Thursday, January 18, 2018

Nuclear Energy Study Group at Dartmouth OSHER

Black Swallowtail Butterfly
Wikipedia
Dr. Robert Hargraves of Thorcon Power (the Do-able Molten Salt Reactor) and I  will begin leading a four-session study group this afternoon. The study group is a course at Dartmouth OSHER, and the title of the course is Nuclear Power: For Climate and for People.

The course is oversubscribed (has a waiting list).  I always have some butterflies in my stomach before starting something new.  Anything new, despite how familiar some parts of it might be.  Yes, I have taught other courses and been on many stages. Yes, that helps.

I remember an Aikido sensei who told my class: "If you have butterflies in your stomach, make them fly in formation."

I am starting a new course this afternoon, with Bob.  All right.  Get in formation, butterflies!

Nuclear Power:
For Climate and for People

MIT Prof Kerry Emanuel, in his 2017 OSHER@Dartmouth summer lecture, raised awareness of the potential for nuclear power to reduce CO2 emissions that force global warming. Building more nuclear power plants is opposed by many on the grounds of health, safety, and expense. Fission power plants can provide inexpensive, ample power, especially for developing nations desperate to advance prosperity of growing populations. In four sessions we’ll cover the arguments against and for nuclear energy.

We’ll  first have a tutorial on energy, power, sources, uses, value to civilization and prosperity, energy poverty, and civil unrest where there is little. Second, we’ll review Emanuel’s lecture and book on global warming, CO2 in the air and ocean, the solar/ wind bandwagon, and the politics of IPCC, Kyoto, and Paris.  Third, we’ll cover how nuclear power works, why it’s opposed, and the future potential of energy cheaper than coal. Finally, we’ll cover activities of social organizations fighting for/against nuclear power.

There are no required texts for this course.

Robert Hargraves has taught OSHER@ Dartmouth courses on energy, politicized science, and internet money.
Meredith Angwin led The Grid and other courses for OSHER@Dartmouth.

4 sessions, 2:30 PM – 4:30 PM January 18 through February 8, 2018 DOC House - Hanover, NH

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Vermont, "Hot Air," and Puerto Rico

Grid prices in the Northeast.  Running about 37c per kWh at 1 p.m.
You can double click to enlarge the graphics.
Graphics are screen shots from https://www.iso-ne.com/isoexpress/
Vermont

Vermont remains in the deep freeze. It was minus 5 here when I wrote this at 8 p.m. Saturday, and it was about zero at 1 p.m. Saturday when I took these screen shots.

The weather is actually colder now, Sunday morning.  It is minus 15 at 9 a.m. Fuel oil is supplying 37% of the grid now, and the price is around $300/MWh.  I'm going to use the screen shots I took yesterday, because things have not changed very much.  As usual, all charts are from the ISO-NE  ISOExpress web page.

On Saturday, fuel oil supplied over 30% of the grid electricity, and the price of power was bouncing around like crazy between $200 and $400 per MWh (five minute LMP graph at left).

Fuel mix (34% oil) at lower right,
5 minute LMP graph at left totally schizoid:
20 cents to 40 cents per kWh and back, rapidly

Meanwhile, with significant wind chill out there, wind was about half of renewables, and renewables are 11% of the grid, so wind was contributing about 5% of the power. (Same today, Sunday, but wind is about 40% instead of 50% of renewables.)

Wind is about half of the renewables now


Meanwhile, the fuel supply for New England has been getting a bit dicey. (It seems to be hanging in there, for which I am grateful.) According to an article in Reuters, Frigid weather sends heating prices soaring as energy usage spikes, spot gas prices in New England soared to a record-breaking $82.75/mmBTU before falling back to a more normal $3.80/mmBTU. More tankers are heading to the U.S. These tankers are not on a mission of mercy. Right now, the East Coast is the most high-priced market in the world for oil. The tankers can get their best prices, right here.

