Red Flags Raised Over Radioactive Waste at Indian Point Plants. CAB or COB?

Supervisor of Cortlandt Linda Puglisi and Theresa Knickerbo, Mayor of Buchnnan, asked the NRC to declare her appointed group of politicians and business people the “official ” citizens group to represent Cortlandt during the decommissioning process. This is her so called Citizens Advisory Panel

Those of us who been working on the draft of a bill for the past two years are pushing for a stronger, state mandated, legislated version called Citizens Oversight Board. It is on the IPSEC website for those who want to read it.

If you have not yet contacted your state legislator about the need for a COB now would be a good time to do so.

Red Flags Raised Over Radioactive Waste at Indian Point Plants

Red Flags Raised Over Radioactive Waste at Indian Point PlantsTV

OCTOBER 8, 2019 BY ABBY LUBY

Left to right, John Sullivan, Marilyn Elie, Margot Frances, Manna Jo Greene and Jeanne Shaw, members of the Indian Point Safe Energy Coalition, in front of an inflatable, life-size nuclear waste cask last week. Abby Luby

The closure and dismantling of Indian Point plants 2 and 3 in 2020 and 2021, respectively, have raised red flags about the storage and handling of more than 1,700 tons of dangerous radioactive waste.

At a public meeting last Wednesday, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) answered questions about the decommissioning process. About 90 people crowded into the Morabito Community Center in Cortlandt to ask Bruce Watson, NRC chief of the reactor decommissioning branch, about the regulatory agency’s oversight role during the plant closures.

For three hours, many were frustrated with the unreliable audio system that made it difficult to hear the speakers. A major concern was about Holtec International, a family-owned corporation based in Camden, N.J., slated to purchase, dismantle Indian Point and manage the irradiated nuclear fuel.

Although Holtec has more than 30 years’ experience handling radioactive
waste, it has come under scrutiny for fast-tracking decommissioning of
nuclear plants.

Holtec proposes to dispose of the waste in as little as eight years; the NRC allows 60 years for the process. “Holtec is a company with a record of bribery, lies and risk-taking. We know the NRC allowed the company into plants in New Jersey and Massachusetts even before objections by citizens’ groups were heard,” charged Richard Webster, legal director for Riverkeeper.

“Can you describe the NRC’s role in approving and selecting companies like
Holtec for decommissioning?” asked Peekskill City Councilman Colin Smith
during the meeting. Watson replied that the agency is not privy to contractual details or sale agreements.

“Our sole responsibility is to ensure the applicant is licensed and has the
technical and financial ability to own a particular plant,” he said.
When Smith asked for an estimated timeline for transporting the spent fuel
rods, Watson said, “Congress promised to take care of high-level waste when they encouraged all these plants to be built. It’s in their ballpark to
facilitate the disposal of the spent fuel. It’s way below my pay grade to
make that kind of policy. I wish I had an answer for you.”

NRC’s oversight role with Holtec directly ties into the formation of Community Advisory Boards (CABs) as stipulated in a federal law under the Nuclear Energy Innovation and Modernization Act. Watson indicated that the NRC would be checking in regularly with the progress of the decommissioning, but acknowledged that a heavier oversight role would be put on the Community Advisory Boards. Many have questioned the authority of the newly formed local CAB, chaired by Buchanan Mayor Theresa Knickerbocker with Cortlandt Supervisor Linda Puglisi serving as vice chair.

“We are all in this together,” said Puglisi in defense of the CAB. “We
created a task force two years ago when we learned of the decommissioning and have been meeting monthly. We have a large membership including business people, environmentalists, school officials, chamber of commerce, county executives from Westchester, Putnam, Rockland and Orange, along with state representatives.” Puglisi told the NRC to officially recognize the group as a Community Advisory Panel rather than a board. Knickerbocker said the Community Advisory Panel was a diverse group with Indian Point supporters and critics. “We are the eyes and ears and the voice for our community,” she said. “Our agenda is the safe decommissioning of Indian Point. This panel will drive the bus for decommissioning.”

The watchdog group Indian Point Safe Energy Coalition (IPSEC) has supported a funded Citizens Oversight Board comprised of impartial members, independent scientists, experts, first responders, plant workers,
environmentalists and other informed stakeholders.

“The board should have a budget to hire experts and have appointed environmentalists and volunteers who hold monthly, open meetings,” said IPSEC member Marilyn Elie. IPSEC maintains a CAB made up of local politicians who might have financial or economic agendas is problematic. IPSEC has drafted citizens’ oversight board legislation that is expected to be introduced to state, county and local lawmakers in January.

Assemblywoman Sandra Galef (D-Ossining) told Watson the NRC should fund the CAB. “The NRC allowed the nuclear plants to be here, and now that they are being decommissioned, you should be sponsoring and funding the CABs using money in the federal government budget,” Galef said.

Although Indian Point units 2 and 3 generate about 2,000 megawatts of electricity, Con Ed no longer gets electricity from Indian Point. In 2017, the contract between Con Ed and Entergy expired and was not renewed, according to the utility. Up to that point, Indian Point supplied only 560 megawatts to Con Ed.

With competing solar and wind markets offering cheaper energy, Entergy’s high price for electricity has priced the company out of the market. Today, Entergy is closing its aging plants across the country.

An upcoming forum on decommissioning Northeast nuclear plants is scheduled for this Thursday, Oct. 10 from 1 to 4:30 p.m. at Hendrick Hudson Free Library in Montrose.


This list was compiled by Kevin Kamps of Beyond Nuclear

Just type in the name of the article in your browser to see the full article.

See a similarly long list re: SNC-Lavalin’s skeletons in the closet, posted at Beyond Nuclear’s DECOMMISSIONING website section.

Radioactive Skeletons in Holtec International’s Closet…

Articles, and other posts, listed in backwards chronological order:

Posted September 28, 2019 —

MA AG Healey sues federal nuclear regulators over Plymouth plant transfer

As reported by the Boston Globe.

Holtec International has also proposed “temporarily storing” a grand total of 173,600 metric tons of commercial irradiated nuclear fuel at a site mid-way between Hobbs and Carlsbad, New Mexico.

The license tranfer from Entergy to Holtec at Pilgrim atomic reactor in Massachusetts, would include ownership, title, and liability for the irradiated nuclear fuel stored on-site.

Holtec’s grand scheme is to ultimately transport Pilgrim’s highly radioactive waste to its “consolidated interim storage facility” in NM.

Posted September 27, 2019 —

Oyster Creek Stakeholder Forum Leaves Locals with Even More Renewed Fears

As reported by Tap Into Barnegut/Wareton [New Jersey].

Holtec International was awarded the license to Oyster Creek atomic reactor and ownership of its irradiated nuclear fuel by a U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) rubber-stamp. Holtec has also proposed to transport the highly radioactive wastes to southeastern New Mexico, for so-called “consolidated interim storage” (CIS). NRC is poised to rubber-stamp that, too.

But as with the Oyster Creek license transfer, there is widespread resistance to the Holtec CIS Facility opening in NM.

Posted July 16, 2019 —

Pilgrim Watch Motion to File a New Contention, re: Holtec trustworthiness, reliability, and character (vis-a-vis allegation of bribery attempts, and more)

See the July 16, 2019 Motion filed by environmental watch-dog organization Pilgrim Watch, in the context of Holtec International/SNC-Lavalin’s takeover of the permanently shutdown Pilgrim atomic reactor license for decommissioning and irradiated nuclear fuel management purposes.

Posted July 10, 2019 —

[NJ State Senate Majority Leader] Weinberg ‘troubled’ by Holtec revelations

As reported by Politico.

Posted July 9, 2019 —

Holtec funneled $50,000 to federal employee in bid to win contract, inspector general report says

As reported by the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Posted July 9, 2019 —

Holtec CEO was at center of inquiry that led to disbarment by federal agency

As reported by Politico.

