Friday, September 6, 2013

Looking Back Toward Decommissioning

Picture of Dry Casks at Maine Yankee
From 3Yankees website
Let me start with a fact:

Entergy can use SAFSTOR or Prompt Decommissioning, their choice.  With either type of decommissioning, the current workers lose their jobs.

Meanwhile---Current Posturing about SAFSTOR

Currently, a great deal of posturing is being published about decommissioning Vermont Yankee.

Here's an example.

The Windham Regional Commission published a position paper in The Commons newspaper: What's in our best interests when VY closes?  The author, Chris Campany, answers his own question in the paper's subheading: "Now more than ever, our region needs to attach conditions to Entergy’s CPG."

A quote from this article above:

"We asked that whether or not a Certificate of Public Good is granted, the Public Service Board consider the following.....Require the prompt and complete decommissioning and site restoration of the VY station after shutdown (whenever that occurs) and prohibit the use of SAFSTOR."

This request is pretty much nonsense on the face of it.  As Tim McQuiston wrote in Vermont Business Magazine: Vermont Yankee, the Decommissioning Dilemma:

"The new battle will be over SAFSTOR, or Entergy's plan to postpone dismantling the plant right away, and take up to 60 years to do so. Furthermore, since this is a federal issue, the state may have little to say about it."  (emphasis added by blogger)

McQuiston also noted that Vermont might have achieved prompt dismantling  of Vermont Yankee if they had bargained for it as part of a new 20-year Certificate of Public Good. But they didn't.

 In my own opinion, once Entergy announced it was closing Vermont Yankee, Vermont lost almost all its bargaining power with Entergy.  "We're going to shut you down three months sooner than you planned to shut down anyway" is not a very credible threat.  Entergy has little to lose in its bargains with the state, once it decided to shut down the plant.

Looking Back at My Blog Posts about Decommissioning

I have three blog posts about decommissioning, and I will reference and summarize them here.

Entergy can use SAFSTOR or Prompt Decommissioning, their choice.  With either type of decommissioning, the current workers lose their jobs.

1) SAFSTOR is in the contract, whether Governor Shumlin likes it or not

The first post is In Vermont, Our Word is Our Bond, so We Don't Honor Contracts.  In this post, you can see Governor Shumlin accuse reporter Terri Hallenbeck of "working for Entergy." This is his answer when Hallenbeck reminds him that the state signed a purchase agreement, and the purchase agreement allows Entergy to use Safstor.

Here's the link to the purchase agreement itself, the Memorandum of Understanding.   The use of SAFSTOR is explicitly allowed in item 9, page 5 of this document, which is a total of eight pages long (plus some signature pages).

2) SAFSTOR and Prompt Decommissioning are both jobs cliffs. They do not protect current workers.

In Decommissioning, Facts Versus Fantasy, I show that 80% of the workers are gone within one year with SAFSTOR.  With prompt decommissioning,  50% are gone in one year, 80% in two years.  Both methods are a jobs cliff.

Most decommissioning work is done by teams of contractors. Wayne Norton, who was president of the Three Yankees during decommissioning, wrote the following in a paper he presented to industry.

Another advantage to early and aggressive downsizing is that it opens up opportunities to bring in workers with skill sets that are more suited to a decommissioning environment. Also, if these workers are contractors, they tend to be more accustomed to completing a given scope of work and moving on to another job.

3) There's no local jobs bonus.  Long-distance truckers and waste disposal sites get most of the money.

In my post, There is no Jobs Bonus.  Decommissioning Helps Long-Haul Truckers and Destroys Communities,  I try to follow-the-decommissioning money very closely.  Let's just say I don't like what I see.

Only Someone Like Our Governor Could Love Decommissioning

I will undoubtedly be posting more on this in the future, but I thought I would start with a summary of my older posts on this subject.

Decommissioning is a miserable situation for the workers and the local people.  It's the kind of situation that only our current governor could love.


trag said...

Decommissioning a working nuclear reactor is like filling the Panama Canal in with dirt. Either one makes about as much sense as the other.

This is a tragedy and a waste.

Anonymous said...

Decommissioning work is the absolute pits of the world. First, you have a lousy attitude because you are literally working yourself out of a job. You have no sense of ownership in the facility you are demolishing, you have no stake in the community you are devastating. Your kids aren't going to go to school there, you aren't going to give of yourself or be a leader in the community whose well-being you are tearing apart. Second, the work stinks. You are basically a janitor with a meter, knocking things down, cutting things up, hauling them away. Finally, if you have any sense of conscience, you have to know that you are literally tearing down and destroying the life work of others, something other people have given their blood, sweat, and tears to build up and maintain. And you are taking that away from them. Not a pretty picture any way you look at it.

Atomikrabbit said...

If there is anyone more deserving than Shumln of the sentiment "let them all freeze in the dark" I don't know who that is. Unfortunately his ilk will be the last to suffer.