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Quick reads, events,
and Decomm. Funds
Keep Up the (Water) Pressure
Apr 13, 2014, Safe & Green (here)
Finally, the State is saying Yankee is violating the Clean Water Act and Vermont's water quality standards!

Anti-nuke group seeks to reopen Vermont Yankee permit case
Apr. 11 2014, 6:41 pm,
John Herrick, vtdigger.org (here)
After years of litigation, environmental groups and nuclear safety advocates were relieved when Entergy accepted a ruling by state regulators to close the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant by the end of the year.
"This is the death sentence for this plant," Raymond Shadis, a nuclear safety advocate who has long opposed the plant's operation, said at the time. Thursday, he announced an attempt to put more nails in the coffin.
The New England Coalition filed a motion with the Public Service Board to amend the Entergy's certificate of public good this week to include additional concerns raised by the public -- a move the company could use as grounds to back out of its decommissioning agreement.
"We're not trying to undo the deal; we are not asking the board to overturn this ruling," Shadis, a representative for the coalition, told VTDigger. "But we are asking the board to amend its ruling to make it a stronger ruling -- one that is more just and one that is more protective of Vermont's environment."

Vermont Yankee discharge permit could require closed-cycle cooling
Apr 10, 2014, By Bob Audette
Brattleboro Reformer, (here), (pdf)
BRATTLEBORO -- Could Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant be forced to resort to closed-cycle cooling, even though the plant is due to cease operations in December 2014?
That's the conclusion conveyed by the Environmental Advisory Committee to the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources in a letter issued in November 2013.
Upon review of the proposed draft discharge permit, wrote Kelli M. Dowell, assistant general counsel, environmental for Entergy, "All technical experts agree that the draft VANR permit indeed will result in closed cycle cooling for the remainder of 2014 ..."
YouTube--How Vermont subsidizes Entergy Nuclear profits while hurting the CT River

We'll still be here
April 9, 2014, Leslie Sullivan Sachs,
Commons issue #249, (here)
Huddled over our iPhones in the hall, no one was surprised at the PSB's ruling, which allows Vermont Yankee to operate through the end of this year. The state did its best to get a good deal for Vermont, but Entergy held all the cards and all the money.

Vermont Yankee @ 52%
NRC Status Report

Dozens of nuclear reactors must prove safety under revised quake estimates
April 6, 2014, by Matthew L. Wald,
NY Times News Service, (here)
Richard S. Drake, a structural engineer with Entergy, which owns the Indian Point 2 and 3 reactors north of New York City, said the plants had far thicker concrete and steel than the minimum required. Thus, he said, they could probably withstand far bigger challenges than their licenses specified.

Ruling Outlines Vermont Yankee's Final Year
April 1, 2014, VPR News, (here)
Sally B - 11 hours ago
Everyone reading this won't outlive the wait for the VY site to be fully decommissioned.

Vermont Yankee
granted licence to operate through 2014
Mar 31, 2014 by Will Dalrymple
Nuclear Engineering Int'l, (here)
In a final order whose text could only be described as grudging at best, and scathing at worst, the Vermont Public Service board has granted Entergy's Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant a licence to operate until only the end of the year. This is in line with operator Entergy's plans to close the reactor in Q4, for 'economic reasons,' despite having received approval for a USNRC life extension in 2011.

No Fooling?
Our Opinion:
Time to move forward
March 29, 2014
Brattleboro Reformer, (here)

Public Service Board approves Vermont Yankee's operation to end of the year
Mar 28, 2014 01:40:42 PM EDT
By Bob Audette,
Brattleboro Reformer, (here), (pdf)
BRATTLEBORO -- Noting that if Entergy was applying for a 20-year extension of its operating license for Vermont Yankee, the Public Service Board wrote "Its track record may well have led us to find that ownership and operation would not promote the general good."
However, wrote the three members of the board, while Entergy's decision to cease operations on Dec. 31, 2014, "does not excuse Entergy VY's past bad conduct ... we find that granting the CPG extension subject to the conditions set out in the memorandum of understanding is reasonable and in the best interests of the state."

Vermont Yankee lapse a reminder: safety first
March 27, 2014, Keene
Sentinel Editorial, (here)
According to a report by one Vermont Yankee employee, though local police took the situation seriously enough to turn off their cellphones and radios and recommend calling in a bomb squad, the plant's security manager and superintendent instead duct-taped a piece of string to the item, stood back, and yanked.
The report conjures images of the Three Stooges, or maybe Wile E. Coyote holding up a sign reading: Boom!
This latest report calls to mind that great destructive potential. Now is not the time to loosen standards or stop paying attention. There may be a tendency to relax as the end of the plant's useful life nears, but the Vermont Yankee site will not be safe until it has been closed, decommissioned and cleared of nuclear waste.

Vermont Yankee security violates safety protocol
Mar 22, 2014, Susan Smallheer
Rutland Herald, (here)
VERNON - A suspected pipe bomb on the grounds of the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant was "detonated" by plant security officials using duct tape and a piece of string last November, a violation of Entergy Nuclear's own safety procedures, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said Friday.
The suspicious item was later determined to be a discarded pump, said NRC spokesman Neil Sheehan.

Employee supervisor fails fitness for duty test
Mar 21, 2014, Enformable, (here)
On Wednesday, a employee supervisor at the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant failed a random fitness for duty test and confirmed positive for alcohol. The licensee terminated the employee's access to the plant.

Vernon addresses ADA concerns
Mar 21, 2014, By Mike Faher
Brattleboro Reformer, (here)
-- The Selectboard approved an annual letter of agreement for emergency management with Entergy, owner of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant.

As Deadline Nears, Debate Continues Over Vt.'s Agreement With Entergy
Mar 20, 2014, By Susan Keese
Vt Public Radio News, (here)
Vermont utility regulators have until March 31 to decide whether to approve a tentative agreement between Entergy Vermont Yankee and the Shumlin Administration.
The pact calls for Entergy to pay $10 million to help with economic recovery after Vermont Yankee closes later this year. But opponents say the state would lose more than it gains if the deal goes forward. .....
Ray Shadis said the memorandum of understanding and settlement agreement are vague and unenforceable.
"There is no protection in the M.O.U," Shadis said. "Every stipulation is to be determined by Entergy. They are the ones who will determine when there is enough money to begin decommissioning."
Shadis is with the anti-nuclear New England Coalition, one of several groups with party status in the case. The coalition spent years arguing against Entergy's bid for a 20-year license extension before Entergy announced its plan to close and requested a one-year permit instead. Shadis said the state's deal bypasses years of evidence and expert testimony in exchange for Entergy's promise of millions of dollars for economic recovery, green energy and other purposes.

Electric power fuels
Mar 19, 2014, Tom Watkins,
Times-Argus, (here)
The pending closure of Vermont Yankee has raised a lot of interest in our energy choices and policies that will affect Vermont's growth, business, environment and economy. To have meaningful discussions, we need some way to compare all of the energy options and technologies.
That is actually surprisingly difficult, but one way is to compare the price of electricity, considering things like operations and maintenance, the transmission investment needed and the source's capacity needed to meet demand - resulting in a relative cost per kilowatt-hour. For comparison, these are normalized to a 100 percent capacity factor - meaning that its cost is adjusted for day-night solar, variable winds, nuclear refueling, plant maintenance and operations costs in addition to the cost of the fuel.
This is a comparison value only, since we can't really get solar or wind 100 percent of the time, but it does reflect the true and real relative costs of each source. To be fair, I also included a comparison of the greenhouse gas damage that each source causes.

Vermont 'net metering' bill looks in good shape
AP / March 17, 2014, (here)
MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) -- The chairman of the Vermont House Natural Resources and Energy Committee says he's hopeful it will be smooth sailing for a bill that could nearly quadruple the amount of renewable energy the state gets from utility customers who use "net metering."
That's the term used to describe customers generating their own solar or other renewable power and sending some of it back onto the power grid.

Vernon petitioners get new budget vote
Mar 14, 2014, By Mike Faher,
Brattleboro Reformer, (here)
VERNON -- The town's fiscal year 2015 budget -- including a deep, controversial reduction in police funding -- is headed for a second vote.
Town Clerk Susan Miller on Thursday confirmed receipt of a petition with 213 signatures calling for a special Town Meeting for reconsideration of the budget article, which had been approved March 4. The petition tally far exceeds the minimum 83 signatures that were required by law for article reconsideration. And Miller said she confirmed the validity of those signatures by comparing the petition to the town's voter checklist.
(...) With the pending closure of the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant, the Selectboard had proposed more than $400,000 in fiscal 2015 budget cuts.

UMass, WMUA celebrate Frances Crowe's 95th birthday
March 12, 2014, Posted by Marleigh Felsenstein, The Massachusetts Daily Collegian, (here)
Crowe said that she "became a war activist overnight," which stemmed mostly from the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan.
Crowe's first arrest occurred in 1973 on International Women's Day. When asked if she was afraid to get arrested, Crowe said: "I don't think I've ever been nervous about getting arrested." She believes that "nuclear power is used to sell the idea of nuclear weapons" and she is not in support of that at all.
She has also had many run-ins with Vermont Yankee.

Vt. Yankee gets 'green' light from NRC
Mar 7, 2014, By Susan Smallheer
The Rutland Herald, (here)
BRATTLEBORO - Federal inspections have turned up only minor problems in the past year at Vermont Yankee, so the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said Thursday it planned only "baseline" inspections at the Vernon reactor until it shuts down in December. The NRC issued its annual assessment letter for Vermont Yankee and said all inspection findings for 2013 had been of very low safety significance, or "green." "All performance indicators demonstrated that your performance was within the nominal, expected range," Raymond McKinley, NRC chief of reactor projects, wrote in a letter to Chris Wamser, Vermont Yankee site vice president for Entergy.
(2013 AAL Licensee Response VY final with Rpt 22.pdf)

Where's the innovation?
Mar 6, 2014, Howard Fairman
Rutland Herald, (here)
Windham County will receive from Entergy $10 million facilitating economic development replacing Vermont Yankee in Vernon and neighboring towns, which are being asked at town meeting to raise and appropriate their property taxes to support Southeastern Vermont Economic Development Strategies (SeVEDS).

Vernon Voters Wrap Up Marathon Town Meeting
Mar. 6, 2014, By Susan Keese
Vt. Public Radio News, (here)
Vernon residents met Wednesday for a third and final installment of a town meeting that began on Monday evening. The town is grappling with the unknown impact of losing Vermont Yankee, its biggest tax payer and employer.
After lengthy debate Tuesday, voters made deep cuts in the municipal budget and eliminated the town's police department.