Posted July 2, 2019 —

Meet the Congressman Defending Questionable Tax Breaks for a Company Connected to His Rich Brother

After multiple issues have surfaced with Holtec International’s New Jersey tax break application, Rep. Donald Norcross, its biggest congressional supporter (and the brother of a Holtec board member) is playing defense.

As reported by ProPublica and WNYC.

Posted June 30, 2019 —

Jim Walden went after the mob as a federal prosecutor. Now he’s investigating N.J. tax breaks

As reported by the Philadelphia Inquirer.

June 26, 2019 —

A Huge Tax Break Went to a Politically Connected Company in New Jersey Despite Red Flags

Holtec International told New Jersey regulators that Ohio was competing for its new headquarters. But officials there stripped the firm of past tax awards for failing to create the jobs it promised.

As reported by ProPublica and WNYC.

Posted June 20, 2019 —

New Mexico Commissioner of Public Lands Stephanie Garcia Richard: Holtec Int’l Misrepresentations Raise Serious Safety Concerns for Proposed Nuclear Storage Facility

NM Commissioner of Public Lands’ press release, sub-titled “No Restrictions on Oil, Gas and Mining Activities At Proposed Site,” as well as news coverage, posted.

Posted June 4, 2019:

The Tax Break Application Had a False Answer. Now the State Has Put the Break on Hold.

After WNYC and ProPublica identified a false answer on nuclear company Holtec International’s New Jersey tax break application, state officials have frozen the break pending further investigation.

As further reported by WNYC and ProPublica.

Posted June 3, 2019 —

Sources: Subpoena issued to New Jersey Economic Development Authority seeks documents on Holtec

As reported by Politico.

The news follows an earlier exposé by Politico and WNYC, dated May 23, 2019, re: Holtec’s false testimony to the State of New Jersey on an application which won the company a $260 million tax break. Holtec testified that it had never been barred from doing business with the federal government or any state government. This was false. It had been barred from doing business with the Tennessee Valley Authority, due to a bribery conviction at the Browns Ferry Nuclear Power Plant in Alabama.

Posted May 23, 2019 —

Re: Holtec — “A False Answer, a Big Political Connection and $260 Million in Tax Breaks”

As reported by ProPublica and WNYC.

Posted December 20, 2018 —

“The NRC staff determined that NRC regulations do not specifically address bribery.”

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has delivered an early Xmas present to Holtec International. NRC has decided that “NRC regulations do not specifically address bribery.” The shocking statement is included in a December 20, 2018 “Closure Letter,” re: an “Allegation” of bribery against Holtec, that NRC launched an official investigation of, lasting nearly five months. In the end, NRC’s curt “Closure Letter” announced that bribery is “not our department”!

On July 30, 2018, in its public comments re: NRC’s National Environmental Policy Act scoping process vis-a-vis Holtec’s proposal to “tempoarily store” all the highly radioactive waste to ever be generated in the United States (and then some) in southeastern New Mexico, Beyond Nuclear included allegations of bribery by Holtec. See page 2 of Beyond Nuclear’s comments, here, re: the bribery allegations against Holtec CEO Krishna Singh.

Specifically, Holtec’s CEO, Krishna Singh, attempted to bribe industry whistle-blower Oscar Shirani of Commonwealth Edison/Exelon (as well as NRC whistle-blower Dr. Ross Landsman), into silence, re: widespread, serious quality assurance (QA) violations in the design and fabrication of Holtec containers for high-level radioactive waste storage and transport, used extensively throughout the U.S. nuclear power industry.

Singh was also implicated in bribing a Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) official in order to secure a contact at the Browns Ferry nuclear power plant in Alabama. The bribery led to a court conviction, and resulted in Holtec paying millions of dollars in fines, as well as a 60-day suspension (a bar) on doing business with TVA.

Of course, $2 million in fines, and a 60-day bar, were mere slaps on the wrist for a giant international corporation like Holtec. Holtec was then simply allowed to proceed merrily along its way, executing and profiting from the contract it secured through bribery, and others that followed thereafter.

Mining Awareness, on July 29, 2018, published an exposé and provided documentation of Holtec’s TVA bribery and kick-back scandal.

Posted September 14, 2018 —

CEO of N.J. firm given $260M in tax breaks trashes local workers as lazy, drug users

As reported by NJ.com.

Posted September 14, 2018 —

Camden’s Holtec CEO draws rebuke for comments on workforce

As reported by the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Posted September 14, 2018 —

Protesters demand apology from Holtec CEO for calling Camden workers lazy

As reported by the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Posted September 14, 2018 —

Protesters call Holtec CEO’s comments on Camden workers ‘racist’

As reported by WHYY, Philly’s NPR station.

Posted September 13, 2018 —

Protests, promises to move forward after Holtec CEO’s comments

As reported by the Courier-Post.

Posted September 12, 2018 —

SJWPC Statement on Holtec CEO and Congressman Norcross’ Comments About Camden Residents

As released by the South Jersey Women for Progressive Change.

Posted July 29, 2018 —

Holtec Nuclear Waste Cans-Kris Singh: Apparent Bribery-Kickback And Allegation Of Attempted Bribery

As published by Mining Awareness.

Posted April 5, 2017 —

Summary of Oscar Shirani’s Allegations of Quality Assurance Violations Against Holtec Storage/Transport Casks

Now that Holtec International and the Eddy-Lea [Counties] Energy Alliance (ELEA) want to open a parking lot dump in Southeastern New Mexico, it’s time to look back at these whistleblower revelations from more than a decade ago:

Shirani questioned the structural integrity of the Holtec containers sitting still, going zero miles per hour, let alone traveling 60 miles per hour — or faster — on railways.

Landsman has compared the QA violations involving Holtec containers, and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s incompetence (or worse, collusion) — having done nothing about it — as similar to the reasons why Space Shuttles have hit the ground.

Update on July 25, 2019 by admin

And SNC-Lavalin’s radioactive and other skeletons in the closet (Holtec International and SNC-Lavalin have formed a consortium to undertake nuclear power plant decommissioning, as well as high-level radioactive waste management, named Comprehensive Decommissioning International, CDI):


Radioactive Skeletons in Holtec International’s Closet…

Articles, and other posts, listed in backwards chronological order:

Posted September 28, 2019 —

MA AG Healey sues federal nuclear regulators over Plymouth plant transfer

As reported by the Boston Globe.

Holtec International has also proposed “temporarily storing” a grand total of 173,600 metric tons of commercial irradiated nuclear fuel at a site mid-way between Hobbs and Carlsbad, New Mexico.

The license tranfer from Entergy to Holtec at Pilgrim atomic reactor in Massachusetts, would include ownership, title, and liability for the irradiated nuclear fuel stored on-site.

Holtec’s grand scheme is to ultimately transport Pilgrim’s highly radioactive waste to its “consolidated interim storage facility” in NM.

Posted September 27, 2019 —

Oyster Creek Stakeholder Forum Leaves Locals with Even More Renewed Fears

As reported by Tap Into Barnegut/Wareton [New Jersey].Holtec International was awarded the license to Oyster Creek atomic reactor and ownership of its irradiated nuclear fuel by a U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) rubber-stamp. Holtec has also proposed to transport the highly radioactive wastes to southeastern New Mexico, for so-called “consolidated interim storage” (CIS). NRC is poised to rubber-stamp that, too.But as with the Oyster Creek license transfer, there is widespread resistance to the Holtec CIS Facility opening in NM.

