VY wants to dump and run.

Incredible as it may seem, the Brattleboro Reformer is reporting that the NRC may allow Entergy to drop the Emergency Plan for Vermont Yankee as early as sixteen months after the plant ceases operations.

In requesting release from this obligation, Entergy asserted the following:

“Within 15.4 months after shutdown, no credible accident at VY will result in radiological releases requiring offsite protective actions…The potential for a release of a large radiological source term to the environment from the high pressures and the temperatures associated with reactor operation will no longer exist.”

And if you believe that, may I interest you in a slightly used bridge?

To back-up their request for exemption, Entergy has created a best-case narrative that is one part fact, one part wishful thinking, and one part fairy story. You can read some of their assertions in the Reformer story, but be prepared to groan and strike your forehead repeatedly.

Entergy’s sunny forecast does not appear to have availed itself of the cautionary message in the 2000 Technical Study of Spent Fuel Pool Accident Risk at Decommissioning Nuclear Power Plants.  As the document came from the NRC, one would hope that it will inform their decision.

One salient bit is the following:

“In its thermal-hydraulic analysis, documented in Appendix 1A, the staff concluded that it was not feasible, without numerous constraints, to establish a generic decay heat level (and therefore a decay time) beyond which a zirconium fire is physically impossible. ” (p.x)

In other words, Entergy cannot possibly know that,  after just sixteen months there will be no further potential for a radioactive release from the spent fuel pool.

Not surprisingly, the assumptions employed by Entergy in its optimistic math formulas appear to support its request for exemption.

Spokesman for the NRC, Neil Sheehan says they are reviewing the figures.

“They show that the spent fuel will have decayed to the extent that the requested exemption can be implemented without compensatory actions,” he said. “The heat load starts to drop off pretty dramatically after it’s moved into the spent fuel pool.”

No doubt; but let us hope that the NRC reviews their own homework from 2000.

Apparently the state is totally powerless to compel Entergy to mantain an emergency plan if the NRC releases them from that obligation.

So get your cards and letters into the NRC before it’s too late.  Tell them we deserve their continued protection. If they fail us now, there will be yet another cautionary tale to share with any community that might be considering a nuclear power plant in their energy future.

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.

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VY wants to dump and run.

Incredible as it may seem, the Brattleboro Reformer is reporting that the NRC may allow Entergy to drop the Emergency Plan for Vermont Yankee as early as sixteen months after the plant ceases operations.

In requesting release from this obligation, Entergy asserted the following:

“Within 15.4 months after shutdown, no credible accident at VY will result in radiological releases requiring offsite protective actions…The potential for a release of a large radiological source term to the environment from the high pressures and the temperatures associated with reactor operation will no longer exist.”

And if you believe that, may I interest you in a slightly used bridge?

To back-up their request for exemption, Entergy has created a best-case narrative that is one part fact, one part wishful thinking, and one part fairytale. You can read some of their assertions in the Reformer story, but be prepared to groan and strike your forehead repeatedly.

Entergy’s sunny forecast does not appear to have availed itself of the cautionary message in the 2000 Technical Study of Spent Fuel Pool Accident Risk at Decommissioning Nuclear Power Plants.  As the document came from the NRC, one would hope that it will inform their decision.

One salient bit is the following:

“In its thermal-hydraulic analysis, documented in Appendix 1A, the staff concluded that it was not feasible, without numerous constraints, to establish a generic decay heat level (and therefore a decay time) beyond which a zirconium fire is physically impossible. ” (p.x)

In other words, Entergy cannot possibly know that,  after just sixteen months there will be no further potential for a radioactive release from the spent fuel pool.

Not surprisingly, the assumptions employed by Entergy in its optimistic math formulas appear to support its request for exemption.

Spokesman for the NRC, Neil Sheehan says they are reviewing the figures.

“They show that the spent fuel will have decayed to the extent that the requested exemption can be implemented without compensatory actions,” he said. “The heat load starts to drop off pretty dramatically after it’s moved into the spent fuel pool.”

No doubt; but let us hope that the NRC reviews their own homework from 2000.

Apparently the state is totally powerless to compel Entergy to mantain an emergency plan if the NRC releases them from that obligation.

So get your cards and letters into the NRC before it’s too late.  Tell them we deserve their continued protection. If they fail us now, there will be yet another cautionary tale to share with any community that might be considering a nuclear power plant in their energy future.

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.

20 thoughts on “VY wants to dump and run.

  1. today also. Didn’t read as it’s more of the same VY/NRC/Entergy Louisiana sh*t — different day.

    The reason I really don’t think they could care less, is as things stand — nuclear power industry in US as well as many locations in Europe faces certain demise.

    Only countries large populations of ignorant serfs & a steady supply of good slaves (due to the shortened life expectencies) their governments can strong-arm & muscle around, it’s a losing hand.

