Nuke Waste Action in Congress

Somehow, a staffer in Rep Welch’s office thought because nobody had spoken up about rad waste, it was okay to vote YES on Yucca Mountain and interim storage bills. Let him know he was wrong. While you’re busy writing to the Welch office, reach out Senators Patrick Leahy & Bernie Sander about pending legislation on Yucca Mountain and the storage of radioactive  waste. Here’s  Congressional delegation contact info.

See details below, with links to which legislation to oppose and legislation supported by our national allies.

From Kevin Kamps, Beyond Nuclear: U.S. Rep. Welch’s staffer, Alex Piper, told me, Dee, and Ian (they are cc’d), at a meeting we had with him a couple days ago in Washington, DC, that he had not heard from any Vermonters opposed to the Yucca dump, nor to the consolidated interim storage facilities targeting New Mexico and Texas. And that is why he advised his boss to vote for H.R. 3053, the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act on May 10, 2018, and to vote for H.R. 2699, the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act, by voice vote, late last year, at the U.S. House Energy & Commerce Committee. And also why he advised his boss to co-sponsor H.R. 3136, the STORE Act, which promotes consolidated interim storage. I told him he was mistaken about Vermonters supporting these environmentally racist policies. That it makes no sense for a Congressional Progressive Caucus member like Welch to not only vote for such bills, but to even co-sponsor them.

Thanks to all Vermonters who can reach out to Piper in Rep Welch’s office: <alex.piper@mail.house.gov>

PLEASE, ALSO CONTACT Senators Leahy and Sanders to oppose following Senate bills:  

S 1234 Senate  S.1234   Nuclear Waste Administration Act of 2019 https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/senate-bill/1234 (sets up a new administrative entity with sole purpose to find dumps, legalizes CIS) S 1234 came out of the Blue Ribbon Commission on Americas Nuclear Future legalizes CIS, removes cap on a permanent repository (now 70,000 MTU for first repository), sets up a new agency or administrative entity with sole purpose to make nuclear waste sites (sponsored by Feinstein (D, CA), Murkowski (R,AK) and Alexander (R, TN)) and could be introduced in the House soon we fear.

S 2917 Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2019  (same as HR 2699 currently in the House and HR 3053 from last year—restarts Yucca licensing and legalizes CIS and weakens some protections re high level waste/irradiated fuel)

 and

Appropriations for CIS in the annual federal budget

Oppose House   H.R.3136  Storage and Transportation Of Residual and Excess Nuclear Fuel Act of 2019       

House   H.R.2699              Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2019 https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/2699

If you want to SUPPORT  bills—those would be

 House   H.R.1544              Nuclear Waste Informed Consent Act    https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/1544              

Senate  S.649     Nuclear Waste Informed Consent Act    https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/senate-bill/649?q=%7B%22search%22%3A%22nuclear%22%7D&s=1&r=1             

Senate  S.1985   STRANDED Act of 2019   https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/senate-bill/1985?q=%7B%22search%22%3A%5B%22nuclear+energy%22%5D%7D&s=1&r=33          

House   H.R.5608              STRANDED Act of 2020   https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/5608              

FYI NIRS has a spreadsheet of nuclear bills with links to sponsors, text, etc.  with our position OPPOSE or SUPPORT listed at this long url:

 https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1NgxxHNGLKWDplZBYxF7fiFqEkpKJySZAL6BFBq4xDAM/edit?folder=0AGb-a19f3q6ZUk9PVA#gid=0

 

 

 

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NDCAP $ and Next Meeting Feb. 3rd

The next Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel meeting on February 3rd will tackle the issue of who pays to support NDCAP. In a letter to the editor, Safe and Green Campaign member Ann Darling  asks ” How can the panel get the funding it needs and remain independent at the same time? ” (full text of Ann’s letter is below).

This 01.14.2020 article covers the meeting covering the discussion on footing the bill for NDCAP ended with an advisory vote of 11-4 in favor of NorthStar picking up the costs.

Please attend the February 3rd meeting and to make your opinions known. 

