The state’s Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel met for the third time on July 19th, 2017 at PCIS (Plymouth Community Intermediate School) on Long Pond Road in Plymouth.
Brief overview of the meeting:
The PCIS location, with the exception of one meeting per year that will occur on Cape Cod, will be the permanent location of NDCAP meetings moving forward. The group also decided to remain flexible with the 6:30-8:00 pm timeframe, in cases where meetings require more time.
Co-chair and MEMA Director, Kurt Schwartz, provided an update on the support required by NDCAP (website, minute taking, etc.). While no funding was established for NDCAP in the latest state budget, there will still be a webpage up and running in about a week on the mass.gov website.
Discussions and Public Comment:
In terms of presentations at future presentations, the group decided that the more timely issues should be scheduled first, including topics such as: Lessons learned with VT Yankee decommissioning, NRC requirements for decommissioning, and dry casks storage issues.
There was quite a bit of discussion about sub-committees, and the group voted to call them “working groups” instead of sub-committees. The 5 working group topics in the draft document were approved: 1. PSDAR & Decommissioning; 2. Safety & Security; 3. Financial/Economic; 4. Site Cleanup & Restoration; 5. Government & Community Relations & Administrative.
All Draft Ground Rules were accepted, with one change to #6 – rather than setting at least 6 meetings per year, the working groups will meet ‘as needed’.
The number of working groups will be kept small (5), and will consists of a minimum of 3 but no more than 9 members. It was decided that the smaller working groups will develop the scopes of their work, but the larger NDCAP group would approve the work plans. By the November 2017 meeting, the working groups should have summaries of their scopes ready.
There were two 5-minute time-slots allotted for public comment. Several important issues were raised. First was that ‘clean up standards’ should be added as a subject under one of the working groups. It was noted that the state does not have its own clean up standards for Pilgrim, and defaults to federal standards (the NRC standard of 25 mrem/year – higher than the EPA standard – and is based on outdated information). It was pointed out that the state could establish its own, more stringent standards.
Another important point raised during the public comment period was that pending state and federal legislation was not on the list of subjects to be addressed by the working groups. Former Senator Dan Wolf, an NDCAP member, agreed to provide an overview of all pending legislation at the September meeting. The issue will be revisited at that time.
The public also raised some concern that the working groups, if not directed to work on only the most timely issues first, could end up fragmenting the larger NDCAP group too much and could waste valuable time and energy. The co-chair noted the concern.
The meeting resumed with a discussion about specific topics and speakers to be scheduled for future meetings.
Toward the end of the meeting, Mr. Schwartz made a closing comment aimed at the public. He stated that while the public is always welcome to contact the chairs and other members with questions or comments, those correspondence should remain respectful and not include any name-calling or nasty comments. (And we agree – Please be respectful or else your message could be counterproductive!)