Coast Guard icebreakers have been used (probably still being used)  to keep open the ports of Boston, New York and Philadelphia.  A Coast Guard icebreaker was even needed on the Hudson River. Overall, the grid is working okay and I am not very worried.

But I must say:
I appreciate the Coast Guard!

Hot Air and Puerto Rico

Meanwhile, some of my earlier posts got some play in bigger media.  Jazz Shaw is a major contributor to the widely read blog Hot Air. On Thursday, Shaw wrote New England Wanted to Use All Renewable Energy...Then It Got Cold. This is a very well-referenced and well-written post.  Shaw quotes my blog extensively, and he also puts the issues in New England together with Rick Perry's aim of rewarding reliable power plants.

I should also mention that Hot Air is a very widely-read blog. As soon as the Hot Air post referencing my blog appeared, email after email arrived: "Hey Meredith, you were on Hot Air!  Great going!" It was fun.

Most of these emails came from my friends, but one note was from someone new to me.  A man who writes the Dark Island Puerto Rico blog wrote to say that Vermont and Puerto Rico seemed to be having some similarities.  He also wrote a blog post about this, also: Weather and Wind Problems.

I have been enjoying reading his blog. Puerto Rico has pretty much disappeared from the main stream news, but there are still huge areas without power. I find it very interesting to hear from a person who is really there, thoughtful and critical of about the recovery effort.  He has posts on the fate of wind farms, the useful possibility of battery back up for solar (but you still need a source of reliable power), how small modular reactors could be used, how cogeneration could be a robust future for Puerto Rico.  I recommend his blog http://darkislandpr.blogspot.com

They say there it is "an ill wind that blows nobody any good," which means that even bad situations can have some good in them.  The situation on the grid isn't great, to put it mildly.  However, my recent blog posts have introduced me to two new blogs: Hot Air and DarkIslandPR.  That is some good, and I appreciate it.

(Note to my readers: the Hot Air blog is mostly political, and DarkIslandPR is mostly about energy.  I don't want people to get the impression that I think the two blogs are very similar: they aren't. )

Thursday, January 4, 2018

A Hole in the Community: When a Nuclear Plant Shuts Down


A hole in the community


What happens when a nuclear plant shuts down


Vermont Yankee

At its peak, the Vermont Yankee plant generated more than 70 percent of the electricity made in Vermont. It was the largest, most reliable source of clean energy in the state and one of the largest plants in the New England grid.

But like many other nuclear plants around the U.S., Vermont Yankee was no longer economically competitive and was losing money for its owners. Its closure would cause harm across many states – and for many years.

The environmental and economic effects of closing Vermont Yankee were severe, and they were completely predictable: air pollution increased, as carbon-free nuclear energy was replaced by natural gas; energy costs increased throughout New England, with utilities warning that customer bills could rise 50 percent or more during the winter; and the region’s economy slowed as 1,000 jobs and $500 million in annual spending dried up.

Most painful, though, was the human toll on the Vernon VT, community as nuclear workers were forced to leave behind loved ones and neighbors in search of work.

In the two and a half years since Vermont Yankee closed, many good people had moved on. Someday, the community might recover. But it will never be the same.

Economic Lessons

When he made his political case that Vermont Yankee should be “retired,” then-Gov. Peter Shumlin promised a “billion-dollar bonanza” for the state. Shumlin argued that, in the short-term, decommissioning a nuclear plant would provide employment, income and spending on par with a functioning power station. While Vermont Yankee was operating, it employed more than 600 people with salaries averaging more than $100,000 a year. Those dollars cycled through the local economy, creating hundreds more indirect jobs.

But closing the plant was not a jobs bonanza – it was a jobs cliff. Hundreds of people lost their jobs, and nowhere near that many jobs were created or likely to be created. To contradict Shumlin’s assertions, I looked at the history of other nuclear plants that closed. What I saw wasn’t pretty. One of the lessons learned about decommissioning was that a closing plant must downsize its staff quickly and aggressively, in order to decommission within the budget of the decommissioning fund.