Posted July 16, 2019 —

Pilgrim Watch Motion to File a New Contention, re: Holtec trustworthiness, reliability, and character (vis-a-vis allegation of bribery attempts, and more)

See the July 16, 2019 Motion filed by environmental watch-dog organization Pilgrim Watch, in the context of Holtec International/SNC-Lavalin’s takeover of the permanently shutdown Pilgrim atomic reactor license for decommissioning and irradiated nuclear fuel management purposes.

Posted July 10, 2019 —

[NJ State Senate Majority Leader] Weinberg ‘troubled’ by Holtec revelations

As reported by Politico.

Posted July 9, 2019 —

Holtec funneled $50,000 to federal employee in bid to win contract, inspector general report says

As reported by the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Posted July 9, 2019 —

Holtec CEO was at center of inquiry that led to disbarment by federal agency

As reported by Politico.

Posted July 2, 2019 —

Meet the Congressman Defending Questionable Tax Breaks for a Company Connected to His Rich Brother

After multiple issues have surfaced with Holtec International’s New Jersey tax break application, Rep. Donald Norcross, its biggest congressional supporter (and the brother of a Holtec board member) is playing defense.

As reported by ProPublica and WNYC.

Posted June 30, 2019 —

Jim Walden went after the mob as a federal prosecutor. Now he’s investigating N.J. tax breaks

As reported by the Philadelphia Inquirer.

June 26, 2019 —

A Huge Tax Break Went to a Politically Connected Company in New Jersey Despite Red Flags

Holtec International told New Jersey regulators that Ohio was competing for its new headquarters. But officials there stripped the firm of past tax awards for failing to create the jobs it promised.

As reported by ProPublica and WNYC.

Posted June 20, 2019 —

New Mexico Commissioner of Public Lands Stephanie Garcia Richard: Holtec Int’l Misrepresentations Raise Serious Safety Concerns for Proposed Nuclear Storage Facility

NM Commissioner of Public Lands’ press release, sub-titled “No Restrictions on Oil, Gas and Mining Activities At Proposed Site,” as well as news coverage, posted.

Posted June 4, 2019:

The Tax Break Application Had a False Answer. Now the State Has Put the Break on Hold.

After WNYC and ProPublica identified a false answer on nuclear company Holtec International’s New Jersey tax break application, state officials have frozen the break pending further investigation.

As further reported by WNYC and ProPublica.

Posted June 3, 2019 —

Sources: Subpoena issued to New Jersey Economic Development Authority seeks documents on Holtec

As reported by Politico.

The news follows an earlier exposé by Politico and WNYC, dated May 23, 2019, re: Holtec’s false testimony to the State of New Jersey on an application which won the company a $260 million tax break. Holtec testified that it had never been barred from doing business with the federal government or any state government. This was false. It had been barred from doing business with the Tennessee Valley Authority, due to a bribery conviction at the Browns Ferry Nuclear Power Plant in Alabama.

Posted May 23, 2019 —

Re: Holtec — “A False Answer, a Big Political Connection and $260 Million in Tax Breaks”

As reported by ProPublica and WNYC.

Posted December 20, 2018 —

“The NRC staff determined that NRC regulations do not specifically address bribery.”

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has delivered an early Xmas present to Holtec International. NRC has decided that “NRC regulations do not specifically address bribery.” The shocking statement is included in a December 20, 2018 “Closure Letter,” re: an “Allegation” of bribery against Holtec, that NRC launched an official investigation of, lasting nearly five months. In the end, NRC’s curt “Closure Letter” announced that bribery is “not our department”!

On July 30, 2018, in its public comments re: NRC’s National Environmental Policy Act scoping process vis-a-vis Holtec’s proposal to “tempoarily store” all the highly radioactive waste to ever be generated in the United States (and then some) in southeastern New Mexico, Beyond Nuclear included allegations of bribery by Holtec. See page 2 of Beyond Nuclear’s comments, here, re: the bribery allegations against Holtec CEO Krishna Singh.

Specifically, Holtec’s CEO, Krishna Singh, attempted to bribe industry whistle-blower Oscar Shirani of Commonwealth Edison/Exelon (as well as NRC whistle-blower Dr. Ross Landsman), into silence, re: widespread, serious quality assurance (QA) violations in the design and fabrication of Holtec containers for high-level radioactive waste storage and transport, used extensively throughout the U.S. nuclear power industry.

Singh was also implicated in bribing a Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) official in order to secure a contact at the Browns Ferry nuclear power plant in Alabama. The bribery led to a court conviction, and resulted in Holtec paying millions of dollars in fines, as well as a 60-day suspension (a bar) on doing business with TVA.

Of course, $2 million in fines, and a 60-day bar, were mere slaps on the wrist for a giant international corporation like Holtec. Holtec was then simply allowed to proceed merrily along its way, executing and profiting from the contract it secured through bribery, and others that followed thereafter.

Mining Awareness, on July 29, 2018, published an exposé and provided documentation of Holtec’s TVA bribery and kick-back scandal.

Posted September 14, 2018 —

CEO of N.J. firm given $260M in tax breaks trashes local workers as lazy, drug users

As reported by NJ.com.

Posted September 14, 2018 —

Camden’s Holtec CEO draws rebuke for comments on workforce

As reported by the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Posted September 14, 2018 —

Protesters demand apology from Holtec CEO for calling Camden workers lazy

As reported by the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Posted September 14, 2018 —

Protesters call Holtec CEO’s comments on Camden workers ‘racist’

As reported by WHYY, Philly’s NPR station.

Posted September 13, 2018 —

Protests, promises to move forward after Holtec CEO’s comments

As reported by the Courier-Post.

Posted September 12, 2018 —

SJWPC Statement on Holtec CEO and Congressman Norcross’ Comments About Camden Residents

As released by the South Jersey Women for Progressive Change.

Posted July 29, 2018 —

Holtec Nuclear Waste Cans-Kris Singh: Apparent Bribery-Kickback And Allegation Of Attempted Bribery


Summary of Oscar Shirani’s Allegations of Quality Assurance Violations Against Holtec Storage/Transport Casks

Now that Holtec International and the Eddy-Lea [Counties] Energy Alliance (ELEA) want to open a parking lot dump in Southeastern New Mexico, it’s time to look back at these whistleblower revelations from more than a decade ago:

Shirani questioned the structural integrity of the Holtec containers sitting still, going zero miles per hour, let alone traveling 60 miles per hour — or faster — on railways.

Landsman has compared the QA violations involving Holtec containers, and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s incompetence (or worse, collusion) — having done nothing about it — as similar to the reasons why Space Shuttles have hit the ground.Update on July 25, 2019 by admin

And SNC-Lavalin’s radioactive and other skeletons in the closet (Holtec International and SNC-Lavalin have formed a consortium to undertake nuclear power plant decommissioning, as well as high-level radioactive waste management, named Comprehensive Decommissioning International, CDI):

See a similarly long list re: SNC-Lavalin’s skeletons in the closet, posted at Beyond Nuclear’s DECOMMISSIONING website section.


Healey sues federal nuclear regulators over Plymouth plant transfer

By Danny McDonald Globe Staff, September 26, 2019, 11:25 p.m.

Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth.DAVID L. RYAN/GLOBE STAFF/GLOBE STAFF

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey is suing the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission over the approved transfer of Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station’s license to a company with no prior experience in decommissioning a nuclear power plant. The commission last month approved the sale of the Plymouth plant, which shut down in May after 47 years of producing electricity, from Entergy Corporation to Holtec International.

Holtec is a New Jersey-based company that specializes in the storage and transportation of nuclear waste. The company has promised to decommission the site in eight years, well ahead of the 60 years allowed by federal rules. Entergy, a Louisiana-based company, had owned the plant since 1999. State and local officials previously criticized the proposed deal, saying Holtec did not show that its plan has enough safeguards to protect the public. The sale was completed shortly after the commission approved the transfer of the operating license.

