Despite calls to slow down, NRC grant...

Despite calls to slow down, NRC grants Vermont Yankee license renewal

There are 359 comments on the Boston Herald story from Mar 21, 2011, titled Despite calls to slow down, NRC grants Vermont Yankee license renewal. In it, Boston Herald reports that:

ONTPELIER, Vt. - Federal regulators today gave the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant a 20-year license renewal, despite calls for reconsideration following the nuclear disaster in Japan.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Boston Herald.

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Decatur, GA

#355 Apr 1, 2014
I would've thought UFA train disaster was much more deadly than any soviet nukular disaster? Deadlier than ALL soviet nukular disasters put together?

Oh I forgot, it involved hydrocarbons. As such those dead don't count.
nuclear consequences

Sunapee, NH

#356 Apr 28, 2014
Chernobyl's Trees Won't Decay, Increasing the Risk of Nuclear Forest Fire
Fruzsina Eördögh March 17, 2014

"As if the Ukraine didn’t have enough to worry about these days with Russia invading Crimea, recent scientific research points to the very real threat of a nuclear forest fire. Great heavy metal band name aside, the forests around Chernobyl—the nuclear power plant that exploded 28 years ago—are not decaying properly and should it all catch fire, radioactive material would spread beyond Chernobyl’s Zone of Alienation, the off-limits 1000 square-miles around the decommissioned facility located 68 miles north of Kiev.

This Zone of Alienation has given environmental scientists much to study, with insects choosing to not live there and the birds that do live there developing abnormalities like deformed beaks, odd tail feather lengths, and smaller brains "...

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Columbia, SC

#357 Apr 28, 2014
What is a Chernobyl contamination BS story have to do with anything on the retirement of an old US nuclear plant?!?
The NRC is a joke

Chester, VT

#358 Sep 23, 2014
Price-Anderson and Nuclear Safety Good Buys (or Good Byes?) Fission Stories #169
August 26, 2014 Dave Lochbaum

"U.S. nuclear power plant owners are spending millions of dollars on measures to reduce vulnerabilities revealed during the March 2011 disaster at Fukushima in Japan. These are only latest in a series of costly safety upgrades.

For example, when I worked as a consultant in the early 1990s on the power uprate project for the two reactors at the Susquehanna nuclear plant in Pennsylvania, I learned that the company had just spent about $100 million (in 1990 dollars) to install a fifth emergency diesel generator. Each reactor was originally equipped with two emergency diesel generators. The fifth emergency diesel generator was configured such that it could substitute for any one of the four. The additional emergency diesel generator, and its sizeable cost, was not required by the NRC—the agency was fully content with the original four. The investment improved safety by lessening the chances that emergency equipment would lack electrical power. Fukushima reminded us of the consequences when emergency equipment cannot be used.

Juxtaposed against such recurring safety investments are recurring accusations that the nuclear industry places profits paramount. Announcements about staffing and budget reductions at nuclear power plants are frequently accompanied by suggestions that such actions are driven by thirst for profits and will likely compromise safety levels. Despite having worked within the nuclear industry for nearly two decades, I could not reconcile the nuclear industry’s hefty safety investments with its reputation for placing profits foremost.

Then I read Tritium on Ice: The Dangerous New Alliance of Nuclear Weapons and Nuclear Power, a fine book authored by Kenneth D. Bergeron and published by the MIT Press in 2002.

In Chapter 3, Bergeron covered the vulnerabilities of smaller containment buildings to certain types of accidents. He described costly measures undertaken by owners to lessen the likelihood that such accidents occur. He also described the owners’ reluctance to take steps to improve containment performance should such accident occur. Specifically, Bergeron wrote:

"When it came to the “back-end,” that is, those events that might occur after core melting, the industry’s motivation to make changes was not as strong. The costs reactor owners would incur to modify the containment buildings to better protect the public would do nothing to restore the lost revenue stream from the ruined plant."

Bergeron’s words enabled me to finally understand between the nuclear industry’s safety good buys and its good byes.

Two Sides of Risk Reduction

Risk depends on the probability of something bad happening and its consequences. Risk is lowered by reducing the chances of a bad event happening and/or by lessening its consequences. Nuclear safety good buys are made on the probability side of risk management.