Lessons learned were everywhere, but they weren’t happy lessons. Wherever a nuclear plant closes, the pattern repeats itself: employment and average incomes fall, which means that tax revenues that fund schools, government services, roads and communities fall, too. To make up the losses, tax rates must rise. In general, the first tax rate to rise is the local property tax.

At the same time, the departure of nuclear workers increases the number of houses on the market, and lowers property values. Local businesses also suffer as temporary workers hired for periodic refueling outages no longer come to town: the outage contractors no longer rent rooms, eat at restaurants, buy groceries or fill their cars with gas. They no longer give the area economy a cheerful boost of workers making good money, with money to spend.

Emissions of carbon and other pollutants rise as clean nuclear energy is replaced by plants that burn fossil fuels. And when a nuclear plant’s around-the-clock supply of electricity is turned off, the law of supply and demand dictates that energy prices must inevitably rise. Even though natural gas prices are low now, when a nuclear plant closes, it creates more competition for the natural gas and the price of gas rises. As natural gas prices rise, so do electricity prices.

About the people

NJ Needs Nuclear: Patty from PSEG on Vimeo.

Nuclear workers are highly skilled, highly trained and highly sought-after. There are jobs to be found at other nuclear plants – for someone who is willing to uproot and leave their friends, their kids’ schools, their churches, their doctors, their favorite restaurants, their church choirs or their poker buddies.

I believe these quotes, left by anonymous commenters on my blog, Yes Vermont Yankee, help illustrate the human side of the story:
Yes, I relocated. No, it was not easy. Selling a house, buying another one, moving, finding a new house with the right schools. Moving away from grown kids. Moving away from grandkids. My wife had to leave a job that she loved …”
“There is no way I will come close to breaking even on selling my house, not with the housing market the way it is … We have elderly parents and we don't know how we are going to manage ...”
In some cases, families were split as one spouse moved to take a new job at a faraway nuclear plant, while the other stayed behind to allow children to stay in school. A plant closure could break up a family for months or years.

Change will never be easy, and it will be harder for some than for others. But plant employees will move on, and they will live well.

For younger people, living well probably means getting out of town, taking their lumps on the declining local housing market and starting anew. Older people may see the loss of a job and community as a betrayal of their lifelong work and plans, and may be less able to start over or go somewhere new.

Today, Vermont Yankee is closed, and the region is forever the worse for it: More carbon in the air, fewer jobs, higher taxes and rising electric bills for those who stay. At one low point, during town meeting, the town of Vernon decided to disband its police force and sell off the cruisers. They could no longer afford their small police force. Hard decisions had to be made.

The Bottom Line

For a plant closure, it is comparatively easy to assess the bottom line in monetary costs.

Economic input to the area down severely, taxes no longer collected, energy prices going up. The human cost – people losing their jobs, becoming discouraged and displaced as they are forced to move to new areas – cannot be calculated.

I believe the nuclear industry will survive. Nuclear workers are smart and resilient. I think the future will work out well for all of them.

I’m less certain about the communities left behind.
_____________________________________________________
The above column is sponsor-generated content from New Jersey Needs Nuclear.
----------
Note: This article is reblogged. It was first printed as sponsored-content in Politico.
http://www.politico.com/sponsor-content/2018/01/02/a-hole-in-the-community

 I wrote this article a while ago. It is partially an update to my earlier article Circles of Pain Around Vermont Yankee closing

Friday, December 29, 2017

More Cold and More Oil on the New England Grid

Oil Use Increases

Once again, I will tell this blog in a series of pictures.

In my blog of December 27, I showed a snapshot of the New England grid in the early evening.  The temperature at my location was 7 degrees, the local marginal prices (LMP) on the grid were running around $200 MWh (20 cents per kWh), oil was 22% of the fuel mix, renewables were 11% of the fuel mix (I remarked that this was on the high side for renewables) and the high renewable percentage was due to the wind energy.  Wind was 50% of the renewables.  The blog post was Successful encouragement of oil on the New England Grid.  The source of all the information (except the local weather) was the ISO-NE web page, ISOExpress.

