A Kumbaya Moment?

Thank you to everyone who showed up and who spoke at the NDCAP meeting on Thursday night. Despite the headlines (“Groups fall into step behind Yankee sale & decomm” and “Settlement allays concerns about VY sale” ), only Richie Davis in the Greenfield Recorder got it right. You can watch the full NDCAP meeting online here on BCTV.

The meeting was not a kumbaya moment.  Yes, just before the meeting, in an email to its members, long-time critics New England Coalition referred to their relationship with NorthStar, the proposed owners, as a partnership. Yes, we want Yankee decommissioned in our lifetimes. It is the responsible thing to do: we created it, we clean it up. However, skepticism over trusting another corporation was raised by four members of Safe and Green and Chris Williams of CAN. After twenty plus years of being lied to by Entergy, it is hard to trust another corporation. NorthStar claims it will be transparent, open to the public, and honest.

Sure enough, in the second half of the meeting that transparency was put to the test.  Lissa Weinmann, NDCAP panel member and policy expert on nuclear waste, asked Scott State – now CEO of both Waste Control Specialists (WCS) and NorthStar – if the interim high level nuclear waste site WCS is planning for Texas will have to wait until federal law is changed to allow interim sites.  State said no. She was incredulous, and repeated her questions; he stuck to his no. Chris Williams of CAN expressed his shock at State’s denial. He and Nancy Braus of Safe & Green had just spent the weekend at a national nuclear waste policy conference, where the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 was a hot topic. The act only allows for centralized storage. No interim storage is allowed.

The US General Accounting Office backs up Lissa & Chris:

Authorization: The Administration would require new legislative authority for interim storage because provisions in the Nuclear Waste Policy Act that authorized interim storage have either expired or are unusable because they were tied to milestones in the development of a repository at Yucca Mountain that have not been met.

https://www.gao.gov/key_issues/disposal_of_highlevel_nuclear_waste/issue_summary

VtDigger and the Rutland Herald left this part of the meeting out. Were those reporters wearing rose colored glasses in their kumbaya versions of the sale? Let’s hope the Public Utilities Commission uses a magnifying glass. The PUC will hold a public hearing on the sale April 12th at a location to be announced.

UPDATE: On March 27th VtDigger posted an article covering the issue of waste disposal and Lissa Weinmann’s questions, here: Companies propose possible plan on storage of VY spent fuel.

By the way, Stephanie Hoffman of the Vermont Public Service Department made a presentation on its participation in the settlement agreement.  She outlined the top five public comments made to the Public Utilities Commission at the public hearing, in writing, and on line, and how those top five match up with the agreement and MOU. We will post it once it is available. 

 

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