NDCAP: CEO of Holtec Coming to Town

Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel (NDCAP) will meet 6-9pm on June 25 at Brattleboro Area HIGH SCHOOL Multi-Purpose Room (usual location – not previously stated Middle School), Fairgrounds Road, Brattleboro, VT 05301. Open to the public.  There is time on the agenda for public comment.

Primary topics: (1) Presentation by CEO &  of HOLTEC International (dry cask manufacturers);  (2) Potential Issues for NDCAP Advisory Opinions The NDCAP  webpage is here. 

NDCAP Agenda 06.25.15 Meeting Agenda – FINAL(1)

NDCAP Advisory Opinions Potential Issues- as of 6.15.15(1)

The CEO of Holtec, Dr. Singh makes $200 million a year and has made a sweet [yet suspicious] deal with NJ Gov. Chris Christie. [Read about that in the Guardian here.]  Dr. Singh made a presentation to the San Onofre citizen advisory panel. You can watch a clip on YouTube here, in which he states:

“…It is not practical to repair a canister if it were damaged… if that canister were to develop a leak, let’s be realistic; you have to find it, that crack,  where it might be, and then find the means to repair it. You will have, in the face of millions of curies of radioactivity coming out of canister; we think it’s not a path forward…

A canister that develops a microscopic crack (all it takes is a microscopic crack to get the release), to precisely locate it… And then if you try to repair it (remotely by welding)…the problem with that is you create a rough surface which becomes a new creation site for corrosion down the road.  ASME Sec 3. Class 1 has some very significant requirements for making repairs of Class 1 structures like the canisters, so I, as a pragmatic technical solution, I don’t advocate repairing the canister.”

Instead Dr. Singh states

…you can easily isolate that canister in a cask that keeps it cool and basically you have provided the next confinement boundary, you’re not relying on the canister. So that is the practical way to deal with it and that’s the way we advocate for our clients.

Donna Gilmore of San Onofre Safety offers this critique of his remarks:

“However, there are many problems with Dr. Singh’s solution of putting cracked and leaking canisters inside [transport] casks.

  • There are no NRC approved Holtec specifications that address Dr. Singh’s solution of using the “Russian doll” approach of putting a cracked canister inside a [transport] cask.
  • NRC requirements for transport casks require the interior canister to be intact for transport.  This NRC requirement provides some level of redundancy in case the outer cask fails. Does this mean this leaking canister can never safely be moved?  Who will allow this to be transported through their communities? How stable is the fuel inside a cracked canister?
  • What is the seismic rating of a cracked canister (even if it has not yet cracked all the way through)? The NRC has no seismic rating for a cracked canister, but plans to allow up to a 75% crack. There is no existing technology that can currently inspect for corrosion or cracks. The NRC is allowing the nuclear industry 5 years to develop it. It is likely to be inadequate due to the requirement the canisters must be inspected while in the concrete overpacks.
  • What is the cost for the transport casks that will be needed for storage?  Will they be on-site? Where is this addressed? Transport casks are intended to be reusable because of their higher cost. How and where will they be stored and secured on-site?
  • How will the leaking canisters be handled by the Department of Energy at the receiving end of the transport?  The DOE currently requires fuel to be retrievable from the canister.”

End of SONGS critique.

Kevin Kamps of Beyond Nuclear had this to share about Dr. Singh:

Over a decade ago, Oscar Shirani, the Commonwealth Edison/Exelon whistleblower on Holtec’s dry storage casks for high-level radioactive waste, told me that Dr. Kris Singh, CEO of Holtec, offered him a bribe, if he would shut up about the problems with Holtec dry casks. Shirani said that Singh said to him that Shirani could decide his own salary, and come to work at Holtec. Shirani refused the offer. Shirani was then run out of his own company, and blacklisted altogether from the U.S. nuclear power industry for the rest of his life. Shirani passed away, in his early 50s, in late 2008, just six days after being diagnosed with brain cancer.

Here is a summary of Shirani’s allegations against the Holtec dry cask, and support from Dr. Ross Landsman, NRC’s Region 3 dry cask inspector (the hand written notes are Shirani’s own):

—Kevin Kamps, Beyond Nuclear




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