Healey’s office filed suit against federal nuclear regulators in the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit Wednesday. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission, according to the complaint, “acted arbitrarily and capriciously, abused its discretion” and violated the law in failing to provide Massachusetts with a “meaningful opportunity to participate in the process.” Environmental officials, in conjunction with the state attorney general’s office, had petitioned the NRC to hold a hearing on the state’s concerns before deciding on the sale.

Healy’s suit is asking the court to review the commission’s actions, vacate the commission’s orders, findings and decisions, and “remand matters to the NRC for further proceedings.” “The NRC has repeatedly rubber stamped Holtec’s plans, despite serious concerns about the company’s financial capacity, technical qualifications, and competency to safely decommission and clean up the Pilgrim site,” said Healey in a statement. “We are asking the Court to exercise its authority to vacate the NRC’s misguided and unsupported actions.”

Kathleen A. Theoharides, the state’s energy and environmental affairs secretary, said the Baker administration “remains strongly committed to ensuring the Pilgrim Nuclear Power station is decommissioned in a manner that protects the safety of the public and environment,” according to the statement. The administration “is supporting and assisting the Attorney General’s lawsuit regarding the Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff’s approval of the license transfer prior to a ruling by the Commission on the concerns raised by both the administration as well as the Attorney General,” Theoharides said.

David Abel of Globe staff contributed to this report.


Thank you Marie for this link.

This happens to be for Pilgrim.  Expect much the same for Indian Point.  IPSEC is one of the 96 organizations that signed on to this letter.

This is a good letter to forward to your elected officials.  Let them understand how Holtec and the NRC work together.  Certainly not in the public interest.  

If anyone has a good connection with Cortlandt Superintendt Linda Puglisi or Buchanan Mayor Theresa Knickerbocker please make sure they get this letter.

Marilyn

96 Organizations Join Call to Suspend NRC Pilgrim License Transfer

Pilgrim Nuke controversy just never ends…

Harwich, MA – Greenpeace, Sierra Club, and Friends of the Earth join Cape Downwinders and Citizens Awareness Network and 91other concerned organizations in a call for suspension of the NRC Pilgrim license transfer to Holtec. On August 22, the NRC finalized the transfer from Entergy to Holtec without addressing petitions to intervene and request for adjudicatory hearings by the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office and Pilgrim Watch. Organizations from states where Holtec is directly involved such as California, New Mexico, New Jersey, New York, Michigan, and Massachusetts join on our petition requesting the NRC suspend the license transfer until all the contentions on radiological, environments, and financial concerns are heard and resolved. Holtec’s parent company, SNC-Lavalin, is an Canadian based company with a shady business reputation. The full letter to the NRC is attached below.  

Diane Turco, Director of Cape Downwinders explains, “In their petition to intervene, the AGO identified the “risk of a funding shortfall is radiological, environmental, and financial.”  This is a serious matter that must not be rushed in order to accommodate Holtec’s bottom line.  Can we agree decommissioning must be done in the safest and most responsible manner?  That is not the guaranteed plan as it stands now. The Commonwealth has raised serious issues that must be resolved before the license transfer. With this quick transfer, there is now no leverage for Holtec to meet any of the Commonwealth’s demands for public and environmental safety and financial security.” 

Citizens Awareness Network Executive Director Deb Katz from Rowe, MA, comments on the NRC response to CDW and CAN’s original request for suspension, “The Commission can’t comment on our letter, but it can permit the transfer of a systemically mismanaged reactor to Holtec without a thorough analysis of its ability to adequately decommission the Pilgrim facility. The Commonwealth as well as concerned citizens have asked NRC to act prudently instead its chose to  protect a compromised corporation and its bottom line over the health and safety of the community.”

Tim Judson, Director of Nuclear Resource and Information Center, Tacoma Park, MD,  shares his concerns. “The NRC seems to have no understanding of the gravity of the decisions it is making. If these risky decommissioning reactor sales prove to be a failure, states and local communities could be abandoned with leaking radioactive waste sites and no funds to clean them up. They will never be able to trust the NRC again. The only reason for NRC to rush to a decision is to satisfy the short-sighted self-interest of the industry. That’s a recipe for disaster.”

“Holtec has been implicated in bribery, paid a hefty fine, and was even barred from contracting with a federal agency over it,” said Kevin Kamps, radioactive waste specialist at Beyond Nuclear. “Then Holtec’s CEO Krishna Singh provided false information about it under oath to the State of New Jersey, to secure a tax break worth hundreds of millions of dollars. A company with so many skeletons in its closet cannot be trusted with decommissioning trust funds collectively worth billions, let alone the cleanup of radioactive contamination, and high-level radioactive waste management. NRC’s rubber-stamp complicity, as at the Pilgrim nuclear reactor in Massachusetts, cannot stand,” Kamps added.

Signed:

AND:

  • Albuquerque Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, Albuguerque, NM/Sara Keeney and Chadron Kidwell, Co-Clerks
  • Algonquin Eco Watch, Ontario, Canada/Mike Wilton, President
  • Alliance for Environmental Strategies, Eunice, NM/Rose Garder, Founder
  • Alliance to Halt Fermi-3, Livonia, MI/Keith Gunter, Board Chair
  • American Friends Service Committee, Cambridge, MA/Keith Harvey, Northeast            Regional Director
  • Association to Preserve Cape Cod, Dennis, MA/Andrew Gottlieb, Executive Director
  • Beyond Nuclear, Tacoma Park, MD/ Paul Gunter, Director, Kevin Kamps, Nuclear Waste Specialist
  • Boston Downwinders, Newton, MA/Guntram Mueller, Convener
  • Bruce Center for Energy Research Information, Inverhuron, Ontario/Eugene Bourgeois, President 
  • Bronx Climate Justice, North Bronx, NY/Jennifer Scarlott, Coordinator
  • Campaign for Peace, Disarmament, and Common Security, Cambridge, MA/Joseph Gerson, PhD, President
  • Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility, Montreal, Quebec/Gordon Edwards, President
  • Canton Residents for a Sustainable, Equitable Future, Canton, MA/Jennifer Wexler, President 
  • Citizens Against Radioactive Neighbourhoods, Peterborough, Ontario/Jo Hayward-Haines, Contact
  • Citizens Against the Rehobeth Compressor Station, Rehobeth, MA/Tracy Manzella, Organizer
  • Citizens for Alternatives To Radioactive Dumping, Albuquerque, NM/Janet Greenwald, Coordinator
  • Citizens Power, Inc., Pittsburg, PA/David Hughes, President
  • Citizens’ Resistance at Fermi Two (CRAFT), Redford, MI/Jessie Pauline Collins, Co-Chair
  • Clean Water Action, Brick, NJ/Janet Tauro, Board Chair
  • Coalition Against Nukes, Sag Harbor, NY/Priscilla Star, Founder and Director
  • Coalition For A Nuclear Free Great Lakes, Monroe, MI/Michael J. Keegan,  Chairperson
  • Committee for Future Generations, Beauval, Saskatchewan/Candyce Paul, Outreach Coordinator
  • Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety,  NM/Joni Arends, Executive Director
  • Concerned Citizens of Allegany County, Inc., Angelica, NY/Karen Ash, Chair
  • Concerned Citizens of Lacey, LLC, Lacey, NJ/Paul Dressler, Founder
  • Don’t Waste Michigan, Holland, MI/Alice Hirt, Co-Chair
  • Duxbury Nuclear Advisory Committee, Duxbury, MA/Rebecca Chin, Co-Chair
  • Elders Climate Action Massachusetts, Cambridge, MA/Grady McGonagil, Ed.D, Founder
  • Engage Falmouth, Falmouth, MA/Elise Hugus, Convener
  • Environmental Massachusetts Research and Policy Center, Boston, MA/Ben Hillerstein, State Director 
  • Friends of the Earth, Washington, D.C./Damon Moglen, Senior Strategic Advisor
  • GRAMMES (Grandmothers, Mothers, and More for Energy Safety), Brick, NJ/Jeff Brown, founding member
  • Greenpeace USA, Washington, D.C./Charlie Cray, Political and Business Strategist
  • Gray Panthers of Metro Detroit/Randy Block, MSW, Chair, National Council of Gray Panthers
  • Greater Boston Physicians for Social Responsibility, Boston, MA/Anna Baker, MPH, Executive Director
  • Heart of America Northwest, Seattle, WA/Peggy Maze Johnson, Coordinator
  • Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, Inc., Beacon, NY/Manna Jo Greene, Environmental Director
  • Indian Point Safe Energy Coalition, Cortland Manor, NY/Marilyn Elie, Organizer
  • League of Women Voters Cape Cod Area, MA/Suzanne Brock, Richard Utt, Steering Committee
  • League of Women Voters Plymouth Area, MA /Henrietta Cosentino, Chair, Nuclear Affairs Committee
  • MA Peace Action, Cambridge, MA/Cole Harrison, Executive Director
  • Martha’s Vineyard Island 350, MA/Ann Rosenkranz, Steering Committee Member 
  • MASSPIRG, Boston, MA/Janet Dominetz, Executive Director
  • New Mexico Interfaith Power and Light, Albuquerque, NM/Sr. Joan Brown, OSF, Executive Director
  • Michigan Safe Energy Future, Kalamazoo, MI/Iris Potter, Organizer
  • Michigan Stop The Nuclear Bomb Campaign, St. Clair Shores, MI/Vic Macks, Steering Committee
  • Mid-Missouri Peace Works, Columbia, MO/Mark Haim, Director
  • Mountain States Mennonite Conference, Taos, NM/Todd Wynard, Minister for Creative Justice
  • Native Community Action Council, Las Vegas, NV/Ian Zabarte, Secretary
  • Natural Resources Defense Council, Washington, D.C./Caroline Reiser, Legal Fellow
  • Nevada Nuclear Waste Task Force, Las Vegas, NV/Judy Trelchel, Executive Director
  • New Mexico Environmental Law Center, Santa Fe, NM/Douglas Meiklejohn, Executive Director
  • New York Safe Energy Campaign, NY, NY/Ken Gale, Founder
  • Newton Dialogues, Newton, MA/Susan Mirsky, Organizer
  • No Fossil Fuel, LLC and Clean Power, Inc., Kingston, MA/Mary O’Donnell, President
  • No More Fukushimas, Amesbury, MA/Joanne Hammond, Organizer
  • North American Water Office, Lake Elmo, MN/George Crocker, Executive Director and Lea Foushee, Environmental Justice Director
  • Northwatch, Northeastern Ontario, Canada/Brennain Lloyd, Project Coordinator
  • Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, NY, NY/Alice Slater, UN Representative
  • Nuclear Energy Information Service (NEIS), Chicago, IL/David Kraft, Director
  • Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS), Tacoma Park, MD/Tim Judson, Executive Director 
  • Nuclear Issues Study Group, Albuquerque, NM/Leona Morgan, Coordinator
  • Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance, Oak Ridge, TN/Ralph Hutchison, Coordinator
  • Occupy Bergen County, Bergen County, NJ/Sally Gillert, Organizer
  • Occupy Hingham, Hingham, MA /John Gauley, Co-Founder 
  • On Behalf of Planet Earth, Watertown, MA/Sheila Parks, Ed.D, Founder
  • Palisades Shutdown Campaign Coalition (PSCC), Kalamazoo, MI/Iris Potter, Bruce Brown, Co-Coordinators
  • Peace Abbey Foundation, Sherbon, MA/Lewis M. Randa, Director
  • Physicians For Social Responsibility, Kansas City Metro Area Missouri/Kansas, Ann Suellentrop, Project Director
  • Pilgrim Coalition, Plymouth, MA/Norm Pierce, PhD, Executive Committee
  • Pilgrims for Safe Decommissioning, Plymouth, MA/Love Albrecht Howard, Contact
  • Project Andrews County, Andrews, TX/Elizabeth Padilla, Leader
  • Redwood Alliance, Arcata, CA/Michael Welch, Coordinator
  • Safe and Green Campaign, Brattleboro, VT/Leslie Sachs-Sullivan, Convener
  • Safe Energy Rights Group, Peekskill, NY/Nancy Vann, President
  • Samuel Lawrence Foundation, Del Mar, CA /Bart Zeigler, PhD, President
  • Shut Down Indian Point Now (SDIPN), NY, NY/Catherine Skopic, Chair
  • Sierra Club Massachusetts/Deb Pasternak, Chapter Director
  • Sierra Club National Nuclear Free Campaign, Oakland, CA/Susan Corbett, Chair
  • Six Ponds Improvement Association, Plymouth, MA/Lawrence H. Delafield, President
  • Stop Algonquin Pipeline Expansion, Rockland, Putnam, Westchester Counties, NY/Suzannah Glidden, Co-Founder
  • Sugar Law Center for Economic and Social Justice, Detroit, MI/John Philo, Executive and Legal Director
  • Sustainable Energy and Economic Development Coalition (SEED), Austin, TX/Karen Hadden, Organizer
  • Sustainable Middleborough, Middleborough, MA/Kimberly French, Organizer Team, 
  • Sustainable South Shore, Norwell, MA/Todd Breitenstein, Organizer
  • Three Mile Island Alert, Inc., Harrisburg, PA/Eric Epstein, Chairman
  • Toledo Coalition for Safe Energy, Toledo, OH/Terry Lodge, Convener
  • Toxics Action Center, Boston, MA/Claire Miller, Organizer
  • UUMass Action, Marlboro, MA/Laura Wagner, Executive Director
  • Vermont Yankee Decommissioning Alliance (VYDA), Montpelier, VT/Debra Sloleroff, Organizer
  • Watertown Citizens for Peace, Justice and the Environment, Watertown, MA/Tony Palomba, Steering Committee
  • Women’s Energy Matters, Fairfax, CA/Jean Merrigan, Executive Director
  • Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Cape Cod Chapter, MA/Donna Pihl, Convener

By CapeCodToday Staff
Source: http://www.capecodtoday.com/article/2019/09/03/248724-96-Organizations-Join-Call-Suspend-NRC-Pilgrim-License-Transfer


Sierra Club Tool Kit, intended for GND and useful for COB!

Sierra club has an excellent toolkit at the Q below.  They are suggesting things that could lead to a real gra inss roots movement.  Included are “drop by visits”  if you can’t  get an official visit, taking a small gift of flowers or a plant to symbolize the Green New Deal, taking a selfie of your visit, posting it to your social media and most important – reporting back to the group or individuals you are working with. Also included are fact sheets and letters ready to give to the electeod official you are visiting.  

The campaign they have mapped out for talking with elected officials would work for any issue – Citizens Oversight Board for example.

Sierra Club has an ant nuclear group and as was said at the webinar cannot imagine going forward with a green economy that includes nucear power.

Check out the toolkit at sc.org/lobbytoolkit

To see the webinar that introduces the campaign for the GND scroll down to the bottom of the Sierra Club’s home page, www.sierraclub.org

In Solidarity, Marilyn Elie


Entergy, the license holder for Indian Point, wants to sell to Holtec for the decommissioning of Indian Point.  

The company has run into opposition in its bid to decommission Pilgrim nuclear power plant in Massachusetts. They are planning an accelerated decommissioning schedule, something the company has never tried before and have proposed the same practice for Indian Point. Interesting that the League of Women Voters is involved.