Vernon Debates Late Into Night, Postpones Town Budget Discussion
Mar. 4, 2014, By Susan Keese
Vt. Public Radio News, (here)
Turnout was heavy at Vernon's annual meeting Monday night. Voters debated school expenditures until so late in the evening that discussion of the town budget was postponed. The meeting will continue Tuesday evening.
Vernon select board chairwoman Patty O'Donnell said the strong attendance reflects concerns about losing Vermont Yankee, the town's biggest employer and taxpayer.

Vermont loves renewable energy, except when it arrives
Mar 02, 2014, By Dave Gram, AP (Boston Globe), (Bratt.Reformer)
MONTPELIER -- Getting energy from the sun, wind and forests fits with Vermont's sense of itself as clean, green and independent. But when it comes time to build and live with the projects that make it possible, things can get complicated.

Vermont: The Little State
That Could?
Feb 26, 2014, Rachel Smolker,
Co-director, Biofuelwatch,
I am fortunate to live in the tiny state of Vermont, a state that has boldly led the way on so many issues it's hard to list them all. We were the first to pass same-sex marriage and to take serious steps to make health care accessible to all. We outlawed billboards altogether and passed Act 250, a sophisticated mechanism for protecting the landscape against wanton development. That, in fact, led Vermont to be the last state in the nation to be colonized by Walmart. We were also the first state to ban fracking. We fought Entergy and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission long and hard demanding they shut down the dangerously rickety Yankee Nuclear power plant. Recently, at long last and against all odds, we "won" a semi-victory on that front.

Leaking seals in VY pumps force reduction in power
Feb 26, 2014, By Susan Smallheer,
The Rutland Herald, (here)
VERNON - The Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant has been at reduced power since Friday because of problems with seals on the plant's feedwater pumps.
Neil Sheehan, a spokesman with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, said a leak was discovered Friday with the "B" feedwater pump, and power was reduced to about 82 percent at the 640-megawatt reactor to fix the problem.
Repairs were also initiated on a second feedwater pump, and power was reduced even further to about 45 percent by Monday morning, he said.
Vermont Yankee, a boiling water reactor, has three feedwater pumps, so it didn't have to shut down completely to make the repairs, Sheehan said.

Vermont Yankee at 43%
NRC Status Report

Entergy: Not Walking Its Talk
Feb 23, 2014, Safe & Green, (here)
While before state regulators, Energy lawyers promise its days of 'misspeaking' and cover ups are ancient history, and vows the state can trust it. But Entergy is acting like the profit-driven corporation that it is, behind the scenes avoiding putting money into a doomed operation. Entergy seems to have lost sight of the fact that what Yankee produces is not harmless widgets but radioactive waste, and one accident could devastate the region.
There is still a little time left to tell the Public Service Board whether you think Entergy has earned our trust.

NRC faults Yankee's post-Fukushima flood-prevention audit
Feb 21, 2014, Susan Smallheer,
Rutland Herald, (here)
BRATTLEBORO - An audit conducted by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission of Vermont Yankee's post-Fukushima flood prevention measures has found Entergy Nuclear's effort lacking.
In a report released Thursday, the NRC said there were several instances of Entergy not following directions on the post-Fukushima requirements to conduct a visual reassessment of its flood-prevention measures. NRC also faulted missing information and improperly performed calculations.
While Vermont Yankee is built on the banks of the Connecticut River, its location above the river is estimated to be at the 500-year level. But flooding can come from more common sources. Just in the past year, Vermont Yankee has had problems with missing flood seals, which allowed standing water to seep into underground equipment.
"This was not an inspection, it's an audit designed to find out whether the guidance was faithfully followed," said Neil Sheehan, a spokesman for the NRC.

Bills would cushion blow of Yankee closure
Feb. 18, 2014, By Mike Faher
Brattleboro Reformer, (here)
VERNON -- Two local lawmakers have introduced bills aimed at making life a little easier when the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant ceases operations later this year.
One proposed statute would offer tax incentives to former Yankee employees who are starting new businesses. Also eligible for tax breaks would be businesses hiring recent college graduates and first-time home buyers in Windham County.

Entergy Profit Falls 50%
on Higher Expenses, Write-Downs
Feb 11, 2014, By Tess Stynes
Wall Street Journal, (here)
(...) Excluding write-downs and other expenses related to the planned closure of the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant and other items, adjusted earnings fell to $1 from $1.72.

Entergy reports Q4 2013 earnings, deal with state over Vermont Yankee a highlight
Feb 11 2014, vermontbiz.com

Vermont Yankee awaits NRC safety improvements exemption
Feb 7, 2014, By K. Steiner-Dicks
NuclearEnergy Insider, (here)
The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission is asking Entergy Corp. for additional documents outlining its plans to retire its Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant before granting its request that it be exempted from costly studies and safety improvements.

After Yankee: Do
Non-Profits Have a Plan?
Feb. 06, 2014, Lauren Maloney
My Champlain Valley
FOX44 & ABC22, (here)
For some non-profits, the recession really hurt them. Some still haven't bounced back. For dozens located in southern Vermont, it could eventually get even worse. The decision was made far from the Green Mountain State. On August 27th, Entergy corporate announced Vermont's sole nuclear power plant would close at the end of 2014, despite the fact that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission granted a re-licensing for the plant in March 2011. "No one expected this," Plant Spokesman Rob Williams said.

Nuclear Energy Operators Say Market Stacked Against Them
2/06/2014 @ 7:37AM,
Ken Silverstein, Forbes, (here)
When Entergy ETR +0.24% Corp. made its decision to close its Vermont Yankee nuclear facility, it opened the door to discussions on how to allow all electric generating facilities fair access to the markets. The utility says that the action it has taken could become more widespread unless system operators make corrections.

If the state caves for fear, then what's the point of a regulated utility structure
Feb. 5, 2014, By Gary Sachs in The Commons issue #240. (here)
RE: "So, where was everybody?" [Viewpoint, Jan. 1]:
Congratulations, Brad Ferland, on the great press your single op-ed garnered. You open your piece with: "When the state of Vermont holds a major public hearing about Vermont Yankee and almost no one attends, what does it mean?"

EPA seeks to modernize nuclear standards
February 03, 2014, 04:57 pm
By Tim Devaney, The Hill, (here)
The EPA is looking to modernize radiation standards for nuclear power plants dating to the 1970s. The new standards would establish new limits on how much radiation nuclear plants can emit during normal operation without endangering public health.
To put it in perspective, the rules have not been updated since before the high-profile nuclear meltdowns in Three Mile Island, Pennsylvania; Chernobyl, Ukraine; or Fukushima, Japan.

Nuke Exec:
Mean Vermonters
Gave Me A Sad
Sun Feb 02, 2014, by: jvwalt,
Green Mtn Daily, (here)
Pity poor T. Michael Twomey, high-ranking executive at Entergy Nuclear, forced to make a dreary midwinter trudge from sunny Louisiana to snowy Montpelier and face questioning from the flannel-and-fleece-clad rubes collectively known as the Vermont Public Service Board. As reported by Susan Smallheer of the (unfortunately paywalled) Mitchell Family Organ/South, he was met by a show of impertinence:

2-2-14 ~ PSB member questions Entergy exec's credibility
Comment below story in Feb. 1, 2014, Barre-Montpelier Times-Argus
AlfredSBlakey 21 pts
Deny the the CPG and watch Entergy go into full spin control. They will back out of EVERYTHING they have said. They are already hinting at it with the "... might run for a while in January 2015, to use up the nuclear fuel in its reactor."
Sadly it reminds me of the "What the Captain really means..." jokes of the VietNam era.

Prettyfying the Porker
Feb 01, 2014, by: Sue Prent,
Green Mtn Daily, (here)
w/ many thoughtful comments.

PSB member questions Entergy exec's credibility
Feb 1, 2014, By Susan Smallheer
Vermont Today, (here)
The Rutland Herald, (here)
MONTPELIER - A member of the Public Service Board asked a high-ranking Entergy Nuclear executive a question Friday that, he said, dozens of Vermonters had asked him last week.
"You're asking us to trust you again," said outgoing PSB member David Coen. "Why should we?"
T. Michael Twomey, the vice president of external affairs for Entergy Wholesale Commodities, said the company had "made mistakes along the way," but the company "has been a good partner" to the state in its 11 years of ownership of Vermont Yankee, the state's only nuclear power plant.
Coen said last week's public hearing centered on the question of trust at Entergy's request, complying with written public comments.
Coen and others at Friday's hearing cited a list -- presented by attorney James Dumont of the Vermont Public Interest Research Group last summer during earlier board hearings -- claiming violations and misstatements made by Entergy since 2003.
Many of the violations deal with Entergy executives' misstatements to the board and other state regulators about the existence of underground pipes carrying radioactive material. The pipes, it was later revealed, leaked millions of gallons of radioactive water in 2009-10.
And, on top of that, Entergy has been operating Vermont Yankee without a state permit since March 2012, Coen pointed out.

Recchia defends VY deal at hearing
Jan 31, 2014, By Susan Smallheer
The Rutland Herald, (here)
Vermont Today, (here)
MONTPELIER - Vermont Public Service Department Commissioner Christopher Recchia defended making a deal with Entergy Nuclear about the continued operation of Vermont Yankee despite earlier opposition, calling it making the best of a complicated situation.
Recchia was grilled about the state's official change of heart by Vermont Yankee opponents during a hearing before the Vermont Public Service Board on Thursday.
(...) Recchia, who was on the stand for most of the afternoon, acknowledged the obvious - that the state had vigorously opposed Entergy's continued operation of Vermont Yankee for another 20 years up until late December, when the Shumlin administration announced a deal.

