Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Vermont State Nuclear Advisory Board Gives Bad Advice

VSNAP Votes on Decommissioning

 On Wednesday October 16, the Vermont State Nuclear Advisory Panel (VSNAP) met in Brattleboro to discuss decommissioning Vermont Yankee.  VSNAP is an "advisory panel"  to advise the Vermont legislature.  At the meeting in Brattleboro, William Irwin, Vermont State Radiological Health Chief, made a motion that the plant be decommissioned quickly (basically, prompt decommissioning, not SAFSTOR).  Entergy has announced that they plan to put the plant in SAFSTOR.

Representative Mike Hebert
Speaking to PSB in November
The motion for prompt decommissioning did not pass. In the seven-member panel, several panelists were absent or abstained. The lonely "no" vote came from plant supporter Mike Hebert, the state representative from Vernon. (Vote reported by Dave Gram of AP)

Since the vote failed, VSNAP will meet again tomorrow, this time in Montpelier.  I suppose they will vote again on Irwin's motion. I also suppose it will pass this time, since most of the panel members are appointed by the legislature and the governor's office. Governor Shumlin has always made it very clear he wants prompt decommissioning.

An Imperial Motion Made, but Withdrawn

A Times Argus article by Susan Smallheer (unfortunately it may be behind a paywall) reported on another motion put forward during this meeting by state Senator Mark MacDonald: "MacDonald had initially made a motion that all of Vermont Yankee’s profits, from now until it shuts down, be put into an escrow account to be used toward decommissioning." Senator Mark MacDonald is a fervent (and often noisy) foe of the power plant.

Senator Mark MacDonald (Grey sweater)
at Entergy presentation
Entergy Exhibits, April 2010
MacDonald withdrew his motion when Irwin put his own motion forward, and when Representative Hebert criticized MacDonald's motion.

Apparently MacDonald thinks that if the Vermont Senate passes a law or resolution, then that law is---a perfectly legal law.   For example this would be legal: "We will seize all the profits of this business and force those profits to be used for a good cause."  However, MacDonald chose to withdraw this interesting financial suggestion in favor of Irwin's "safety" suggestion that the plant be decommissioned quickly.

The Advisory Panel

When I posted about these motions on the Save Vermont Yankee page on Facebook, one person commented to the effect that: "That's why VSNAP is an advisory panel. These guys can say anything they want and it doesn't make a bit of difference." That is one way to look at the situation.

More Hearings and a Video

I recommend Howard Shaffer's review of the continuing anti-Vermont Yankee activities in his post The Challenge Continues at ANS Nuclear Cafe.

Andrew Stein's article in Vermont Digger (early September): Entergy May Be Closing Vermont Yankee, but Litigation Goes On. 

I blogged about a previous meeting of VSNAP at ANS Nuclear Cafe-- Vermont State Advisory Panel: Safety Again!

I also recommend this video about Vermont Yankee decommissioning options.
WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

They should take their "advice" and shove it. VY is a privately-owned facility on private property. The state government cannot compel the owner to do what they say with no legal basis for doing so. SAFSTOR is an acceptable method for plant preservation/shutdown, and as long as the regulatory body that has legal purview over it says it is okay, all the "advice" in the world doesn't mean crap. They should go with the SAFSTOR method if for no other reason than to stick it to bums like Shumlin and Sanders. As far as I'm concerned those crumbbums can go to their graves knowing VY is still there.