Sunday, February 7, 2016

Storage Pad Needed at Vermont Yankee: Guest post by Guy Page

New VY storage pad needed until feds take away spent fuel

This month the Vermont Public Service Board (PSB) will consider the proposed second dry cask storage pad at Vermont Yankee. This concrete pad would support the remaining reinforced concrete and steel casks containing spent reactor fuel.

Vermont Yankee plans to self-finance the $145 million project, and is willing to begin the fuel transfer two years earlier than planned. The pad’s approval was a condition of the 2013 Entergy/State of Vermont Settlement Agreement providing $50 million of redevelopment funds to Vermont.

This pad is a very big deal for all concerned. Without it, the decommissioning cannot proceed as planned and recently found acceptable by the USNRC. A PSB denial could conceivably place at risk the Settlement Agreement and all of its benefits. Although Vermont Yankee does not produce electricity anymore, approving this spent fuel storage site is an important next step in the decommissioning process.

Ironically, this pad at Vermont Yankee shouldn’t be necessary. Thirty years ago, Congress promised Americans a national spent fuel repository. Billions of dollars have since been collected from the industry, but no repository has been opened. Spent fuel at all U.S. nuclear plants remains onsite.

Recently a faint light appeared at the end of this long, dark tunnel. Two high-level nuclear waste storage sites have been proposed in the American southwest. One or both sites could open within 5-10 years, according to State Nuclear Engineer Anthony Leshinskie. This plan merits the support of Vermont’s federal delegation. Meanwhile, the spent fuel storage site should equally be supported by the PSB.

Guy Page
Communications Director
Vermont Energy Partnership

The Vermont Energy Partnership (www.vtep.org) is a diverse group of more than 90 business, labor, and community leaders committed to finding clean, affordable and reliable electricity solutions. Its mission is to educate policy makers, the media, businesses, and the general public about why electricity is imperative for prosperity, and about the optimal solutions to preserve and expand our electricity network. Entergy, owner of Vermont Yankee, is a member of the Vermont Energy Partnership.


4 comments:

Chris Bergan said...

The State of Vermont certainly utilizes some interesting math in how it accounts for things. So sad they're reduced to shuffling cash flows when there was so much more money when the reactor was active. I deleted the rest of my comment as it became somewhat crass.

Robert Hargraves said...

$145 million for a 22-inch concrete pad!? That's the result of craziness in regulatory policy in the US.

Meredith Angwin said...

Bob

I think we have a misplaced modifier here. The concrete pad isn't a $145 million project. Fuel handling is self-financed...that is, Entergy took a loan for fuel handling, to be repaid later when Department of Energy pays them. I think the loan was $145 million, which includes the new pad, transferring fuel to dry casks and so forth. However, I am going to ask Guy Page to clarify.

Meredith

Guy Page said...

You said it well, Meredith. The $145 million self-financing is for the construction AND loading fuel into dry casks and moving the casks onto the pad. Having said that, the soil testing etc. that needs to happen before they pour the concrete is pretty intense. This ain't no basketball court.