That post was on December 27.  Yesterday, December 28, I noted that the percentage of oil had gone up above 30%, and the portion of renewables had gone down.  But I didn't write another blog post. My snapshot is below. (Double click on any graphic to enlarge it.)

December 28 fuel mix


Getting Colder, and Oil Use Stays High

Today, around 1 pm, the temperature was 1 degree, as show below. The weather had gotten colder.

1 p.m. December 29 temperature
The price of power on the grid had also gotten higher, around $300/ MWh (30 cents per kWh)

1 pm December 29 prices on the grid

Though I must admit that as I write this at 3 p.m, the price has fallen again to around $200/ MWh.  Also, note the color codes on the map.  The colors show the prices graphically.  Closer to red is higher priced.

Oil use has stayed high, from December 28 evening (above) to one pm December 29, (when I took a bunch of screen shots) to right now at 3 pm.  Oil has been between 30 and 32% of the grid.

December 29, oil is around 30% of grid power

Not as much wind on the grid

What about the renewables?  On December 27, a windy day, renewables were at 11% of the grid, and wind was 50% of renewables.  (See my December 27 post for the graphics on this.)

Today, at one pm, not so much wind.  It was actually snowing rather gently.  At that time, renewables were only 7% of the grid power, and wind was only 13% of renewables.

Renewable mix on the grid. Wind at 13%.
 What next?

I think oil use will remain high until the cold weather is over, about a week from now.   The wind may spring up again in the evenings, or it may not.  Whichever it chooses.  Nobody controls the wind.  So renewables may continue at 7% or go up to 11% again.

On the other hand, we haven't really hit peak demand yet.  Here's a screen shot that I just took. This is the ISO-NE estimate of system loads today, and the actual loads up until 3 p.m.
System loads, as forecast
As you can tell in this chart, around 18 hours (6pm) looks like peak demand.  Check in and see if the percentage of oil goes up even further.  I'm going to check.  I'm curious.

Here's the link for these real time updates from ISO-NE, ISO Express. https://www.iso-ne.com/isoexpress/

In conclusion

Isn't it nice that you can store oil on site?  Maybe someone will notice what Rickover noticed: you can store nuclear fuel even more easily than you can store oil!  I wouldn't hold my breath for people to notice this.  (/snark)

Meanwhile, I will check back at about the grid at 6 p.m. but I won't be posting. I leave the evening results as "an exercise to the reader."

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Successful encouragement of oil on the New England Grid.

Cold in New England, and Going to Stay Cold

I decided to tell this blog as a series of pictures.  

I will start with a screen shot that I took of the weather report, at about 5:30 this evening. (Note that "Hartford" refers to the town of Hartford Vermont, where I live.)  It was 7 degrees F at that time, with a drop to minus 16 expected tonight.  The next few days are expected to have single digit high temperatures and minus temperatures of two digits (minus 10, etc)
Weather at 5:30 pm and forecast

So, how is the grid doing? Fairly well, actually.  At 5:30, I took this picture, showing that the LMP (local marginal prices) were running at about 20 cents a kWh. ($200 a MWh translates to 20 cents per kWh.) The graphics below are screen shots from ISO-NE. I took my snaps at 5:30 at this ISO page, which is updated every 5 minutes. https://www.iso-ne.com/isoexpress/

Grid prices and electricity use at 5:30 p.m. and throughout the day

As you can see by the retrospective graphs to the left of the map, prices have been up and down between $100 and $250  (10 cents and 25 cents per kWh) most of the day.

Oil on the Grid

During cold snaps, gas pipelines must supply homes first, and gas-fired power plants get short-changed.  ISO-NE has a Winter Reliability Program which mainly compensates gas-fired power plants for keeping fuel on site: oil or LNG or CNG. (Liquefied or compressed natural gas.) The grid was running about 22% oil at 5:30 this evening.

