Radioactive and Short on Cash to Pay for Closures
Isaac Arnsdorf | Bloomberg News | May 3, 2015
Read in full at Bloomberg
At the edge of Humboldt Bay in northern California lies a relic from the heyday of U.S. nuclear power.
The reactor was shut down in 1976. The remaining cost to decommission the plant once and for all -– cleaning up lingering radiological dangers, dismantling the remains -- will be about $441 million, according to its owner, PG&E Corp.
The question is who will pay -- for Humboldt Bay, and for dozens of other reactors that are in the process of closing or might soon. Nuclear operators like PG&E are supposed to lay up enough money to cover the costs, similar to how corporations fund pensions. Turns out, most haven’t. [...]
Sens. Markey, Boxer and Sanders call for increased safety at nuclear plants
Press Release | April 16, 2015
Posted at VTDigger
[...] Washington (April 15, 2015) – Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) reintroduced 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. [...]
CCTV airs 'The Impact of the Nuclear Age on Earth' with Les Kanat
Press Release | CCTV | March 23, 2015
Posted at VTDigger
[...] *WATCH ON TV : * You can watch this program on Channel 17/ Town Meeting Television, on Comcast Cable and Burlington Telecom at the following times:
1 Monday March 23, 6:00 PM
2 Wednesday April 1, 2:00 PM
3 Saturday April 4, 3:00 PM
4 Sunday April 5, 7:00 PM
5 Thursday April 9, 4:30 PM
*WATCH ONLINE : * You may watch the program on-line by clicking here:
State concerned about future contamination at Vermont Yankee
John Herrick | VTDigger | March 12, 2015
Read in full at VTDigger
On Jan. 29, a security guard at the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant sat on a radioactive contaminant located on the stairwell in the reactor building. When the problem was discovered, his pants were removed and shipped to Texas for low-level radioactive waste disposal. The state was not notified of the incident, but Entergy says it was included in a daily report to the state.
“It’s not the best way for us to be in the know about things,” said Bill Irwin, chief of Vermont’s radiological health program. “But we have asked Entergy when incidents are of this nature, to let us know.”
The incident points up broader concerns the state has about how much radiological contamination is present at the Vermont Yankee site, which shut down last year after 42 years of operation. The Vermont Department of Health says Entergy has not given the state enough information to ensure there is no risk to public health and safety, among other concerns. [...]
Vt. joins call: Probe Entergy finances
Susan Smallheer | Barre-Montpelier Times Argus | March 5, 2015
Read in full at the Times Argus
[...] Deb Katz, a spokesman for the Citizens Awareness Network, said her organization had been urging Vermont state officials to join her group’s request of the NRC to launch a thorough investigation of Entergy’s ability to decommission Vermont Yankee, as well as continue to operate its Pilgrim nuclear plant south of Boston and the FitzPatrick reactor in upstate New York, since it filed the petition in March 2013.
Katz said that the so-called 2.206 petition had been filed after news of the troubled finances of Entergy’s merchant nuclear reactors became public. [...]
Vermont seeks details on Entergy's finances
John Herrick | VTDigger | March 1, 2015
Read in full at VTDigger
[...] “I’ve been concerned for quite some time what they want to use the decommissioning trust fund for given the fact that they say they are not going to put any more money into the fund,” said Attorney General Bill Sorrell. “I think there are very few Vermonters who want the decommissioning process to be unduly long.” [...]
State appeals Atomic Safety board ruling oer Vermont Yankee's emergency response system
Vermont Business Magazine | February 26, 2015
Read in full at Vermont Business Magazine
[Full text of the appeal from Aaron Kisicki, Counsel for the State of Vermont, Vermont Department of Public Service]
Vermont asks to join petition to study Entergy's finances
Fred Contrada | MassLive | February 26, 2015
Read in full at MassLive
[...] The state of Vermont has joined a petition with the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission to investigate the financial health of Entergy Nuclear, saying it has safety concerns about its ability to decommission the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant.