Meeting notice (in part):

Vermont Public Service Department Announces February 3, 2020 Meeting of the Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel. Montpelier, VT – The Public Service Department today announced the next meeting of the Vermont Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel (VT NDCAP) has been scheduled for Monday, February 3, 2020 from 6:00 PM to 8:45 PM in the Brattleboro Area Middle School Multi-Purpose Room, 109 Sunny Acres Road, Brattleboro, VT.   The meeting will be an open discussion on Panel operating costs to date and potential funding options for future Panel meetings and activities.  Public input to this discussion is encouraged.  Panel votes resulting from this discussion may occur.  No updates on recent Vermont Yankee decommissioning activities will be provided at this meeting.   The complete agenda for the Monday, February 3, 2020 meeting may be viewed at: https://publicservice.vermont.gov/content/final-agenda-2-3-2020.

Ann’s letter to the Brattleboro Reformer:

Letter: Nuclear decommission panel needs to be independent but fully funded

Posted Wednesday, January 22, 2020 8:09 pm

Editor of the Reformer,

I am writing in response to the Jan. 14 article (“Nuclear Decommissioning panel to NorthStar: Pay up”) about the Vermont Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens’ Advisory Panel (NDCAP) and its vote to approach NorthStar, the owner of Vermont Yankee, to pay for the panel’s expenses.

I have been going to NDCAP meetings for years. As a member of the Safe and Green Campaign and a long-time resident of Brattleboro, I worked to shut down VY, and I remain committed to seeing it decommissioned responsibly. I am very grateful to the members of the panel and state regulatory agencies for paying attention to what’s happening there. People interested in learning more can go to the Public Service Department website as a start: https://publicservice.vermont.gov/content/vermont-yankee-decommissioning.

Decommissioning is a complex process and difficult for the general public to comprehend. And after all the years of conflict, accompanied for some by feeling unsafe living near the reactor, it’s really tempting to move on and just leave it to the experts.

In this context, real public engagement in the decommissioning process requires a robust element of public education and regular, comprehensible communication. But this hasn’t happened. Instead we have a panel that meets every few months and sends out notices of meetings a week or so before. To keep up with it all, you have to spend lots of time reading, and you have to go to meetings.

Even if the panel saw a strong public engagement process as its job — which I’m not sure it does — it does not have the capacity (funding) to mobilize it. The panel’s expenses are footed by the state, and that funding is insufficient.

At its last meeting, the panel voted to approach NorthStar for financial support; NorthStar’s business is driving the costs, and they should foot the bill. This seems reasonable on the surface and would theoretically give more resources to the panel. However, I think the panel and the public should be very cautious here.

NorthStar signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Vermont that said only “NorthStar agrees to collaborate with the stakeholders to establish an appropriate public engagement process regarding the decommissioning and restoration of the VY Station site .” NorthStar has representatives on NDCAP, and they meet regularly with folks in Vernon, but beyond that, I don’t see evidence that they have any commitment to engagement of the broader community impacted by VY decommissioning.

Further, to be credible, the panel needs to be independent of NorthStar. According to the Citizens Awareness Network, which has connections with nuclear host communities across the country, “boards funded by the corporation have devolved into dog and pony shows for corporate interests.”

How can the panel get the funding it needs and remain independent at the same time? This begs two questions. Why hasn’t the state put adequate resources into NDCAP, and can it? And can an agreement with NorthStar ensure the full independence of NDCAP? These issues need to be worked out with lots of forethought and care — way more than what went into the current MOU.

Ann Darling, Easthampton, Mass., Jan. 18

Peace, Leslie

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‘Bright Future’ of Nukes

The Greenfield Recorder published an article on page 1 of its January 7, 2020 edition headlined: Author Shares Thoughts on ‘Bright Future’ of Nuclear Power.  [Link to article is here]

It includes cynical, jaw dropping statements like this:

Environmental groups, since the ‘70s, have had a troubled relationship with nuclear power. Many supported the “return to the land” ethos of that era; and they found that opposing nuclear power was a good way to court donations and membership, he said.

