Notes on Nuclear Decomm 1.26.17

These note are my own and I can’t claim to any accuracy. My personal comments are in italics & I am subject to bursts of sarcasm.

Minutes will be posted on the NDCAP website, hopefully before the next meeting. Most presenters had power points but they have not been posted yet on NDCAP website. You can watch BCTV’s video of the full meeting. Go to our webpage, Decommissioning Resources, for all those links and the latest press. — Leslie Sullivan Sachs

NDCAP Meeting January 26, 2017

Who was there: 25 in audience including Haley, a staffer from Senator Bernie Sanders office, who often attends.  Three new state officials were in attendance: June Tierney, Commish of the Public Service Dept (replaces Chris Recchia, who was very active in NDCAP); Peter Walke, Deputy Secretary of Agency of Natural Resouces; Kate Buckley, Housing & Economic Development (who lives in Guilford).  

(Will they return or appoint minions to sit on the panel? We don’t know. June Tierney spoke a lot about how the public must be able to comment and participate at the NRC and PSB; perhaps she is making up for the fact that when she was general counsel to the Public Service Board, the Board tried to ban public from appearing at a VT Gas hearing – I imagine they were sick of the audience singing over the PSB).

 NRC presentation — by phone, 4 staffers

            No application for license transfer yet

            2 previous license transfers (Zion, LaCrosse) both in 2016. Took 1 year + 3 months for Zion. NorthStar & Entergy asked that this be done by end of 2017.

            License transfer definition does not include removal of non-radiated buildings or return of land to greenfield. Primary review is for financial “reasonable.” Contingency factor of 20-25% over cost estimate; must identify secondary source of funds if DTF is insufficient.

            30 day public comment period

            PSDAR will be redone by NorthStar; not necessary for new public meeting, but counsel is reviewing request.

            O’Conner, Irwin, Campany pushed for public meeting, panel vote on letter to NRC to support, with copies to other nuclear reactor host communities.

Irwin: this is a new industry – decommissioning for profit. Will the NRC have new rules or best practices? NRC response: we regulate for safety, not commerce.

Entergy decommissioning update with Joe Lynch, government affairs

            (I noticed a new logo on the Entergy power point: “We Power Life” Entergy Nuclear Excellence. Used to be photos of workers, and Safe Clean Reliable.  Entergy is closing Indian Point, Pallisades, and Pilgrim [least safe plant in the US per NRC] ; perhaps they can’t hide behind their workers and plant closures aren’t banners for reliability).

            Work on IFISI (new pad for dry casks) suspended for weather. North Warehouse down and its low level nuclear waste was offsite by mid December.

April – loading of dry casks will begin. (Not once did he say “moving high level radioactive fuel rods from fuel pool in to dry casks” … just loading, loading, loading.)

            New diesel generator and blast wall system (on 3 sides) put in

            Water management (again, just said water, never contaminated or radiated water or tritiated water… let’s not remind NDCAP members this is toxic )

                        – shipping 5,000 gallons a week in two loads

                        – 21,000 gallons total to date

            DTF ahead of budget and ahead of schedule

State update with decommissioning engineer, Tony Leshinske

            Public Service Board certificate of public good for sale of Entergy to Northstar is Docket #8880. (You can follow it here on the PSB’s nifty new website, which so far is indeed easy to use. While you are at 8880, count the number of LLCs … Also, see that this is NOT a Section 248 case (power generation)  like we are all used to from past PSB Yankee cases; it’s a mergers & acquisitions case.)

            Hazmat storage … sorry, missed it, something about state oversight.

            Briefing on water – Entergy wants 200,000 gallons to go to Idaho, going through NRC process. State filed questions about state sampling shipments before they leave. I think they said this would be the tourus water (part of the reactor).

            NRC Rule Making on ne decomm rules delayed from Fall 2016 to February 2017. State filed testimony.

            DOE & consent process – no one knows what will happen under Trump

            IRS – tax on DTFs? Or nuclear fuel storage? Unclear, state looking at it.

Panel & public questions & comments

            Holtec 100 system for dry casks – was do not fill until 5 years after use in reactor? Jack Boyle, Entergy decomm director: new and improved design using new metal with 10 times the heat capacity. Holtec has appliced for certificate of compliance for the new design, but not approved by NRC yet.

            Comment: it would have been nice to have blast walls around the dry casks, too.

Chris Willimas: Who paid for the full page ads by NorthStar & Entergy that were in papers around the state? Did that come out of the DTF? Lynch: Don’t know, I imagine it would come out of Outreach. I’ll get back to you. [A constant refrain from Joe, “I’ll get back to you on that.” Also, “You will have to ask AREVA” (or Holtec, or NorthStar) … is this what we have to look forward to, with NorthStar, AREVA, WCS, & Burns etal?]

Jeff Commons, deputy director, Dept of Public Service Public Advocate

            He will represent the public in Public Service Board #8880 on the sale

            Explained NRC public meeting vs hearing, and PSB hearing. Hopes PSB will hold a public hearing reasonably early to get a sense of what the public wants them to consider. He explained the PSB criteria for a CPG, including “fair partner” criteria.

Panel comments

            Campany – proposal for independent experts to educate NDCAP on the issues before the PSB

Public comments

            Clay Turnbull, New England Coalition – they will file for intervenor status. Time to let land at VY rest after 40 years of hard work. Comment to him by Steve Skibowsky, panelist – you might want to ask Vernon what it wants for its land; last time I checked it wasn’t NEC’s land. Clay – ask the Native Americans, then.

Kyle Landis, VT Attorney General’s office on environment

            Entergy sale & VY decomm is a high priority for new AG TJ Donovan

            AG will work with ANR, Dept of Health & others

            AG will review sale case and supporting Dept of Public Service as public advocate

            Will review / input NRC rule making on decomm

            AG’s office is available to help NDCAP


At that point I left the meeting.


According to news reports, after the meeting the panel discussed proposal to legislature to change membership of the panel from the 2 House & Senate committee reps to Windham County reps, and retain the Vernon Rep. Voted for, with state officials abstaining.

My comments: .   I have only seen the Vernon Rep. Mike Hebert at 2 meetings since Sept 2014 founding of NDCAP. This affects Senator Mark McDonald, rep on NDCAP for Senate Natural Resources Committee (which has been abolished/morphed into a new committee). Mark has been on NDCAP and before on VSNAP, strong critic with a lot of history.  Rep. David Deen of Putney attends all the meetings, either by phone or in person.

           Press coverage of the NDCAP Meeting

01.31.2017  Yankee sale calls for faster transfer of fuel (Susan Smallheer, Rutland Herald)

01.30.17 Proposed nuke panel shakeup irks Senator (Mike Faher, VtDigger)

01.27.17  VY to move fuel in spring (Mike Faher, VT Digger)

01.27.17  NDCAP wants public NRC meeting (Susan Smallheer, Rutland Herald)

01.27.17  NDCAP favors panel changes (Susan Smallheer, Rutland Herald)


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