VY and The Ghost of Promises Past

This significant tidbit came to my attention yesterday, just after the key snapped off in the front door, the kitchen sink backed-up, the gas meter packed in, and my husband got a flat without a spare tire.

Now that the dust is beginning to settle on the wreck of our material lives, I am returning to the incontrovertible evidence, reinforcing mere memory, that, way back in 2002, Entergy not once, but twice gave its  guarantee, it’s“100% promise,” to shut down operations in 2012, should the facility not be issued a certificate of public good to continue operating.  

There it is in black and white: embedded in the testimony given before the Public Service Board, on February 6, 2002 by one Mr. Michael Kansler, self-identified as

employed by Entergy Nuclear Operations, Inc. as Senior Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer. I am also Senior Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer Entergy Nuclear Vermont Yankee, LLC, owned by Entergy Nuclear Vermont  Investment Company.”

Feb. 5, 2002; p. 216… Our intent here is obviously we have to get permission from the NRC for renewal, but also is to get basically Vermont’s permission to continue to license also, and so at this point we don’t envision that we would turn this into a battle, say we’re going to continueoperations again the wishes of the State of Vermont.

Chairman Dworkin: Are you making a commitment that you won’t do that?

Mr. Kansler: I won’t say one hundred percent sure it’s nota possibility, but right now I would say our intent is not to turn this into a battle. If the State doesn’t want it, we wouldn’t go forward with it.

Feb. 6, 2002; p 25

Mr. Kansler:… I guess what I would say is that the commitment in the deal is that we will get your approval, therefore we would get your approval. If we don’t get your approval we won’t get life extension.

Chairman Dworkin: That sounds like a hundred percent guarantee.

Mr. Kansler: That’s a hundred percent guarantee.

Board Member Coen: It’s a change in your position?

Mr. Kansler: Yes.

(Michael Kansler’s technical testimony in  Docket 6545 (in 2001-2))

Chairman Dworkin goes on to repeat to Mr. Kansler exactly what he has committed Entergy to doing, ie. respecting the decision of the PSB; and asks Mr. Kansler to confirm that he has understood correctly.  Mr. Kansler replies that he has.

Chairman Dworkin: I want to just tell

counsel that this obviously is an issue of

major significance. And the specific drafting

of it in such a way as to ensure that it is

extraordinarily likely to be effective is a

matter to which we will want careful

attention. If it turns out that, you know,

one form is more subject to challenge as a

regulatory matter under which there might be

preemption, and another form is more likely to

be sustained as a contractual commitment, we

want people to consider that possibility. But

I want the substance of it which is that

Entergy has no expectation and no reliance on

any chance to preempt this Board’s decision on

it. And that the commitment is, as you said a

few minutes ago, a hundred percent to be

understood as substance, and the text to lock

that in as well as any lawyer can lock it in.

Is that Entergy’s understanding at this stage?

Mr. Kansler: That’s my understanding. Yes.

I’d like to know at what point Entergy will be on the hook legally for having lied to the Public Service Board in order to obtain permission to own and operate Vermont Yankee?  ‘Seems to me that the state ought to be the entity bringing suit against Entergy!

Mendacity would appear to pervade the industry, as this bit of further fibbing seems to confirm.

Apparently, the NRC has finally concluded that Exelon, which has reportedly been interested in acquiring Vermont Yankee from Entergy  

Deliberately provided incomplete and inaccurate decommissioning estimates.  Enforcement action pending (January 13, 2013)

You can file that under “Closing the Barn Door After the Cow Got Loose.”

Does anyone want to bet that the underestimates are not industry wide?

Coming soon to a front page near you:  the really, really bad news about the true cost of decommissioning Vermont Yankee, and how poor Entergy just can’t be expected to shoulder that financial responsibility.

About Sue Prent

Artist/Writer/Activist living in St. Albans, Vermont with my husband since 1983. I was born in Chicago; moved to Montreal in 1969; lived there and in Berlin, W. Germany until we finally settled in St. Albans.

15 thoughts on “VY and The Ghost of Promises Past

  1. we can thank Entergy Louisiana’s loyal lapdog Jimmy Douglas for screwing up the commitment so that Entergy would be forced to pay up front for cleanup. They have added nothing or next to it from the original fund they ‘inherited’.

    I see Jackie-Wayne Leonard is bailing-first rat off the sinking ship and ominous foreboding?

