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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Citizens: Q&A on VY Future

The Nuclear Decommissioning Citizen Advisory Panel is meeting this coming Thursday, March 22 at 6pm at Brattleboro Union High School’s Multi Purpose Room. There will be presentations on the new Agreement to sell Yankee to NorthStar Group Services, and a presentation by Waste Control Services on a plan for all the radioactive waste that isn’t hot enough to sit in a cask. There is time on the Agenda for Q&A from the public. Here’s the link to the full agenda on the NDCAP home page. You can read more about the agreement on our post last week. Our webmistress, Leslie Sullivan Sachs, wrote an essay looking at 10 years of broken agreements, published here by the Commons of Windham County and VtDigger. 

There a new citizen rep on the panel, Lissa Weinmann from Windham Country. Lissa has been active and writing on Vermont Yankee issues for years.  Lissa is a Senior Fellow of the World Policy Institute, where her areas of expertise incluce the Socio-economic implications of national energy strategies and US nuclear power and nuclear waste management. She and her husband own 118 Elliot Street, the venue in Brattleboro. She replaces the representative from Norwich.

 

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7th Year: Fukushima Solidarity

Sunday, March 11, marks seven years since the triple reactor meltdowns at Fukushima, Japan and the evacuation of 162,000 residents. As of now, 75,000 have yet to return to their homes.

Thank you to Maria Dominquez who filmed our vigil for BCTV. You can watch here: https://www.brattleborotv.org/fukushima-remembered-rally-pliny-park-31118

Safe and Green will host a vigil in Pliny Park, at the corner of High and Main Street in Brattleboro on Sunday at 2:30pm to honor the nuclear refugees. Please join us. [Past Fukushima solidarity events are here.]

 

 

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Sale Agreement Announced

[Update:   The PUC has set April 12th as the public hearing date on the sale. A presentation on the agreement will be made to NDCAP at their next meeting, March 22nd. Details are below.]

The deal to sell Vermont Yankee to NorthStar and conditions for decommissioning has been announced by the State of Vermont and other parties. The New England Coalition, Windham Regional Commission and other parties signed on to the deal. The Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) is the sole party which would not sign. We have not read the documents yet.

The VT Dept. of Public Service has posted the Settlement Agreement and Memorandum of Understanding, with a bullet-point summary of the deal plus why the State signed on,  here:  DPS Announcement on Sale 

  • The Public Utility Commission (PUC) will hold a public hearing on the agreement on April 12 at a location to be announced. You can email comments to the PUC through their electronic system here https://epsb.vermont.gov/  Reference Docket #8880.
  • It will also be on the agenda for the next Nuclear Decommissioning Citizen Advisory Panel on March 22 (6:00 pm – 9:00 pm, Brattleboro Union High School Multi-Purpose Room, 131 Fairground Road, Brattleboro). You can email comments to NDCAP at PSD.NDCAP@vermont.gov

New England Coalition posted a press release on its website: NECNP.org

Conservation Law Foundation posted a press release here: VY Settlement Leaves Communities Vulnerable

Entergy’s press release is here: Entergy NorthStar Reach Settlement Agreement with State of VT

VtDigger posted an article here Financial Cleanup Promises Win VY Critics . An update with the schedule is here: VY sale case will extend into the summer.

Rutland Herald posted an article 3.5.18 State Strikes Deal with Entergy & NorthStar on Yankee Sale

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VT Town Meeting Day Resolution

It has been exciting to see clean, sustainable energy on the rise in Vermont since Vermont Yankee shut down. This coming week, Vermonters will have an opportunity to tell lawmakers to get serious about making progress towards a 90% clean energy by 2050 – a goal set in 2011 by the State of Vermont’s Comprehensive Energy Plan. 

36 towns will vote on resolutions. VtDigger has an updated list of which towns will be voting.

The three main principles of the resolution are to move Vermont towards meeting its goal of 90% renewable energy by 2050, no new fossil fuel infrastructure, and to have the transition be fair and equitable. Small groups from each town drafted versions of the resolutions to meet the specific needs of the town before collecting the required signatures to get it on town warnings or ballots.

This campaign is being organized by our friends at 350Vermont 

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Back Room Deal Close

Since we last posted, all hearings and meetings on the sale of Vermont Yankee have been delayed due to the behind-closed-doors negotiations between the state of Vermont, Entergy and NorthStar. A public hearing scheduled by the Public Utility Commission for early February was postponed. The latest: the NDCAP meeting scheduled for February 22 has been cancelled.  We have links to all the latest articles posted here on our website. 
An article posted in Vt Digger reports that a deal coming out of private negotiations between the state, NorthStar and Entergy will be filed March 2nd. Read the post here. The deal would ask that the PUC make a decision on the sale by June 30.  According to the VtDigger post, this time around, the New England Coalition and Conservation Law Foundation have been asked to sign onto the deal but as of now are not on board. 
 

