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Problems with Entergy's Decommissioning Plan

The decommissioning plan Entergy has submitted to the Public Service Board is frought with problems and must be tossed out.

Here are the most significant errors and deficiencies:

• The decommissioning fund is too small.

• The cost estimates are based on a "generic" nuclear plant and do not address known problems at VY, such as the large amount of tritium contamination on site from underground piping.

• Entergy must do further inspections for other unique contamination problems like those that have occurred at every other decommissioned plant.

• Entergy's estimates are based on a lower cleanup standard than what Vermont law currently requires.

• Entergy does not consider that there will be additional costs due to the increased waste and contamination resulting from running VY at a 20% power uprate.

• The power uprate increased Entergy's profits at VY to nearly $100 million/year, yet the company has not contributed any of that money to decommissioning.

• Entergy assumes decommissioning VY will produce less than half the amount of radioactive waste that other reactors are expected to.

• Entergy underestimates the cost of disposing of the waste and incorrectly assumes that a suitable dump will be available. By the time VY shuts down, there will be no low level rad waste dumps available. Disposal costs are likely to skyrocket if a dump does open, but if not Vermont may be stuck with it for years.

• All of Entergy's costs are estimated in 2006 dollars, and do not project how those costs will increase over the years with inflation. However, Entergy does assume the fund to pay for those costs will grow 5-7%/year through investing.

• In January 2008, Entergy recently released a "new" estimate of $1 billion. Entergy estimated $800 million in Fall 2007 - an increase of 25% in just a few months. At this rate, by 2012, the estimated cost could be $2 billion.

The State of Vermont must require Entergy to come up with a realistic plan and cost estimate for decommissioning, and require Entergy to make up the funds necessary to complete it. Ironically, this is the state's policy toward companies that want to build wind power plants, which have a miniscule impact on the environment compared to nuclear reactors: before a wind farm can even be constructed, the company must have set aside all of the money necessary to restore the land to its original state when it eventually shuts the plant down. Entergy must be held equally responsible for cleaning up Vermont Yankee.

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