NEC investigates the safety, suitability, and environmental effects of nuclear power plants; we participate in government hearings; and we inform the public and government agencies of the hazards and risks of nuclear power.

2018_03_02 MOU Vermont Yankee Dkt 8880

This story first appeared in the Valley Advocate

Vermont Yankee transfer gaining traction with state agencies and environmental activists

After several weeks of negotiations, Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant owner Entergy, potential buyer NorthStar, state agencies, and citizen activists have come to an agreement on how the shut down plant could be transferred and decommissioned by NorthStar.

One agency, however, does not think the plan has enough financial supports in place if something unexpected happens.

Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant. Wikimedia Commons photo from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commision

NorthStar had proposed to buy the plant so that it could decommission the plant, which shut down in 2014, decades earlier than Entergy. While Entergy said it could complete the process by 2072, NorthStar said it would be finished by 2052, with partial restoration of the site by 2030 or even earlier.

Schuyler Gould, president of the New England Coalition on Nuclear Pollution, said his organization had signed off on the agreement, a memorandum of understanding that was released on Friday, March 2.

“We feel on balance that this is a good deal for the state of Vermont and we’re ready to move forward with that and support NorthStar’s efforts,” he said.

The New England Coalition on Nuclear Pollution, a safe energy advocacy group focused on the hazards and risks of nuclear power, was one of 10 groups at the table during closed-door negotiations over the document, including Entergy, Northstar, the Vermont Department of Health, the Vermont Attorney General’s Office, and two Native American Tribes.
READ THE REST of the story at http://valleyadvocate.com/2018/03/06/vermont-yankee-transfer-gaining-traction-state-agencies-environmental-activists/


March 2, 2018
CONTACT:         Schuyler Gould, President 802-479-7227
                     Raymond Shadis, Expert Witness 207-380-5994
             James Dumont, Attorney 802-453-7011 
             Clay Turnbull, Staff and Trustee  802-380-4462 

Agreement Reached on Sale & Clean-up
of Vermont Yankee

Today a Memorandum of Understanding was filed at the Vermont Public Utility Commission outlining an agreement amongst nine of the ten intervenors reviewing the proposed sale of Vermont Yankee by Entergy to NorthStar. New England Coalition on Nuclear Pollution, after much give and take with Joint Petitioners Entergy and NorthStar during the course of negotiations, supports this agreement.
Raymond Shadis, NEC board member and technical adviser in these proceedings, said “We now consider ourselves allies and partners with NorthStar and will do our best to help them achieve a state-of-the-art, best-practices, and environmentally responsible decommissioning, as free of nuclear pollution as it can possibly be made.”
NEC president Schuyler Gould says, “Despite our concerns when the sale was first proposed, we have always been hopeful for an expedited decommissioning fully protective of the environment. Our immediate concern has always been for the safety of the decommissioning process itself. Our long term concern has been for the health of future generations which will soon forget what lies beneath their feet. We believe this agreement addresses our concerns, and we support its provision for stakeholder establishment of an appropriate public engagement process.”
A formal review of the MOU will take place over the next few weeks, including the filing of evidence and arguments made by all the parties to the negotiations. The Commission will soon set a date for a public hearing to get input regarding the MOU. “This hearing is not icing on a cake already out of the oven,” says Gould. “It is an integral part of the information the Commission needs to decide whether or not to issue a Certificate of Public Good allowing the sale to go forward. A good outcome is virtually guaranteed if we take it upon ourselves to make it happen.
“We who call this beautiful valley home are the most important voice in this entire process. One needn’t understand every aspect of the agreement to show up at the public hearing and let your voice be heard!”

New England Coalition encourages everyone to review the terms of the MOU by going to the following link or at its website www.NewEnglandCoalition.org.



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Public Hearing on Vermont Yankee Sale and Clean-Up  – Rescheduled A SECOND TIME.
The public meeting will take place on a date TBD.

You can submit your comments to the PUC by sending an email to puc.clerk@vermont.gov and put Docket 8880 in the subject line.  Two Commissioners are reviewing Entergy’s petition to sell VY to NorthStar, and as important, they will set clean-up standards. 

Members and Friends,
Much has been happening here at New England Coalition.  We do pause a bit in our labours here at year’s end, take stock, refocus.  We come to you at this time for our traditional year-end appeal.  The need is great, the consequence of our action, or inaction, equally great.

You may well know we are intervenors in the Public Utility Commission review of the proposed sale of Vermont Yankee.  On January 22nd we enter the final phase, the “Technical Hearings,” of this year-long process.  Entergy wants out of the uncertain and possibly very long term liability of a shuttered nuclear power plant.  NorthStar, a demolition company with no experience decommissioning a commercial nuclear reactor, wants to take its chances, and everyone else’s, at the first decommissioning of a boiling water reactor in the United States.  This will also be, if allowed to proceed, the first decommissioning of a privately held “merchant” plant.

