Sunday, February 21, 2016

Dry Cask Update and SAFSTOR Matters video

Fuel Pad Hearings This Week
To move fuel from the fuel pool to dry casks, Entergy must build a concrete pad for the dry casks. To build this pad, they need a Certificate of Public Good from the Vermont Public Service Board.  The hearing is this week: Docket 8300.  You can see the docket and all the prefiled testimony here:

The hearings are Tuesday February 23 and Wednesday February 24.  They are listed on the Events page of the Public Service Board.

While the hearings are public (people can attend), the public usually cannot speak.  To speak at a hearing, you have to have your testimony approved as "relevant" by the Public Service Board.  Many factors make up "relevance." For example, following the links within the docket above, you will see that the first "prefiled testimony" under each name is usually a description of the person's qualifications (resume).

Controversy on admission of testimony
As you can imagine, the fun begins when the Board rules on whose testimony will be considered relevant to the issue at hand.  The Public Service Board cannot rule on nuclear safety matters, but it rules on  local issues.

A recent controversy before the Board concerned Ray Shadis, long-time anti-nuclear advocate. Could he testify at the Board's hearing on the fuel pad? Entergy asked that the Shadis testimony be excluded. However, the Board ruled that the Shadis testimony could be included. (Article by Mike Faher at VTDigger.)

In my opinion, the Board ruling gave Shadis many benefits-of-the-doubt. For example, the Board ruled that Shadis could not testify on the adequacy of the company's financial plans, but he could testify on the "implications" of Entergy's finances on issues relevant to the case.  (This is the kind of thing that makes me glad I'm a chemist, not a lawyer.)

Susan Smallheer's article on the Shadis controversy includes the following quote from Shadis about spent fuel storage:

“I would like to see them buy a gravel pit across town from the present site and move the spent fuel over to a new site to the gravel pit, and then put the fuel below grade, underground like San Onfre,” he said.

 SAFSTOR Matters Video

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...or rather, back with Vermont Yankee, Martin Cohn of Entergy hosts a TV show on the decommissioning process.  Once a month, he interviews someone  about the SAFSTOR process, and "SAFSTOR Matters" appears on community TV.  As a matter of fact, "SAFSTOR Matters" won Best Series of the Year at Brattleboro Community Television. 

In the most recent video, Cohn and Joe Lynch of Entergy discuss the status of the decommissioning, including the new fuel pad.  Worth watching, for some straightforward, low-key explanations.  You can see previous videos in the series at the SAFSTOR Matters page of Brattleboro Community TV.

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