– Marilyn

Plymouth League of Women Voters sends letter of protest to NRC

Dry cask storage at Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station designed to hold radioactive waste. [Courtesy Photo]

PLYMOUTH – The Nuclear Regulatory Commissioncontinues to draw fire from Plymouth residents for its announcement that it plans to approve the license transfer application of Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station to Holtec Inc.

The Plymouth Area League of Women voters sent a letter to the NRC chair protesting “in the strongest terms” the decision to grant the license transfer application on or about Aug. 21. It also objected to the decision to deny the Massachusetts attorney general’s request for a 90-day stay and urged the NRC to reconsider “in light of strong state and local opposition.”

Dated Aug. 19, the letter was addressed to Kristine L. Svinicki, NRC chair, and was signed by Henrietta Consentino, chair of the Nuclear Affairs Committee of the Plymouth Area LWV. This letter comes on the heels of a petition by a local activist, which has been posted on the town’s website, demanding Holtec negotiate in good faith.

In the letter, Consentino states, “Both the Town of Plymouth and the Commonwealth have legitimate concerns about the financial accountability of the prospective licensee, its finances and its plans for safety, security, monitoring and emergency response during the period of decommissioning.”

The LWV letter cites Holtec and its partner SNC-Lavalin as having “dubious histories of bribe-taking.” It also stated that the NRC plan to approve the LTA “communicates a blatant disregard for the public interest.”

In an interview Tuesday, Consentino stated the Plymouth Area LWV found it “quite distressing” that the NRC had taken these actions.

“We are very concerned that the NRC has not vetted the participants in this sale carefully,” she said. “Or, if they have, it doesn’t care.”

Current owner Entergy Inc. announced earlier this year that it wanted to transfer its license to Holtec. Entergy planned to decommission the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth under a 60-year cleanup plan, which is allowed by the NRC. Proposed owner Holtec said it intended to handle the decommissioning in only eight years.

Critics are concerned about Holtec’s ability to do what it says it can do: clean up all radioactive material at Plymouth’s Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station, which ceased operations on May 31, in less time. One of the company’s divisions – Holtec Decommissioning Inc. – would be responsible for this effort, even though it has never decommissioned a nuclear power plant on an accelerated timeline before.

It is believed that Holtec will attempt to clean up the site in eight years using the $1.1 billion decommissioning fund and pocket as profit whatever is left over. However, critics are concerned that the fund is insufficient for the task and that Holtec might walk away from the project, leaving the town and state to finish it. The fund was created with ratepayer money specifically allotted for decommissioning operations.

Also of concern is the parent company’s legal problems. Holtec is facing numerous allegations of unethical and illegal actions in regards to its business practices. According to ProPublicaPolitico and other media sources, the company has been accused of failing to disclose important details about legal proceedings against it, including that it had been temporarily banned from working with a federal agency for paying $50,000 to secure a contract, had tax credits revoked for noncompliance and that its CEO was questioned as part of a criminal investigation.

When contacted for comment, spokesman Joe Delmar of Holtec repeated an earlier statement:

“Entergy and Holtec believe that the transfer of Pilgrim to Holtec for prompt decommissioning is in the best interests of the town of PIymouth and surrounding communities, the nearly 270 people from the region who work at Pilgrim, and the Commonwealth. We are confident that the license transfer application demonstrated that Holtec possesses the technical and financial qualifications required to safely decommission Pilgrim. We look forward to completing the transaction if regulatory approval is obtained.”

By David Kindy
Source: https://plymouth.wickedlocal.com/news/20190820/plymouth-league-of-women-voters-sends-letter-of-protest-to-nrc


Nuclear waste stranded at Indian Point as feds search for permanent solution

What will happen to Indian Point spent nuclear fuel rods? Thomas Zambito for lohud reports. Ricky Flores/Frank Becerra Jr./lohud

The bold plan to rid the nation’s nuclear power plants of spent fuel that’s been piling up for decades is spelled out, down to the tiniest of details, in a 2002 Department of Energy report that took years to produce at a cost of billions of dollars.

It envisioned shipping the country’s nuclear waste on a spider-like configuration of barge, rail and truck routes to Yucca Mountain in the Mojave Desert, 100 miles northwest of Las Vegas.

For 15 years, the plans went nowhere as efforts to designate an underground repository for the nation’s nuclear waste foundered amid political opposition.

But in recent months, those routes have been debated anew as momentum builds in Congress for a way to rid the nation’s nuclear power plants of 76,000 metric tons of used fuel – enough spent fuel assemblies to cover a football field eight yards high if stacked end to end and side by side.

Dry storage of spent fuel rods at the Energy Indian
Dry storage of spent fuel rods at the Energy Indian Point Energy Center in Buchanan in March, 2017. (Photo: File photo by Ricky Flores/The Journal News)

Among the report’s more controversial proposals is a plan to move spent fuel out of Indian Point in Buchanan — and 16 other power plants without direct access to railroads — by barge, down the Hudson River.

Over the course of decades, 58 shipments of spent fuel would be loaded on barges at Indian Point for the 42-mile trip down the Hudson at a leisurely 5 miles an hour pace, coursing under the Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge and past New York City on the way to the seaport in New Jersey.

There, cement-and-steel casks of spent fuel, weighing as much as 100 tons, would be placed on rail cars for the 2,600-mile trip west to Yucca Mountain.

When the idea was first broached, state and local officials railed against the thought of nuclear waste floating down the Hudson.

“Any plan that involves the shipping of nuclear waste on a barge down the river past New York City raises enormous health, environmental and security concerns,” said then-Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-NY.

FormerNew Jersey Sen. Robert Torricelli also noted that New Jersey ports shouldn’t be used “as rest stops for nuclear material.”

Workers replace fuel rods at Indian Point 3 in Buchanan
Workers replace fuel rods at Indian Point 3 in Buchanan on March 20. (Photo: Ricky Flores/The Journal News)

New momentum for the plan

More than a decade later, the debate has taken on greater urgency. As more and more nuclear power plants either shut down or announce plans to close — victims of the cheap price of abundant natural gas — communities are anxious to get rid of spent fuel so they can find new uses for valuable property on waterfront locales that include the Pacific Coast, the Connecticut River and the Hudson River.

They accuse the federal government of failing to make good on a decades-old promise to find a place for the nation’s nuclear waste and say they should be compensated for being turned into “de-facto” nuclear storage sites.

Buchanan Mayor Theresa Knickerbocker talks about the
Buchanan Mayor Theresa Knickerbocker talks about the closing of Indian Point while at Buchanan Village Hall Sept. 28, 2017. (Photo: Frank Becerra Jr./The Journal Ne)

Among them is Buchanan Mayor Theresa Knickerbocker, who holds out little hope that the political hurdles to shipping nuclear waste out of Indian Point can be overcome.

“Everyone is going to push back,” Knickerbocker said. “You’re going to get a lot of political pushback. It’s known as NIMBY (Not In My Backyard). If they haven’t resolved this in 30 years, you have to move on.”

The hardest pushback has come from Nevada, which has argued that the transportation of nuclear waste exposes communities across the country to unhealthy amounts of radiation.

When then-President George W. Bush designated Yucca as a repository in February 2002, a few months after the terrorist attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center, then-Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman told the Los Angeles Times that sending waste to Nevada will expose “millions of Americans in 43 states to potential nuclear holocaust.”Get the Daily Briefing newsletter in your inbox.

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“All it takes is one terrorist with a TOW (anti-tank) missile obtained on the black market to take out a truck carrying this deadly substance, and we get Chernobyl in our backyard,” Goodman told the Los Angeles Times in February 2002. “This is the stuff of our worst nightmares.”

Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham countered, saying moving fuel by truck and rail was a better alternative to having it sitting in communities around the U.S.