A Response to Brad Ferland
Posted on January 30, 2014
by gss or gfv, (here)
Brad Ferland, one of the proud co-founders of Vermont Energy Partnerships which began as an Entergy front group to sway opinion in the northern reaches of the state, recently wrote to all papers statewide.
A response to Mr. Ferland

Brad Ferland: Vermont finally has found common ground on Vermont Yankee
Jan. 29, 2014, Commentary,
vtdigger.org - (here)
Editor's note: This commentary is by Brad Ferland, who is the president of the Vermont Energy Partnership. He lives in St. Albans.
When the State of Vermont holds a major public hearing about Vermont Yankee and almost no one attends, what does it mean?
The answer is found in "comments"
Vernon unveils budget cuts
Jan 28, 2014, By Mike Faher,
Reformer Staff, (here)
VERNON -- With Vermont Yankee's fate sealed, Vernon Selectboard is proposing to cut more than $400,000 -- or roughly 16 percent -- from next fiscal year's budget. The $2.1 million spending plan was detailed at a packed public forum Monday night. Among the casualties are free, curbside trash pickup (to be replaced by a pay-as-you-throw system) and almost all salary spending in the auditors' office (in favor of an outside audit). Not everyone was happy with the board's choices. In particular, some questioned officials' plans to slice spending from the police department and to leave the town recreation department largely intact. But Selectboard Chairwoman Patty O'Donnell said the budget is a reasonable response to the nuclear plant's pending closure and the loss of tax revenue that inevitably will follow. And she pointed out that Vernon voters will have the final say in March. "This is no longer our budget," O'Donnell said. "Come Town Meeting, this is your budget."

Officials urge Yankee decommissioning sooner
Jan 27, 2014, By Richie Davis,
(Greenfield Recorder)
in Rutland Herald, (here)

Entergy volunteers revamp Morningside Shelter
Jan. 26, 2014, Press Release
vtdigger.org - (here)

County planners call for early Vt. Yankee decommissioning
Jan 25, 2014, By Richie Davis,
Greenfield Recorder Staff, (here)
Franklin County has added its official collective voice to those calling for decommissioning the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant sooner rather than later.
The executive committees of the Franklin Regional Planning Board and of the Franklin Regional Council of Governments have urged the state of Vermont and the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission "to require prompt decommissioning of the plant," to provide more time for town, regional and state agencies to take steps to buffer the area's economy from Vermont Yankee job losses. Of 620 roughly workers, more than 100 live in Franklin County.

Entergy expects 4Q income to drop
Jan 24, 2014, This Just In,
Rutland Herald, (here)
NEW YORK - Power company Entergy said Wednesday that it expects its fourth-quarter net income to drop, hurt by the cost of closing its Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station. Wall Street expected a steeper profit decline.

Yankee blows fuse,
reduces power
Jan 23, 2014, This Just In,
Rutland Herald, (here)
VERNON - The Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant was forced to reduce power Wednesday when it blew a fuse.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission said the fuse, located in an electrical control circuit for the plant's condenser steam jet air ejectors, caused a lowering of the condenser vacuum.

Vt. Yankee decommissioning should begin soon, nuke plant critic says
Jan 21, 2014, By Richie Davis
Greenfield Recorder, (here)

Vernon Asks: When A Nuclear Plant Leaves, What Can We No Longer Afford?
Jan 20, 2014, By Susan Keese,
Vt. Public Radio News, (here)

Nine Women Arrested At Entergy HQ In Brattleboro
Jan 18, 2014, By Marcia Gagliardi,

Vermont Yankee
Decommissioning Funds
As of December 31, 2013, the market value of the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station's decommissioning trust fund accounts was $612,141,443. To put this number into context, the value of the fund for the past six months is as follows:
December 31, 2013 $612,141,443
November 30, 2013 $605,969,700
October 31, 2013 $598,345,096
September 31, 2013 $583,572,828
August 31, 2013 $571,013,443
July 31, 2013 $581,510,622
Aaron Kisicki, Special Counsel
Vermont Public Service Department
112 State Street,Montpelier, VT
05629-2601,   802.828.3785 Aaron.Kisicki@state.vt.us

Areva Signs Deal with Texas Waste Site for Vermont Yankee Waste Disposal, Delivers Canisters to Susquehanna
Jan. 16, 2014 10:24 AM,
Nuclear Street News Team, Nuclear Power Industry News, (here)
Waste Control Specialists, the owner of a low-level radioactive waste disposal site in West Texas, has reached a deal with Area to dispose of material from nuclear plants that will include the Vermont Yankee.

State's shutdown agreement with Vermont Yankee draws fire in public hearing
Jan. 15, 2014, John Herrick
vtdigger.org - (here)

Keeping Entergy on the radar, residents scrutinize closure deal
Jan 15, 2014, By Richie Davis
Greenfield Recorder Staff, (here)
BRATTLEBORO, Vt. - The agreement announced last month between the State of Vermont and Entergy, which owns the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant, is hardly a done deal.
That much was made clear by a state Public Service Board hearing Tuesday night held as a teleconference here and in 12 other locations around the state. The board, which is considering whether to grant a needed Certificate of Public Good for the 42-year-old Vernon reactor to allow it to legally operate until Entergy's stated closure date of Dec. 31 this year, is weighing the terms of the agreement hammered out in closed-door sessions between the governor's office and Entergy officials.
Most of those speaking Tuesday evening - the vast majority of them at Brattleboro Union High School - called for tightening up the terms of the agreement, which many of them said would give Entergy leeway to decide when it had sufficient funding to begin decommissioning and to move highly radioactive spent fuel to dry casks.
"A CPG is a Certificate for Public Good," said Nancy Craus of Putney. "I don't see giving Entergy carte blanche to run this plant is in the public good."
Several of those who testified complained about a provision of the agreement between Entergy Nuclear Vermont Yankee and Entergy Nuclear Operations that allowed the corporation to challenge any state law pertaining to the plant on the grounds that it was preempted by federal law.
"In front of you now is a take-it-or-leave-it case," said Gary Sachs of Brattleboro, one of more than a dozen people who said that Entergy, which has sued the state, cannot be trusted.

A Real Vermont Yankee Settlement?
Jan 13, 2014 by Sandy Levine,
CLF Scoop, Conservation Law
Foundation, (here)
This article first appeared in the Sunday January 12, 2014 edition of the Rutland Herald / Times Argus (paywalled)

Entergy asserts it can be a fair partner 'going forward'
Jan 11, 2014, By Bob Audette
Brattleboro Reformer, (here)
BRATTLEBORO -- In response to a series of questions issued by the Vermont Public Service Board, Michael Twomey, vice president of utility strategy for Entergy Services, said a proposed agreement between the state and Entergy strengthens its case for receiving a certificate of public good allowing Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant to continue operating until Dec. 31.
Twomey mentioned the prior relationship between the state and Entergy, which was adversarial at best and antagonistic at times, but didn't dwell on past interactions.

Administration wants $500K from Entergy agreement for economic development in Windham County
Jan 10, 2014, By John Herrick
Brattleboro Reformer, (here)
A House committee approved a grant of $500,000 for economic development in Windham County as the region plans for the closing of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant.
The House Committee on Commerce and Economic Development voted Wednesday to support the grant requested by the Agency of Commerce and Community Development, and passed the measure along to the Appropriations Committee.
The grant would be the first disbursement from $10 million that Entergy will pay the state according to an agreement between the state and Entergy, operator of Vermont Yankee, for the purpose of economic development in the region.

Vernon wants more input on Yankee closure
Jan 09, 2014, By Mike Faher
Brattleboro Reformer, (here)
VERNON -- The state's decommissioning agreement with the owner of Vermont Yankee, announced just before Christmas, seemed to tie up a lot of loose ends regarding the Vernon nuclear plant's scheduled demise.
But Vernon officials and residents are debating whether to follow a Maine town's example in setting up a local panel to advise on the nuclear plant's closure and cleanup.
While there was some initial disagreement about such a panel's role at a meeting in Vernon this week, officials agreed that there is a need for more public education to prepare for Yankee's shutdown.

Vernon, Entergy signs
Jan 08, 2014, By Susan Smallheer
Staff Writer Rutland Herald, (here)
VERNON -- The Vernon Select Board has signed a contract with the owner of the closing Vermont Yankee nuclear plant that will stabilize the town's tax base through March 2015.
Vermont Public Radio reported that the deal sets the value of the plant at $280 million for the fiscal year while the current assessment is $300 million.
Officials said the agreement is good for the town because the plant will stop selling power in December, halfway through the contract.

Vermont Yankee at 93%
(NRC Status Report)

Vermont Yankee at 52%
(NRC Status Report)

Vt. Yankee parties can pull out of decomm. agreement if March deadline not met
Jan 03, 2014, By Susan Smallheer
Staff Writer Rutland Herald, (here)
MONTPELIER -- The state of Vermont or Entergy can walk away from the $70 million decommissioning agreement reached two days before Christmas if the Public Service Board doesn't make a decision on Vermont Yankee's future by the end of March.
Public Service Board member David Coen questioned the timing of the deadline during a status conference Thursday on the Yankee re-licensing case pending before the board, which was on the verge of issuing its decision on Yankee's remaining operation when the Shumlin administration and Entergy announced their decommissioning deal Dec. 23, ending weeks of secret negotiations.
Sandra Levine, senior staff attorney for the Conservation Law Foundation, said her group is still evaluating the proposed settlement.
"We're looking at it carefully. We're concerned because by and large most of the terms are basically what Entergy is required to do, with little added real benefit to the people of Vermont."
Historically, Levine noted, Entergy has proven to be a difficult partner with the state on earlier agreements, if not "untrustworthy."
(...) Under the proposed schedule, the state and Entergy must file testimony regarding the memorandum by Jan. 9, with discovery by the other parties by Jan. 16. Entergy and the state have a week to respond, and one or two days of technical hearings would be held in late January. Legal briefs would be due Feb. 14, and a decision from the board by the end of March.

Judge dismisses Entergy's motion for legal fees
Jan. 2, 2014, By Bob Audette,
Brattleboro Reformer, (here)
A motion by Entergy to recoup its legal fees for its successful federal lawsuit against the state was officially dismissed on Dec. 30.
Entergy's motion for attorney's fees, expenses and costs was dismissed "with prejudice," noted the order issued by Federal District Court Judge J. Garvan Murtha. Because it was dismissed with prejudice, Entergy can't change its mind and refile later.

Entergy's decision to close Yankee was unexpected, to say the least
January 1, 2014, By Bob Audette, Brattleboro Reformer, (here)
"I was doing our morning social media updates, when I saw the Tweet from Entergy go out -- that Vermont Yankee would be closing," said ...

In praise of 'a wise mix'
January 1, 2014, The Commons issue #235, Dr. Dan Marx , (here)
In my opinion, it is not a good idea to turn the Vermont Yankee site into a so-called "green field," whatever that means. The site is much too valuable as an electricity generating center or hub.