As Bergeron noted, nuclear safety good byes are more common on the consequence side.

The additional emergency diesel generator at Susquehanna protected the reactor by reducing the likelihood that a power outage would cause overheating damage of the reactor core. It did little to better protect the public should reactor core damage actually happen."...

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Decatur, GA

#359 Oct 17, 2014
Yeah, well, meanwhile profligate sponsorship of terrorism through petrojihad petrodollars.

But let's get all hysterical about ray-dee-ayshun.

What a joke

Decatur, GA

#360 Oct 17, 2014
Yanks protecting their London Master's interests through antinukular aggitation

what else is new?
we dont need nukes

Chester, VT

#361 Oct 21, 2014
Fallout, the gift that nobody wants that keeps on giving

we dont need nukes

Chester, VT

#362 Oct 21, 2014
Japanese nuclear regulation authority radioactivity survey map:

the safecast radioactivity survey map:
more lies from VY

Chester, VT

#363 Oct 24, 2014
NRC claims Entergy submits inaccurate information
October 24,2014

"Federal regulators are not satisfied with Entergy Nuclear’s claims that emergency planning can be reduced once Vermont Yankee shuts down.

A lengthy letter from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to Entergy Nuclear is punctuated with three complaints that the company’s filing was “inaccurate.”

In all, the NRC staff made 35 detailed requests for additional information from Entergy to justify its request, with the NRC staff raising questions about public safety at the plant under some scenarios until all the high-level radioactive fuel has been put into long-term storage.

“The NRC staff has determined that additional information is required to facilitate our further technical review and to ensure that the staff can reach a reasonable assurance finding,” read the letter, dated Monday.

The NRC staff said Entergy was “inaccurate” when it claimed that there were no accidents “that would result in dose consequences that are large enough to require off-site emergency planning.”

And the staff also said Entergy “inaccurately” stated the analysis of the potential radiological impact of an accident once the plant’s fuel is removed from the reactor core, or “defueled.”

The Shumlin administration has so far opposed the reduction of emergency planning for the area towns, until some emergency milestones are reached.

Entergy Nuclear spokesman Martin Cohn downplayed the requests in the letter, noting the NRC routinely asks for additional information, including on issues associated with Vermont Yankee’s looming shutdown in December.

Entergy hopes to save millions of dollars by reducing the emergency planning it has done for decades in the communities around Vermont Yankee. Cohn said Yankee pays about $2 million to area towns for emergency planning and drills.

The NRC staff said that even if the loss of cooling water in the spent fuel pool was an “unlikely event,” there is a potential for an off-site release of radioactive material. "...

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Columbia, SC

#364 Oct 29, 2014
When a lying yankee accuses a lying yankee of lying, is that a lie, too?
The NRC is a joke

Chester, VT

#365 Jan 30, 2015
Shut It Down Now! Former Humboldt PG&E IBEW 1245 Nuclear Plant Technician Bob Rowen On Nuclear Power

Decatur, GA

#366 Feb 8, 2015
No, the alternative (be at the mercy of the unholy trio of British Petroleum-AngloRoyal Shell, London-NewYork Banksters, and the PetroJihadi Cartel) is still unacceptable.
tip of the poisonberg

Chester, VT

#367 Feb 10, 2015
Radioactive contamination detected at Vermont Yankee
John Herrick Feb. 9 2015

"Strontium-90, a cancer-causing radioactive contaminant, was found in test wells at the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant at levels considered safe by the federal government, state health officials said Monday.

Sr-90, a fission byproduct found in nuclear reactors, was detected in samples collected from 21 monitoring wells on the plant compound last August, officials said. The water is not available for human consumption, and the concentration levels are below federal safe drinking water thresholds.

Health Commissioner Harry Chen said he does not believe this is a new leak. Instead, he said the state has changed to laboratory contractors that use more sensitive detection equipment.

“There is no risk to the public health,” Chen said.

Entergy, a Louisiana-based company that owns four nuclear reactors in the Northeast, officially shut down the 42-year old plant in Vernon for economic reasons on Dec. 29. State officials say the radioisotope leaked from structures, systems and components at the plant.