One question on our minds is: will the public have any input on the settlement at the public hearing, or will the settlement that comes out of these negotiations be final? 

You may recall that negotiations took place prior to the closure of Vermont Yankee. Even though there were 9 parties before the utility commission, only the state and Entergy were in negotiations (here is one article about the start of those negotiations; oh, the optimism!). The resulting settlement agreement was announced two days before Christmas in 2013. It was a “take it or leave it” deal which required the Public Service Board to grant a Certificate of Public Good by March 31, 2014.  (Our reply post from 12.23.13 is here).

We sure hope this isn’t another “take it or leave it” deal. Stay tuned!

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Updated: Cancel … Delay… Meet in Secret

Update 02.17.18: Now the NDCAP meeting for February has been postponed until March. From its website:

PLEASE NOTE NEW MEETING DATE & NEW MEETING LOCATION:

Thursday, March 22, 2018, 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Brattleboro Union High School Multi-Purpose Room
131 Fairground Road, Brattleboro, VT

The Panel WILL NOT MEET in February 2018.  Further details for the Panel’s March 22, 2018, meeting, including a complete meeting agenda, will be announced at a future date.

Now, back to our February 3rd post:

Someday there will be a Public Hearing on the sale of Vermont Yankee to NorthStar etal. But it will probably be after a Settlement Agreement & MOU are signed, sealed & delivered to the Public Utilities Commission which includes some kind of language to the effect: change one word, PUC, and this deals off.

At least, that’s our memory of how the Settlement & MOU went in 2014, when the State & Entergy met behind closed doors to create the same kind of agreement & MOU for post-closure operations of VY. [Those documents are here]. This time around the State & Entergy say they are talking with the other parties in the VT legal permit process (New England Coalition, Conservation Law Foundation, Windham Regional, Abenakis), but those talks are outside the actual negotiations. The groups are included behind the closed doors.

So, when there is a Public Hearing, will it be a done deal and the public will be blowing off steam to no effect?

In the meantime, NDCAP will meet on February 22 at 6pm, Brattleboro Midde School MulitPurpose Room. Public invited. Perhaps someone there will have answers.

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Jan. 18: PUC Hearing on sale of VY

The VT Public Utility Commission has rescheduled the public comment hearing on the sale of Vermont Yankee to NorthStar to Thursday, January 18 at Brattleboro Union High School’s MultiPurpose Room, 131 Fairground Road, Brattleboro, Vermont. Please use the East side entrance past the gymnasium for entrance.

Prior to the public hearing, at 6:00 P.M., the Vermont Department of Public Service will host an information session. The PUC will take comments from the public at 7:00pm.

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CANCELLED January 4th PUC Public Hearing on the Sale

January 3, 2018 – this hearing has been cancelled and will be rescheduled.

The VT Public Utility Commission (formerly the Public Service Board) will hold its second public hearing on the sale (“transfer of ownership”) of Vermont Yankee  from Entergy to NorthStar on Thursday, January 4th at Brattleboro Union High School (Multipurpose Room, so park by the athletic fields).

There will be an information session at 6:00pm by “the petitioners” (NorthStar & Entergy) and then comments from the public beginning at 7:00 pm.

Here is the PUC’s notice: http://puc.vermont.gov/event/puc-case-no-8880-public-hearing

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November 16 NDCAP

The next meeting of the Vermont Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel will take place on Thursday, November 16, 2017, 6pm-9pm, at the Brattleboro Area Middle School Multipurpose Room, Sunny Acres Rd, Brattleboro.  All NDCAP meetings are open to the public.

For the full agenda go to the NDCAP website: http://publicservice.vermont.gov/electric/ndcap  In addition to the usual updates from the State and Entergy on decommissioning, discussion and information include:

  • 6:40 Discussion on Region Specific Decommissioning Issues with Representatives from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and State of New  Hampshire
  • 6:55 Definition of Industrial v. Residential Cleanup Standards (David Andrews)
  • 7:05 Update on Spent Fuel Transportation Plans (rail infrastructures, timetables, etc.) (State)
  • 7:15 History and Options for Spent Fuel Storage (State)
  • 7:30 Topics/Issues to address at 2018 meetings (followed by Public Comments on topics for 2018)

 

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