Entergy shut the plant down last December and has already begun the decommissioning process, which is expected to cost more than $1 billion. The attorneys general of Massachusetts and New York have already filed petitions asking the NRC to look closely at the company's financial health. The Vermont Citizens Awareness Group, a private organization, has also joined the petition. Similar concerns have been expressed about the decommissioning of Entergy's Pilgrim nuclear power plant in Plymouth. [...]
Residents seek assurance from feds on Vermont Yankee decommissioning
John Herrick | VTDigger | February 22, 2015
Read in full at VTDigger
[...] Residents and state officials are worried that federal regulations are inadequate to hold the plant owner accountable if there is insufficient money to decommission the facility. The company is using a special decommissioning trust fund — currently totaling $650 million — to pay for a process that is estimated to cost $1.2 billion.
Department of Public Service Commissioner Chris Recchia told federal regulators that they are “stewards” of the fund. Vermont Yankee is the second merchant plant in the nation to decommission; all others were owned by utilities and backed by ratepayer funds. Vermont Yankee was owned by a regulated utility prior to Entergy’s purchase the plant in 2002. [...]
Nuclear industry goes hysterically ballistic over Yankee shut-down
Michael Mariotte | GreenWorld | January 5, 2015
Read in full at GreenWorld
[...] After decades of campaigning, especially over the past 15 years when the Nuclear Free New England campaign kicked off at an action camp near Brattleboro, VT in 1998 (the initial announcement of VY’s impending shutdown was made 15 years to the day that 21 activists were arrested at the reactor site as the culmination of that camp), as well as years of deceit and bumbling by VY’s last owner Entergy–which managed to alienate just about the entire region’s population along with nearly every political leader in Vermont–such festivities were certainly in order. [...]
Vermont Yankee Nuclear Plant Begins Slow Process of Closing
By Jess Bidgood | New York Times | January 4, 2015
Read in full at the New York Times
[...] “I get reminded every year when I get sent the battery for the emergency device,” said Chris Hardee, a marketing consultant who lives in Chesterfield, just across the river from Vermont Yankee, “and a wonderful calendar for the power company.”
Mr. Hardee was working on his laptop at the food co-op in Brattleboro, the nearby town that has been fertile ground for antinuclear sentiment here. To him and a friend at the co-op, Lisa Merton, the shutdown was welcome news.
“It could change life as we know it, and it still can,” Ms. Merton, 62, a filmmaker who lives in Marlboro, said of the plant. “It’s not a risk that’s worth taking.” [...]
Another Reactor Closes, Punctuating New Reality for U.S. Nuclear Power
By Christina Nunez | National Geographic | January 1, 2015
Read in full at National Geographic
[...] So far, nuclear isn't winning. Vermont Yankee, which shut down Monday after 42 years of operation, is the fourth U.S. nuclear facility to close in two years. For the owners of each recent retiree—from Vermont Yankee to San Onofre in California, Kewaunee in Wisconsin, and Crystal River in Florida—the math just didn't work. [...]
Why Closing Vermont Yankee Won't Raise New England's Power Bills
By Mark Cooper | Forbes | December 31, 2014
Read in full at Forbes
[...] But for those who genuinely are worried about electricity sector prices in New England, it is time to take a new approach. Contrary to the claims of some nuclear advocates, closing Vermont Yankee is an important step in the right direction and it teaches an important lesson for the bigger picture of electricity sector policy making. [...]
Vermont Yankee closes!
Beyond Nuclear | December 31, 2014
Read in full at Beyond Nuclear
[...] thanks to decades of citizen organizing and protest; the wise backing of the elected officials of the State of Vermont; the attempted deception of Vermont Yankee owners, Entergy, whose representatives even lied under oath; and the hopeless economics of nuclear power, the Vermont Yankee reactor has shut down permanently. [...]
Vermont Yankee ends its long run
By David Rainville | December 30, 2014
Read in full at the Daily Hampshire Gazette
[...] There was little fanfare, no ceremonial “big switch” to throw and the lights didn’t even flicker as the 620-megawatt Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant shut down Monday afternoon.
