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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Coalition Annual Meeting 10/21/2017

The New England Coalition on Nuclear Pollution (NEC) has been fighting for public citizens’ health and safety for over 40 years and are currently parties to the VT Public Utility Commission hearings on decommissioning. Please support NEC at their annual meeting.



Bring a friend! The public is encouraged to attend.

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 21 @ 1:30 pm


NEC proudly welcomes David Kraft – educator, organizer, and founder/director of Nuclear Energy Information Service. David will speak to the issue of our times as we work to safely decommission Vermont Yankee. Our lineup also includes a video greeting from Winona LaDuke, executive director of Honor the Earth, a Native environmental advocacy organization; our own workhorse Ray Shadis; and Arnie Gundersen, director and chief engineer of Fairewinds Energy Education.

1:30  Mingling
2:00 NEC Members Meeting
3:00 Refreshment Break
3:15  Call to Action! – Winona LaDuke, Native environmentalist (video greeting)
3:30 Why are we here? – Ray Shadis, NEC Technical Advisor
3:45  Report from Fukushima: Contamination Update – Arnie Gundersen, Fairewinds Energy Education
4:00 Refreshment Break
4:15  The Last Wave – Decommissioning in the Age of Nuclear Retreat – David Kraft, Nuclear Energy Information Service
5:00 Q & A – Closing
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Next NDCAP Meeting

“The next meeting of the Vermont Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel will be held on Thursday, October 26, 2017.  The meeting will take place 6pm-9pm in the multipurpose room at Brattleboro Area Middle School on Sunny Acres Road in Brattleboro. An agenda will be posted once it is available.” – Kate O’Connor, NDCAP Chair

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Agenda posted for Sept. 28 NDCAP meeting

NDCAP is meeting next on September 28. Thursday, 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm, at the
Brattleboro Area Middle School Multi-Purpose Room, 109 Sunny Acres, Brattleboro, VT. The agenda is 9.28.17 NDCAP Agenda – Final

Materials have been posted to the NDCAP website from the June meeting which include the presentation by the state on its filing to the NRC with MA, NY and CT (and a copy of the filing itself); presentations by Areva and Burns & McDonnell; and updates from Entergy on decommissioning to date. VtDigger covered the meeting here.


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NDCAP Meeting 6.22.17

The next meeting of the Vermont Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel will take place on Thursday, June 22 from 6pm to 9pm at the Governor Hunt House in Vernon.

 The meeting will include presentations by AREVA and Burns & McDonnell, NorthStar’s partners in the decommissioning. The full agenda is here.

The NDAP website is: http://publicservice.vermont.gov/electric/ndcap

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New PSB Chair

There is a new chair of the Public Service Board (PSB), and the appointment is good news for those concerned about Vermont Yankee. Tony Roisman knows nuclear power regulatory issues, and we need someone of his experience and intellect while the complexities of the sale from Entergy to NorthStar is before the PSB. You can read profiles of him in SevenDays and in VtDigger. Roisman is replacing Jim Volz.

Update: Roisman has recused himself as chair of the PSB from Vermont Yankee cases. 


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Who’s Sacrifice?

On May 6, Safe & Green Campaign co-sponsored an event on nuclear waste. Lissa Weinmann wrote an excellent background piece based on interviews and research, Vermont Yankee-Expert says faster reuse unrealistic amid national waste dilemma and VtDigger covered the May 6 eventMaria Dominguez of BCTV filmed the panel for you to watch & share. What follows are the thoughts of Leslie Sullivan Sachs, Safe & Green member and webmistress.

Listening to Rose Gardner of Eunice, New Mexico share her story reminded me of the stories of people whose racism was transformed once they had a real relationship a person of color. If Rose could only speak, one on one, with those of us living outside reactors, of what it is like to live surrounded by nuclear waste dumps and a uranium processing plant, hearts and minds would change.

We had the opportunity to hear Rose on Saturday when she, Kevin Kamps of Beyond Nuclear, and Deb Katz of the Citizens Awareness Network spoke. Brattleboro was the final stop of their tour, “Environmental Racism & Nuclear Waste.” They also spoke in towns close by the Seabrook and Pilgrim reactors and in Montpelier and Greenfield, MA.

Rose is a resident of Eunice, a 3,000 person town just across the border from Andrews County, Texas. Over half of the county is Latino. 20% of Eunice residents have no health insurance. In 2015, the income of 17.7% of the population was below the poverty line; for Latinos, it was 22.4%.

Eunice is in New Mexico’s “nuclear corridor.” It hosts the National Enrichment Facility (NEF, owned by URENCO)  processes enriched uranium for nuclear fuel.  Its neighbors include the Waste Control Specialist “low level” nuclear waste dump, five miles away in Andrews, TX, which receives Vermont Yankee’s “low level” radioactive waste; the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), a nuclear waste disposal site infamous for its 2014 explosion due to kitty litter and exposed 21 plant workers to plutonium, is 30 miles from Eunice. Holtec, the maker of dry casks used at Vermont Yankee, has applied for a 1,000 acre high level nuclear waste dump permit (LES on the map) and a smaller, interim waste site (ELEA) to the west of Eunice. International Isotopes of Idaho just got an NRC permit to build a uranium deconversion plant in Hobbs, the next town north of Eunice.  