Vermont Yankee's closing not a disaster, an opportunity
April 15, 2014, By Bob Audette, Brattleboro Reformer Staff
BRATTLEBORO -- The decommissioning of Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant will surely be an economic blow to the tri-state region, but a group of people who met at Landmark College on April 2 prefer to think of it as an opportunity.
"How can we use this moment for change and growth in the region?" asked Jeff Lewis, who, with John Mullin, organized the day-long forum.
More than 50 people attended "Nuclear Power Plants: Socioeconomic Impacts of Closure" and broke up into working groups to discuss the impacts on a community of closing a nuclear facility.
"It was a good conversation," said Lewis, a former executive director of the Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation. "But the general theme was we don't know enough about what these things do to the community."

Entergy Disputes New Limits For Heated Discharge
Into Connecticut River
April 11, 2014, 5:58 pm, By Susan Keese, VT Public Radio News
"We're concerned because they assured the Public Service Board that they would be a good neighbor and that they would enter into the discharge permit process with an open mind. And the very first response that they send back to the agency is, 'No, we're not going to do that." - State Rep. David Deen

Yankee's thermal discharge permit prompts
disagreement between Entergy, state
April 10, 2014, By Susan Smallheer, The Rutland Herald / Times-Argus
MONTPELIER -- The honeymoon between Entergy Nuclear and the Shumlin administration appears to be over. Disagreements between Entergy Nuclear and the Agency of Natural Resources surfaced this week in an exchange of letters about the proposed draft permit for Vermont Yankee's continuing thermal discharge into the Connecticut River.
Entergy wants permission to increase the temperature of the river by up to 13.4 degrees.
But Deb Markowitz, secretary of the Agency of Natural Resources, downplayed the disagreement by calling it a "conversation" rather than a disagreement.
"We're having a conversation with Entergy," she said. At the heart of the issue is whether Vermont Yankee will be forced to operate in a "closed cycle," using its cooling towers and avoiding discharging the 523 million gallons of hot water into the Connecticut, and in the process losing millions of dollars in revenue. The change could even force Yankee to cut power production during the height of the summer.
The issue of thermal discharge and the state permit was not included in the far-ranging settlement agreement, including an agreement to drop all litigation, between Entergy and the Shumlin administration relating to Yankee's shutdown later this year.

Vermont Yankee emergency planning zone to be eliminated?
April 9, 2014, By Bob Audette, Brattleboro Reformer
BRATTLEBORO -- Sixteen months after shutdown of the reactor at Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant, offsite emergency planning will no longer be needed, according to documents filed by Entergy with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
"Within 15.4 months after shutdown, no credible accident at VY will result in radiological releases requiring offsite protective actions," states the request for exemption from federal regulations related to the emergency planning zone around nuclear power plants. "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."
Neil Sheehan, spokesman for the NRC, said staffers are evaluating Entergy's request for exemption, which includes the mathematical formulas used to support its conclusions. "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."

Conference examines socioeconomic impact
of Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant closing
April 4, 2014, By Susan Smallheer, Rutland Herald
and Richie Davis, Recorder Staff in Daily Hampshire Gazette
PUTNEY, Vt. -- The owners of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant should have put money into a separate economic development decommissioning fund, as well as its $622 million plant deconstruction fund, critics suggested Wednesday. They spoke during a conference on how to cope with the socioeconomic fallout from the closing of Vermont Yankee.
About 60 people from Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts gathered at Landmark College to discuss the human ramifications of the closure, which is expected to cost hundreds of people their jobs and have significant ripple effects in the regional economy when the plant closes in December.

Vermont Boosts Solar By Nearly Quadrupling Net Metering Cap
April 3, 2014, By Silvio Marcacci, for Clean Technica
Is the Green Mountain state about to become the green power state? As the battle over net metering policy is being fought in state legislatures across America, one small state has given solar advocates a big win -- Vermont.
Governor Peter Shumlin signed legislation into law yesterday that will nearly quadruple the net metering cap utilities have been using, from 4% to 15% of peak load. The bill enjoyed bipartisan support, passing 136-8 in the state house and unanimously in the state senate.
The new cap means retail electric customers will now be compensated for sending solar energy they don't consume back onto the grid, up until net metering payments surpass 15% of peak demand from the previous year or from 1996, whichever amount is greater. Vermont currently has 3,600 net metering projects. "Vermont's decision sends the clear message that rooftop solar delivers benefits to utilities, the grid, and all ratepayers," said Bryan Miller, President of The Alliance for Solar Choice.
Indeed, the state credits distributed generation with helping defer $400 million in transmission projects and saving $16 million in costs. Important facts, considering what impacts the pending Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant closure could have on state electricity supply.

Vermont Nuclear Plant Seeks Decommission But Lacks Funds
April 2, 2014, By Sandy Dechert, Clean Technica
Vermont Yankee has had detractors for almost all of its 42-year history. Anti-nuclear protests clouded the plant in its first decades of operation. A cooling tower cell collapsed there in 2007, and tritium leaks as high as 2.5 million picocuries (125 times the EPA drinking-water standard) also occurred. Nonetheless, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission renewed the license for the Vermont nuclear plant on March 21 three years ago for operation at 1,912 MWe until 2032.
Entergy announced last August that it intended to shut down the reactor late this year for economic reasons. As has happened elsewhere, declining natural gas prices and low wind power prices are making nuclear-generated power too expensive. Coal-fired plants in the region are also at risk of closure.

PSB approves Yankee operation until end of 2014
March 29, 2014, By Susan Smallheer, The Rutland Herald
MONTPELIER -- The Vermont Public Service Board on Friday said it reluctantly approved letting the Vermont Yankee nuclear power station operate through the end of 2014.
The board also approved a private deal struck between Entergy Nuclear and the Shumlin administration relating to the closing of Yankee that includes significant funds for economic development, clean energy and site restoration. The deal also calls for a potential earlier decommissioning of the Vernon reactor.
But the board made clear that Entergy's decision last August to shut down Vermont Yankee at the end of 2014 had an important effect on its ultimate decision.
"If Entergy VY were planning to operate the VY Station for another 20 years as originally requested, its track record may well have led us to find that ownership and operation would not promote the general good," the board wrote.
"The company's sustained record of misconduct has been troubling to observe over the years and has continued to trouble us as we determine whether to grant Entergy VY a license to operate," the board wrote.
"While its decision to cease operations by the end of next year does not excuse Entergy VY's past bad conduct, the decision does alter the perspective from which we contemplate that conduct, give that we are no longer assessing the legal and regulatory implications of granting an operating license for the long term," wrote the three-member board chaired by James Volz.

UPDATE: State allows Vermont Yankee to operate through 2014
March 28, 2014 1:55 PM & updated 3:58 p.m. Friday.,
By John Herrick, vtdigger.org - Vermont Journalism Trust
The Vermont Public Service Board issued a certificate of public good Friday allowing the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant to operate through the end of the year. In exchange, the Louisiana-based company will make payments to the state for economic development, renewable energy projects and a special fund reserved for tearing down the 42-year-old plant in Vernon, according to an agreement reached with the state in late December.
Concerns raised over decommissioning of Vt Yankee nuclear plant
March 28, 2014, By Richie Davis, Greenfield Recorder, in Daily Hampshire Gazette
SUNDERLAND -- With the Vermont Public Service Board due to decide in a few days on terms of the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant continuing to operate until year's end, a nuclear expert expressed concern this week about an agreement negotiated by the state's governor and plant owner Entergy. Marvin Resnikoff, an expert on nuclear waste management, was joined by University of Massachusetts Center for Economic Development Director John R. Mullin for a talk Thursday night at the Sunderland Library on "Closing Vermont Yankee: How to Do it Safely."

Nuclear Regulatory Commission Audits of Licensee Responses
to Reliable Spent Fuel Pool Instrumentation Order EA-12-051
March 26, 2014, NRC Release, ML14083A620.pdf, 18 pages
Suspicious object at Vermont Yankee resembled pipe bomb,
employees reported
Mar. 20, 2014, 7:24 pm, Anne Galloway, vtdigger.org - Vermont Journalism Trust
A Vermont Yankee employee reported in November that security management "detonated a suspicious item" that resembled a pipe bomb inside the nuclear power plant compound. An official from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said in a statement that the situation was not handled appropriately, and Entergy staff in Vernon did not follow proper procedures. The suspicious item was a length of pipe that was "capped" on both ends, according to a condition report that was submitted by an anonymous Entergy employee. Vernon police were called to the plant Nov. 4 and the officer who responded turned off his portable radios and cellphones he approached the pipe in the "south forty," a shipping and receiving area outside the "protected area" where nuclear power production buildings are located at the plant, according to the report.

Conference set to mull nuclear plant closings
National effort to gauge effects on communities, economies will take place in Putney
March 19, 2014, By Olga Peters, The Commons issue #246 on page A1.
BRATTLEBORO - The issue of decommissioning has occupied many post-Vermont Yankee discussions since Entergy announced last summer that it would close its 40-year-old nuclear plant in Vernon. Another group hopes to shift the focus of discussion to the long-term socioeconomic ramifications that result from plant closings. As it develops strategies to help host communities gird themselves for closing a nuclear plant, the working group will hold a working meeting at Landmark College on Wednesday, April 2.

Citizens' Groups Briefs to the PSB
March 18, 2014, Leslie Sullivan Sachs, Safe and Green Campaign
Since Entergy applied to Vermont's Public Service Board in 2008 for a Certificate of Public Good to operate past March 21, 2012, citizens' groups have been engaged in the legal process. The media blackout of the five groups' responses to the current deal before the Public Service Board (PSB) is an appropriate metaphor for the fact that the State and Entergy ignored the groups when making the deal. Since no one else in the press or blogosphere has reported on their arguments ...

VT Senate backs bill to expand home-grown energy
Mar 13, 2014 4:23 PM EDT, By the Associated Press via WPTZ News 5
MONTPELIER, Vt. --The Vermont Senate has voted to support a House-passed bill that would nearly quadruple the amount of power utilities could buy from customers with solar or other renewable energy systems. Vermont caps the amount of power utilities can take through what's called net metering. That's when the owners of rooftop solar installations or similar projects put excess power onto the grid. The current cap says each utility can take up to 4 percent of the peak load on its system from net-metering projects. The bill given preliminary approval by the Senate on Thursday increases that to 15 percent.

Vernon Petitioners Hope Revote Will Restore Funding For Town Police
March 12, 2014, By Susan Keese, VPR News
Vernon resident Mike Ball drafted the petition for reconsideration. He says last week's surprise vote reflects the town's anxiety about the closing of Vermont Yankee later this year. But Ball says the decision demands more thought.