We are grateful to Ann Darling and Suzanne Carlson, who responded with both facts and ethics. 

We turn away from greed, violence and exploitation, pressure the industries and government to clean up the mess, and begin to build communities of caring, nurturing, sharing, harmony and joy.

This is the real solution to climate change and social change with equity.

You can read the article and responses by clicking the links below.

J Goldstein Article Jan 7 2020 P1  & J Goldstein Article P 2

A Darling Jan. 2020

S Carlson Jan 2020

P.S. It gave me pleasure to see that today’s cover of the Recorder is an interview with environmental activist Emily Koester. In the cover photo she is surrounded by No Nukes banners. Her profile article is linked here.

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NDCAP Meets Monday 1/13

MEDIA RELEASE

Vermont Public Service Department Announces January 13, 2020 Meeting of the Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel. 

Montpelier, VT – The Public Service Department today announced the next meeting of the Vermont Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel (VT NDCAP) has been scheduled for Monday, January 13, 2020 from 6:00 PM to 9:15 PM in the Brattleboro Area Middle School Multi-Purpose Room, 109 Sunny Acres Road, Brattleboro, VT.

In addition to updates from NorthStar and Vermont State Agencies on recent Vermont Yankee (VY) decommissioning activities, the Panel will review, discuss and possibly approve its 2019 Annual Report to the Vermont Legislature.  Legislative language for the proposed changes to the Panel’s composition (membership) discussed at the December 5, 2019 Panel meeting will also be reviewed.  Public input to these discussions is encouraged.  Panel votes on these agenda items may occur

The complete agenda for the Monday, January 13, 2020 meeting may be viewed at: https://publicservice.vermont.gov/content/final-agenda-1-13-2020.

Presentation material for this meeting will be added to the VT NDCAP website at http://publicservice.vermont.gov/electric/ndcap as it becomes available.  Video recordings and prior VT NDCAP meeting materials (including potential changes to Panel composition, function and responsibilities identified at prior meetings) are also available at this webpage. 

All meetings of the Vermont Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel, including its committee meetings, are open to the public.  The public may submit comments to the Panel by emailing PSD.NDCAP@vermont.gov.  (All emails sent to VT NDCAP become public record.)

Remote Access will be available for the meeting.  Please email Tony Leshinskie, Vermont State Nuclear Engineer at anthony.leshinskie@vermont.gov or through PSD.NDCAP@vermont.gov to request a remote access connection.  Remote access requests should be made no later than 5:00 PM on January 12, 2020.

 

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Vermont Department of Public Service

112 State Street

Montpelier, VT 05620-2601

 

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One Persistent Question

“The issue is a perennial one: Will there be enough money to tear down, clean up and decontaminate the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant site in Vernon?

And if the money runs out? What will happen?”

The Brattleboro Reformer covered the most recent NDCAP meeting. Different players have different takes on the likelihood that the decommissioning fund — which we ratepayers paid into for over 40 years — will be enough to pay for complete clean up. You can read the full article here:  https://www.reformer.com/stories/doubts-persist-about-vt-yankee-decommissioning-money,593576?

We post all articles on Vermont Yankee on our Decommissioning Resources page.

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NDCAP Dec. 5th

Vermont’s Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel (NDCAP) has been scheduled for Thursday, December 5, 2019, from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM in the Brattleboro Area Middle School Multi-Purpose Room, 109 Sunny Acres Road, Brattleboro. “In addition to updates from NorthStar and Vermont State Agencies on recent Vermont Yankee (VY) decommissioning activities, the Panel will continue discussing possible changes to the Panel’s Enabling Statute and Charter concerning Panel composition, function and responsibilities.  Public input to this discussion is encouraged.  Panel votes on proposed changes to Panel composition, function and responsibilities may occur. ”

For more information go to the official NDCAP website.    The complete agenda for the meeting may be viewed at: https://publicservice.vermont.gov/content/final-agenda-12-05-2019 .