    Even the gracious & ever-subservient Japanese are mounting fierce opposition.

    We need much more than the NRC. States hosting these ticking-time dirty-bombs need to get together & force the Federal government which shields itself behind the nuclear curtain of NRC, as well as IAEA protocol, is ultimately responsible as all governments are.

    Over-arching issue here is they alone need to be held to account, deal with the waste, and if necessary governments need to dismantle NRC & equivalents in other countries making decommisioning the focal point, not continuing their failed experiment & the huge lie “Atoms for peace”, which was always simply a plot to support while utilizing nuclear power, nuclear products & industry. They need to deal with the problem they alone, although aided & abetted by agencies which have descended from the nuclear industry itself, their very own begotten evil children.

     

  2. The duty of Federal Regulatory agencies in America after Saint Reagan are to protect the industry from the ravages of The People.

    The NRC’s job, as is evidenced by their decisions, is to figure out how little the company has to do in order to placate the handful of vociferous anti-nuclear activists that pay attention to these things.

    If no one went to their meetings and kicked up a fuss, the NRC would allow Entergy to simply lock the place up and abandon it for 60 years.

  3. from “actual” studies, including data collected from the river itself, it has amassed re closed-cycle cooling, rather than the falsified lies based on “models” & pseudoscience Entergy Louisiana’s crack team of researchers, very likely using nuclear-friendly data courtesey of nuclear-sponsored ORNL, plus vast entourage of lawyers employed during the dark draconian years of Entergy-lapdog Douglas Regime which subjugated VT & energy portfolio to Entergy Louisiana & Vermont Yankee’s supposed “too cheap to meter” promised energy supply.

    In fact, for much of those years, VT could have paid the same from ISO NE or spot market, which we were forced to do during their many-mishaps & refueling outages. So much for the oft-repeated refrain from the hard-working trusty employees & brilliant management team that w/o VY – “VT will freeze in the dark”. Heh. Oh & the  VELCO/ISO NE “studies” supposedly “proving” “melting power lines” & “grid instability” — all disproven by legislative-commissioned independent studies. Sounded like something out of Godzilla.

    We now see the deplorably maintained accident-prone “troubled lone nuclear plant in Vernon” on the banks of the Conn., is nothing more than a radioactive-leaking sandcastle. Built upon & supported by pillars of sand now turned to sinkholes due to the giving way of what little firmament it sits on due to the leaking which was been going on from what, 2007? Sooner? Evidenced by sinkholes dotting the plant site.

    Said it before, saying it again, bears repeating — VT could be sitting pretty with the ownership of the hydro dams. Our tax dollars, former Guv plus lawmakers hard at work at that critical juncture.

    Vermont Yankee discharge permit could require closed-cycle cooling

    By BOB AUDETTE / Reformer Staff

    Posted:   04/10/2014 03:00:00 AM EDT# CommentsUpdated:   04/10/2014 06:57:46 AM EDT

    http://www.reformer.com/localnews/ci_25533923/vermont-yankee-discharge-permit-could-require-closed-cycle

    Hopefully our leaders will stand pat & cease the backroom deals which very likely include campaign donations funneled through the PACs & the like, of some sort.

    And hopefully if they do in fact finally stand up to these pathological liars, this will end VT’s failed experiment with nuclear power & end any future romance with another one on the same site as our “troubled plant”. Or, one on, say, Champlaign or Memphremagag.

    I am hoping for VT to do the right thing.

  4. Sue,

    To acquaint readers with my qualifications to make the below comments, I will quote from an April 6, 1959 memorandum at the Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics Corporation: “Mr. P.C. Cooper has been assigned to the Production Engineering Section with the principle function of developing the necessary methods, special instructions and yard facilities prerequisites for reactor head mechanism assembly, core loading, defueling, refueling, etc. type of work performed by the shipyard.” In that capacity, I designed the facilities, wrote the procedures for assembly and directed the assembly of seven reactors and the refueling of one. The tasks included considerations pertaining to the transportation of spent nuclear fuel from Connecticut to Idaho. I worked on the docks of the shipyard with the tradespeople who performed the work. I never asked tradespeople to perform work or accept health risks that I was unwilling to accept. It is my opinion that for reactor work, all management persons should live next to the reactors for which they are responsible, with their families. Their lives should be on the line for the decisions they make. I know of no one harmed as a result of my activities.

    Your diary, VY wants to dump and run, also applies to Vermont as regards Vermont Yankee. The facts are that Vermont bought a pig in a poke when it acquired Vermont Yankee from General Electric. Civilians corporate executives and politicians knew next to nothing about nuclear energy in the mid- nineteen-sixties. At that time, my wife did not know the details of what I did while assembling and refueling submarine reactors. General Electric, Westinghouse and Combustion Engineering knew that when they marketed reactors for civilian power generation, the average state politician was most likely completely ignorant of the nature of the beast. Politicians go for the big picture, short range show, and do not ask about the details other than what they need to know to make themselves look good. Long term liabilities get little consideration. Vermont got taken for a project about which it was ignorant.

