hands of the owner of the reactor. There is no decommissioning trust fund money for the state – or in our case, states – for environmental and other state oversight, to pick up the cost of emergency planning, or to advocate for our needs.

Arnie Gundersen of Fairewinds Energy testified about Vermont Yankee decommissioning before the Vermont Senate’s Natural Resources and Energy Committee on April 22. You can watch the video and read his report here. One of his points is about the EPZ. If Entegy and the NRC say that radiation will not leave the site and the surrounding towns are safe, then Entergy should give up the liability protection it gets from the Price-Anderson Act, which limits the amount of money a reactor owner has to pay if there is an accident. Senator Bernie Sanders agrees: [great photo]. He offered this suggestion to Republicans who say there is too much regulation of the nuclear industry:

“I wonder if any of my conservative friends would co-sponsor with me legislation to repeal Price Anderson so that we can leave the nuclear power industry alone and not get involved with government,” Sanders said. “I look forward to working with Senator [David] Vitter [R-La.] or Senator Inhofe on getting the government out of the nuclear power industry. Any volunteers at this point?”

Speaking of Bernie, in the GOOD NEWS column this month:

Finally, a presidential candidate who opposes nuclear power, Sen. Bernie Sanders of VT! Here’s a video clip of Bernie speaking at the “Defend Democracy: Shut Down VT Yankee” Rally in April 2012. He is on the US Senate Env & Public Works Committee, which oversees the NRC, where he has reminded the NRC Commissioners that they work for citizens, not the industry. He hosted a Town Meeting to a packed house at the Latchis when Yankee was up for sale which brought our issues to the NY Times. This April, he co-sponsored three bills on EPZs, state participation in decommissioning, and dry cask storage. Safe & Green members have met with his energy staff and found them to be on top of current issues in Vermont and nationally. (For a brief description of the bills, go to Green Mtn Daily here.

And more good news: * Tesla’s new $3,500 battery could be “the final nail in the coffin of nuclear power.” http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffmcmahon/2015/05/01/did-tesla-just-kill-nuclear-power

If you enjoy fantasy rather than reality TV, watch “SAFSTOR Matters” on YouTube or BCTV. Marty Cohn, communications shill for Vermont Yankee, hosted this first in a series touting the glories of “Safe-Store.” The next in the series will be on the changes in emergency response.

 

 

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