“Although the specific source of the Sr-90 is unclear, it is likely that Sr-90 in groundwater and soils at Entergy Vermont Yankee are the result of past leaks and fallout from air releases at the station during its years of operation,” a state news release said.

The highest concentrations reached 3.5 picocuries per liter, or pCi/L, which is below the a safe drinking water limit set by the Environmental Protection Agency of 8 pCi/L. On Jan. 29, 2015, Nuclear Regulatory Commission and Oak Ridge National Laboratory verified the Health Department’s findings.

Ingesting the radioisotope can cause bone cancer, cancer of soft tissue near the bone, and leukemia. Sr-90 has been detected in fish’s bones in the Connecticut River, according to the health department. The radioisotope has a 29-year half-life — the time it takes to decay to one-half its original concentration.

Spills and leaks and other plant activities at Vermont Yankee have released radiological contaminants from the plant’s boundaries in the past, according to a 2014 report. In 2009, Entergy detected tritium coming from underground pipes near the Advanced Off Gas, or AOG, building leaking into the Connecticut River, and also detected the radioactive material in a drinking water supply well on the plant compound

Arnie Gundersen, a Burlington-based nuclear engineer, said there is likely more Sr-90 that will be released from the plant. He said the leak will continue to move for years.

“Just because they got this number, that doesn’t mean that there is not more behind it,” Gundersen said.“That’s not the worst there is, that’s the best there is. That’s what you measured.”" ...

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profit over safety

Chester, VT

#369 Feb 21, 2015
Critics decry lack of details in Yankee shutdown plan
Susan Smallheer February 21, 2015

"Some of the most critical comments about the decommissioning plan for the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant Thursday night came from the state’s radiological chief, who said Entergy Nuclear’s plan was sorely lacking in details.

William Irwin, radiological chief for the Department of Health, was one of about three dozen people who spoke at the last public meeting the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is expected to hold in Vermont for decades — until the dismantling of the Vernon reactor begins.

The NRC brought dozens of staff and experts to a very chilly meeting room at the Quality Inn to hear people’s concerns. About 200 people attended the meeting.

Andrew Persinko, deputy director of the NRC’s decommissioning office, said he heard four main areas of concern: the long-term financial responsibility of Entergy, the handling of high-level radioactive waste, the environmental impact statement and emergency planning.

Nancy Braus of Putney and Claire Chang of Gill, Mass., both wanted to know what the NRC would do if in 50 years Entergy had gone out of business.

Enron did so, Chang reminded the group, when no one thought that energy company would.

“We would not let Entergy walk away,” said Bruce Watson, chief of the NRC’s reactor decommissioning office in Washington, D.C.

Even if Entergy did go out of business, Vermont Yankee’s decommissioning trust fund would remain, NRC officials said. Irwin said that the post-shutdown action report, or PSDAR as it is known in NRC jargon, was lacking in many areas.

He said many areas of the plan lacked adequate detail, from emergency planning to fire protection.

He criticized Entergy’s plan for “ignoring” the potential of “hostile actions” at the closed reactor, which could result in a serious zirconium fire if the spent-fuel pool was damaged and the fuel rods were allowed to heat up and catch fire.

And the plan only calls for removing the top 3 feet of soil at the site, when contamination has been known to go deeper than that, Irwin said.

After the four-hour meeting, Irwin said the report — released Dec. 19 by Entergy — was very disappointing and was more like a “cookie-cutter” or “cut-and-paste” approach to decommissioning a nuclear reactor.

Irwin said it was important to get the best information now to make sure that when Vermont Yankee is finally dismantled and cleaned up in what could be 50 to 60 years, the information is on the record and available to others.

He said the strontium-90 recently discovered in four monitoring wells at Vermont Yankee were probably the results of leaks many years ago, and leaks that had been going on for years.

“It’s not unexpected,” he said, noting that there were three known strontium-90 leaks at different locations at the 120-acre site during Yankee’s 43 years of operation

Vermont Yankee shut down permanently Dec. 29 after Entergy said the reactor was losing too much money.

NRC officials have said the levels of strontium-90 in the wells were very low, and certainly below actionable levels for drinking water. But at Thursday night’s meeting, several people suggested a prompt cleanup in the near future would be the best action.