Barge versus Tappan Zee

Spearheading Nevada’s opposition for nearly three decades has been Robert Halstead, the executive director of Nevada’s Agency for Nuclear Project in Gov. Brian Sandoval’s office. Halstead cites statistics suggesting that spent nuclear fuel would travel through 330 congressional districts in 44 states on the road to Yucca.

“We don’t have as many railroads as we used to have, so we’ve got a few that go cross country and they go through downtown Chicago, they go through downtown Salt Lake City,” Halstead said. “They go through downtown everywhere, just about, so the rail shipments really have a problem avoiding things.”

Some 15 years ago, Halstead traveled to Westchester County for a look at some of the proposed routes spent fuel would take out of Indian Point.

Spent fuel containment casks at the Indian Point Energy
Spent fuel containment casks at the Indian Point Energy Center in Buchanan, Aug. 11, 2015. (Photo: Mark Vergari/The Journal News)

“At one point DOE had a plan on the table to make truck shipments out of Indian Point across the Tappan Zee Bridge,” Halstead said. “How crazy is that? That’s why they ended up considering a barge option.”

The precise transportation routes are still being studied, according to a follow-up to the 2002 DOE report released in 2008. That report designated rail cars as the preferred mode of transport and barges as an option for removing fuel from Indian Point and other facilities without access to rail. Instead of the Port of Jersey City, it designates the Port of Newark, some 55 miles away, as the site for loading the fuel onto railcars.

A DOE spokesman could not be reached for comment on why the port changed but, the 2008 report notes, the DOE considered a number of locations for the transfer to railcars.

Manna Jo Greene, the environmental director of Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, a watchdog group, questioned whether the canisters used to transport fuel out of Indian Point will be robust enough to withstand a mishap.

“I am aware that most of the nuclear facilities around the country want the waste off site but that is a double-edged sword in terms of the safety considerations about transportation,” Greene said.

Richard Webster, the legal director of Riverkeeper, the Hudson River environmental group, said that, with the uncertainty over naming a repository, the focus should be on improving or “hardening” on-site storage.

“It’s always about to happen and nothing happens,” Webster said. “All they really need to do is make sure fuel can be stored safely on the site.”

Indian Point’s fuel problem

At Indian Point, some 1,100 spent fuel assemblies are already stored in 34 cement casks on a cement pad on site and more will be added in the years to come after they are cooled in pools located next to the plant’s two reactors.

The Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant in Buchanan May
The Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant in Buchanan May 9, 2017. (Photo: Frank Becerra Jr./The Journal News)

Greene thinks more could be done to disperse the casks of spent fuel across Indian Point’s entire 240-acre property so they’re not lined up like “bowling pins” on a pad. But such a plan would likely render the rest of the property unusable, a prospect that doesn’t sit well with communities around Indian Point looking for ways to generate revenue from the site.

Buchanan and the Town of Cortlandt, together with the Hendrick Hudson School District, stand to lose $32 million in annual tax revenues in the years after 2021, when Indian Point’s two reactors will be shut down.

“We don’t want it ever to become a distressed community,” Cortlandt Supervisor Linda Puglisi said at a meeting of the Indian Point Task Force last month.

The Crystal River Complex consists of one PWR nuclear
The Crystal River Complex consists of one PWR nuclear unit and four coal-fired generating units. Crystal River Station, CR3. (Photo: Kathy Morse_PE employee)

Nevada opposes Yucca

In 2002, Bush selected Yucca Mountain as the nation’s first geologic repository for nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. The decision followed years of study at a cost of $15 billion, most of that financed by surcharges in the electric bills of U.S. ratepayers.

It produced a 2002 report so meticulously detailed that the DOE calculated the number of nuclear fuel shipments needed to remove spent fuel from each power plant and just how many kilometers each would travel over urban, suburban or rural terrain.

From New York’s three upstate nuclear power plants – R.E. Ginna, Nine Mile Point and James A. FitzPatrick – more than 230 shipments of spent fuel would travel by rail through Pennsylvania and Ohio before heading west 2,500 miles.

Once at Yucca Mountain, a 150,000-acre site where the average annual precipitation is seven inches, tens of thousands of metric tons of spent nuclear fuel would be entombed in underground tunnels so that decaying radioactive isotopes could cool down over the course of thousands of years.

Nevada, led by then-Senate Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid, railed against the Yucca plan and in 2010 the Obama administration withdrew an application to license Yucca that was before the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

But in June, a bill to restart the Yucca licensing process, sponsored by Illinois Rep. John Shimkus, a Republican, passed the House Energy and Commerce committee by a 49-4 vote and could come up for a house vote as soon as this month.

The Trump administration has set aside $110 million to restart the Yucca Mountain licensing process and another $10 million to develop interim storage facilities.

Much is on the line.

The Government Accountability Office says the nation’s inventory of spent nuclear fuel is growing by 2,200 metric tons a year and is expected to total nearly 140,000 metric tons by 2067.

Keeping the fuel where it is has proved costly.

The federal government has already paid out more than $6 billion to compensate the owners of commercial reactors for reneging on a promise to take their waste by 1998. That figure is expected to grow by another $25 billion. In March, the state of Texas sued the DOE to force the agency it to live up to its promise to open Yucca.

Plant closings challenge small towns

Small towns in Vermont, Illinois and Wisconsin that once benefited from millions of dollars in property taxes generated by nuclear power plants are trying to come up with ways to close gaping holes in their budgets.

Several have thrown their support behind a bill in Congress that would set aside $100 million to compensate communities that are home to spent nuclear fuel until a permanent repository is opened.

After 30 years of false starts, groups on both sides of the debate question whether Yucca will ever open. Congressional watchdogs say that even if the House backs the Shimkus bill, success is not assured in the Senate. A companion bill has yet to be introduced.

They are, however, encouraged by the possibility of a compromise in the form of an interim storage site in New Mexico. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is considering a license application submitted by New Jersey-based Holtec to develop the site. Shimkus’ bill provides at least $50 million in funding for a single interim site for the years 2020-2025.

“I’m hoping this bill is the start of a grand legislative compromise,” said Rod McCullum, the point person on used fuel issues for the Nuclear Energy Institute, a trade group for the owners of the nation’s commercial reactors. “The government is bleeding a ton of money in liability for not doing anything. But as you see plants like Vermont Yankee and Dover, Indian Point and Oyster Creek shut down, you’re seeing a lot more interest in moving used fuel.”

The Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant in Vernon, Vermont,
The Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant in Vernon, Vermont, as seen from across the Connecticut River from New Hampshire, June 19, 2017.  (Photo: Mark Vergari/The Journal News)

A looming transportation issue

Critics are concerned that even if a repository were to open in the next few years, little planning has gone into developing costly transportation routes.

Shimkus’ bill does not directly address the transportation issue except to require that any route to Yucca not pass through Las Vegas.

At a hearing last month, David Victor, a professor at the University of California at San Diego, urged members of a House subcommittee investigating the spent fuel issue to address the transportation issue.

“Under plausible yet optimistic scenarios, (interim storage) facilities could be open in the early 2020’s,” said Victor, who chairs a community panel overseeing the decommissioning process for the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) in San Diego. “Spent fuel at SONGS (and many other sites) would be ready for shipment then. It would be a pity if all the work done to open storage and permanent disposal facilities falters for lack of attention to transportation.”

San Onofre shut down in 2012, leaving tens of thousands of spent fuel rods on a site overlooking the Pacific Coast.

REACTORS COAST

Pacific surf rolls in under the nuclear reactors of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station in northern San Diego County on April 25, 2001. (Photo: DENIS POROY, ASSOCIATED PRESS)

“For years, Yucca Mountain has been a political lightning rod in ways that made it exceptionally difficult – at times, impossible – to move forward with that site,” Victor said. “The prospect of consolidated interim storage might prove politically more tractable because, when combined with consent-based siting, it allows communities to nominate themselves to become storage sites.”