It was a slow, quiet process that took about three hours to bring the 1972 boiling water reactor offline. [...]
Activists Permanently Shut Down Vermont Yankee Nuke Plant
Harvey Wasserman | EcoWatch | December 29, 2014
Read in full at EcoWatch - and OpEdNews - and CounterPunch
The Vermont Yankee atomic reactor goes permanently off-line today, Dec. 29, 2014. Citizen activists have made it happen. The number of licensed U.S. commercial reactors is now under 100 where once it was to be 1,000.
Decades of hard grassroots campaigning by dedicated, non-violent nuclear opponents, working for a Solartopian green-powered economy, forced this reactor’s corporate owner to bring it down. [...]
Vermont Yankee Shuts Down
By Susan Keese | Vermont Public Radio | December 29, 2014
Read in full and listen at VPR
[...] "Within a few minutes I would expect,” Jefferies said, “They’ll scram the reactor and we expect that the remaining control rods that go in should insert within one to three seconds and all these will go to zero. These will all light up to zero when the reactor is scrammed." [...]
VIDEO: Vermont Yankee powers down
By Kayla Rice | Brattleboro Reformer | December 29, 2014
Watch at the Brattleboro Reformer
VERNON >> After 42 years of producing nuclear power, Vermont Yankee is scheduled to scale back to zero power production sometime between 8 a.m. and noon today. While there may be a brief arc in a switch yard north of the plant, outside observers won't see any difference that afternoon, Entergy administrators said last week.
Handshakes at nuclear plant, relief among foes
By Richie Davis | The Recorder (Greenfield, MA) | December 29, 2014
Read in full at the Recorder
[...] “Today I’m just going to breathe a little easier,” said Deb Katz, president of the Citizens Awareness Network in Rowe, “and thank the workers for coasting the reactor safely to the point where it will no longer pose the threat has to community.”
Katz, who lives 16 miles away from the Vernon, Vt., reactor and just 4½ miles from the high-level waste stored at the Yankee Atomic site, called the shutdowns “an affirmation that democracy really works, that citizens who were concerned, and were opposed to Vermont Yankee’s continued operation really created an educational campaign, they fought long and hard and were successful in shutting down this reactor.” [...]
Vermont Yankee Nuclear Plant Powers Down
New England Cable News | December 29, 2014
Read in full and watch at NECN
[...] those who had expressed concerns over an aging nuclear plant operating within Vermont were glad to see this day come. "I think it's a great day for Vermont," said nuclear safety advocate Arnie Gundersen of Fairewinds Energy Education.
Gundersen told New England Cable News that to him, an orderly shutdown to the plant comes as a relief, compared to catastrophic problems he could imagine in regards to potential issues at the plant.
"The economics of nuclear power are just no longer viable," Gundersen said. "We'll see more and more plants shutting down over the next decade." [...]
One Less Fukushima-type Nuclear Reactor Threatening the U.S.
By Jim Riccio | Common Dreams | December 27, 2014
Read in full at Common Dreams
After a long struggle, the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant near Brattleboro is slowing shutting down and will cease to split atoms on December 29th. Congratulations to the people of Vermont! Their steadfast efforts over decades made this victory a reality and now there is one less General Electric Mark I reactor, the same design as those that melted down and exploded in Fukushima, threatening New England. [...]
Vermont Yankee To Shut Down Permanently On Monday
By Pat Bradley | WAMC Northeast Public Radio | December 24, 2014
Read in full and listen at WAMC
[...] Entergy’s Cohn reports that there is currently $665 million in the decommissioning trust fund, while the cost of decommissioning is $1.2 billion.
Citizens Awareness Network Vermont Organizer Chris Williams is concerned not only about the spent fuel rods, but the stability of Entergy’s decommissioning fund. “What they have counted on is for financial market forces to have the fund grow. And that’s been sorely lacking in achieving what’s necessary to decommission the plant. The company is saying we’re going to have to sit and wait for the fund to accrue via market investments.” [...]