Arnie Gundersen, a consulting nuclear engineer with Fairewinds Associates of Burlington, said prompt cleanup was a better strategy and there was “no basis in physics” for delaying the cleanup.

“It’s really about the money,” said Gundersen.

He said the emergency planning zone should remain until all the high-level nuclear fuel is moved into steel and concrete casks by 2020.

And he said the movement of the fuel, one of the most dangerous tasks in the decommissioning process, should be done while children are not at the nearby Vernon Elementary School."...

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Decatur, GA

#370 Feb 21, 2015
What a load of crock and nonsense!

Decatur, GA

#371 Feb 21, 2015
Any maps from 2014? Or Mammon-forbid 2015?
The NRC is a joke

Chester, VT

#372 Feb 23, 2015
BDV wrote:
What a load of crock and nonsense!
No, a load of strontium-90, along with all of the other very dangerous fission products that Entergy was allowed to leak for quite a long time into the soil and water outside of the Vermont Yankee plant from decrepit, uninspected, highly radioactive underground pipes which they denied having under oath several times.

This is likely just the tip of the poisonburg folks, the public should demand they retest the construction office building well again as it is a potential radiological vector into the areas drinking water aquifer, including the elementary school which is a stones throw away from this dangerously contaminated site.

Letting Entergy declare the contruction office building well "closed" and letting them off the hook is simply not good enough, strontium-90 is a "bone seeker" that exhibits biochemical behavior similar to calcium and is very dangerous.
The NRC is a joke

Chester, VT

#373 Feb 23, 2015
Residents seek assurance from feds on Vermont Yankee decommissioning
John Herrick Feb. 22 2015

"BRATTLEBORO — Fear of the unknown topped the minds of residents gathered in Brattleboro on Thursday night for a hearing on the decommissioning of the idle Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant, a billion-plus dollar process that may take decades to complete while spent nuclear fuel sits in dry cask storage on the west shore of the Connecticut River.

“We do have reason to have concern here,” Betsy Williams, 58, of Westminster West, told a panel of officials from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.“When you tell me the casks will be adequate, that does not give me great assurance. I’m looking for a hell of a lot more than adequate.”

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is taking comments on a proposed decommissioning plan by Entergy Nuclear Vermont Yankee, a subsidiary of the Louisiana-based Entergy Corp. Many residents in the tri-state region surrounding the plant were highly critical of the company’s commitment to tear down the site, and the federal regulator’s role to oversee the process.

Residents and state officials are worried that federal regulations are inadequate to hold the plant owner accountable if there is insufficient money to decommission the facility. The company is using a special decommissioning trust fund — currently totaling $650 million — to pay for a process that is estimated to cost $1.2 billion.

Department of Public Service Commissioner Chris Recchia told federal regulators that they are “stewards” of the fund. Vermont Yankee is the second merchant plant in the nation to decommission; all others were owned by utilities and backed by ratepayer funds. Vermont Yankee was owned by a regulated utility prior to Entergy’s purchase the plant in 2002.

“I do think you need to pay better attention to the fact that we have switched environments here from a regulated utility structure to one where we have merchant facilities that need attention,” Recchia told the NRC.

It’s possible that the cost to decommission the plant could rise further, state officials say. Entergy’s decommissioning plan, known as the Post-Shutdown Decommissioning Activities Report, or PSDAR, does not include sufficient details on the radiological contamination at the site, which could create unanticipated expenses, officials say.

“Experience at other nuclear power plants indicates that when you start to take the buildings apart, when you start to unearth the tunnels and the piping, you find things,” said Bill Irwin, chief of Vermont’s radiological health program.“Whenever things are unexpected, they usually involve unexpected costs. Were not sure those costs are accounted for in the cost estimates.”

Many residents living near the Vernon plant called on Entergy to decommission it as soon as possible. Doing so could even save the company money, according to Arnie Gundersen, a Burlington-based nuclear engineer.

Gundersen said models used by the NRC to calculate necessary decommissioning funds are “simplistic and not based in science.”"...

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Decatur, GA

#374 Feb 25, 2015
Re: Strontium

Nothing in a nuclear reactor is as dangerous as the continued sponsoring (throught inflated oil prices) of Petrojihadistas.

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