The current Winter Reliability program is described in an update presentation, given December 7,  2017  by Anne George of ISO-NE. On page 5, Ms. George describes the current winter reliability program, which pays oil and gas fired generators to have fuel on site.  (Page numbers are at the lower right of each viewgraph.) On page 18, she describes how the forward capacity auctions are attracting new generation, even as older plants retire.  Specifically, ISO-NE is attracting new dual-fired natural gas resources: gas turbines that can also burn oil, and therefore can store oil on-site for cold weather.

ISO-NE's attempt to provide winter electricity by encouraging oil use in cold weather is working.  The next picture shows (among other things) the fuel mix at 5:30 on the New England Grid. 

Fuel use at 5:30 p.m. and throughout the day
You can see that 25% of the electricity was supplied by nuclear, 24% by natural gas, 22% by oil, and 11% by renewables.  Usually, the grid runs closer to 50% natural gas and just a few percent oil. If you go to viewgraph 19 of the ISO-NE presentation,  you can see that natural gas is expected to be 55% of normal generation, and oil is the merest sliver on the graph.

The Renewables

In the chart above, renewables are making 11% of the power on the grid.  This is on the high side. (Viewgraph 19 of the ISO presentation shows renewables making 5%, for example.)  The high contribution of renewables is due to the wind.

In my experience of New England, really cold weather is often deathly still.  Not this time.  The wind is blowing, the windchill factor is serious, and the wind turbines are making considerable amounts of energy.  Wind turbines are making 50%  of the renewable power on the grid, as you can see in the chart below.  Basically, the other 50% of the renewable power is being made by burning wood and refuse. That power is pretty steady: the wind contribution goes up and down.

Since wind is making half the renewable power on the grid, and renewables are making 11% of the power on the grid, therefore,  the wind turbines are making 5.5% of the power on the grid. 

 The chart below shows the percentage of renewables on the grid at 5:30 p.m. 
Renewables on the grid at 5:30 p.m. 50% of the renewable power is from wind

The End of the Grid Tour

I am pleased that it is both cold and windy. (Actually, I am not that pleased about it. I have to live here, after all.)  I also know ISO must be fuel-neutral, so dual-fuel gas-fired generators are considered good. However, I can't help but think that using more oil in the winter is a step back for New England, not  a step forward.  

If you want, you can go to the ISO site, and watch the grid.  Or if you don't live in New England, look up your own grid, and do a compare-and-contrast. I would love it if you would comment on this article.

(An article from about four years ago in similar weather: The Cold Truth on the New England Grid.)



Sunday, December 17, 2017

Audiobook Now Available for "Campaigning for Clean Air"


Audiobook of Campaigning for Clean Air is now available!

I am so pleased to announce that the audiobook version of Campaigning for Clean Air is now available at Amazon. You can buy it or you can rent it (so to speak) through Audible.  You can give it as a gift through Audible. It should be available at other vendors also, but I haven't checked them out yet.

Audiobook of Campaigning for Clean Air

Read by Pamela Almand

I was so happy that Pamela Almand agreed to read this book. She is a former pilot for Northwest Airlines: she flew 747s, often to Japan.  People told her that her voice was reassuring to the passengers.  Her voice is smooth, low-pitched and easy to understand.

Almand is in great demand as a narrator.  She has been a finalist for the Audie Awards, a finalist for the Voice Arts awards, and a winner in Voice Arts. You can see more of her work at Audiobooks by the Captain, and  TheCaptainsVoice.com 

I listened to quite a few examples before I decided that I wanted Almand to read my book.  She has the right voice quality and a strong technical background. But I wondered if she would narrate my book. My book can be seen as controversial: not everyone wants to narrate something about nuclear power. Almand has many projects from which to choose. To my relief, Almand liked Campaigning for Clean Air, and she narrated it!

