The Waterbury Record in Vermont has editorialized against Entergy Nuclear's raiding of the Vermont Yankee atomic reactor's decommissioning fund to inappropriately pay for high-level radioactive waste management. The editorial cheered the State of Vermont's lawsuit against the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission for allowing this to happen, and urges the court of appeals to do the right thing.
Although it is imperative that we shut down nuclear plants, they remain dangerous, and expensive even when closed. Radioactive inventories remain present on the site and decommissioning costs have been skyrocketing, presenting the real danger that utilities will not be able to afford to properly shut down and clean up non-operating reactor sites.
Raided Palisades' decommissioning fund $100 million short of minimum dismantlement/clean-up price tag
As admitted by Entergy to NRC on March 30, 2015 (see page 17 & 18 on the PDF counter), the Palisades atomic reactor's (photo, left) decommissioning trust fund is $100 million short of the minimum total needed.
Palisades has in hand only $384 million, of the $485 million needed.
That $485 million price tag must be taken with a grain of salt, as a significant underestimate. Palisades has suffered decades of radioactive leaks -- as recently as March 19, 2015 (a 100 gallon "migration" of tritium from degraded steam generator tubes, ultimately into the environment). This lingering radioactive contamination will add substantially to Palisades' low-balled decommissioning price tag estimate.
What makes this decommissioning fund shortfall all the more objectionable is the fact that in 2007, the fund was raided by the previous owner, Consumers Energy, and Entergy, as part of the sales agreement. The Michigan Public Service Commission blessed this unacceptable raid. Around $100 million went into Consumers Energy's pockets. Around $100 million went into Entergy's pockets. And around $100 million was refunded to ratepayers -- apparently to "justify" the raid, and/or to quiet dissent.
But now ratepayers will get to pay back into the decommissioning trust fund, to compensate for the raid. And Entergy, as well as NRC, are justifying the continued operation of the dangerously age-degraded Palisades reactor, at least in part, on the need to rebuild the raided decommissioning fund!
Dear Friends of the Safe & Green Campaign,
“The NRC & You” Video of presentations made by Arnie Gundersen and Chris Williams at the “NRC & You” forum held in Montpelier on Feb. 11. Following the video, Leslie Sullivan Sachs of Safe & Green will facilitate a discussion on the issues raised in the video, and those issues you bring to the discussion, to prepare for the NRC Public Meeting two days later.
WHEN: Tuesday, February 17, 6-:00pm-8:30pm
The news that strontium-90 has been discovered in the groundwater at Vermont Yankee, and that Entergy would rather engage in litigation than pay for any cost over-runs in decommissioning, make it even more important that citizens show up at the NRC's Public Meeting on February 19, prepared to have their voices heard.
NRC PUBLIC MEETING will be Thursday 2/19 at 6pm at the Quality Inn, Putney Road, Brattleboro, VT. Take Route 5 North coming from I91 Exit 3; go1/2 mile. Quality Inn is past the Panda North Restaurant, on the left.
Leslie Sullivan Sachs
The NRC & You How Can Citizens Hold Entergy Accountable for Cleaning Up VT Yankee? (Montpelier, VT, Feb. 11)
This just in from our friends and colleagues in Vermont:
WHEN: Wednesday, February 11th 6:00-8 PM
WHAT: Forum with Panel discussion and Q&A to address Entergy’s cleanup of Vermont Yankee. A two-person panel will talk about fuel transfer, clean-up, long-term waste storage and what role citizens can play in the process.
WHERE: Bethany Church, 115 Main Street, Montpelier, VT
WHO: Arnie Gunderson, Fairewinds Energy Education
Chris Williams, Vermont Yankee Decommissioning Alliance and Citizens Awareness Network
For more information contact:
Debra Stoleroff, Vermont Yankee Decommissioning Alliance, 802-476-3154
Chris Williams, Citizens Awareness Network, 802-767-9131
With the closure of Vermont Yankee, questions remain concerning safety and the responsible cleanup of the highly contaminated site. How Entergy will address VY’s closure, emergency planning, loss of institutional memory with the firing of 1/3 of the skilled workforce as well as dry cask storage and fuel transfer? How will cleanup affect the local community as well as the state and even the region? Decommissioning issues are more significant than ever. With NRC holding a public meeting to discuss the Post Shut Down Report that Entergy submitted to the agency on February 19 in Brattleboro, the Vermont Yankee Decommissioning Alliance and Citizens Awareness Network are sponsoring a forum to provide citizens with relevant information concerning cleanup.
Vermont Yankee's power has already been replaced. But questions remain. Can citizens play a role as Vermont Yankee is properly dismantled, cleaned-up and radioactive waste safely stored? With the slow motion Fukushima disaster highlighting the vulnerabilities of Mark 1 reactors, how will the state deal with the increased vulnerability of this aged reactor?
forum will discuss the issues surrounding the decommissioning, clean up and accountability of Vermont Yankee. Citizens Awareness Network has been intimately involved with closure and decommissioning of reactors in New England. “Nowhere is the colossal failure of nuclear power more evident than in decommissioning with its extensive contamination, ballooning costs, limited oversight, and lack of solutions for its contaminated wastes,” said Deb Katz executive director of the CAN. “Added to this is the inability to trust a systemically mismanaged corporation.”
The choice to hold the forums was based on a lack of relevant information on what decommissioning entails, what choices Entergy is making and what has been the industry standard on decommissioning until now. “The decommissioning of the Entergy Vermont Nuclear Power Plant will be one of the most significant undertakings in Vermont’s history,” said Debra Stoleroff. “The NRC public hearing on Entergy’s decommissioning plan on February 19 is a rare opportunity for citizens to make their voices heard.”
A panel discussion will be followed by an open Q&A discussion. Refreshments will be served.