Howard Shaffer: Disappointed, angry Vermont Yankee foes are misinformed
Mar. 6, 2014, Howard Shaffer, Commentary, vtdigger.org
Editor's note: This op-ed is by Howard Shaffer, a licensed professional engineer in nuclear engineering who was a startup engineer at Vermont Yankee.
The fight over the Vermont Yankee plant continues to illustrate the vast gulf between the goals of most people and a handful of diehard anti-nuclear opponents. Those opponents have attacked the memorandum of understanding (MOU) between Vermont and Entergy over the plant's future. Signed on Dec. 23, the MOU covers the last year of operation, the decommissioning to follow, and finally site restoration. I ask myself - why would the opponents attack the MOU when they have gotten what they say they want - the plant closing? Not to mention $10 million of economic support for their neighbors and millions more dedicated to renewable power statewide and the complete restoration of the plant site.
Bob Stannard answers, March 7, 2014 at 5:26 am
Even with the plant's shutdown announced, local opponents must continue their anti-nuclear rhetoric in support of the crusade to give all nuclear power a "black eye."
Not quite accurate, Howard. The nuclear industry has inflicted its own "black eye". Just look at how the industry has spun the events at Fukushima. They have worked overtime to try to convince people that what happened there could never happen anywhere else and that it's not as bad as we think it is (it is). The 60+ year old industry has proven that it still cannot function on its own and requires taxpayer support qualifying it as one of the largest "welfare queens" in the nation.
3-8-14 @ 7:44 AM, Editor's note to Howard Shaffer:
Exelon's six nuclear power plants in Illinois have failed to turn a profit over the last five years, and the 27-year-old plant here is the most vulnerable for closing, a Chicago Tribune analysis has found.
Chicago-based Exelon, parent of Commonwealth Edison, and the nation's largest operator of nuclear power plants, said last month that unless market conditions improve, it will announce plant closings by the end of this year.
ChicagoTribune Business

Special Report: Despite recent agreement, state and Entergy remain at odds over funding for dismantling Vermont Yankee
Mar. 2, 2014, John Herrick, vtdigger.org - Vermont Journalism Trust
The Shumlin administration declared victory in December when Entergy agreed to dismantle the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant in as few as 15 years, but the settlement did not address the most pressing question at hand: How will the company pay to tear it down?
Five weeks after Gov. Peter Shumlin held a news conference announcing the deal, uncertainty over Entergy's plans for the decommissioning fund has already surfaced.
Entergy officials have asserted that the company can use the more than $600 million trust fund as it sees fit, and consequently it is unclear whether all of the funds would be available for dismantling the plant, which could cost $800 million to $1 billion.

NRC Finds Some Problems With Vt. Yankee Flood Prevention
February 20, 2014, 5:50 pm, John Dillon, Vermont Public Radio News
A federal inspection of flood prevention measures at the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant has found several deficiencies but none requiring enforcement action. A team from Nuclear Regulatory Commission arrived at the reactor last July to conduct the on-site audit. The NRC required the inspections after an earthquake and tsunami crippled several reactors in Japan in 2011. NRC spokesman Neil Sheehan said the team did identify some problems with Yankee's record-keeping and flood-assessment calculations. He said the observations were similar to what NRC teams found at other plants.

NRC sees reduced reporting from Yankee
February 08, 2014, By Susan Smallheer Staff Writer, Rutland Herald, Vermont Today
BRATTLEBORO - Employees at the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant have reduced reporting potential problems around the time the company announced in late August it was shutting down the Vernon reactor in 2014. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission's quarterly inspection report on activities at Yankee, released Thursday, announced Vermont Yankee had been cited for a low-level safety violation. Halfway through the 45-page report was the information that there had been a 22.5 percent drop in self-reporting incidents in the 25 days after and the 25 days before the Aug. 27 announcement. "We have observed a reduction in the rate of daily problems entered into the plant's corrective action program since the announcement," said Neil Sheehan, an NRC spokesman.

He said NRC resident inspectors had taken a "snapshot" of the reporting trends, and would return to the issue for further review. Sheehan said the rates "have continued to be consistent with historical norms." "We're curious why the number dropped, but we don't have enough data yet," he said. "We concluded that Entergy's initial analysis was not sufficient and that further analysis was needed to ensure this rate reduction was not an adverse trend. They have not gone back and taken a dive into another time period." Entergy spokesman Robert Williams said, "Self-reporting is something we track closely and we continue to reinforce the value of writing condition reports in this remaining cycle." Williams said the NRC inspectors had noted in their report there was "consistent reinforcement of the requirement to initiate condition reports."

Christopher Recchia, commissioner of the Department of Public Service, said the department's chief engineer was reviewing the NRC report. "In the big picture, we are aware of it and we are looking at it, too," Recchia said. Bill Jordan, chief of engineering for the department, has been visiting the Vernon reactor about two days a week since the departure of Uldis Vanags, who had held the position as state nuclear engineer for a number of years.

New England electricity glut a thing of the past
February 6, 2014, By Susan Smallheer, in Vermont Today
After several years of an electricity glut, there is suddenly a projected energy shortfall in New England.
The future retirement of two large coal-fired power plants in Massachusetts, coupled with the 2014 retirement of Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant, could translate into a slight power shortage in New England in the future, the region's electric grid operator said Wednesday.
ISO-New England, which manages the power network, said its future capacity auction on Monday showed that the region was short about 165 megawatts out of a total of 33,855 megawatts of expected demand in 2017-18. The ISO auction only attracted bids totaling 33,700 megawatts.
ISO attributed the shortfall to the pending retirements of two coal-fired power plants, Brayton Point and Salem Harbor, both in Massachusetts, as well as the Vermont Yankee, which is slated to close at the end of the year. Norwalk Harbor, an oil-fired power plant in Connecticut, was shut down last year by its owner because it wasn't economical.

NRC not ready to grant Yankee exemption
February 05, 2014, By Susan Smallheer Staff Writer, The Rutland Herald
BRATTLEBORO - Saying Entergy Corp. "is under no legal obligation" to shut down the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has asked Entergy for additional information before granting its request that it be exempted from costly studies and safety improvements.
"While the NRC staff fully understands your intentions to permanently shut down the Vermont Yankee facility, the staff also understands that Entergy is under no legal obligation to shut down the facility," wrote Douglas Pickett, senior project manager for the Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation, in a letter sent to Entergy late last week.
Pickett said Entergy had already notified the NRC on Nov. 22 that it would not spend resources to perform the required post-Fukushima analysis for hardened vents, as well as prepare its overall post-Fukushima plan. .. "The staff is concerned that if your current plans change and you decide to enter an extended shutdown period as opposed to submitting the (NRC) certifications, Vermont Yankee would not be prepared to meet the requirements of the order on schedule," Pickett said.

Can Bernie end nuclear's cost shift to the public purse?
Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 14:46:44 PM EST, By: Sue Prent, Green Mountain Daily
Washington's perennial White Knight and my own favorite DC delegate, Senator Bernie Sanders, appears poised to do it again. Asserting the privilege enjoyed by those rare individuals who can claim some independence in the captive environment of Capitol Hill, the Senator may be ready to take on the Price Anderson Nuclear Industries Indemnity Act.

The Vermont Yankee Shutdown, YouTube Video, Jan. 30, 2014, (8 min.)

Sanders to NRC: Change your rules
Jan. 30, 2014 8:52:23 PM EST, By Bob Audette, Brattleboro Reformer Staff
BRATTLEBORO -- Change your rules or we'll do it for you.
That's the message relayed by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., to Allison Macfarlane, the chairwoman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, during an oversight hearing Thursday morning in Washington, D.C.
At a hearing of the Senate environment committee, which oversees the NRC, Sanders asked all five members of the NRC about the role of states in decommissioning power plants. All agreed that states have a stake in the outcome. None of the commissioners, however, committed to take any steps to give states a greater say in the process.
"We are trying to urge the NRC in the strongest possible way to change those rules," Sanders told the Reformer on Thursday afternoon. "If they don't, we will introduce legislation."

Selling our state's soul, selling us out
Jan 22, 2014, Leslie Sullivan Sachs, Safe and Green Campaign / Commons issue #238
Entergy and the state have patched up a litigous and expensive relationship. But if we accept this pragmatic path, what we lose is any pretense that the state has any regulatory role to play in the decommissioning of Vermont Yankee

In November, Freedom & Unity: The Vermont Movie, films about Vermont made by Vermonters, came to Brattleboro. Vermont's unique contribution to direct democracy, our Annual Town Meetings, was one of the themes.
The segment on energy, "People's Power," included scenes with citizens in Town Meetings debating shutting down Vermont Yankee. In 2009 and 2010, 51 towns in Vermont passed resolutions that advised the Legislature not to grant a license extension to VY, and to hold Entergy responsible to fully fund decommissioning. The success of this statewide effort sent a clear message to the legislature. Soon after, the Senate voted 26-4 against relicensing.
Watching "People's Power" moved me to tears. Three years of being lied to, bullied, and sued by an $11 billion Louisiana corporation has silenced our legislators and cowed our regulators. Is Vermont's direct democracy dead?
At the Rally to Defend Democracy in April 2012, Gov. Peter Shumlin tore into Entergy, listing all the promises it has broken to Vermont. Today, pragmatically, he calls Entergy a fair partner.
One industry insider said Entergy has spent $80 million on legal and regulatory challenges in Vermont since buying Vermont Yankee in 2002. It has paid off.
"The nuclear power industry has just been delivered a tremendous victory against the attempt by any state to shut down federally regulated nuclear power plants," crowed Entergy's legal celebrity, Kathleen Sullivan, after the federal court decision on preemption which gutted our legislators' role.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is a captive regulator, with rules stacked in favor of the corporations. Recently, the pesky problem of congressional oversight was handled by a new NRC rule limiting access to NRC records.
Before now, any U.S. Senator or Representative from a state hosting a nuclear reactor could request information. Now only three people in Congress - the chair and ranking members of the Congressional oversight committee - can make such a request. That rule change leaves out U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, who serves on the committee.
Not content with eviscerating the state and federal roles in running nuclear reactors, Entergy has now set its sights on limiting a host state's role in decommissioning. Vermont Yankee is the first in a wave of reactors facing these issues. The company is sending a signal to regulators in New York, Michigan, and Massachusetts, respective hosts of its Pilgrim, Fitzpatrick, Palisades, and Indian Point reactors: "We will outspend you, we can force your hand, or we will walk away for half a century via SAFSTOR."
Entergy has blackmailed Vermont into signing an agreement that disempowers the only regulator left standing, the Public Service Board (PSB). With three months of negotiations, five years of evidence and advocacy are wiped clean, because if the PSB tinkers with the negotiated MOU, Entergy walks away.
Take it or leave it, PSB.   (more)

Texas Company, Alone in U.S., Cashes In on Nuclear Waste
January 20, 2014, By Matthew L. Wald, Energy & Environment, New York Times
(...) Texas set up a compact with Vermont and Maine, but Maine closed its only reactor and later dropped out. The owner of Vermont Yankee, a 41-year-old reactor that is scheduled to close soon, will probably ship thousands of tons to Texas.

