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Nine county legislators: We oppose SAFSTOR for Vermont Yankee

If Entergy can sue the federal government for millions of dollars for not removing the waste in 1998 as scheduled, why can’t we access the federal nuclear waste fund to pay for infrastructure, keep us safe, and support our emergency personnel?

This letter, dated Feb. 27, was written to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission by State Representatives Valerie A. Stuart, Tristan Toleno, Mollie Burke, David Deen, Mike Mrowicki, Emily Long, and Ann Manwaring and State Senators Jeanette White and Becca Balint. Entergy’s draft Post Shutdown Decommissioning Activities Report can be accessed at pbadupws.nrc.gov/docs/ML1435/ML14357A110.pdf. Public comment ends March 23; information at bit.ly/vy_psdar_publiccomment.

Montpelier

We write in response to Entergy’s Post Shutdown Decommissioning Activities Report (PSDAR). We want the following points to be part of the public record.

We do not support SAFSTOR. Costs will only go up and contamination will spread by waiting up to 60 years as is currently allowed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Our community is a special case that will not benefit from a cookie-cutter approach. Vermont Yankee is only the second merchant reactor to decommission. Moreover, the plant is located on the second-smallest land area of any U.S. nuclear plant. It also is located in the middle of a town and has an elementary school located across from the gate to the plant.

All of these factors contribute to making Vermont Yankee an unsuitable site for SAFSTOR. We also feel we have a moral obligation to deal effectively with this problem and not to leave it for future generations.

* * *

We request maintenance of the emergency planning zone and federal funding for emergency personnel until all fuel is removed from the spent-fuel pool into dry-cask storage.

As a community that hosts high-level nuclear waste — a role we never signed on for — we request federal help to cover the cost of expenses we are unprepared to shoulder. If Entergy can sue the federal government for millions of dollars for not removing the waste in 1998 as scheduled, why can’t we access the federal nuclear waste fund to pay for infrastructure, keep us safe, and support our emergency personnel?

Major incentives are made available to communities willing to take nuclear waste. So why shouldn’t towns like ours — towns that have that job thrust upon us — receive such incentives?

In the absence of any federal or interim repository, we request higher quality casks like those used in Europe and Japan.

We believe removing the waste from the spent-fuel pools should start before 2019. Such pools pose a catastrophic risk should a loss of power occur. There is currently fuel in the pool that meets the standard of having cooled for five years; that fuel can and should be removed now.

We hope and expect you will give our concerns special consideration in view of the fact that we represent many of the communities that will be most affected by Entergy’s closure of Vermont Yankee.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #296 (Wednesday, March 11, 2015). This story appeared on page D2.

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