  2. is also why I believe Murtha’s train wreck of a ruling was ‘flawed’ to say the very least, more like hopelessly mangled since there are a few ‘loose ends’ never tied up such as the waste facility which clearly states no additional waste could be stored after 3/21/2012. He just breezed over all this as though it didn’t exist. But focused, seemingly hypnotized by the shiny object dangled before his eyes by Sullivan as she chanted “safety safety SAFETY!!!!”

    What a fool.

  3. Two points.

    First, re decommissioning.  The value of the fund on December 31, 2012 was $543,260,693.  According to Entergy’s  pre-filed testimony in Docket 7862 (William A. Cloutier, Jr. p.7) Entergy anticipates decommissioning costs of $845.422 to $1,159.759.  There’s considerable testimony from various witnesses for the other parties suggesting that Cloutier’s figures are far too low, but even by Entergy’s own admission, the money’s not there now, a year after the plant was scheduled to be closed.  I won’t belabor the point: it speaks for itself.

    Second, Sue writes: “I’d like to know at what point Entergy will be on the hook legally for having lied to the Public Service Board in order to obtain permission to own and operate Vermont Yankee?  ‘Seems to me that the state ought to be the entity bringing suit against Entergy!”

    I heartily agree.  Indeed, I wrote “An Open Letter to the Vermont Public Service Board: It’s Time to Say “Enough”” last March, making precisely the same point.  It’s posted here: http://www.brattleboro.net/joh

    In it, I pointed out that whether or not one accepted Entergy’s (in my view totally absurd) argument that legislative intervention in 2005-6 relieved them of the promise they had made in the MOU, the MOU itself specified that the PSB, not federal court, was the place to make that argument.  Paragraph 16 (1) of the MOU says: “This Memorandum of Understanding is governed by Vermont law and any disputes under this Memorandum of Understanding shall be decided by the Board.”  I called this “renegade behavior by an outlaw organization, not a corporate citizen acting in the “public good.”” and asked the Board to take action.

    There’s still time to do so.

  4. Re actions currently being taken by the players in this game turned saga.

    The very dedicated web manager @ “Evacuation Plans”


    has a few items of interest, as well as the inclusion of some GMD stories, most interestingly (to me at least), this:

    NEC Moves PSB to Halt Entergy Vermont Yankee Proceedings  

    posted February 2, 2013 1:33 PM, by New England Coalition

    *emphasis added

    New England Coalition (NEC) today filed an extraordinary motion 2013-1-31_NEC_Motion_to_Halt(7862) asking the Vermont Public Service Board (Board) to stay proceedings on Entergy Corporation’s renewed application for a 20-year extension of state permission to operate its Vermont Yankee Nuclear Station in Vernon.



    Entergy might ask court to order CPG

    By BOB AUDETTE / Reformer Staff

    02/01/2013 07:48:15 AM EST

    Safe & Green ask Governor Shumlin not to approve evacuation plan.

    Import is interesting:


  5. a lot of balls, even for these brazen bad-boys:

    Entergy wants Vermont Supreme Court to decide fate of Vermont Yankee

    by Andrew Stein | February 5, 2013

    On Feb. 11 the Vermont Public Service Board plans to begin hearing two weeks of arguments for and against Vermont Yankee’s continued operation, as the board considers whether to relicense the nuclear plant.

    Two weeks of arguments – Head hurts just thinking about it.

    Entergy once again is up to their old tricks-emphasis added:

    But Entergy Corporation, the plant’s operator, has filed an appeal with the Vermont Supreme Court over whether the state board should move ahead with this process.

    In essence, the Louisiana-based company argues that the Supreme Court should decide the fate of the plant’s permit, or Certificate of Public Good, to operate “based on the existing record.”


  6. same story, just expanded a bit:

    Anti-nuclear group asks PSB to postpone upcoming Yankee hearings

    By Susan Smallheer

    Staff Writer | February 06,2013

    BRATTLEBORO – Less than a week before the high-stakes Public Service Board hearings on the future of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant, an anti-nuclear group has asked the board to postpone the hearings.


  7. Entergy clearly is counting on headache and dizziness to force us all to just leave VY to run for so long as they see fit.

  8. Now can I have my Gravol?

    It’s kind of like one of those carved ball-within-a-ball-within-a-ball-within-a-ball thingys that just go on and on eternally.

    My head hurts.

  9. on the part of Entergy’s fleet of lawyers is arguing beside the point.

    Entergy is a business; not some magical construct subject to no laws beyond NRC regulation; and, as a business, they had what amounts to a contractual agreement with Vermont to shut VY down if the PSB refused to issue a new CPB in 2012.  They gave their “100% guarantee” to abide by that agreement.

    Case closed.

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