Each of these firsts poses unique problems, and unique opportunities, to establish precedent for the wave of decommissionings we see squarely on the horizon.  Every victory claimed will translate into many dollars saved in legal challenges by communities and stakeholders as each of these reactors comes onto the chopping block.  Amidst the back and forth over confidentiality, rubblization, site characterization, financial guarantees, and more, we argue for, and intend to win, important concessions from a dying industry trying to weaken, not strengthen, decommissioning standards.  It is important to get this right

And to keep our eye on the prize.  We argue for the “New England Standard” for the site’s final disposition, the same residual radiological standard agreed to and reached at the three other New England plants already decommissioned.  NorthStar’s standard, one and a half times dirtier, should not be entertained.


We also argue that after decommissioning, rather than being seen as just another industrial site, this unique location on the Connecticut River should be honored for the sacrifice it has made and allowed to lie fallow for 200 years until it has healed itself.

We have the utmost confidence in our legal team.  Attorney Jim Dumont has been on the forefront of progressive issues in Vermont for many years.  Our expert witnesses, Ray Shadis and Arnie Gundersen, are confident in the strength of our case and look forward to the final reckoning.

 As we move forward into the Technical Hearings and beyond, Trustee Amelia Shea has been forging a new and exciting relationship with the Environmental Studies and Sustainability program at Antioch University New England in Keene, New Hampshire.  We have just finished work with intern Kira Heeschen who has tuned up our social media presence, a critical element in broadening our outreach, and as well has developed a communications plan to guide us in further improving our online presence.  Hats off to Kira!

In January, Clay and I are scheduled to speak to two different classes.  We’re hoping “Advocacy Methods” will take on NEC as a group project with interactive development of our new outreach efforts.  This is very exciting to us as we anticipate, with the eventual conclusion of this docket before the PUC, a shift in our current VY-centered mission to greater outreach and education about our issues together with advocacy for other reactor communities as they come face to face with the same issues we are dealing with now.  Further, the professor is imagining NEC’s helping the class organize a public forum on regional energy issues with nuclear power front and center!

“Political Economy and Sustainability” should prove an interesting exploration of the social contract governing the respective roles of regulatory bodies and private corporations.  NEC hopes to provide a window into the nuclear power industry in particular, exploring both the environmental hazard posed by entrusting private companies with stewardship of the most dangerous machines on the planet and the social and economic hazard of private companies capturing, and then abandoning, the lifeblood of host communities.  We in turn hope to gain insight into our own messaging, advocacy methods and political initiatives.

A reminder—please attend if possible the Public Utility Commission-sponsored public hearing on this Docket #8880 on January 4th, 7:00 PM, at the Brattleboro Union High School Multi-Purpose Room, 131 Fairground Road, in Brattleboro.  If you can’t make it, you can e-mail comments to the Clerk of the Commission at puc.clerk@vermont.gov.  Reference Docket #8880.  Let your voice be heard!

As the new president of NEC, it is a great privilege to know that you are there, and that you care.  Please help us in any way you can.  Donate now and your gift will be matched, up to $10,000, until the start of the Technical Hearings on January 22nd.  We are at a critical juncture in the long, tragic saga of commercial nuclear power.  It is important we meet it head on with resources adequate to the job.

Although it feels like a David and Goliath struggle, and it is in many ways, we are encouraged as we move forward.  You can gauge Entergy/NorthStar’s concern by their concerted attacks on us in the press as well as the onslaught of advertising in all media venues.  We have much to crow about. 

We are ready.  Please help.


Schuyler Gould

PS – We had a great annual meeting in October.  I encourage you to check in to our website for clips of individual presentations as well as a link to the Brattleboro Television video of the event.

PPS – Happy Holidays!

NEC Board of Trustees, 2017 Annual Meeting. Raymond Shadis, Schuyler Gould, Ned Childs, Jim Kirby, Jake Stewart, Sylvia Field. Front row Clay Turnbull, Amelia Shea


Vermont Yankee is For Sale.  Current owner Entergy Nuclear Vermont Yankee and proposed buyer NorthStar Group Services have submitted a joint petition to the Vermont Public Service Board for state approval of the sale.  Also in the petition NorthStar seeks approval for the limited clean-up  which they have proposed ‘as a condition for the sale to proceed’.

The complete petition is available on our “VY For Sale” webpage.

46th Annual Membership Meeting  Oct. 21, 2017.  Click a photo to go directly to that spot in the meeting video.
For higher quality video and to see the entire meeting go to https://www.brattleborotv.org/new-england-coalition-presents/46th-annual-member-meeting-102117

Schuyler Gould, Presidents Report
Schuyler and Tina open an  afternoon of presentations with a reading of Winona LaDuke
Arnie Gundersen of Fairewinds Energy Education, Update From Fukushima and Ongoing Contamination
Ray Shadis, Why Are We Here
Age of Decommissioning David Kraft, The Age of Decommissioning
David Kraft, Q+A

45th Annual Membership Meeting  Oct. 12, 2016 video links in photos

Ray Shadis: The Vernon Preserve Restoration Project
opens new window at Smoke Screen https://youtu.be/qPQAh13DIrk?t=1h45m06s Arnie Gundersen, 
CO2 Smoke Screen: New Nukes Make Global Warming Worse
Maggie Gundersen, The Flawed Myth of Nuclear Power
Ray Shadis introduces activist Ann D. Burt
Down To Earth Stories movie



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NEC 42nd Annual Members & Friends Meeting video





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