Friday, June 7, 2013

Vermont Yankee Gets Permission to Install Diesel

Late yesterday, the Vermont Public Service Board (PSB) issued a Certificate of Public Good for the diesel generator at Vermont Yankee.  I link to their order issuing the certificate here.  

It's a 42 page order, fairly evenly divided between the history of the docket, boilerplate, and snark.  

The snarky part is their insistence that they are issuing this order because Vermont Yankee needs the diesel generator even if it were "in compliance" with their previous orders and was shut down.  (They do not actually have such a previous is just implied within other orders.  They could have issued an order to shut down, but then they would find themselves in court...) The last two pages of this order, by one of the commissioners, is definitely worth reading. The commissioner blames Vermont Yankee for the delay in issuing the order!  Amusing, in a sort of sick way. (I am a blogger.  I have opinions.) 

Still, the whole thing was a win-win.  And the winners were:
  • Vermont Yankee got permission to put in their diesel generator. 
  • The Public Service Board had an opportunity to write about "their previous  orders," which they love to reference.  Since an order to shut the plant does not exist, they can't quote the actual order, but that's nit-picking. 
  • The Public Service Board avoided federal court judgment about the diesels.  With this PSB ruling, the on-going federal court case became moot. The federal court will not rule against the PSB on the basis of pre-emption about nuclear safety equipment, because the case is moot. Therefore, the PSB can consider their honor intact.  Also, if the federal court had ruled against the PSB on pre-emption about the diesels, the state would look pretty bad in terms of  the main federal case about pre-emption
In short, the PSB dodged a major federal court bullet by issuing the certificate, and everybody wins. 

Have a great weekend!


Joffan said...

So thorough and careful was their review, the PSB manage to get the date wrong in the first sentence of their order.

Joffan said...

Haha, I just read David Coen's concurrence statement at the end of the Order, another bit of public sulking.

Apart from also getting the date wrong in the first sentence, he appears to be determined to parade his prejudice once more, proudly declaring his past unwillingness to open an investigation that produced relevant data and a positive decision.

Anonymous said...

So, Meredith, can you answer this question about the VT PSB: are we dealing with grown-ups here, or children? I have to ask, because to read some of this stuff, it makes me think we are dealing with kids, and spoiled kids at that. They don't get their way, they have to run off and sulk, and let everyone know they are unhappy. I grew out of that phase in childhood. Adults simply go about their business and do their work, whether they like it or not. I see no need to parade their sulking in public.

Joffan said...

I don't want to flood you Meredith, but another point occurred to me.

The PSB should be grateful, really. Entergy's April submission pointing out the need for a generator even in a shut-down plant allowed them to issue the permit without having to bite the bullet on the legal operation of Vermont Yankee. If that requirement had not been pointed out, but the diesel generator had continued to be sought as equipment for an operating nuclear plant, the PSB would quite likely have refused the permit and found themselves back on the wrong end of a court decision.

I understand why Entergy would want to avoid that, but part of me would still have liked to see it.

Meredith Angwin said...

Thanks for the comments!

Anon: The local PSB is not made up of grownups. Here's a blog post of over a year ago about their sarcasm.

Joffan: Yes, indeed, Entergy gave them an out! However, you note that they didn't bother to TAKE that out until they were actually showing up in federal court, and the court had refused to dismiss the Entergy case.