The New England Coalition sent the following letter with its announcement of this meeting:

Dear Friends,
 
I write today to inform you of the next meeting of the Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel (NDCAP) regarding Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station. As many of you know, although the reactor has closed, it is currently in the process of being decommissioned by its new licensee, NorthStar. NDCAP meets to learn about what is occurring at the site and to inform the public of such. NDCAP’s role is limited and advisory in nature. For now this is more or less the only way the public has of learning about the status of the site. We continue to support NDCAP’s work.
 
For some reason or reasons people have stopped attending these NDCAP meetings and it may indicate to NorthStar and the State that the public has lost interest at this important juncture in Vermont Yankee matters. In fact our very own Clay Turnbull was the only member of the public to attend the last meeting of NDCAP held on October 16. Thank you, Clay!
 
We implore you to make every effort to attend the next meeting of the NDCAP.
 
WHEN: December 5, 2019 from 6pm to 9pm
WHERE: Brattleboro Area Middle School, Brattleboro, Vermont
 
The backstory: New England Coalition fought hard to convince NorthStar to agree to a public participation process. Why a separate process? Especially since NDCAP was created with the input of Entergy we wanted to give the public an opportunity to influence issues and not simply report out on them. Of course this influence would remain consistent with our mission of striving for the betterment of human and environmental health.
 
We are in regular contact with NorthStar about the specifics of this public participation process. Know it has been slow to manifest due to the complexities of getting it right.
 
Please attend this meeting of NDCAP. Let us demonstrate public interest in the clean-up which will in turn aid our continuing efforts to create a body of citizen watchdogs who will monitor and negotiate the clean-up of this radioactive waste site (NDCAP has not and will not).
 
More backstory: the new NDCAP chair, a member of the Vernon Selectboard, was publicly reported as saying the NDCAP needed to dissolve. The agenda of this NDCAP meeting includes restructuring the NDCAP!
 
 
On another note I want to report the Coalition is considering filing an action regarding the degrading concrete at Seabrook Nuclear Power Station in Seabrook, New Hampshire and we want to open dialogue with our membership regarding the Coalition’s role in Millstone Nuclear Power Station in Waterford, Connecticut.
 
Sincerely,
Lorie Cartwright
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Press Tour of VY

On October 17, NorthStar hosted a press tour of Vermont Yankee. Only local press reports followed. Everything’s hunky dory. NorthStar must be feeling gleeful, anticipating the windfall from the leftovers in the decommissioning trust fund that will flow into their hands. We paid into that fund … here’s to just another ‘screw you, consumer’ corporate experience.

Decommissiong Test: NorthStar Uses VY as Launchpad (VPR) 10.26.19

Unbuilding a Nuclear Power Plant, by Olga Peters for the Commons 10.23.19

NorthStar: VY Demolition Ahead of Schedule, by Susan Smalheer for the Reformer 10.18.19

State: Yankee Site Shows Little Contamination, by Susan Smalheer for the Reformer 10.17.19

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NDCAP Meets October 16

MEDIA RELEASE

 Vermont Public Service Department Announces October 16, 2019 Meeting of the Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel. 

Montpelier, VT – The Public Service Department today announced the next meeting of the Vermont Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel (VT NDCAP) has been scheduled for Wednesday, October 16, 2019, from 6:00 PM to 9:15 PM in the Brattleboro Area Middle School Multi-Purpose Room, 109 Sunny Acres Road, Brattleboro, VT.  (VT NDCAP had previously planned to meet in September, but due to multiple scheduling conflicts, was unable to do so.)

In addition to updates from NorthStar and Vermont State Agencies on recent Vermont Yankee (VY) decommissioning activities, the Panel will hear updates from Vermont’s Congressional Delegation regarding proposed decommissioning-related legislation.  Elections for a new Panel Chair and Vice-Chair will be held.  The Panel will begin discussing possible changes to the Panel’s Enabling Statute concerning panel composition, function and responsibilities.  This discussion will likely continue to subsequent Panel meetings.  Public input to this discussion is encouraged. 