California Rep. Darrell Issa, a Republican whose district includes San Onofre, co-sponsored the Shimkus bill and is a proponent of interim storage.

“I know for an absolute certainty taxpayers are already on the hook at this point for tens of billions of dollars over the next century, but this is a 10,000-year problem in need of a low-cost, safe solution,” Issa said at last month’s House hearing.

‘Screw Nevada 2’

Anti-nuclear groups fear that putting nuclear waste on the nation’s rails and rivers will expose greater numbers of people to dangerous amounts of radiation. They say creating interim sites will only exacerbate the problem since, eventually, the fuel will need to go to a permanent site.

“Moving it twice really doesn’t make sense,” said Greene, Clearwater’s environmental director.

The Maryland-based anti-nuclear group, Beyond Nuclear, has countered the Shimkus’ bill by highlighting the impact it could have on communities across the U.S.

“We used to use the slogan ‘When it comes to nuclear waste transportation, we all live in Nevada,’” said Kamps. “Most of the country is going to be impacted by these shipments whether it’s by rail, truck or barge.”

Halstead recently reprised a phrase adopted decades ago when Nevada was trying to head off plans for Yucca Mountain.

“They hate it when I say this is ‘Screw Nevada 2’,” Halstead says. 

Nuke fuel movements

Nuclear Energy Institute’s McCullum says he’s unpersuaded by such arguments. He says hundreds of shipments of Navy fuel have criss-crossed the country for decades on the way to sites in Georgia and Idaho.

The NRC says 1,300 spent fuel shipments have been completed safely in the United States over the past 35 years. Four were involved in accidents but none resulted in the release of radioactive material, the commission notes.

“Transportation as a problem is really a red herring,” McCullum said. “It’s something that the anti-nuclear establishment and to an extent the Nevada opposition has used as a lever to try to gain support. Certainly, if you’re going to vote against Yucca Mountain because Harry Reid is the Senate Majority leader and you don’t want to tell your constituents you’re voting to strand nuclear waste in your community, you’re going to explain your vote by saying ‘Well I don’t think the transportation is safe.’ That’s politics.”

Workers remove a piece of equipment in the spent fuel
Workers remove a piece of equipment in the spent fuel pool of Unit 3, at the Indian Point Energy Center in Buchanan, Aug. 11, 2015. (Photo: Mark Vergari/The Journal News)

The NRC, which regulates civilian use of radioactive materials, works closely with the Department of Transportation to coordinate a plan for the safe transport of spent fuel. It requires that casks be constructed with walls of steel and shielding materials five to 15 inches thick and be able to survive tests involving impact, puncture, fire and submersion in water. Rail containers can weigh as much as 150 tons and can carry up to 20 tons of spent fuel.

A 2016 study done for the DOE by Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee found that there have been 25,400 shipments – totaling roughly 87,000 metric tons – of spent fuel worldwide without injury or loss of life due to radioactive material.

Meantime, as the debate over a permanent repository continues in Congress, Puglisi and others are pushing for state legislation that would give towns the ability to tax spent fuel.

“We need to be able to assess them as a ratable,” Puglisi said during the task force meeting last month.

Assemblywoman Sandy Galef, D-Ossining, is drafting a bill that would allow towns to classify spent fuel rods as real property for taxing purposes.

“Having the spent fuel there intrudes on our ability to use the site for other uses,” Galef said. “I think the people who live around the plant would like it to disappear and go someplace else.”

The Entergy owned Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant in Vernon, Vermont closed in late 2014. Hear how it changed the town as various community members reflect on the closing. Mark Vergari/lohud

By Thomas C. Zambito
Source: https://www.lohud.com/story/news/investigations/2017/10/11/nuclear-waste-indian-point/713534001/


Indian Point Nuclear Waste Moved to New, Dry Home

Workers moved a cask filled with spent fuel on Friday from the Indian Point 2 nuclear plant.CreditMichael Nagle for The New York Times

Nuclear waste may not have found a permanent resting place, but 32 bundles of spent fuel rods from the Indian Point 2 plant in Westchester County have found a home suitable for at least the next few decades — a steel and concrete cask surrounded by razor wire, floodlights and surveillance cameras about 300 feet from the reactor building.

After years in a storage pool, the more than 6,000 rods, each of them 12 feet long, have been dried out and immersed in helium gas to prevent rust, fitted into slots like eggs in a carton, and sealed in a steel canister for what may be the next few hundred thousand years. Then on Friday the canister, inside the cask, was hauled by a tank-like “crawler” to the new pad, which was designed to survive earthquakes, hurricanes and other hazards.

The spent rods altogether will give off about as much heat as a dozen hair dryers running at full power, and the exterior of the cask will reach 80 to 90 degrees. They also give off radiation — a dose of about one millirem per hour — that is about equivalent to what an average person receives a day from natural sources. Officials of Entergy, which owns the Indian Point plant, said there would be no additional radiation along the fence line.

The new system for storing spent fuel is the biggest physical change required of Entergy for the Indian Point plant to continue operating beyond its initial 40-year license. In fact, the waste storage may outlive the reactors themselves. Similar canisters have already been stored at the former site of the Connecticut Yankee reactor on the Connecticut River.

Indian Point, on the east bank of the Hudson River 35 miles north of Midtown Manhattan, is seeking a 20-year extension of the operating licenses for two reactors. A third was deactivated in 1974. Gov. Eliot Spitzer and other elected officials are opposed to an extension because of safety concerns and are demanding hearings before a panel of three judges appointed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

As for the storing of the spent rods in casks, opinions are mixed. At first, Westchester County opposed the idea, mainly because casks would allow the plant to continuing operating for decades.

Now it favors the plan, however, because some engineers say that the spent fuel in the casks, called dry storage, would be less vulnerable to terrorist attack than fuel in the storage pools. Some opponents say a successful attack might drain the pools, which would lead to a devastating fire.

Entergy plans to keep the pools nearly full of spent fuel, leaving enough space to allow emptying the reactor completely should that become necessary. Usually, a third of the fuel is removed at each refueling shutdown, which takes place every two years.

Entergy began planning for the move from the storage pools to the cask in mid-2002. Any kind of changes at a nuclear power plant are usually complex and cumbersome, and this one — moving the bundles of fuel rods 300 feet — was even more so. For one thing, the crane used for years to lower fuel into the pool was not strong enough to remove it once the fuel was put into the canister, which weighs about 100 tons when fully loaded.

The inner package was designed to be shipped to a burial place, possibly Yucca Mountain in Nevada, although that project’s future is uncertain.

Then the Indian Point project took on a “there’s-a-hole-in-the-bucket” character when workers began excavating to build a foundation for a bigger crane. While digging the hole, they discovered that water had leaked from the pool holding the spent fuel. And a diver sent into the pool to look for flaws in its stainless steel liner could not find the leak’s source.

Jim Steets, a spokesman for the company, said that engineers now think that the water probably came from a leak patched years ago.

However, a third spent-fuel pool in Indian Point 1, the plant that was deactivated in 1974, is known to be leaking. Entergy plans to put all of the spent fuel rods into dry casks later this year, and then drain the pool.

When Indian Point was planned, it was thought that the spent rods would be removed after a few years and trucked to a chemical plant where they would be chopped up, and the plutonium removed for future use. But after the reprocessing industry collapsed, the owners of the plants in the early 1980s, Consolidated Edison and the New York Power Authority, signed contracts with the federal Department of Energy to remove the fuel, beginning in 1998. Now, however, the government appears to be years from having a place to bury the material.

By Matthew L. Wald
Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/12/nyregion/12nuke.html