Support Omnibus Energy Bill and Amendments

Support Omnibus Energy Bill, S. 2400 and amendments #103 Decommissioning Commission and #37 Decommissioning Trust Fund fee.

Please call/email and forward particularly to contacts in the committee member districts. See Mary Lampert’s support letter and attachment below. Cape Downwinders supports this action.

Conference Committee contacts:

  • Chair Senator Benjamin Downing (D-Pittsfield)
  • Chair Rep. Brian Dempsey (D-Haverhill)
  • Rep. Thomas Golden (D-Lowell)
  • Rep. Bradley Jones (R-North Reading)
  • Sen. Marc Pacheco (D-Taunton)
  • Sen. Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester)

July 8, 2016

To: Chairman Brian S. Dempsey
Chairman Thomas A Golden, Jr.
Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr.

On behalf of Pilgrim Watch, a non-profit citizens’ organization that serves the public interest on issues regarding the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station, we urge your support of the Omnibus Energy Bill, S.2400, regarding the decommissioning of the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant- Amendment 103, called a Feasibility Study for a Decommissioning Commission and Amendment 37 for the 25 Million/annual fee to supplement the Decommissioning Trust Fund.

Amendment 103, called a Feasibility Study – Decommissioning Commission:

The Chair of Vermont’s decommissioning panel, that Massachusetts’ proposed commission is modeled on, spoke to the Town of Plymouth’s Entergy Working Group. Her presentation showed to the Plymouth BOS, town officials, business groups, and the town’s legislators that establishing a decommissioning commission in Massachusetts was critically important.

Massachusetts commission will be composed of pertinent people in the administration, legislators, regional groups and citizens. The AGO will chair the group and supports its formation and the AGO’s role.

Purpose: The panel is needed, for example to review documents such as the Pilgrim Post Shutdown Decommissioning Activities Report (PSDAR)when it is issued; review the status of Pilgrim’s Decommissioning Trust Fund (DTF); prepare responses to Entergy’s likely plan to ask NRC for wavers to use its DTF for purposes other than radioactive de-contamination, such as spent fuel management, taxes and lobbying fees; and craft responses to Entergy’s plan to end offsite emergency planning and reduce onsite emergency planning; review funding for offsite radiological monitoring by MDPH and explore its capability to continue to monitor tritium and other leakage onsite. Absent the panel, there will be no coordinated state response and we will remain woefully behind the eight ball.

For a preview of what the commission can and will do, please see the link provided for Vermont’s panel.

Amendment 37 for the 25 Million Annual Post-Closure Funding Fee

What it does: It requires any commercial nuclear reactor in the Commonwealth, to pay an annual $25,000,000 post-closure funding fee – if decommissioning does not occur within 5 years post closure – to help insure Massachusetts taxpayers won’t have to pay. The Fee is placed in a trust fund in office of the State Treasurer. After the reactor is completely decommissioned, any excess in fund is returned to the plant owner, with interest.

Rationale: The NRC told the Massachusetts Legislature that decommissioning could be completed in 5 years and that Entergy had sufficient funds. Let’s see. If they do, the bill does not go into effect. If they do not, Massachusetts taxpayers from every corner of the state will be protected if/when Entergy, a limited liability company, runs out of cash leaving us with its only “assets”- tons of spent fuel and a contaminated site.

Please see slides 8-16 in the attached concise decommissioning slide presentation. It shows that Pilgrim’s Decommissioning Trust Fund (DTF) is about $350 million short of what is needed if work started today. However, work will not start today; Entergy has 60 years to complete the job. NRC estimates decommissioning costs will increase 5% to 9% whereas the fund’s investment growth rate will be much lower. Also Entergy will petition the NRC to use the DTF for purposes other than what it is required to be used for- only removal of radioactivity to acceptable levels. But, like in Vermont, Entergy likely will successfully petition NRC to use Pilgrim’s fund for taxes, litigation, lobby fees and spent fuel management. This will leave the fund further behind. The result – delayed decommissioning and a huge deficit to be paid by us to complete the job.

Thank you for your attention. We urge your support. If you have any questions or wish documentation please contact me.

Mary Lampert
Pilgrim Watch, director
148 Washington Street
Duxbury, MA 02332

Decommissioning 101 (PowerPoint)

July 2016, Pilgrim Watch

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