    The United States Government contractually assumed the liability for the nuclear power work performed when Electric Boat built the reactor powered prototype and nuclear powered submarine Nautilus and those that followed. Civilian reactors were marketed as “turn-key.” The corporate contractors would build it and when it could operate, they would give the buyers the key and it was theirs, just like it was an automobile. When the Vernon reactor was tested and accepted, Vermont bought the long-term liability from General Electric. In my opinion, then and now, is that it was totally irresponsible marketing.

    When ex-Governor Douglas sold the Vernon plant to the Entergy Corporation, he believed he sold the liability for the reactor, contractually. The argument could raised that ethically General Electric and Vermont still retain some responsibility for what they created. That said, contractually, Entergy owns the long term liability.

    The NRC cannot have it two ways. It cannot release Entergy from the liability for harm caused by the spent nuclear fuel unless that commission assumes the liability for the US Government.

    With regard to the spent nuclear fuel, the risk caused is real but not nearly as great as those overly paranoid presume it to be. For sure, some risk will remain forever in practical terms. However, Entergy and the NRC are correct when they state that the thermal heat load decays rapidly as the rapidly as the short half-lived  isotopes decay. Those isotopes constitute the bulk of the initial radiation hazard of the spent fuel. The greatest hazard is ingestion of the those isotopes and others with longer half-lives. Some the isotopes are poisonous as well as radioactive.

    The spent fuel should not be left in spent fuel pools for any longer than is necessary for them to cool sufficiently for transfer to containers where they require no cooling. At the current time, these are dry concrete casks that will sit on the Vermont Yankee site for the indefinite future. In the short term, the local community will be safer from them in that location than the members of the community are safe when they go skiing or drive to work in their cars. Moving them long distances will be more dangerous to the public than leaving them where they are.

    It would be wise for the NRC and Vermont to require that the casks be moved to on-site, underground storage to protect them and ourselves from an airplane crash, a meteor strike, an earthquake, flood or other rare events. In the short-term, this should be done as soon as possible to protect the public from one of those rare events while awaiting permanent storage, if such is ever possible.  It must be accepted that in this universe, something can always occur to destroy the casks and ourselves. Universal risk to our lives is never zero and never will be!

    The people of Vermont benefitted from the power generated by the fuel in the Vernon reactor for decades. When it comes to energy there is no free lunch. Energy, whether horses or nuclear, comes with danger and risk. There is no question in the writers mind that those who benefitted from the reactor bear some of the responsibility for the danger and risk. It is in our backyard, like it or not. There is no way that either the United States Government or Entergy can remove all of the consequences of Vermont’s experience with nuclear power from this State.

    What is important is to make certain that Entergy cannot sell its liability to another party and to assure that the United States Government accept its portion of the liability to protect the public of Vermont. If the NRC releases Entergy from its long-term liability, it should be that the US Government assumes that liability. Vermont should sue the United States Government to assure this, if necessary. Living with the waste is likely Vermont’s future.

    I do believe that the NRC is shilling for the nuclear power industry. No members of the NRC should have any connections with that industry. It is folly to allow any group of persons to regulate themselves..

    Who does contractually own the fuel for the reactor, new and waste? Is it a fact that it is Entergy? I do not know the answer to that question? I had hands on, de facto, not contractual, responsibility for the fuel for nine submarine reactors but the government owned all of it.

    Your comment, Sue, about the zirconium stirred a memory. Westinghouse, while machining zirconium parts for its first reactors, stored the machining waste cuttings in an area on one of its properties near Pittsburgh. One day, the waste ignited. Zirconium is capable of self-ignition in the presence of oxygen at normal environmental temperatures. I remember it because it was the first time I had heard of anything metal combusting by itself. To prevent such occurrence, it only necessary to isolate it from oxygen, or any other oxidizing agents. This characteristic also applies to plutonium which is also extremely, poisonous, chemically.

    Perry

  5. short — the Feds or equivalent own this mess worldwide – ‘we the people’ have little to no say, are not equipped & cannnot possibly be expected to deal with any of this.

    They run the show here & all is propped up by the taxpayer already. For better or worse the waste is theirs alone. If they wanted to allow the “free market” to run the show — we wouldn’t have it at all since no financier or financial institution will make the investment, nor will any insurance underwriter touch it. What does this tell us & why wasn’t anyone listening or paying attention the this important fact? Since no state which is suitable wants the waste, there needs to be manageable solutions to remove it when there is. How about easier to maneuver smaller casks — “caskettes”.  

    Assisted transports to future “homes” for high-level waste when locations are awarded could be escorted by national guard or military.  

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