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Vermont Yankee

Letter: Our false assumptions

Entergy implicitly reminded us of our false assumptions about SAFSTOR of Vermont Yankee during the Vermont State Nuclear Advisory Panel’s Nov. 14 public hearing at Vernon.

Entergy owns the site and can keep it. The security perimeter around nuclear fuel in dry casks may leave no reusable land.

What if cumulative decommissioning costs exceed the balance of the decommissioning fund due to inflation or deficient investment income?

U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency standards for SAFSTOR (safe enclosure) allow active and passive options (Safe Enclosure of Nuclear Facilities During Deferred Dismantling, 2002, pp. 12-13). “The active option for safe enclosure of the facility is characterized by allowing entry at all times, having dedicated personnel to survey the facility and environmental conditions during the entire storage period and keeping the equipment and systems operational during the safe enclosure period. ... The essential feature of the passive option is the fact that the site is not staffed for the majority of the safe enclosure period but only during periods of inspection and maintenance.”

“Significant safety issues arise from: potential failure of barriers used to confine radioactive materials; unidentified areas of significant contamination; new or unrecognized waste streams; … spread of contamination during maintenance and surveillance activities; … deterioration of buildings, structures, systems and components which may have an impact on safe worker access or on final dismantling; potential impacts of non-radiological component failure on overall safety…” (cited above, Page 8).


Vernon, Vt.

The US is governed by the NRC not the International Atomic Energy Agency. After the last shutdown, all the fuel in the reactor will be moved to the Fuel Pool. The plant will continue to monitored. After five years all the fuel in the pool will be moved to Dry Casks. The plant and Dry Casks will continue to be monitored, until the plant is gone and the Dry Casks are gone. The interpretation that the plant with no fuel in it can be left alone and checked periodically is not correct. It doesn't make any sense. There will be monitoring and security for the Dry Casks, in addition to the plant.

Mr. Fairman continually quotes the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Our plants are governed by the NRC's regulations. Physically, a plant could be shut down for a long time-years- but it would be too expensive. Security, monitoring and maintenance must be continuous at US plants. A plant can't be left unattended as the writer suggests. I predict that the plant will go into SAFATOR. This means the fuel in the reactor will be all put in the pool. With the possibility of a chain reaction eliminated, the plant will return its Operating License and monitor and maintain for the reduced condition. Obviously the Fuel Pool must be cooled and monitored continuously. After 5 years all the fuel in the pool will be moved to Dry Casks. Some years later the plant will be torn down. All the meetings in Vermont an Massachusetts on the site reuse are for show. Imagine the State of VT asking how long the used fuel must remain in pool so that the rate of heat generation decreases to the point where it can be air cooled. (This is called "cooling off" by the press.) This number was part of the original design of the plant, and all plants. All the state needed to do was look it up, or ask.

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