Letter to the editor: State control over nuclear decommissioning dreadful

State control over nuclear decommissioning dreadful

I read with some concern a news report about a handful of Vermont and Massachusetts members of Congress pushing for more state control over U.S. nuclear plant decommissioning.

As a retired nuclear engineer who sat at many state of Vermont public hearings regarding Vermont Yankee, the idea of giving states control over decommissioning fills me with dread. Vermont's state energy officials routinely lose control of the microphone to shouting agitators. Many of the "experts" testifying about nuclear safety clearly lack knowledge in depth — a fact apparent to every nuclear professional in the audience, although not necessarily to the presiding state officials.

Although at least two senior state scientists who routinely address these meetings are competent to testify, the general impression I get from state of Vermont officialdom is an anti-nuclear bias and a shaky grasp of the hard and applied science of safe nuclear power plant decommissioning.

In short, I don't want the state of Vermont, or any state for that matter, minding the store. I much prefer continued oversight by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which for decades has ensured the safe operation of the nation's fleet of nuclear power plants.

Also, unlike the NRC, Vermont is cash-strapped and forever seeking new funding from Vermont Yankee. In this environment, can we rest easy knowing that all of the state's decisions would be driven solely by safety, and not by the desire for one more infusion of Vermont Yankee cash? I'm skeptical

— Richard January Mesa, Ariz.


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