Vermonters voice skepticism about Entergy's deal
January 15, 2014, By Susan Smallheer, Staff Writer Rutland Herald / Times Argus
Dozens of Vermonters urged the state Public Service Board on Tuesday night to be wary of the promises made by Entergy Corp. regarding the shutdown of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant.
During a televised statewide hearing at seven locations, including Springfield, Brattleboro and White River Junction, critics of a memorandum of understanding reached between the Shumlin administration and Entergy easily outnumbered supporters. The PSB must decide by the end of March whether to grant Entergy a certificate of public good so it can operate Yankee until the end of 2014, when they will shut it down for good. If the PSB does not approve the certificate by then, the settlement reached with Gov. Peter Shumlin a few weeks ago will expire. But time and again at the interactive hearing, people said they were wary of believing Entergy's promises, given its track record of lying to state regulators. Entergy's original certificate of public good expired in March 2012, and since then it has been operating without a state permit.
A man speaking from the Lyndonville Interactive Technologies site compared Entergy's continued operation of Yankee to a drunk driver without a license. "To permit, to allow Vermont Yankee to operate is like allowing a drunk to drive after his license has expired," said David Bradshaw.

Vt. Yankee Opponents Say Deal Doesn't Protect Region's Interests
January 15, 2014, By Susan Keese, Vermont Public Radio News
A proposed agreement between the state of Vermont and Entergy Vermont Yankee came in for criticism Tuesday at a hearing before the state Public Service Board. The hearing took place in locations around the state over Vermont Interactive Television.

New Vermont Yankee Agreement Gets Public Hearing
January 13, 2014, 6:28 pm, By Susan Keese, Vermont Public Radio News
Is there a real Vermont Yankee settlement?
Jan 12 2014, Sandra Levine, senior attorney, Conservation Law Foundation in Montpelier
(...) In view of Entergy's past legal challenges, we can expect these new obligations will be honored only when they suit Entergy's needs.   Some of the thorniest but perhaps most important issues in the settlement concern the plant's decommissioning and site cleanup. The Vermont Yankee plant began operating in the 1970s, a century after Alexander Graham Bell's first telephone conversation. No one expected that the plant's closure and cleanup might not even begin until another full century had passed. Yet even with the current agreement, that is likely.   The funds available now for decommissioning are about half what is needed. Entergy has not added a dime to the fund since it purchased the plant in 2002 and has relied instead on its investment savvy to grow the fund.   Until the fund at least doubles in value, there will be no decommissioning. Given past performance of the stock market, that may take a while.   Even if the fund grows rapidly, Entergy alone will determine when there is enough money to begin decommissioning. And it's only after Entergy makes the decision that it must seek federal approval to begin decommissioning within 120 days. Nothing stands in the way of Entergy waiting 60 years before it begins to decommission and clean up the site.   In the end Vermont will still have a tired, old -- but closed -- nuclear plant for decades to come. This is a disappointing reality that belies at least some of the spirited sugar coating and hopes about the agreement's effect.

Received Jan 11, 2014, NRC email/attached file:
Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station - Audit of Entergy's Management of
Regulatory Commitments (TAC No. MF2757) ADAMS Accession No.:
ML13351A073, ML13351A073.pdf, size: 155,246 - 10 pages

Public Service Board has questions about Vermont Yankee agreement
January 10, 2014, By Bob Audette, Brattleboro Reformer Staff
BRATTLEBORO -- The Vermont Public Service Board has some questions pertaining to a settlement agreement recently reached between the state and Entergy, which owns and operates Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in Vernon. The Vermont Department of Public Service filed the agreement with the Public Service Board on Dec. 23, along with a suggested schedule for further proceedings before the board. The PSB had been reviewing Entergy's application for a certificate of public good for operation of the power plant from 2012 to 2032. However, the PSB's review was put on hold pending the resolution of a lawsuit filed against the state by Entergy. That suit was resolved in favor of Entergy by a district court judge in January 2012 and later affirmed by an appeals court in August 2013. But on Aug. 27, 2013, Entergy announced it would be closing Yankee at the end of 2014, due to the plant's financial viability in an energy market depressed by the low cost of natural gas. Now the PSB is considering whether to issue a CPG for operation through Dec. 31. While the PSB decided to adopt the suggested schedule proposed by the Department of Public Service, it has more than a dozen questions it would like answered. Late on Thursday, the Department of Public Service submitted answers to those questions.
(...) "The Settlement Agreement was filed with the Board for informational purposes," wrote Recchia. "The Department does not intend for the Board to rely on the Settlement Agreement in approving or disapproving the MOU." While details in the settlement agreement related to spent fuel "express the intentions of the parties ... They do not represent binding obligations ..." wrote Recchia.

VY/Entergy deal now faces regulatory scrutiny
Jan 8, 2014, By Olga Peters, The Commons issue #236
Public Service Board releases a schedule to consider CPG in light of proposed agreement The source documents for the VY docket can be downloaded on the state Public Service Board website. Windham Regional Commission's testimony and filings on the case can be accessed at windhamregional.org/vermont-yankee (..) most of the agreement between Entergy and the state is contingent on the company receiving a CPG by March 31, and a regional planning official cautions that the agreement is hardly a fait accomplis.

Yet Another Side, the MOU   Jan 11 2014, UPDATE
Jan 7, 2014, by gss or gfv, Musings of an Anti Nuke Gadfly, at www.garysachs.com
Remember those Vermont Yankee protests. the speakers at the events, the brave ones. who took the time to speak out to get rid of VY?   Well, on Tuesday, January 14 at 7 pm. is likely your last time to speak to the state regulatory Public Service Board via VT interactive TV about permitting Entergy -- to operate one more year ... then to close. ...

Vernon Signs Agreement With VT Yankee To Stablize Taxes
January 7, 2014, By Susan Keese, Vermont Public Radio News
The Vernon Select Board has signed a one year contract with Entergy that will stabilize the town's tax base through March 2015. The agreement sets the value of the Vermont Yankee plant at $280M dollars for the entire fiscal year. The current assessment is $300 million. Officials say the deal is a good one for the town, since the plant will stop selling power halfway through the contract, in December 2014.

Behind the VY settlement, a document filled with vague language
January 1, 2014, Leslie Sullivan-Sachs, The Commons issue #235
If big news is delivered late in the afternoon just before a holiday, you know someone has something to hide. The 2013 Christmas gift from Entergy and the state of Vermont was their "settlement agreement." Only the most diehard followers of nuclear news would be reading legal documents over the holidays. Count me among the diehards.
Having read the settlement agreement and the memorandum of understanding to the Public Service Board, there is a big gap between what the documents actually say and the spin from Entergy and Gov. Peter Shumlin.
For example, it is good news that a site assessment will be completed by Dec. 31, 2014, and that the scope of the assessment is broad. The bad news is that Entergy, not an independent contractor, will perform the assessment.
And while the spin is that Entergy has agreed to prompt decommissioning, there is no commitment to prompt decommissioning in the agreement. Prompt decommissioning is only "one scenario" Entergy will include in its site assessment. The closest we get is a commitment to clean up "as soon as reasonably possible" -- language guaranteed to provoke debate down the road.
The agreement is full of these vague terms: "as soon as reasonably possible" and "in a timely manner." For instance, the spent fuel will be moved out of the pool "in a timely manner." A third of the bullet points in the agreement are about trust and good faith, and offer no substance whatsoever -- except to future litigators.
While I certainly hope this is the new era of transparency Entergy claims, I find it hard to trust a corporation that has made so many poor decisions and has not kept its legal agreements.
Entergy says that because it has new leadership, Vermonters can now trust the company's word. But who will be in charge of the state and of Entergy in 2020, when the rubber hits the road and, with luck and a strong stock market, cleanup begins?

 Quick reads + events
Vermont Yankee
Decommissioning Funds
As of March 31, 2014, the market value of the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station's decommissioning trust fund accounts was $624,009,048. To put this number into context, the value of the fund for the past six months is as follows:
March 31, 2014 $624,009,048
February 28, 2014 $622,658,030
January 31, 2014 $606,613,721
December 31, 2013 $612,141,443
November 30, 2013 $605,969,700
October 31, 2013 $598,345,096
Aaron Kisicki, Special Counsel
Vermont Public Service Department
112 State Street, Montpelier, VT
05629-2601, 802.828.3785

Vermont Yankee
Decommissioning Funds
As of February 28, 2014, the market value of the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station's decommissioning trust fund accounts was $622,658,030. To put this number into context, the value of the fund for the past six months is as follows:
February 28, 2014 $622,658,030
January 31, 2014 $606,613,721
December 31, 2013 $612,141,443
November 30, 2013 $605,969,700
October 31, 2013 $598,345,096
September 31, 2013 $583,572,828
Aaron Kisicki, Special Counsel
Vermont Public Service Department
112 State Street, Montpelier, VT
05629-2601, 802.828.3785

Major U.S. Utility Says "No Rational Basis" for Mandating Smart Meters
Posted on February 13, 2014, by smartgridawareness.org
Northeast Utilities (NU) operates New England's largest utility system serving more than 3.6 million electric and natural gas customers in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire.
In a written submittal filed with the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities, Northeast Utilities was highly critical of a proposed state plan that would require utilization of "advanced metering" or smart meters within the state of Massachusetts as part of an electrical grid modernization plan. In fact, the comments are quite remarkable in that they appear to reflect reality without undue political spin or bias. Let us hope that other utilities, public utility commissions, and politicians everywhere can soon come to similar unbiased conclusions that are based upon economic realities and reflect consumers' and societal best interests.

The Fukushima Secrecy Syndrome - From Japan to America
Friday, January 24, 2014 in Common Dreams by Ralph Nader

(...) Last month, the ruling Japanese coalition parties quickly rammed through Parliament a state secrets law. We Americans better take notice.
Under its provisions the government alone decides what are state secrets and any civil servants who divulge any "secrets" can be jailed for up to 10 years. Journalists caught in the web of this vaguely defined law can be jailed for up to 5 years.
Government officials have been upset at the constant disclosures of their laxity by regulatory officials before and after the Fukushima nuclear power disaster in 2011, operated by Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO).

