UPCOMING … details below
May 28: NDCAP Meeting — PSB & dry cask storage pad on the agenda
June 1: NRC public comment period on EPZ ends
June 4: Public hearing on PSB & dry cask storage pad
June 13-16: March with Pilgrim Downwinders from Plymouth to Boston
May 28: The Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel (NDCAP) will meet on Thursday, May 28 from 6-9pm in the Multi-Purpose Room, Brattleboro Union High School, Fairground Road. It is open to the public — please attend! Let’s show the state that citizens care, let’s do what we can to keep the panel on time, and let’s ask the difficult questions. This is the only public opportunity we have to learn what’s going on prior to a public hearing on the main agenda topic – the new dry cask storage pad – one week later.
Let’s hope this NDCAP meeting includes a designated Time Keeper. The May agenda includes 45 minutes for public comment at the end of the meeting. Agenda: download NDCAP Agenda 05.28.15
After updates from Entergy and the State on the current status of decommissioning, the main topic of discussion will be the Public Service Board’s Certificate of Public Good process for a new dry cask storage pad at the site (a.k.a. Docket 8300. It is limited to the pad that dry casks will sit on — not the casks themselves or any other decommissioning topic). Entergy, VT Public Service Dept., and VT Agency of Natural Resources will give presentations. Chris Campney of Windham Regional Commission with present on “Stakeholder Interest in the CPG Process.” Here’s press coverage of PSB schedule for Docket 8300 Here is the full Docket 8300 schedule.
There will be a Public Service Board (PSB) PUBLIC HEARING on JUNE 4th — time and place TBA. The New England Coalition, which has argued before the PSB in countless VT Yankee dockets, hopes to be a party to the proceedings and may be the only citizen group there.
Entergy has managed to insult, ignore and generally piss off the Public Service Board for a dozen years. We need to take advantage, wiggle our way into any cracks in the corporate armor, find loopholes, and keep the pressure on the State to do the same. Citizen reps on NDCAP can benefit from our experience and knowledge of the PSB process — the 2002 sale to Entergy, the uprate, (first) dry cask pad, and license extension.
“Hostile Action” Drill?
We sure hope NDCAP updates include Yankee’s first-ever “hostile action drill.” Coincidentally (not?), the potential for a hostile action is one of the reasons the State appealed of NRC’s decision to allow Entergy to eliminate the 10-mile evacuation planning zone.
We don’t know much about what went down, because “Entergy broke with decades of tradition and banned the press from its Joint Information Center, where details of previous multi-state drills were routinely made public.” Marty Cohn blamed the black out on FEMA and the NRC. But they said having the press present was up to Entergy. (Whose cheeks are red?) Read the story here RH 05.14.15
It took Entergy one year to plan the hostile action evacuation drill. It took FEMA and the NRC two days to proclaim the drill a success.
The same day as the NRC gave glowing reviews to the evacuation drill, the State lost its appeal for a hearing on the EPZ. Coincidence? The Atomic Safety & Licensing Board, with 1 member dissenting, said NRC should be able to do whatever it wants because (1) it always has, and (2) there are no rules. Honest. Read the appeal decision here. [RH 5.19.15] and about the quickie thumbs-up on the hostile action drill here.
The NRC has let owners off the hook for evacuation planning 17 times — every time it was asked for it. Why should we be any different? Well, there are a whole lot of reasons why Vermont Yankee is different — its location in the middle of a village, across from an elementary school, for starters. It’s tiny footprint — 124 acres compared to the average 700-1,200 acres. It is hard to believe that high level radioactive waste that is so hot that it must be kept in cement encased steel canisters will be cool enough in a year to drop the emergency alert system and EPZ. Yet the NRC and Entergy want us to believe if there is an “event,” radiation will stop at Yankee’s fence line.
Comment to the NRC BY JUNE 1 http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=NRC-2015-0111-0001 or snail mail Mail comments to: Cindy Bladey, Office of Administration, Mail Stop: OWFN-12-H08, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001 Be sure to include: Docket ID NRC-2015-0111
The Keene Sentinel wrote a clear explanation of the issues.
“In its ruling, the licensing board noted: ‘the NRC Staff has determined that permanently shut down reactors face a smaller number of potentially severe accident scenarios.’ A smaller number sure, but any number greater than zero when you’re talking about ‘potentially severe accident scenarios’ strikes us as warranting safety measures for all those potentially affected… As long as high-level radioactive waste remains in Vernon, especially in the spent-fuel pool, the danger is obvious.” Sentinel OpEd is here.
At the last NDCAP meeting, we heard from three state agencies — health, environment, and public service — that there is no state money to support state government oversight of any decommissioning activities. In a Brattleboro Reformer OpEd 05.21.15, the writer calls $5 million “shakedown money.” These are funds the state negotiated in its settlement agreement with Entergy. (Windham County will get separate economic development funds – $2 million a year for 5 years.) We look forward to hearing more about this $5 million.
Nuke News of Note
March for Our Children — Join the Downwinders in Massachusetts walking 54 miles from Entergy’s Pilgrim nuke in Plymouth to the Boston State House June 13-16. Join for the full four days or just part of the march. Housing has been set up. For full details, go here: http://www.madownwinders.org/calendar/march-for-our-children/ We’ve been invited to speak at the State House. Safe & Green members will be walking — some for all, some for part, a bunch for the last leg. Email us and let’s make some plans.
Reports of a drone flying over Maine Yankee “turned out to be a pilot from Canada who stopped to get gas and was not aware when leaving the airport that planes are supposed to bank right. The pilot banked left. FAA was advised.”
Entergy’s Indian Point, 30 miles from NYC, had a transformer fire. Like our’s in 2004, a silver lining is that it drew attention to the bad condition of the reactor, and in IP’s case, the crazy plan to build a gas pipeline next door. Read about it on Ecowatch. We first heard about the pipeline plan from whistle blower Paul Blanch at a New England Coalition meeting in Brattleboro in 2008 or 2009. FYI: IP’s NRC license for Unit 2 expired two years ago, but the NRC is letting it chug along anyway. Unit 3’s license will expire at the end of 2015.
Speaking of pipelines, Rising Tide Vermont is organizing a Rally & All Night Vigil to Stop the Fracked Gas Pipeline starting on Monday, June 22, 4 pm at the Public Service Board, 112 State St., Montpelier, VT. “Defend communities from Alberta to Vermont and make sure hard-working ratepayers aren’t forced to fund this dangerous fracked gas pipeline.” Contact Rising Tide: firstname.lastname@example.org or email Safe & Green about car pooling. FYI: if you don’t have time but have a few extra dollars, Just Power is looking for help paying for legal assistance at the Public Service Board technical hearing for Jane and Nate Palmer and other landowners faced with eminent domain actions by VtGas/GazMetro. Watch their video, give $ here.
Leslie Sullivan Sachs
Safe and Green Campaign