NDCAP Meeting Notes 01.28.15

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  • NDCAP Meeting Notes, January 28, 2015

    Nancy Braus and I joined about 30 other spectators at the monthly meeting of the 19-member Nuclear Decommissioning Citizen Advisory Panel. We were happy to see a few friendly faces in the crowd. Otherwise, the meetings reflect corporate “democracy” these days: the corporation and the feds have the money and the staff. The state and the citizens don’t. Entergy and the NRC had at least a dozen staff there between them, all probably on salary. All the citizen panelists are volunteers. The State hasn’t supplied any funding for admin support for NDCAP, so the state nuclear engineer sits in the corner, off the panel, taking notes and running the A/V.

    My comments are in parentheses below. We stayed for two hours, through presentations by the NRC and Entergy, but confess that we left when discussion about the governance issues for NDCAP began. After we left, Kate O’Connor of Brattleboro was unanimously chosen to be Chair of NDCAP (replacing Chris Recchia, who will continue to attend meetings in his role as the Commissioner of the Dept of Public Service). Martin Langeveld of Putney will be Vice Chair.

    Announced meetings coming up:

    February 5 NRC webinare on PSDAR and decommissioning process

    February 19 NRC Public Hearing on the PSDAR

    NRC presentation

    ·        Regs were revised in 1996 to reflect prior decommissioning experience.

    o   CFR 50.2

    o   CFR 50.82 License termination. Once an owner’s license is terminated, it would have to apply for a new license to operate, even if at the old site.

    ·        7 reactors have been decommissioned since, including 3 in New England

    o   NRC said all license terminations were for unrestricted use thus far, but that was disputed by panelists during the comment period.

    o   NRC claims all decommissioned so far have very few milirems of radiation remaining – far less than the 25 ML required by the regulations

    o   The NRC does not require a “greenfield”

    o   Why 60 years?

    §  After 50 years of SAFSTOR, radiation on the site is at 1%-2% of original radiation doses, which is safer for workers. (This has been disputed; others say it takes a much shorter time period than 60 years).

    §  Volume of waste is reduced. (gasps of disbelief from some audience members; experience at other reactors has been that contamination spreads while waiting, requiring more waste rather than less).

    §  Decomm fund will increase (now we get to the truth of the matter — with luck and a strong stock market, the people’s money will grow and the corporation won’t have to add any of its own).

    o   What’s a PSDAR?

    §  Provides information to the NRC.

    §  It is NOT a regulatory action. The NRC does not “approve” it. Why? Because the plant is “already within the safety envelope of its operating license.” The original license has environmental and public safety boundaries already.

    §  NRC will show up on site when “major activities” take place. Otherwise, they’ll drop by once a year.

    ·        Per the Decommissioning Manual: 40 procedures, 28 inspection procedures and 12 core inspection procedures.

    ·        Major = Greater than Class C waste. (from which I surmise that actions involving  “low level radioactive waste” are not considered “major” so not overseen by the NRC.)

    §  PSDAR should show expected costs by NRC standards – that is, enough money to cover radiological decommissioning, within the environmental impact statement of its operating license.

    §  Entergy can start decommissioning 90 days after the NRC has received the PSDAR (which it got December 20).

    o   Public Meeting: NRC will present, Entergy will present, NRC will invite local and state officials to make comments. (No mention of the general public. Hope there’s time left for us, the uninformed, uneducated little people!)

    o   License termination (after fully decommissioned)

    §  NRC technical review, can take up to a year. It is a federal action.

    §  There will be a public hearing

    §  Must demonstrate it meets unrestricted use criteria – an “independent contractor” from Oak Ridge does a study to confirm.

    Questions to NRC by panelists:

    ·        Langeveld (citizen rep): Explain about NRC not “approving” the PSDAR.

    o   NRC: NRC will send it back with questions, and keep doing so until its satisfied there are all safety or environmental impacts have been identified.

    ·        Recchia (chair): Expalin how they get below 25 MLrem

    o   “Derived concentrations,” ALARA, DCGL (oh, that clears it up!)

    o   Can’t be that precise, they just keep digging up more dirt, getting to cleaner and cleaner soil

    o   Last thing an owner wants to do is go back and do it over again

    ·        Mears (ANR): Does the EPA have a different criteria?

    o   NRC: NRC has an MOU with the EPA. NRC notifies EPA only if there is residual numbers above EPA standards. EPA has the option to come back later.

    ·        Moulton (CED): Experience with utility owned vs merchant? What about dry casks on site?

    o   NRC: Kewanee is first merchant in SAFSTOR (so, no experience)

    o   IFISI (dry cask storage facility) will have its own separate license and separate security

    ·        Moulton: unrestricted use with dry casks on site?

    o   Rancho Secco, Humboldt Bay, Big Rock, Maine Yankee, Rowe.

    §  All are either parks, or have other energy facilities on them

    ·        Campney (WRC): Generic env. impact statement says you have to assess the socio-economic impact on the region if the facility is in a rural area, because the socio-economic impact will be larger. What does the NRC see as socio-economic impact?

    o   NRC – we don’t know. We will ask our environmental staff. The financial situation is a challenge.

