The NRC has faith in the stock market

Our government’s nuclear watchdogs made a move yesterday that reinforces their image as the Industry’s Best Friend.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has granted requests from Entergy Nuclear Operations Inc. to use some of the $665 million in its decommissioning fund to store used fuel rods that remain radioactive for thousands of years.

And by “some,” we mean $225 million, or more than one-third of the same decommissioning fund that’s woefully underfunded for the task of actually decommissioning Vermont Yankee, which is why we’ll have to wait 60 years before the thing is safely disposed of.

And here’s the ha-ha funny thing.

The roughly $225 million from that the NRC approved to come from the decommissioning fund will help pay for the management and operations to guard the radioactive waste, he said.

Geddit? Entergy can’t decommission the plant anytime soon because it shortchanged the decom fund. And now it’s raiding the decom fund to pay for “management and operations” of a site that will need 60 years’ worth of management and operations precisely because it shortchanged the decom fund.

There’s something awfully circular about that logic.

But hey, it’ll all turn out just fine in the end.

Neil Sheehan, a spokesperson for the NRC, said the regulators approved the exemption because Entergy is investing the $665 million fund well enough that the company will have enough money to decommission the Vernon plant over a 60-year period.

Yeah, it’s like they used to say in the mid-2000s: the stock market always goes up.

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