You will really enjoy Almand's narration of Campaigning for Clean Air.  Like all audiobooks (and podcasts, etc.) you can "read it" in periods of time that might otherwise be wasted.  This is because you will be listening to it, not reading it.

I am happy that it is available, and I hope you enjoy it!




Tuesday, November 14, 2017

BATNA vs BATNA vs WATTA in Vermont

Students at International Negotiation Tournament
University of Toronto vs. University of Tromso
Wikipedia
Hostage Negotiations

In deciding on issues about Vermont Yankee decommissioning, I hope that the state of Vermont will not be overly influenced by the agendas of anti-nuclear groups. I hope so, but I worry.

For example, the Keene Sentinel wrote a recent editorial urging people to be reasonable about getting Vermont Yankee decommissioned. Among other things, the Sentinel encourages the state to not require a "residential quality" cleanup of the site.  However, the title of the editorial perturbed me:  Hostage negotiations: State regulators need to be strict but reasonable, in VY decommissioning fight. 

Decommissioning "fight"? "Hostage negotiations"? Really?

The editorial itself includes more "hostage" terminology. "At the same time, it’s been disappointing to see how quick NorthStar has been to try to hold the state hostage over the issue. The company certainly has the right to negotiate for the best deal it can get, within safety standards. But NorthStar CEO Scott State has reportedly said he’ll pull out of the deal if the firm doesn’t get its way on the “residential quality” issue —" 

Then I realized ---this is simply a matter of BATNAs.  Not hostages, but BATNAs. (More about BATNAs later.)

At some deep level, the state realizes that it doesn't have much of a BATNA, and this makes it angry.

Now I have to back up and explain what I am talking about. I'll start with the "fight," and on to the BATNAs.

The Fight

Entergy wants to sell Vermont Yankee to a consortium of businesses headed by NorthStar. These companies have expertise in decommissioning, and plan to decommission Vermont Yankee in ten years or so, which would be better for most people than the Entergy plan of letting the plant be in SAFSTOR for sixty years.

However, Entergy and NorthStar need a Certificate of Public Good  from the state in order for Entergy to sell the plant to NorthStar. And the state considers this request to be a "fight."

In general, the state usually wants two things when Entergy needs a certificate of public good.  Money and power, or rather, money and control.

Money: In return for a Certificate of Public Good (CPG), the state usually wants to get some money for projects that the state wants to do. This is standard in Vermont, and perhaps elsewhere.  I consider this sort of request to be a "tribute" payment, and I wrote about this in a post in ANS Nuclear Cafe in 2013: Millions for education. but not one cent for tribute. For example, in the past, Vermont has granted Entergy a CPG after Entergy promised to give money to a fund to help clean up Lake Champlain. You must understand that Lake Champlain is in the northwest portion of Vermont, and Vermont Yankee is in the southeast corner.  They are in different watersheds, too. Entergy funded part of the Lake Champlain cleanup, because the state "asked it" to do so, not because Entergy operations had affected Lake Champlain.

Nowadays, however, Vermont Yankee is shut down. The plant has only one source of money: the decommissioning fund.  The NRC will not allow Entergy to use that fund for random projects, such as cleaning up Lake Champlain. Therefore, the state's ability to get money is limited.

Control:  The state wants control of the Vermont Yankee decommissioning. Control issues include:

  • According to whose rules does the clean-up proceed? 
  • Clean-up the site to "residential standards" or industrial standards?  
  • How deep does NorthStar need to excavate the site?  
  • Can NorthStar rubbilize the existing buildings on site and use them for fill, or must NorthStar haul the building rubble away and buy other rubble for fill
  • Will NorthStar get the site ready for another industry that can provide jobs, or should the area be untouched and fallow, to allow the "earth to heal" for two hundred years? 

The State may take a more or less extreme position on these matters, but there wouldn't be a "fight" if the State were just trying to work out a safe, effective site restoration.

So, now we have the state in one corner, and Entergy/NorthStar in the other corner.  We understand the fight.  But what are those BATNAs?

