Sunday, November 24, 2013

Backwards Reasoning About Greenfields: On Decommissioning Vermont Yankee

Field in Fairfield, Vermont

A confession: I am not immune to believing a statement if it is repeated often enough. 

For example, it took me a long time to notice that this quote is completely backwards:

Among the conditions sought by the state is a $60 million fund to ensure that the Yankee site in Vernon be returned to “green field” status, so it can be used for further economic development. 

Many plant opponents have made similar statements: "Extra money is needed for greenfielding so the site can be used for economic development."

That is backwards! The NRC standards for decommissioning get the site ready for another industry--that is the point of the standards. If Vermont imposes extra "greenfield" decommissioning requirements, these requirements will:
  • increase the cost to Entergy.
  • increase the time required for decommissioning the site.
  • not increase how attractive the site will be to a new industry.
Remember that next time you hear talk about the necessity of extra money for "greenfielding" to ensure "economic development."  

(Quote is from an article by Susan Smallheer in the Rutland Herald: Vermont seeks $60 million fund for Entergy plant to keep running.  This article is about Vermont granting a Certificate of Public Good for Vermont Yankee, the Certificate to be valid only through the end of 2014.)


This is the second of a series of posts about Vermont Yankee decommissioning.  


Kit P said...

Another group of liberals are now learning that driving productive businesses out of state means they no longer get tax revenues. The productive people will go to another state and pay taxes there.

And no, driving business away is not good for economic development.

Tom Buchanan said...

The NRC requires the site meet a radiological decommissioning standard, but does not require that the site be ready for any other use. As long as the radiological standard (often expressed as 25 millirem plus application of the ALARA principal) is met, the license can be released by the NRC even if it has blasted out buildings, piles of rubble, deep holes and trenches, and remaining pipes, tunnels, and foundations.

The State of Vermont has generally avoided making a case about what the costs might be for radiological decommissioning because that part of the process is under NRC jurisdiction. Site restoration, however, is exclusively under the jurisdiction of the State of Vermont, and not regulated by the NRC. Entergy has clearly recognized this distinction throughout the CPG process, and in federal court.

When Entergy purchased the VY Station it made a specific MOU commitment to restore the site “by removal of all structures and, if appropriate, regarding and reseeding the land.” This is in addition to the NRC radiological standard. Entergy’s own 2012 Decommissioning Cost Analysis places the cost of this site restoration at about $48 million. Other estimates place the cost much higher, some approaching $225 million depending on what the standards and costs are. If we look back to 1998, before Entergy purchased the site, The Simplified Shutdown Cost Assessment prepared by TLG Services for Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Corporation (VYNPC) estimated the site restoration component at $57.4 million in 1998 dollars. Using a simple CPI escalator, that would be roughly $82 million in 2013 dollars.

Anonymous said...

They should go with SAFSTOR to save money and stick it to Scumlin. Let him go to his grave knowing the plant is still there. And after that brownfield the place. Vermont wanted the plant gone, let them "greenfield" it, the bums.

jimwg said...

I wonder how receptive the Green Mountain citizenry would be to the site being aptly industrialized for a more advanced nuclear plant without Yankee's "flaws"...

James Greenidge
Queens NY

Tom Clegg said...

If Ben and Jerry's closed it's factory in Vermont would the Governor make them return the property to Greenfield's or would they be able to walk away leaving the buildings as they are?2

Tom Clegg said...

I was in the doctors office yesterday I saw a copy of Rolling Stone from Sept.. There was an article titled GLOBAL WARMING: CASE CLOSED. It was about the U.N. report on global warming. Needless to say that it sided with the fact that there is global warming and rebutted the anti global warming critics. I turn the page and at the bottom is like a time line but it is a line called with us against us. In the with us side is VY Closing They just don't get it. They want to stop Global Warming but the also like when Nuclear Power plants close down. Please have your people write to Rolling Stone. They need help!