Vermont’s Pubic Service Board, in a 98-page decision which we are slogging through, has granted a Certificate of Public Good to Entergy to operate Vermont Yankee through December 31, 2014. “The Company’s sustained record of misconduct has been troubling to observe over the years and has continued to trouble us as we determine whether to grant Entergy a license to operate.” However, given the short period of time and the “closure” on “outstanding matters” the PSB decided that granting the CPG was in the best interests of the state. You can download their order here.
A half dozen of us learned about the decision while in Hanover, NH at a symposium at Dartmouth College to mark the 35th anniversary of the meltdown at Three Mile Island. We had just sat through a 90 minute panel of nuclear engineers and a Deputy Secretary of the Dept. of Energy rave about new nuclear technologies. The day was dominated by nuclear denial of facts: no one died as a result of Three Mile Island. Any health impacts on the Japanese people because of radiation due to Fukushima will be negligible. The safety oversight of reactors is robust because of our strong and independent NRC. You can watch the full 9 hour YouTube of the symposium here.
Then came the wake-up calls. US Rep. Peter Welch told the overflow audience that there is no political will for new nuclear. Essentially, he said, you guys have had 50 years of more federal money than any other energy technology, and you still haven’t solved the waste problem and new construction is still over budget. Just look at Vermont Yankee. I listen to the people in my district.
Next came Amory Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute, with a slide show of bells and whistles to dazzle a roomful of engineers. Nuclear is dead. There is no renaissance. You can’t beat micropower (renewables plus co-gen minus big hydro) in cost, quick start up, efficiency, and reliability.
We decided to leave on a high note. Now on to read the PSB’s full 98 page decision.