Sunday, October 18, 2015

SAFSTOR Matters video with Joe Lynch: The Spent Fuel Line of Credit

This is the first video in the SAFSTOR Matters Community TV series.  The monthly series, produced by Entergy as part of its outreach program, recently won the Best Series Award at Brattleboro Community TV.

This video includes Martin Cohn, Senior Communications Specialist at Entergy as the host. He interviews Joe Lynch,  Entergy Government Affairs Manager.  A very important part of this video is the description of Entergy's line-of-credit for spent fuel management.

This  first video was shown on Brattleboro Community TV on April 15, 2015, and includes a general overview of the decommissioning process at Vermont Yankee, including its effects on the community. You can see more videos in the series, and read more information about decommissioning, at Vermont Yankee's decommissioning web page


A loan for spent fuel

In this video, there's a very important point made about spent fuel financing, which starts at about 19 minutes into the video.

Some background: The money that nuclear plants use in dealing with spent fuel can be recaptured from the federal government. The nuclear plants have paid billions of dollars to the federal government for spent fuel handling and storage.  The federal government has done nothing about spent fuel (except build and abandon Yucca Mountain, an activity that has not helped any nuclear plant). The government is basically in a breach-of-contract situation.

So the plants routinely sue the federal government for breach of contract about spent fuel management, and routinely win the suits, and routinely obtain funds from the federal government after the lawsuit.

Plants who are decommissioning usually obtain a waiver from the NRC, to use decommissioning funds for spent fuel management. The plants replace that money into the decommissioning fund when they have collected from the government after a lawsuit.

But as Dickens and others have pointed out, lawsuits take time. Meanwhile, the spent-fuel-management money withdrawn from the decommissioning fund is not accumulating interest.

The line of credit: At the nineteen minute mark in this video, Joe Lynch explains that Entergy has arranged private lines of credit for spent fuel management-- these lines of credit total $145 million. The lines of credit provide the money that will be used for the initial stages of spent fuel management, and that money will be replaced by the money obtained in successful lawsuits against the government.  Meanwhile, the Vermont Yankee decommissioning fund itself will not be tapped for spent fuel management.  The fund will accumulate interest and grow without suffering spent-fuel-management withdrawals.

As far as I know, Entergy is the only nuclear owner that has arranged a line of credit for spent fuel management.  Entergy should be given credit for their foresight.

1 comment:

Meredith Angwin said...


I do not publish comments that are derogatory about individuals.