Vermont Yankee's Next Chapter
By Jane Lindholm & Ric Cengeri | Vermont Public Radio | December 17, 2014
Read in full and listen at VPR
The Vermont Yankee nuclear plant has been operating since 1972. Now, we're less than two weeks away from the plant closing for good. And while it will stop producing energy, life will continue at the plant with the storage of spent fuel and the decommissioning of the plant. [...]
Vermont Public Service Department announces meeting of Nuclear Decomissioning Citizens Advisory Panel
Press Release | Dec 17, 2014
Read full press release at VTDigger
The Public Service Department today announced that the next meeting of the Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel will be held on Thursday December 18, 2014... The agenda for the December 18 meeting includes discussion of the Vermont Yankee Site Assessment Study (SAS) and draft Post-Shutdown Decommissioning Activities Report (PSDAR), including a review of comments from the Agency of Natural Resources, the Department of Health, and the Public Service Department.
Vermont Public Service Department announces Nov. 20 meeting of Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel
Press Release | Nov 13, 2014
Read full press release at VTDigger
The Public Service Department today announced that the next meeting of the Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel will be held on Thursday November 20, 2014 from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM, at the Marlboro College Center for Graduate and Professional Studies, 28 Vernon Street, Brattleboro, Vermont.
Vermont Yankee Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel
Visit the Vermont Public Service Department page for Vermont Yankee and the Citizens Advisory Panel
National Summit for a Nuclear Free Future
When: Friday, November 14 – Monday, November 17, 2014
Where: National 4-H Youth Conference Center, 7100 Connecticut Avenue, Chevy Chase, MD 20815
What: The EPA is blatantly promoting nuclear power as one solution to cutting carbon. Nuclear is NO solution, and we need to push to end any campaigns to encourage more nuclear, and instead promote clean renewable technologies. Come help us plan strategies to move towards a future free of nuclear power.
Questions: Susan Corbett (email@example.com)
Buy tickets: http://action.sierraclub.org/site/Calendar/6713514?view=Detail&id=174801
Entergy details staff cuts, spent fuel plans at Vermont Yankee
Brattleboro Reformer | September 27, 2014 | Mike Faher
Read the full article here
BRATTLEBORO -- Entergy expects to slash its Vermont Yankee staff by more than 40 percent early next year after the Vernon nuclear plant shuts down, with another big staffing reduction due in spring 2016.
Also, the company's local charitable giving -- which totaled $175,000 this year -- will be reduced by an unspecified amount next year, administrators said.
But at the first meeting of the Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel Thursday night in Brattleboro, Entergy also delivered a few bits of somewhat positive news.
Entergy outlines post-shutdown plans for Vermont Yankee
VTDigger | September 26, 2014 | John Herrick
Read the full article here
VERNON — Spent radioactive fuel will be removed from the reactors at the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant by 2020, the plant’s corporate owner told a citizen oversight panel Thursday.
But Louisiana-based Entergy said it does not know when it will begin tearing down Vermont Yankee after it stops producing power in December. The plant has already begun to slow power production and plans to cut 40 percent of its workforce by January.
Vermont Public Service Department Announces Inaugural Meeting of Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel on September 25, 2014
Vermont Public Service Department Announces Inaugural Meeting of Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel
Montpelier, Vermont – The Public Service Department today announced that the inaugural meeting of the Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel (NDCAP), created by the legislature in Act 179 to succeed the Vermont State Nuclear Advisory Panel, will be held on September 25, 2014, from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM, in the multi-purpose room at Brattleboro Union High School, 131 Fairground Road in Brattleboro. The agenda for the September 25 meeting includes a discussion of the mission of NDCAP; an overview of the Settlement Agreement reached between the State of Vermont and Entergy Nuclear Vermont Yankee (ENVY) in December 2013; and Vermont Yankee decommissioning and stakeholder assessment findings. In addition, ENVY will present a summary of current decommissioning activities at Vermont Yankee. The meeting will be recorded by Brattleboro Cable Access Television (BCTV) who will upload the recording to the Vermont Media Exchange for distribution to all other Vermont public access stations.
