We found a few holiday gifts under our tree this season:
- Under pressure from regional nuclear activists, NDCAP, and our Congressional delegations, on December 24th the Nuclear Regulatory Commission extended the deadline to comment on nuclear reactor decommissioning rules. The new deadline is March 18. We will share our comments here at a future date.
- Entergy announced that it will move the radioactive fuel out of the fuel pool and into dry casks two years earlier than planned. The new target date is 2017. Dry-Load-Entergy News-Release-FINAL
- Entergy says it will use $145 million line of credit to move the fuel, rather than drawing down the decommissioning fund.
There is one drawback of Entergy’s announcement about moving fuel. It puts pressure on VT’s Public Service Board to give a Certificate of Public Good to the dry cask location by this spring. The PSB will have to come up with some creative solution to make this work for Vermont. In Entergy’s application to the PSB, the casks are close to the reactor building. Before decommissioning the reactor can begin, the Dept. of Energy would need to take all the fuel away. We don’t trust that the DOE will have can do all that is necessary to take the fuel away.
A senior staffer from the pro-nuke trade group, Nuclear Energy Institute, came to the Vernon nuke recently to promote their spin on dry cask storage — “one of the great industrial success stories of our time. We did not envision dry cask storage when we built any of these plants.” Mike Faher’s interview is here.
As to the Christmas eve gift of an extended comment period on new rules: The NRC gets a lump of coal for not adding any public hearings in states that are currently or will soon undergo decommissioning. As it now stands, only one public meeting will be held. Read all about it, and comment, on the NRC website here.
The decomm rules won’t take effect until 2019 or later, says the NRC, so new rules will probably not affect the decommissioning of VT Yankee. But other host states and communities can learn from our experience. The decommissioning of merchant reactors is a whole new ball game, and we are the among first to go through the process.