(....) There is good reason why the New York Times continues to cover the deteriorating conditions in the desolate, evacuated Fukushima area. Our country has licensed many reactors here with the same designs and many of the same inadequate safety and inspection standards. Some reactors here are near earthquake faults with surrounding populations which cannot be safely evacuated in case of serious damage to the electric plant. The two Indian Point reactors that are 30 miles north of New York City are a case in point.

The less we are able to know about the past and present conditions of Fukushima, the less we will learn about atomic reactors in our own country.

Fortunately many of Japan's most famous scientists, including Nobel laureates, Toshihide Maskawa and Hideki Shirakawa, have led the opposition against this new state secrecy legislation with 3,000 academics signing a public letter of protest. These scientists and academics declared the government's secrecy law a threat to "the pacifist principles and fundamental human rights established by the constitution and should be rejected immediately."

Pete Seeger, folk singer and activist, has died at 94
Jan 28, 2014, By Chris Talbott, Associated Press in Brattleboro Reformer, (here)

Entergy's Pilgrim nuclear plant faulted on security issues
January 24, 2014, By Christine Legere,
capecodonline.com - (here)
PLYMOUTH - Federal nuclear regulators found five security-related violations at the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station during a routine inspection last month.
Two of those had been spotted by inspectors as long ago as 2012 but the shortcomings had yet to be addressed.
On Thursday, Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokesman Neil Sheehan characterized the number of infractions found in this latest inspection as high.
It isn't uncommon for plants to receive multiple "green" or "low security significance" inspection findings, "but five is above the normal average," Sheehan said.
For two of the violations, the NRC issued written notices to Entergy Nuclear Operations, the plant's owner and operator, for failing "to correct long-standing equipment deficiencies important to station security defense ... within a reasonable amount of time," according to the NRC letter.

Vermont Yankee
Decommissioning Funds
As of December 31, 2013, the market value of the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station's decommissioning trust fund accounts was $612,141,443. To put this number into context, the value of the fund for the past six months is as follows:
December 31, 2013 $612,141,443
November 30, 2013 $605,969,700
October 31, 2013 $598,345,096
September 31, 2013 $583,572,828
August 31, 2013 $571,013,443
July 31, 2013 $581,510,622
Aaron Kisicki, Special Counsel
Vermont Public Service Department
112 State Street, Montpelier, VT 05629-2601
802.828.3785, Aaron.Kisicki@state.vt.us

Why are Entergy executives
selling their stock?
April 15, 2014, By Tim Judson
GreenWorld / NIRS , (here)
There was nothing illegal about any of this, .... you have to wonder whether there's some big news on the horizon.

Vermont officials to hold
meetings on water plan
04-13-2014, 8:34 AM,
AP / Boston Globe, (here)
MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) -- The Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation is holding two public meetings on a draft water quality management plan.

4.8 Earthquake Directly off coast of
Fukushima Nuclear Disaster Site
Sunday, 13 April 2014, 12:04

At long last a shutdown
April 12, 2014, Gary Sachs,
Rutland Herald, (here)
It is with great reserve that I write now that the state Public Service Board granted Entergy yet another certificate of public good purchased with Entergy's good ol' corporate cash. Every decision involved millions to the state. In response to the decision, my thoughts led me to "next stop is shutdown."

House proposes phasing out Vernon tax break
April 12, 2014, By Mike Faher
Brattleboro Reformer, (here)
VERNON -- A property-tax break benefiting town residents would continue but would be phased out over a period of three years, according to the latest proposal in the state Legislature.
Due to the presence of the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant, Vernon residents get a 25 percent reduction in the statewide education property tax. With the plant's pending closure jeopardizing that benefit, Rep. Mike Hebert had proposed extending the tax break for a significant time period.

'Polar vortex'
fuels political whirlwind
April 11, 2014, Hannah Northey
E&E reporter, E&E Daily, (here)
...a host of nuclear plants that have recently announced early retirements, including the Kewaunee plant in Wisconsin and the Vermont Yankee plant in New England, and to Exelon's recent announcement that it would consider closing efficient nuclear plants that are no longer profitable by the year's end.

No more evacuation planning?
April 4, 2014, Safe & Green, (here)
Emergency planning has always been weak in the evacuation zone. Soon it could be non-existent.
We have until April 10th to Comment on the following proposed change in NRC guidance to its staff, being pushed by the industry:
If a reactor has stopped operating, the owner can apply to the NRC to be exempted from off-site emergency planning -- even if the spent fuel pool is still full.

Vt. board allows nuke plant operation through '14
March 28, 2014, By Dave Gram
Associated Press, (here)
MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) - Sternly scolding Entergy Corp. for "bad conduct" during its 12 years of owning the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant, Vermont regulators on Friday approved the plant's operation through the end of 2014, when it is closing for economic reasons.
The Public Service Board made clear in a 95-page order issued Friday that the outcome might have been different if New Orleans-based Entergy hadn't announced last August it would close Vermont Yankee. In March of 2011, the plant won federal approval to operate another 20 years, but Entergy officials said the changing economics of the power generation industry made the 650-megawatt plant no longer competitive.

some evacuation, eh?
Flight 370 Rescued, Safe in the Hands of Galactic Ship
March 18, 2014, Dr. Kathryn E. May,
LightWeb News at kemay@aol.com
A comprehensive announcement describing the rescue of Flight 370 has been recorded by LightWeb News. The plane was suffering hydraulic failure, was in an uncontrolled state, at risk of imminent destruction. Whisked out of the air in mid-flight, it was taken aboard an enormous spacecraft from Sirius, claimed to be part of the Federation fleet under the Ashtar Command, whose full report is available from LightWeb News.
Radar pictures confirm the appearance of alien craft and the sudden disappearance of Flight 370. Confusion reigns in the search and rescue efforts because of the astonishing anomaly which points directly to extremely advanced technological intervention.
Read the full explanation from this source, which cites the connection between sightings of cigar-shaped UFO's in the skies over conflict areas (recently the Ukraine), the capture and safety of the passengers, and a new demand for countries around the globe to participate in initiating NESARA law.
Commander Ashtar claims responsibility for the rescue and for the demands, in cooperation with the passengers, who have offered to act as "hostages" to bring about immediate world peace. The entire interview can be obtained by contacting Dr. Kathryn E. May at kemay@aol.com.
ASHTAR_Interview 3-19-2014mark1.pdf
Dr. Kathryn E. May's website

U.S. to relinquish remaining
control over the Internet
Mar 14, 2014, By Craig Timberg
The Washington Post, (here)

If Successful,
Fukushima Class Actions
Could Wipe Out GE
Mar 12, 2014, By Elizabeth Warmerdam, Courthouse News, (here)
(CN) - General Electric faces two multibillion-dollar class actions from people hurt by the Fukushima nuclear disaster and its aftermath, who say GE and GE-Hitachi failed to properly design and maintain the power plant. One 2-page summons and notice in New York County Supreme Court demands compensatory damages of at least $3 million per plaintiff, but does not estimate the size of the class. No one died in the radiation leak set off by a tsunami, but more than 100,000 people were evacuated. At $3 million apiece, damages would come to $300 billion.

Three years later,
the lessons of Fukushima are
uglier than ever
March 10, 2014,
Michael Hiltzik, LA Times, (here)
Three years ago--2:49 p.m. March 11, 2011, Tokyo time, or late on the night of March 10 in continental U.S. time zones--what may be history's worst, most enduring nuclear power plant disaster began in Japan. It's a baleful anniversary that bears object lessons for the entire nuclear power industry in the U.S. and around the world.

US nuclear fuel supplier files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy
March 6, 2014, Lucas W Hixson, Enformable Nuclear News, (here)
One of USEC's largest customers before 2011 was Tokyo Electric, the operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear facility. The company also provides services for Exelon and Entergy.

March 11, 2014
Voices of Fukushima
Brattleboro 6:30pm
Three years ago today, in a conference call, the NRC announced that it would approve the 20 year license extension for Vermont Yankee. One week later, on March 11, the reactors at Fukushima began melting down. Much has changed in our evacuation zone in three short years. Those living in Fukushima's evacuation zone lost everything in one day. What are their lives like now?
On Tuesday, March 11, we will learn more. Safe & Green is hosting a "Voices of Fukushima" gathering from 6:30-8:30pm at the Brattleboro Food Coop Community Room. The direct entrance is on the side of the Coop on Canal Street. We will show four short documentaries about Fukushima, then Chikako Kaneko will join us for a discussion and describe her most recent trip back to Japan, where she visited with Chikako Nishiyama of Kawauchi, Greenfield's sister city.
The four films include a update on the cleanup in Namie, the town Brattleboro adopted in 2013; a explanation of the current status of the reactors from Arnie Gundersen; a perspective from a farmer and a displaced family, with information on radiation testing of children; and a walk through temporary shelters which evacuees fear are now their permanent homes. All together, the films are about 35 minutes.
Peace, Leslie Sullivan Sachs
Safe and Green Campaign