BATNA versus BATNA

The BATNA concept was introduced in the groundbreaking book on negotiations: Getting to Yes.   Most managers are aware of the concept.

Classic decision tree
A BATNA is the "Best Alternative to Negotiated Agreement" and the negotiator with the strongest BATNA usually "wins" the negotiation.  The negotiator with the strongest BATNA gets a result closer to what he wanted, while the negotiator with the weaker BATNA obtains fewer of his goals.

So what are the BATNAs here?  What are the state's "alternatives?"  What are NorthStar's "alternatives?"

It would seem that the state and NorthStar have each other over a barrel. If the state doesn't give NorthStar a certificate of public good for the sale, NorthStar can't do the project.  If NorthStar considers the state requirements to be too onerous, it can walk away from the project, and the state will be left with a plant that will most probably be in SAFSTOR for decades.  Assuming that both parties want a successful project, which one has the better BATNA?

Well, NorthStar does. NorthStar has the better BATNA.

The NorthStar and Vermont BATNAs

This job would be good for NorthStar, but if the state requirements would cause the company to lose money on the job, it can walk away and bid on a different project instead.  There are plenty of fish in the sea, and plenty of cleanup projects on land. Tens of other possible projects are NorthStar's BATNA.

Meanwhile, the state has only this one power plant, which it wants to see decommissioned promptly.  If the state (or Entergy) had a reasonable chance of seeing several other qualified groups line up to bid on the decommissioning, the state would have a strong BATNA. NorthStar would be just one choice out of many. But the state doesn't have such a BATNA.  There are few companies qualified to do a major decommissioning, and I don't see any of them lining up to work in Vermont. They are mostly busy, and mostly working in other states that don't have the same anti-nuclear (and anti-business) bias.

The state has a weak BATNA.  As a matter of fact, I can't really define it beyond "learn to love SAFSTOR." No matter how thoughtfully and delicately NorthStar mentions its strong BATNA, the state is going to feel "held hostage." The iron laws of negotiation are holding the state hostage. I'm sure it is not comfortable.

BATNA versus WATTA

If you noticed, my discussion of the negotiations had the assumption that both the state and NorthStar would want a speedy and effective decommissioning at Vermont Yankee.  I am not going to mince words here.  There's a set of third parties in this negotiation--the anti-nuclear groups. They have their own agenda. Unfortunately, my experience is that the State of Vermont bows to any pressure exerted by an anti-nuclear group.

The anti-nuclear groups do not want a quick clean-up. As described in a recent commentary in Vermont Digger, one of the opponent groups is eager to see  a very long process. As Amelia Shea writes:
"...the question (is) of how best to protect the residents, the land and the water long into the future from the harbingers of birth defects, cancer and genetic illness. New England Coalition is advocating for intensified environmental stewardship of the site and to let the land lie fallow after the cleanup in order to achieve that goal...."
In other articles, nuclear opponents have suggested that the land lie fallow for 200 years, to "heal" from having the Vermont Yankee plant in place. This "healing" is not measurable: the opponents don't define a criteria for "healed-land".

So the nuclear opponents actually have their own agenda, and their own BATNA. Their BATNA is to encourage WATTA.  Worst Alternative To Technical Accuracy.

For the opponents, the plant spending decades in SAFSTOR is no big deal. They see SAFSTOR as just the beginning  of a several-century process of "healing." The state doesn't have a good BATNA to begin with.  If Vermont bows to the nuclear opponents and their agenda, Vermont may well end up with the plant in SAFSTOR followed by WATTA.

 Optimist

This glass is half full 
The glass is also refillable
I am a natural optimist.  I think hard-working people can make situations work out to a be a win-win, or at least, not a lose-lose.

So I hope Vermont will not end up with WATTA, but rather, Vermont  will work out an acceptable agreement with NorthStar. I hope that Vermont Yankee will be effectively and rapidly decommissioned.

I am an optimist.

Unfortunately, in Vermont, it is easy for an optimist to get disappointed.