Decommissioning

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Letter to NRC on Decommissioning Failures

Arnie Gundersen, a former nuclear plant engineer dddresses the NRC: 

Mr. Szabo, 

I participated in the NRC meeting on Decommissioning on Thursday morning, August 20, 2009, via teleconference link and have the following broad formal comments that I anticipate the NRC will consider.  Fairewinds Associates, Inc is highly qualified to comment on this matter, as two years ago we developed the first Decommissioning White Paper identifying the likelihood of decommissioning fund shortfalls at Vermont Yankee, which proved to be quite prescient.

As I stated on the teleconference it is my opinion that the NRC continues to ignore three broad issues concerning Decommissioning.  

Important reading on decommissioning issues

To read useful articles related to the matter of decommissioning nuclear power plants, visit our 

monitoring group web site at: 

 

www.efmr.org/decomm.html 

PPL's License Application Challenged

Eric Epstein, Chairman of Three Mile Island Alert, contends PPL's application for a license to construct a nuclear reactor at Bell Bend near Berwick, Pa. leaves at least four serious matters in need of attention. 

Epstein contends that the federally required funds to decommission (close down) a plant are inadequate. 

He also told the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that PPL's has no solid plan for how to dispose of low-level radioactive waste. 

2009 Decommissioning Fund Reports

 Below are ADAMS links to most but not all of the 2009 Decommissioning Reports that reactor licensees where required to file for 2008 performance.  The reports show just how good or bad your very own decommissioning fund is doing!   Remember, these reports are only for the radiological aspects of decommissioning, not returning the site to a greenfield, nor for removing non-radiological buildings and cooling towers.  All the NRC process covers is radiation.  

Fission Accomplished; Will There Be Enough Money When Nuclear Plants Close?

By Ken Picard 

In the world of industrial-scale electricity generation, some structures are so large and powerful that the sight of them takes your breath away. Their massive, spinning turbines can generated millions of kilowatt-hours of cheap and reliable energy for years at a time, while contributing virtually nothing to global warming. 

Yet, even these enormous and seemingly permanent structures eventually reach the end of their operational lives. 

Exelon Reports on Its Decommissioning Funds

 In this March 31, 2009 document, Exelon reports on the status of the decommissioning fund for each of its nuclear power plants, as the company is required to do by federal code. When plants were licensed, it was required that they maintain a fund to close down and clean up a reactor site at the end of its life, or for any other reason. 

To read the report, open pdf titled "Exelon 3-3-2009": 

 

In a 2007 report, Exelon explains to the NRC how it calculated the costs of decommissioning.

Corporation Promises "Financial Mechanism" to Cover Fund Shortfall

Rutland Herald     Aug. 20, 2009

Entergy: Yankee shortfall less short

By Susan Smallheer STAFF WRITER

 

BRATTLEBORO — Entergy Nuclear has claimed the $87 million gap between what it has saved for the decommissioning of Vermont Yankee and what it needs to do the job has shrunk to $58 million.

In a filing with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the owner of the Vernon reactor said it would provide federal regulators with an unspecified "financial assurance mechanism" later this year to prove it was good for the money.

NRC looks at nuke plant shutdown fund shortfalls

 

By ANDREW MIGA (AP) 

 

BETHESDA, Md. — Federal regulators said Thursday they hope to resolve funding shortfalls with the owners of 26 nuclear plants, who aren't saving enough money to dismantle them when they've run their course.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission officials are reviewing action plans owners were asked to submit, explaining how they'd address funding shortfalls for shutting down reactors. NRC officials in June notified owners of the shortfalls, caused in part by the nation's financial meltdown.

 

 

Nest Eggs for Nuclear Plant Close Downs Fall Short

By Marlene Lang 

 

Think you are the only one who can't manage to set aside a nest egg? Don't feel lonely. Your neighborhood nuclear power plant may be busily creating a remedial savings plan of its own. 

Twenty-six plants nationwide showed shortfalls in the funds they are required by federal law to set aside for dismantling the reactors someday and cleaning up after themselves. The closely watched Three Mile Island plant was not on the shortfall list. 

Every year the Nuclear Regulatory Commission checks on the state of so-called "decommissioning funds." Most years there are only a handful of plants running short of having those estimated costs laid up, usually four or five one official said. Those billions set aside for close-down and clean-up don't just pile up under a mattress, of course; the money is invested in the stock market. According to an Associated Press report, some $4.4 billion in decommissioning funds was lost in the downturn, even as the actual costs for shutting down plants has risen by $4.6 billion because of (I love this part) rising energy costs – and labor costs. 

Funds to Shut Down Plants Fall Short

By Ad Crable

Staff Writer, Lancaster New Era

The economic downturn has caused funds set aside for the safe closure of the Three Mile Island and Peach Bottom nuclear plants to drop dramatically in the last two years.

Since 2007, estimates of dismantling costs at the nation's 104 nuclear plants have risen by more than $4.6 billion while the investment funds that are supposed to pay for the closures — or decommissioning as it's called — have dropped $4.4 billion, according to an investigation by the Associated Press.

According to decommissioning fund statements filed by Exelon Corp., owners of the two plants, the balance in the closure fund for Three Mile Island's Unit 1 dropped $69 million from 2007 to 2009.

For Peach Bottom, decommissioning funds dropped $64 million over the last two years for Unit 2 and nearly $70 million for the Unit 3 reactor.

The fund losses are tied to investments.

Is it a cause for concern?

 

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