 Rose – a survivor of a lymphoma — says, “Enough! We have taken enough. We don’t want your waste.”

As if all that radioactivity weren’t enough, Eunice and Lea County sit over the Ogallala Aquifer, which provides one-fifth of the drinking and agricultural water in the US. Fracking and traditional oil and gas wells cover Lea County and have taken their toll on the aquifer. The risk of earthquakes is high. Not a good scenario for storing radioactive waste.

And if that all weren’t enough, trains of waste go through Eunice daily. Rose showed us photos of rail cars waiting – sometimes for days – for pick up at a side spur. If WCS revives its application for a high level radioactive waste site 5 miles from her home, 40,000 tons of waste will go through Eunice. There is incredible risk involved in getting all that radioactive waste across the country by rail and truck. To get to her corner of New Mexico, the rail lines go through huge urban areas. Look at this map provided by Waste Control Specialist – railroad map of the US.

Rose closed with a personal slide show of her hometown. She is not only a nuclear activist and Sierra Club member. She is a florist, a mother, and a grandmother. 

We talk about how the legacy of nuclear waste on the Connecticut River shouldn’t be left for our children and grandchildren to deal with. Well, Rose’s children and grandchildren don’t deserve the radioactive burden any more than our children do. In fact, they deserve it less because the radioactive wastes weren’t made in their back yard.

Kevin Kamps is the nuclear waste expert for Beyond Nuclear, and lives near Pallisades, a decrepit reactor owned by Entergy. He spoke about the current administration wanting to start Yucca again, as a national repository, and outlined its weakness as a site. He also spoke about how to strengthen dry casks storage at reactor sites, including HOSS – hardened on-site storage, where berms are built around the pads to protect them from environmental impacts and acts of sabotage or terrorism.

Deb Katz concluded the panel with the story of the Yankee Rowe reactor pouring radiation into the Deerfield River, and the 10-fold increase in Down’s Syndrome, elevated levels of breast cancer and non-Hodgkins lymphoma, and multiple myeloma in the Deerfield Valley. Rowe was decommissioned, and everyone wanted the waste gone. Everyone, including Deb.

That was before she visited Barnwell, SC, where the deconstructed reactor and its parts was headed. Half African American, 20% of residents live below the poverty line. CAN organized three “Caravan of Conscience Tours” between 1994 and 1998. Activists followed the shipments of radiated reactor vessel parts from Yankee Rowe and Connecticut Yankee to Barnwell. They alerted communities along the way about the shipments and spoke about the environmental racism of the nuclear industry. After being in Barnwell and meeting the people there, Deb realized “it was unethical to ship the same toxic waste that hurt us to another community to hurt them. It became clear to us that all communities impacted by the nuclear fuel chain share the same fate:  we are all sacrifice communities.”

We are all sacrifice communities.

Like Deb, we have envisioned the nuclear waste at Vermont Yankee gone forever from the bank of the Connecticut River, across from the Vernon elementary school. But listening to Rose and Deb brought home the ethical question: what right do we have to dump our wastes on some other small town? I can’t imagine the hearts of Vernon, or our state regulators, having their hearts and minds changed by an intellectual ethical exercise. It is too bad regulators aren’t required to visit the communities where the radiated waste Vermont doesn’t want will go, aren’t made to see their sacrifice, and ask themselves the question: who are we to dump the radioactive waste we created on others?

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NRC Returns to VT

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is returning to Brattleboro on May 25th. They want  to hear citizens’ thoughts on the license transfer (sale of Vermont Yankee to NorthStar), and will also take comments on NorthStar’s Post Shut Down Activities Report (PSDAR). Links to the PSDAR and license transfer are on our new NRC & PSB documents page here.

The Thursday May 25 meeting will be hosted by NDCAP at its regular meeting time, 6:00-9:00pm at the Brattleboro Area Middle School, 109 Sunny Acres Drive.  Google Map

In February 2015, the NRC came to Brattleboro to take public comments on Entergy’s PSDAR. In a meeting that ran for nearly five hours, three dozen of the 200 citizens present questioned the NRC.   [See our 2.22.15 post, Wake Up Calls]

One big issue: the PSDAR is not APPROVED by the NRC; it is accepted, and we find that unacceptable.

One question for the NRC:  will any new decommissioning rules apply to NorthStar decommissioning Vermont Yankee? On May 8-10 the NRC will hold three public meetings on its draft decommissioning rules. The current rules do not reflect the changing nuclear power  scene: for example, merchant plants owned by private corporations rather than utility companies. You can participate by phone. Details are here:  https://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/news/2017/17-021.pdf

The State of Vermont gave a presentation on its comments to the draft decommissioning rules at an NDCAP meeting a year ago. The power point is here with the State’s comments beginning on page 14. Vermont’s comments to the NRC were written by Vermont and joined by NY, CT, NH and MA. It has everything we wanted at the time. [Read our summary at May 26 2016 NDCAP meeting here.]

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