All meetings of the Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel are open to the public. More information regarding the statutory creation of NDCAP, as well as current appointees to the Panel, will be posted later today on the Public Service Department’s website: http://publicservice.vermont.gov/announcements
The end is nearer for Vt. Yankee
Barre-Montpelier Times Argus | September 17, 2014 | Susan Smallheer
Read the full article here
BRATTLEBORO — Entergy Nuclear announced Tuesday that Vermont Yankee was starting its “coastdown” to shutdown later this year.
“Starting now, you’ll see a gradual decrease until the end of the year,” said Entergy Nuclear spokesman Martin Cohn.
Cohn compared the “coastdown” of the Vernon nuclear reactor as when someone starts putting on the brakes on his car in anticipating of stopping at a stop sign.
Panel appointed to track Vermont Yankee shutdown
Burlington Free Press | September 9, 2014 | Terri Hallenbeck
Read the full article here
MONTPELIER – Six people were appointed Tuesday to fill out the 19-member citizens panel that will offer input on the decommissioning of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant, which is scheduled to shut down by the end of the year.
The group's purpose is to keep tabs on the decommissioning process by plant owner Entergy Corp., including tracking the level of the decommissioning fund and serving as an outlet for public comment. Critics of the plant had advocated for having such a panel modeled after one in Maine.
ANR Public Hearing
When: August 20, 2014 at 6:00 PM
Where: Vernon Elementary School, 381 Governor Hunt Road, Vernon, VT 05354
What: The Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) has issued a draft thermal discharge permit to Vermont Yankee. ANR does not accept Entergy's calculations. However the agency will permit Vermont Yankee to continue to pollute the Connecticut River till the end of 2014. It did set conditions on its releases. We believe Entergy should use its cooling towers for the next 6 months.
ANR's deadline for Public Comment has been extended to August 27, 2014.
Here is the link to the update. http://www.watershedmanagement.vt.gov/ww/drafts/3-1199.Entergy.PublicHearing.20140702.pdf
Deb Katz: Focus on the public good
VTDigger Commentary | August 10, 2014
Read the full commentary here
We must keep our focus on the public good for the citizens of Vermont, Massachusetts and New Hampshire as Vermont Yankee is powering down and working toward closure in December. The Emergency Planning Zone (EPZ) is a critical way to keep that focus sharp.
The nuclear industry makes many claims about the safety and security of its plants, including Vermont Yankee. However, we must acknowledge the potential vulnerability of the fuel pools to terrorism and accidents. A National Academy of Science Report in 2005 confirmed the concerns of both state governments and local citizens. This report preceded the ongoing Fukushima disaster that included the melting of fuel in two of its Mark 1 reactor pools.
Vermont Yankee is a GE Mark 1 reactor. GE Mark 1 and 2 reactors are the most vulnerable reactors structurally in the country. Vermont Yankee’s fuel pool is filled to capacity (over 530 tons) and elevated (seven stories above ground outside of containment). These factors pose an unacceptable risk to those who live around the plant. Millions of curies of high level waste are stored in this above-ground pool with a metal roof. An attack on the pool that causes the fuel cladding to catch fire could result in a 25,000 square mile area being uninhabitable for decades. An accident involving the loss of water from the pool could have the same consequences. The National Academy of Science Report on fuel pool vulnerability states that such a fire could lead to the dispersal of radioactive plumes up to 100 miles.
Vt. Yankee asked to monitor river warming with samples
The Recorder (Greenfield, Mass.) | By Richie Davis | July 3, 2014
Read the full article here
Read the permit here
VERNON, Vt. — The state’s Agency of Natural Resources wants Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant to monitor how much it warms the Connecticut River with actual sampling rather than through estimates and calculations.
The agency on Thursday released its long-awaited draft permit for the nuclear plant governing its release of cooling water into the Connecticut River.
The draft permit, replacing a discharge permit that expired seven years ago and had been the subject of debate and lawsuits brought by the Greenfield-based Connecticut River Watershed Council, immediately won praise from the nonprofit environmental group for upholding its contention that “bad science” underwrote the thermal discharge limits in previous permits. [...]
