Yesterday, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) held a conference call about the decommissioning of Pilgrim, Vermont Yankee, Palisades and Indian Point Nuclear Power Facilities. The call was open to the public; residents and elected officials from MA, NY, MI, and VT called in.

Entergy’s Slides discussed on the conference call: Licensing Action Submittal Plan – Decommissioning Slides →

To stay updated on future public meetings held by the NRC, see our Event Calendar →

Check out this Cape Cod Times article about the call:

Decommissioning discussion goes off track

by Christine Legere, Cape Cod Times, June 20, 2017

Watchdogs pepper Entergy, NRC with unexpected questions.

A conference call set up to hear Entergy Corp.’s timetables for decommissioning the Pilgrim, Vermont Yankee, Palisades and Indian Point nuclear power plants rapidly swerved from its planned agenda Tuesday, as watchdogs from the four host regions, allowed to listen in on the discussion, peppered federal regulators and Entergy representatives with a long list of questions they had not come prepared to answer.

One question that has been on the minds of Massachusetts residents and officials since 2015, when Entergy announced its plan to shutter Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth on May 31, 2019, is whether that date is firm and irreversible.

Mary Lampert, director of Pilgrim Watch, asked Entergy representatives if plans for Pilgrim could change if state laws allowed energy credits for nuclear power similar to those given to renewable energy resources.

Subsidies in New York have resulted in continued operation of the James A. FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant, another Entergy plant that was set to close. Exelon Energy, owner of a handful of plants in New York, stepped in to purchase FitzPatrick.

Massachusetts watchdogs continue to track the progress of the state’s Global Warming Solutions Act, which provides credits to clean energy sources. Draft versions have been publicly discussed, but the revisions to the act will not be finalized until Aug. 11.

“Is there any ironclad plan that no matter how the regulations come out you will close in 2019?” Lampert asked. “Is May 31, 2019, a firm closure date for Pilgrim irrespective of how the Department of Environmental Protection rules on credits for reactors? I think the public deserves to know if you are, you aren’t or you aren’t sure.”

An Entergy representative said the company “would probably make the decision after the final legislation comes out.”

Although officials from Michigan, Vermont and New York were also on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission call, the ontingent from Massachusetts was the most vocal.

Gene Gerzhoy, a policy adviser for U.S. Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass., asked Paul Paradise, Entergy’s decommissioning director, for the company’s timetable for moving the 3,000 radioactive spent fuel assemblies at the Pilgrim plant out of
the fuel pool beside the reactor and into dry storage casks.

Entergy said the timetable for fuel transfer was not yet set and likely would not be until the reactor was shut down in 2019.

Entergy representatives also provided no answers for how long required emergency planning would remain in place around Pilgrim, and the flow of money to neighboring towns to keep security in place would continue, after reactor shutdown.

Other speakers from the public expressed concern over the potential for a zirconium fire in the spent fuel pool, referring to recent studies that predict a greater danger and far more costly result than past NRC studies have shown.

The NRC representative said the agency’s staff would review the studies. Lampert brought up Pilgrim’s decommissioning trust fund, asking who would pay for site cleanup if the fund ran out before the job was complete.

“Entergy is a limited liability company,” Lampert said. “The only assets they’ll have is a fuel pool full of radiological waste and a dirty site.”

An NRC official said the agency would closely monitor the fund during decommissioning and take action if it started to run low.

One caller was disappointed to find the call had not been recorded and there would be no transcript of the discussion, just a simple summary.

Original article in Cape Cod Times: Decommissioning discussion goes off track →