Defying Yankee tradition
02/26/2014, By Richard Davis,
Opinion, Brattleboro Reformer, (here)
Imagine that you are 20 years old and live in a family that has given you the privilege of a trust fund. You are told that when you turn 60 that the money will no longer be available to you.
You can ignore the passage of time or you can prepare for the day when you will have to fend for yourself. This situation is similar to that of the town of Vernon. The Vermont Yankee nuclear plant was licensed to begin operating in 1972 and its operating license was due to end in 2012. It will be closing in 2014.
That's a long time to plan for the future, but it seems that the town that often wanted the state to leave it alone is now begging for help because they found it too irresistible to live the high life for decades.
It all comes down to taxes and the low tax rate that Vernon residents have become accustomed to over the years. The money kept pouring in from the plant and that is why this little town has a municipal swimming pool and its own police force. Now they find they cannot afford these luxuries that other towns have never even dreamt of.
According to recent comments in the Brattleboro Reformer by Rep. Mike Hebert, R-Vernon, the town School Board did do some planning to cushion some of the loss of revenue from Vermont Yankee. Yet, they are still asking for a break in their school tax rate.
A reasonable town would have started planning for the plant closure from day one. That is the Yankee tradition, but it seems that the tradition of frugality did not take hold in this town that has acted like an independent republic for years.
I ran for state representative twice from the district that includes Vernon and Guilford and I can tell you that after going to almost every home in Vernon and Guilford that the town of Vernon can seem like another country.
When I tried to engage people in conversation about a variety of topics I found that the majority of people wanted to know what I thought about Vermont Yankee. When I expressed my opposition to its continued operation, people would either politely end the conversation or slam the door in my face. A number of people became quite hostile.
I have spoken to others who have made the same political journey and the experience left such a bitter taste with them that they will never run for that office again. Greed does strange things to people and I believe that greed has transformed a small Vermont town.
Vernon is now asking the state for help to soften the blow that decreased tax revenue will have. According to a story in the Brattleboro Reformer last week, Hebert has introduced a bill, H.835, that "would add another layer of insulation for local taxpayers." Its statement of purpose is to "alter the tax treatment of towns hosting an electric-generating plant subject to the electric-generating tax" -- in other words, Vernon. He explained that the legislation actually would continue a long-term tax break that "saves all Vernon property owners money."
"Because Entergy pays a state electric-generating tax based on power produced at Yankee, and because the town hosts the plant, Vernon property owners at one point had to pay just half the statewide education-tax rate."
Another bill, H.842 introduced by Rep. Charles "Tim" Goodwin, I-Weston, would give a tax break to former Vermont Yankee employees who want to open a business. That means that you and I would make up the difference for people who salaries averaged $100,000 a year and now want our help to start a new life.
These bills don't pass the smell test. When I first read about them I was reminded that some people use greed and privilege to form the ethical and moral foundation of their lives. I just can't believe a person who has made so much money over the years, or a town in the same position, cannot pull up the old bootstraps and muster enough self-reliance without asking for those of lesser means for help.
It is un-American and it defies principles embodied in the tradition of Yankee ingenuity.
Richard Davis is a registered nurse and long-time health care advocate. He writes from Guilford and welcomes comments at rbdav@comcast.net.

PSD Final Brief and Findings in Support of MOU 2-14-14.pdf 46p
Dkt 7862 Entergy VY Supplemental Brief [02-14-14].pdf 44p

Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station - Audit Report Regarding Flooding Walkdowns to Support Implementation of Near-Term Task Force Recommendation 2.3 Related to the Fukushima Dai-Ichi Nuclear Power Plant Accident (TAC No. MF0246)
Wed Feb 19, 2014, 4:38 pm, ADAMS Accession No.: ML14002A442.pdf

Classic One Liner Lies of Nuke
Feb. 15, 2014, Nuke Pro, (here)
 "no immediate health effects"
 "safe to eat"
 "no cause for alarm"
 "dispersion in ocean makes it harmless"
 "too low to measure"
 "safer than eating a banana"
 "larger dose from flying on an airplane"
 "within safe limits"
 "part of background"
 "definitely not caused by radiation"

Feb. 12, 2014, 3:59.PM (notice)

Vermont has most solar jobs per capita in U.S.
Feb. 11, 2014, John Herrick
vtdigger.org - (here)
Vermont saw the nation's largest per capita gains last year for the number of solar-related jobs, leading the country in solar employment for 2013, according to an industry research group. The Solar Foundation released an annual report Monday that ranked the Vermont No. 1 in the nation for solar jobs per capita. The state added nearly 1,000 solar jobs in 2013, totaling about 1,300, according to the foundation's website.

TransCanada towns meet to strategize
Feb. 08, 2014, By Susan Smallheer
Rutland Herald, (here)
BRATTLEBORO - Six Windham County towns facing possible tax disputes with TransCanada, the international owner of a series of hydroelectric dams on the Connecticut and Deerfield rivers, met this week to discuss strategy.
Chris Campany, executive director of the Windham Regional Commission, which hosted the informal meeting, said towns represented at the event included Wilmington, Whitingham, Rockingham, Putney, Dummerston and Somerset, which is technically an unorganized town.
Not at the meeting was Vernon, which hosts a hydroelectric station in its town and has hired an attorney to represent it in tax talks with TransCanada. Campany said Vernon officials had wanted to attend but couldn't make the meeting.
He said the towns are hoping for additional help from the state in dealing with TransCanada, which, since buying the two dam networks about 10 years ago, has fought local tax assessments and tax bills, in most cases, successfully. The state's stake is the education tax paid by the hydro facilities.

NRC Commissioners Grilled on Nuclear Rules, Security, and Efficiency
02/06/2014, Aaron Larson
Power Magazine, (here)

Vermont Yankee NPS - NRC Integrated Inspection Report 05000271/2013005
and Notice of Violation
Feb. 6, 2014, VY 2013005.pdf, 42pp.
Please help spread the word.
Pradeep Indulkar and Hattie Nestle are stranded up north. The film showing tonight is cancelled.
We are disappointed, but there is another opportunity to hear him and see the film, High Power. Consider going to see him and the film this Friday, Feb. 7th at 7:00pm, Frances Crowe Community Room, Media Education Foundation, 60 Masonic Street in Northampton, Mass.
Please read event details here.
peace, Leslie Sullivan Sachs
for Safe & Green
02-05-2014, 02:27:11 PM EST

"High Power"
... documentary with director Pradeep Indulkar will be shown at 7:00pm on Wednesday February 5, Brattleboro Food Coop Community Room.
The half hour film won the "Yellow Oscar" at the 2013 Uranium Film Festival. Mr. Indalkur is a nuclear engineer who became an environmentalist. Mr. Induklar will speak after the film about the passionate anti-nuclear movement in India, and about a trade agreement in the works between the US and India to support the sale of 6 Westinghouse reactors to India. The agreement will require that India accept liability in case of a nuclear accident, a tragic undermining of the post-Bhopal Indian law that placed liability on the shoulders of the industry selling the equipment. Sponsored by the Safe & Green Campaign.

DOH to distribute new potassium iodide pills in Yankee EPZ
Jan 30, 2014 08:37:32 PM EST
Brattleboro Reformer, (here)
BRATTLEBORO -- The Vermont Department of Health distributes potassium iodide -- also known as KI -- to anyone who lives or works in the six towns within the emergency planning zone around Vermont Yankee nuclear power station. The current adult tablets (130 mg) have a February 2014 expiration date.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued a six-month shelf life extension for the adult tablets that expire in February. The tablets will remain safe and effective until at least the end of August 2014. The 65 mg pediatric tablets distributed in 2013 have an expiration date of 2017.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is replacing the adult tablets and they are scheduled to arrive in April. When the new supply of KI arrives, the Health Department will inform people in the emergency planning zone. The tablets will be made available at no cost to anyone who works or lives in Brattleboro, Dummerston, Guilford, Halifax, Marlboro and Vernon. The distribution program provides one tablet per person, and participation is voluntary.

Commissioner Recchia Testimony.pdf

Voices before the PSB
January 16, 2014, posted
by Safe & Green, (here)
Forty citizens testified to the PSB Tuesday night on Vt Yankee's future and we've posted a lot here to inform and inspire you. Now its your turn. If you missed the hearing, go ahead and write comments and then mail or email them to the Public Service Board. Those of us who spoke only had two minutes to do so but go on and write as much as you need to.....OR... You may submit a Public Comment about this matter to the Public Service Board by clicking on this link

PSB Public Hearing Notice
An additional public hearing related to the MOU will be held on Tuesday, January 14, 2014, at 7 P.M., using the facilities of Vermont Interactive Technologies in Bennington, Brattleboro, Johnson, Lyndonville, Middlebury, Montpelier, Newport, Randolph Center, Rutland, Springfield, St. Albans, White River Junction and Williston, Vermont.

VT Public Service Board
# 7862 Status Conference
Event Date and Time:
January 02, 2014:
10:00 am
Location: Public Service Board Hearing Room, Third Floor, People's United Bank Building, Montpelier, Vermont

PSB Board Member David Coen remains on the case until it concludes. 30 VSA, Section 3(e)
(e) Notwithstanding section 2004 of Title 3, or any other provision of law, members of the board may be removed only for cause. When a board member, who hears all or a substantial part of a case, retires from office before such case is completed, he or she shall remain a member of the board for the purpose of concluding and deciding such case, and signing the findings, orders, decrees and judgments therein. A retiring chairperson shall also remain a member for the purpose of certifying questions of law if appeal is taken. For such service he or she shall receive a reasonable compensation to be fixed by the remaining members of the board and necessary expenses while on official business.

Town Meeting Day 2014
posted: December 19, 2013
Many of us in New England still practice direct democracy at Town Meetings. Safe and Green Campaign will coordinate a Town Meeting Resolution on decommissioning Vermont Yankee. We need to send a message to our elected officials that the citizens ... more

Huffington Post, CNN pal up with Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Dec 17, 2013, Christina MacPherson, nuclear-news.net - (here)
Gov't Report: CNN, Huffington Post listed as 'external stakeholders' in NRC, alongside nuclear industry and pro-nuclear blogs -- Both outlets help NRC to increase online influence,..

Vermont Yankee
Decommissioning Funds
As of November 30, 2013, the market value of the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station's decommissioning trust fund accounts was $605,969,700. To put this number into context, the value of the fund for the past six months is as follows:
November 30, 2013 $605,969,700
October 31, 2013 $598,345,096
September 31, 2013 $583,572,828
August 31, 2013 $571,013,443
July 31, 2013 $581,510,622
June 30, 2013 $566,399,578
Aaron Kisicki, Special Counsel
Vermont Public Service Department
112 State Street, Montpelier, VT
05629-2601, 802.828.3785

Read the Introduction,
it's mostly about Entergy.

A few good

Virtual Nuclear Tourist
Joseph Gonyeau's
in-depth resource on nuclear power.

Vermont Emergency Management

Windham Regional Planning Comm.

Local Emergency Planning Committee, Windham Region

Vermont Dept. of Public Service

Vermont State Nuclear Advisory Panel (VSNAP)

Vermont Public Service Board

Conservation Law Foundation/Vermont

Nuclear Control Institute, Washington D.C.

Nuclear Information & Resource Service

Alliance for a Green Economy

Institute for Energy and Environmental Research

Safe & Green Campaign

Sage Alliance


Beyond Nuclear

Public Citizen

Fake Rob Williams

Vermont Citizens Action Network

Fair Game / Seven Days

Green Mountain Daily

Vermont Law School Blog

Vermont Daily Briefing

New England Coalition

Sage Alliance


George Harvey's Blog

Green Energy Times


Nuclear Free Vermont

The Valley Post

Traprock Peace Center

Citizens Awareness Network

Union of Concerned Scientists

Nuclear Regulatory Commission

not so far-fetched anymore
Posted without profit or payment for research and educational purposes, in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107.