    ·        Mears (ANR): There is no specific env. impact analysis in the PSDAR, and no NRC approvals until license termination.

    o   NRC – we look at the generic EIS within their operating license. Radiological monitoring continues. They are bound by the env. envelope.

    o   Because Entergy is still within their operating license, it will still submit reports to NRC. That includes the env. impact reports.

    ·        Campney (WRC): Using the decomm fund: Entergy can draw down 3% for planning before PSDAR, then 20% 90 days after PSDAR sent to NRC.

    o   NRC: confirmed

    ·        Jim T (citizen rep), Sen. Molly from NH, asked questions to clarify discussion.

    ·        Irwin (DOH): Explain radiological monitoring during SAFSOR and decomm

    o   NRC: If change in radiological monitoring from how it was done during operations, Entergy needs to apply to NRC for an amendment to its radiological monitoring program.

    ·        Matteau (citizen rep): Can NRC approve for restricted use?

    o   NRC hasn’t done that before. It would be extraordinary.

    o   To do so, the license termination application has to explain why. There are a lot of requirements. It’s a high bar and that’s why none have chosen to go down that path. (Really? Or is it that it would be bad for the industry and so, like things like license extensions and evac plan exemptions, the 100% pass rate is bogus and not based on science).

    ·        Recchia (Chair): State’s MOU language is greenfield – unrestricted use.

    o   NRC – state can require things beyond what the NRC requires (just don’t use the word SAFETY! Pre-empted!)

    ·        PUBLIC COMMENTS

    o   Mike Mulligan (sorry, I could not follow his comments)

    o   Chris Williams – you didn’t mention Fermi or San Onofre

    §  NRC: Fermi I funding was different – no decomm fund (ah, yes, because we almost lost Detroit due to an accident).  San Onofre different – on leased Navy land. Utiltity owned so ask $ from ratepayers

    o   Brattleboro Town Planning Director – will NRC presentation be made public? Town has identified same worry as Campney – socio-economic impact in rural area. What’s done with public comments?

    § NRC: NDCAP will post NRC powerpoint on website

    §  NRC: will ask their env staff about socio-economic impact in rural area & the PSDAR

    §  NRC said they read public comments

    o   Nancy Braus: What if Entergy goes bankrupt in the next 60 years? Who performs decommissioning? There are layers of LLCs.

    §  NRC: BIG PAUSE

    ·        There is a “parent guarantee”. Entergy is legally responsible.

    ·        When accepted license to operate, Entergy accepted license to decommission, they are legally responsible

    ·        “Common defense clause” (?)

    §  Recchia: LLCs are involved. If ENVY goes bankrupt – are sucessors or assignors of a closed company liable?

    ·        NRC – blather

    §  Recchia – I’ll make it simple for you. If I die, I don’t care. (a true Vermonter speaks plainly).

    ·        NRC: If Entergy wants to transfer the license, they have to prove they have financial responsibility

    Entergy Presentation

    ·        Rector is defueled

    ·        Reactor vessel is disassembled

    ·        Need to get started with State about standards (?)

    ·        Staff cuts: 312 people until April 2016; 13 on emergency response

    ·        Emergency plan: “minor changes” will be made

    o   License amendment request on emergency notification system – ERDS

    §  Because fuel is removed from the reactor, a lot of things simply cannot occur

    §  Slower progression of what could occur gives operators more time to react

    ·        Questions by panel:

    o   Irwin (DOH): it would be interesting to learn the job duties on those on staff now – non-security vs security – on three different stages

    §  Entergy:

    ·        2/3 of 312 are professional staff, 1/3 are security.

    ·        Wet fuel / cool management (I assume this means after April 2016): 127 staff, 40 professional staff, rest security.

    ·        Dry cask only: security only; security team will be trained in necessary operations.

    o   Mears: env. impacts

    §  Entergy: Opportunty for environmental impacts significantly reduced because the foot print is reduced, pipes have been drained, outbuildings taken down, etc.

    o   Langveld: Ferry Road building?

    §  Entergy: near term, part of the building has operation staff. Don’t know what will happen after April 2016

    o   Recchia: are funds to take down outbuildings coming from decommissioning fund?

    §  Entergy: there are no revenues from Yankee, so everything from now on comes out of decomm fund.

    o   Recchia: even though it is not radiological?

    §  Entergy: taking those buildings down now will pay back in the short term in staffing reductions to maintain them.

    o   Recchia: VT does not agree that the evacuation planning zone (EPZ) should be shrunk in April 2016 and will continue to oppose Entergy’s request for exemption from the NRC.

    o   O’Connor: we do not have any details from Entergy on the EPZ but comments are due February 9th. How do we comment?

    o   Campney: Agree. The NDCAP is finding out things after the fact or too soon before things occur. We’ve got to figure this out. Yes, it is a busy time, but it is a critical time.

    o   Irwin: Can filings and requests for exemptions and the like on the Yankee docket be incorporated into the NDCAP email list? To tickle people?

    o   Recchia: As state nuclear liaison I get notice of things. I do not know how much of them are public. Entergy filed something Monday.

    o   Leshinskie: From our perspective, we are on a lot of nuclear email list services. It is burdensome.

    As of 8:00pm

    Notes submitted by Leslie Sullivan Sachs