‘Rubblization’ raises questions about original agreement between Entergy, state

BRATTLEBORO — Recent articles on NorthStar's bid to take over decommissioning of the Entergy Nuclear Vermont Yankee site have raised some questions for me.

The issue surrounds “rubblization,” defined on Wikipedia as a “technique that involves saving time and transportation costs by reducing existing concrete into rubble at its current location rather than hauling it to another location.”

NorthStar CEO Scott State pointed out that concrete was used as fill at Yankee Rowe and the technique was approved at Connecticut Yankee. On the other hand, it was discovered that the procedure was not used at Maine Yankee because it was more costly “to separate out clean from contaminated waste.”

These facts beg the question of what analysis needs to take place to determine the level of contamination in the concrete to presumably exclude contaminated concrete from being reduced to rubble. I did not see that question addressed specifically.

NorthStar also acknowledged that using the “rubblization” technique “could be viewed as a departure from the shutdown agreement between Entergy and Vermont.” From what I can determine, the relevant portion of that agreement states that Entergy “shall not employ rubblization at the VY Station site (i.e., demolition of an above-grade decontaminated concrete structure into rubble that is buried on site).”

This begs the question: if the parties, or perhaps the state agencies in Vermont, involved in the 2013 agreement were so adamant that the rubblization clause be included, they must have had some justification for proposing it. What was their rationale?

Of course, the bigger question lurking in the background is where NorthStar or Entergy might haul contaminated material. For such debris, there may simply be no “away.” But at least we could determine which material needs closer scrutiny.

Subscribe to the newsletter for weekly updates