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Decommissioning

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.

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Sunday
Jan252015

Battle lines drawn over Vermont Yankee decommissioning: "A Herculean task ahead"

In an email action alert with the subject line "A Herculean Task Ahead," Leslie Sullivan Sachs of the Safe and Green Campaign in Brattleboro, Vermont has written today:

"Dear Friends of the Safe & Green Campaign,     

Listen to Kevin Kamps of Beyond Nuclear:

"I can point out to people that shutting down Vermont Yankee was a miracle, right? We weren’t, as the people, supposed to have that power. And people did it anyway. They insisted on it and they saw it through and made it happen. And so the same kind of courage and vision will have to be applied now to the decommissioning process. People have to stay in there, attend all the meetings, read all the documents. It’s a Herculean task and if anybody can do it, it’s the folks who have already forced the shutdown of Vermont Yankee." [Nuclear Free Future Yankee Post-Mortem 01.06.15]

It’s time – again - to show up and create a miracle. We need your courage and vision for the next month, while the focus is on Entergy’s decommissioning plan for Vermont Yankee. There are a lot of inspiring stories in this newsletter, most created by our own folks. First, mark your calendar with these events:

  •       Jan. 28  NDCAP Meeting
  •       Feb. 5   NRC Webinar on Yankee Decommissioning
  •       Feb. 9   Forum to prep for NRC Public Hearing (Safe & Green and CAN)
  •       Feb. 19 NRC Public Hearing on decommissioning plan

All the above, as well as events planned for March and April, are on the agenda of the Safe and Green Campaign steering committee’s next meeting on February 2nd. We meet once or twice a month on Mondays at 5:30pm, and it’s always a pot luck supper. Email safeandgreencampaign@gmail.com if you’re interested in more info.

NDCAP January 28: Vermont's Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel will meet next Wednesday, January 28 at the Quality Inn (Putney Road, Brattleboro) from 6-9pm. (This is a change from the Jan. 22 date set at the December meeting). All NDCAP meetings are open to the public, and there is time after each Agenda item for public comment. We will post an agenda on our website once it is available.

NRC webinar on VT Yankee on February 5 at 3:00pm “to provide key facts about the decommissioning process and how the NRC regulates such activities through on-site inspections and other reviews… view slides prepared by NRC staff and ask questions in writing via a web page set up to host the session. Online registration is required to take part.” Click here to register.

Arnie Gundersen and Deb Katz will speak at a Forum on Entergy’s decommissioning plan on February 9th, from 6-9pm at Marlboro Graduate Center, downtown Brattleboro. The Safe and Green Campaign and the Citizens Awareness Network will co-host. The presentations, with time for Q&A, will help you prepare remarks for the one and only NRC hearing, and to write your comments to the NRC (March 23 deadline). Forums before the NRC public hearing are also planned for Montpelier and Greenfield. Please visit to our Decommissioning Resources page for issues we have identified to date and for info how to comment.

NRC public hearing on decommissioning Vermont Yankee - February 19, 6-9pm at the Quality Inn in Brattleboro).  Details on the hearing and how to submit written comments are on our website here..."

Friday
Jan092015

Beyond Nuclear on "Vermont Yankee: Post-Mortem," on Ch. 17/Town Meeting T.V. in Burlinton, VT

On Jan. 9th, Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps joined Fairewinds Energy Education's Chief Engineer, Arnie Gundersen, on the program "Nuclear Free Future" hosted by Margaret Harrington Tamulonis on Channel 17/Town Hall Meeting Television in Burlington, Vermont. The program was shown repeatedly throughout the month across Vermont.

The title for the installment is "Vermont Yankee: Post-Mortem," referring to the permanent shutdown of Entergy Nuclear's controversial Vermont Yankee atomic reactor at 12:12pm on Dec. 29, 2014.

Fairewinds Energy Education has posted the full video, as well as the audio-only, and the full transcript.

Channel 17/Town Hall TV has also posted the program.

The Vermont Yankee shutdown means the plant carcass must be safely decommissioned as quickly as possible. With full spent fuel pools, we hope Vermont Yankee rests in peace, not in pieces like Fukushima Daiichi. In this video, CCTV Nuclear Free Future Host Margaret Harrington discusses the economic, environmental, health and safety implications that the recent closing of Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant will have on New England with Beyond Nuclear’s Kevin Kamps and  Arnie Gundersen, chief engineer of Fairewinds Energy Education. - See more at: http://www.fairewinds.org/vermont-yankee-shutdown/#sthash.mHAU2bNH.dpuf

The discussion is wide ranging, with a focus on the upcoming challenges of decommissioning at Vermont Yankee, including clean-up of the radioactively contaminated site, as well as management of the forever deadly high-level radioactive waste stored there.