Equal Time Radio: June 30, 2014 | Decommissioning Vermont Yankee
Topic: Vermont Yankee is shutting down at the end of this year. We’ll be talking about how Vermonters can stay involved in issues associated with decommissioning and economic development as we enter this new era. Our guests will include Chris Williams from Citizens Awareness Network and Debra Stoleroff from the Vermont Yankee Decommissioning Alliance. We’ll talk about several things, including the new Citizens Advisory Panel that was created during the legislative session, the thermal discharge permit, the Certificate of Public Good, and economic development issues.
Guests: Jeffrey Lewis, Executive Director, Institute for Nuclear Host Communities
Jennifer Stromsten, Program Director, Institute for Nuclear Host Communities
Chris Williams, Citizens Awareness Network www.nukebusters.org
Debra Stoleroff, Vermont Yankee Decommissioning Alliance
CITIZEN ADVISORY PANEL for Vermont Yankee Decommissioning
Download a factsheet and the legislative language from the budget about the CAP
Communities affected by nuclear facilities should have the ability to participate in matters that affect them. Citizens need a substantive role in order to clarify, negotiate and protect their community's interests. A Citizen Advisory Panel (CAP) can be a mechanism to ensure greater community participation. The CAP would meet regularly to give meaningful input into decisions concerning health and safety. The CAP would function to educate their communities to the technology that exists in their neighborhood and its effects and advocate for their communities interests with regulators and corporations. Although the CAP is relevant to all stages of nuclear power production, it is especially relevant to site cleanup.
Senators Boxer, Sanders and Markey Introduce Legislation to Increase Safety at Nuclear Plants
May 13, 2014 | Press Release
Read in full at the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works
Washington, D.C. -- Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), 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.[...]
State setting guidelines for Entergy economic development money
May 5, 2014 | Bob Audette, Brattleboro Reformer
Read full article at Vermont Digger
In August 2013, Entergy announced it was closing its power plant at the end of 2014. In a far-reaching agreement with the state, Entergy agreed to contribute $10 million over five years for economic development in Windham County. In addition, Entergy released more than $5 million it was holding in escrow for the state’s Clean Energy Development Fund, half of which is dedicated to the county.
[...] Read the rest here
STATEMENT OF CITIZENS AWARENESS NETWORK ON VERMONT YANKEE CERTIFICATE OF PUBLIC GOOD
Citizens Awareness Network supports the Public Service Board's decision to grant approval of the amended CPG that supports in total the Memorandum of Understanding reached between the State of Vermont and Entergy. While many have serious concerns about Entergy and its ability to live up to its commitments, the settlement reached between the state and Entergy is precedent setting. It is now up to the corporation to live up to its commitments and work constructively with the state of Vermont to achieve a safe and responsible decommissioning of the plant.
This agreement is also important because it mitigates the the impact on Vermont Yankee's workforce that would have almost certainly faced greater hardship without this agreement. We're relieved that Entergy has committed to the expedited removal of the high level waste from its fuel pool upon closure. With closure the fuel pool remains the most significant safety related issue facing the community.
The work is not over. Serious questions remain concerning the adequacy of the decommissioning fund. We also believe it is essential that a Citizen Advisory Board is established to create as democratic and transparent a process as possible for on going decommissioning activities.
Yankee's CPG is in the best interest of all Vermonters
March 24, 2014, Guy Page
Read full Op-ed at the Brattleboro Reformer
A Settlement Agreement announced on December 23, 2013, by Gov. Peter Shumlin, Attorney General William Sorrell, the state of Vermont, and Entergy recommends that the Vermont Public Service Board approve the Certificate of Public Good for Vermont Yankee to continue to operate until the end of 2014. The plant's continued operation through the year will help to ensure a smooth transition of Vermont Yankee to a closed, decommissioning power facility. Without approval of the CPG, the Settlement Agreement will likely be nullified. The following are five reasons why the PSB should approve the CPG by its deadline of March 31, 2014.
[...] Read the rest here
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