The complete agenda for the Wednesday, October 16, 2019 meeting may be viewed at: https://publicservice.vermont.gov/content/final-agenda-10-16-2019.

Presentation material for this meeting will be added to the VT NDCAP website at http://publicservice.vermont.gov/electric/ndcap as it becomes available.  (Video recordings and meeting materials from previous VT NDCAP meetings are also available at this webpage.)

All meetings of the Vermont Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel, including its committee meetings, are open to the public.  The public may submit comments to the Panel by emailing PSD.NDCAP@vermont.gov.  (All emails sent to VT NDCAP become public record.)

Remote Access will be available for the meeting.  Please email Tony Leshinskie, Vermont State Nuclear Engineer at anthony.leshinskie@vermont.gov or through PSD.NDCAP@vermont.gov to request a remote access connection.  Remote access requests should be made no later than 5:00 PM on October 14, 2019.

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Vermont Public Service Department 112 State Street Montpelier, VT 05620-2601

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Anthony R. Leshinskie, State Nuclear Engineer & Decommissioning Coordinator

    Vermont Public Service Department

    112 State Street, 3rd Floor

    Montpelier, VT 05620-2601

Internal Extension: 828-1784

Office / Cell: (802) 272-1714

NEW VT Yankee Site Office #: (802) 451-5354 ext. 2564

Anthony.Leshinskie@vermont.gov

http://publicservice.vermont.gov/electric/ndcap

 

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“Accidents Can Happen” TMI Documentary

Coming to Brattleboro on October 26! Film maker, professor and ecofeminist Heidi Hutner will be speaking about women, gender, and nuclearity, and showing a short from her film: ACCIDENTS CAN HAPPEN: The Women of Three Mile Island.

OCTOBER 26 1:30 pm 118 Elliot, St., Brattleboro, Vt – hosted by New England Coalition on Nuclear Pollution, as part of their 48th Annual Meeting. All welcome! 

“A documentary about the silenced story of the women from the Three Mile Island nuclear accident. This is the tale of the mothers– Linda, Joyce, Beth and Paula—ordinary American housewives who lived five miles from the nuclear power plant at the time of the meltdown. The accident turned their lives upside down and awakened them to the politics of the nuclear industry and the silencing of truth. The women fought back. This is their story–the true story of Three Mile Island.”  www.accidentscanhappenthefilm.com/

 

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High-Level Nuclear Waste Tour 10/1-10/6

CAN Goes On the Road Again! [from http://www.nukebusters.org/]

When: Tuesday, October 1 – Sunday, October 6, 2019.
Where: New England.
What: CAN is organizing a third High-Level Nuclear Waste (HLNW) Tour in New England with Cape Downwinders, Boston Downwinders, and Vermont Yankee Decommissioning Alliance. New England is ground zero for the industry’s attempt to make its nuclear waste problem disappear by foisting it on targeted vulnerable communities in the southwest. The Waste Tour addresses the abdication by the federal government and the nuclear industry to deal with HLNW stranded at nuclear sites throughout the country. We will bring speakers to discuss the issues of nuclear waste, Federal policy, and environmental justice.

The Tour will run from October 1 – 6, 2019 and will travel through four states: Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Connecticut.

Tuesday, October 1: Press Conference & CCTV in Burlington, VT; 6pm event Christ Episcopal Church in Montpelier, VT (TBD).
Wednesday, October 2: AM in White River Junction (TBD) and Brattleboro, VT; 7-10pm event at Hawks & Reed in Greenfield, MA with The Wildcat O’Halloran Band & Friends.
Thursday, October 3: Concord and Seabrook, NH (TBD).
Friday, October 4: Boston State House, MA.
Saturday, October 5: 11am-1pm event at the Public Library in Plymouth, MA; 3-6pm event at the Glastonbury Abbey in Hingham, MA with music on the lawn.
Sunday, October 6: Connecticut (TBD); 6:30-10pm event at the VFW in Florence, MA with The Wildcat O’Halloran Band.

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