Tuesday
May132014

"Senators Markey, Boxer and Sanders Introduce Legislation to Increase Safety at Nuclear Plants"

U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Chairwoman of the Environment and Public Works CommitteeU.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA, photo at left), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Senator Edward J. Markey (D-MA) introduced three bills today aimed at improving the safety and security of decommissioning reactors and the storage of spent nuclear fuel at nuclear plants across the nation. 

The three bills address safety of spent fuel storage and decommissioning plans. They are entitled: Safe and Secure Decommissioning Act of 2014; Nuclear Plant Decommissioning Act of 2014 (see the bill, Sen. Sanders' press release, and a one-page summary); Dry Cask Storage Act of 2014. To learn more, see the press release at Sen. Markey's website.

The EPW Committee will hold and webcast a hearing entitled “Nuclear Reactor Decommissioning: Stakeholder Views” on Wed., May 14th, at 10 AM Eastern. Witnesses include CA and VT officials, and spokespeople from NRDC and NEI.

Please urge your two U.S. Senators to support these three bills. You can contact your Senators via the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121.

Friday
May022014

"Senators to NRC: Do Not Exempt Decommissioning Nuclear Reactors from Emergency Response and Security Measures"

U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer, Chairwoman, Environment and Public Works CommitteeFive Democratic U.S. Senators have written U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Chairwoman Allison Macfarlane, uring that NRC's rubberstamp of exemptions from emergency preparedness and security requirements at permanently shutdown nuclear power plants be stopped.

The five Senators are: Barbara Boxer (D-CA); Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY); Edward J. Markey (D-MA); Patrick Leahy (D-VT); Bernard Sanders (D-VT). Boxer (photo, above left) is Chairwoman of the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, with oversight on NRC and nuclear power issues; Gillibrand, Markey, and Sanders also serve on the EPW Committee.

Their letter points out that nuclear utilities have always received requested exemptions, within just a year or two of reactor shutdowns, from NRC, at permanently shutdown nuclear power plants. This, despite the fact that the nuclear plants still have large amounts of irradiated nuclear fuel stored in pools, vulnerable to catastrophic releases of hazardous radioactivity, such as due to natural disasters, terrorist attacks, heavy load drops, etc.

The Senators list NRC's "perfect record" of such regulatory relaxation at: Humboldt Bay, CA; LaCrosse, WI; Fort St. Vrain, CO; Rancho Seco, CA; Yankee Rowe, MA; Trojan, OR; Haddam Neck, CT; Maine Yankee; Big Rock Point, MI; and Zion, IL.

Most ironically, NRC consistently stands by its indefensible claim that high-level radioactive waste storage is safe, sound, and secure, and will remain so for at least 60 years post-reactor shutdown, by citing the existence of emergency preparedness and security regulations. Yet, it is these very regulations that NRC consistently exempts shutdown nuclear plants from having to meet!

The Senators have urged NRC chief Macfarlane to not grant such requested exemptions at the five atomic reactors permanently shutdown in 2013 (Crystal River, FL; Kewaunee, WI; San Onofre 2 & 3, CA) or about to be shutdown by the end of 2014 (Vermont Yankee).

On April 10, Beyond Nuclear's Reactor Oversight Project Director, Paul Gunter, urged NRC to enforce emergency preparedness and security regulations at decommissioning nuclear power plant sites, due to the potentially catastrophic risks associated with the irradiated nuclear fuel still stored there.

Tuesday
Mar252014

Opponents to 20 more years at Davis-Besse call for problem-plagued reactor's long overdue retirement, decommissioning

Environmental coalition attorney Terry Lodge of ToledoThe environmental coalition opposing the 20-year license extension sought by FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Company (FENOC) at its problem-plagued Davis-Besse atomic reactor on the Lake Erie shore east of Toledo has spoken out at NRC Environmental Impact Statement public comment meetings. The coalition issued a press release, focused on the unsolved dilemma created by Davis-Besse's ongoing generation of forever deadly high-level radioactive waste, as well as the renewables alternative (wind power, solar PV, etc.) to a risky, dubious 20 more years of atomic reactor operations.

The press release quoted Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps: “The worsening cracking of Davis-Besse’s concrete containment, the corrosion of its inner steel containment vessel, the risks of its experimental steam generator replacement, and its recently revealed Shield Building wall gap are clear signs that this atomic reactor is overdue for retirement and decommissioning.”

The coalition includes Beyond Nuclear, Citizens Environment Alliance of Southwestern Ontario, Don't Waste Michigan, and the Green Party of Ohio. Terry Lodge of Toledo serves as the coalition's legal counsel.