20160721_172836[1]

Well, that was interesting… and it took all evening!

First a sidebar, but an important one.  The Agenda CBS Public Meeting-Minneapolis caught my attention, seeing PUC Commissioner John Tuma named front and center. The PUC’s page  on Commissioner ex parte, conflict, and basic decorum has disappeared — I called the PUC about Commissioner Tuma’s appearance (fair warning, prior to event), and noted that the page had disappeared.  Here are the rules (the page was what stressed the importance of avoiding even the appearance of impropriety:

7845.0400 CONFLICT OF INTEREST; IMPROPRIETY.

Subpart 1. General behavior.

A commissioner or employee shall respect and comply with the law and shall behave in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the commission’s decision making process.

Subp. 2. Actions prohibited.

Commissioners and employees shall avoid any action that might result in or create a conflict of interest or the appearance of impropriety, including:

A. using public office for private gain;

B. giving preferential treatment to an interested person or entity;

C. impeding the efficiency or economy of commission decision making;

D. losing independence or impartiality of action;

E. making a commission decision outside official channels; and

F. affecting adversely the confidence of the public in the integrity of the commission.

7845.0700 PROHIBITED ACTIVITIES.

Subp. 4. Outside employment.

A commissioner or employee shall not negotiate for or accept outside employment or other involvement in a business or activity that will impair the person’s independence of judgment in the exercise of official duties.

I registered this in a Comment section, provided copies of the rules, and expected something similar to Commissioner Koppendrayer’s response in a similar situation years ago (see below). Commissioner Tuma is new, and being there was not the worst of possible activities, other past and present Commissioners have done much worse, but it’s not OK.  His presence on the panel, on the stage, lends the impression of support of the DOE’s efforts, and nuclear waste, nuclear decommissioning funds, nuclear uprates and rehab, all are issues that have been and will be in front of the Commission in highly contested cases.  It lends the appearance of losing independence, impartiality, and impairment of judgment in future exercise of official duties.

I’ve seen this a few times.  One positive experience was at the Sawmill Inn when Commissioner Koppendrayer was named on a coal gasification love-fest panel when Excelsior’s Mesaba Project was before the PUC, and I’d called the Commission ahead of time and spoken to the then Asst. A.G. who said, not to worry, they knew ex parte and conflict of interest and rules of decorum.  Yet at that meeting, which Koppendrayer DID attend despite advance warning, I jumped up and objected from the back of the room, noting the PUC’s focus on avoiding even the appearance of impropriety, and Koppendrayer said something like “Overland’s got a point, and I should leave” and he did!  He earned quite a few “respect” points that day.   IEDC gets carried away  February 15, 2007.

On the other hand, I’m also remembering Commissioner Phyllis Reha’s coal gasification junket to Belgium via Great Plains Institute, a well-funded toady for coal gasification (and GPI was on panel last night, another cause for concern, how much were they paid!).  How blatant can you get?  MCGP Request for Recusal (Commission saw no problem!).

Reha-Europe2007GroupPhoto_1

… and there’s her stumping for CapX 2020 transmission: PUC Commissioner Reha: Enhancing the Nation’s Electricity Delivery System.  That was the basis of another Motion, but of course, Commissioner Reha and the Commission saw no problem with her actions!  NoCapX Motion to Recuse Commissioner Reha & Exhibit A – Reha Power Point Presentation.

And then there’s Great Plains Institute’s involvement.  After their intense and well funded toadying for coal gasification ($437,000 over 21 months), and transmission, and then Xcel Energy’s e21, Dog help us!  Anything GPISD in involved with has got my attention, and not in a good way!

Last night’s agenda was packed, and we got a lot done.  A guy name Scott Thomas (the NSP engineer perhaps?) was at my table and jumped up and objected when we had a bit of opposition theater, I jumped up to counter, DOH, every hear of freedom of speech.  I mean really, it took all of 5 minutes, let people speak up!

Here’s my comment, in large part based on “consent” a la SNUY’s approach for sexual consent, substituting “nuclear” for sexual — if we’re going to get screwed, this is the best possible of consent definitions:

DOE – Overland Comment 7-21-2016

Here’s the DOE’s Consent-Based Siting page.  Notice was in the Federal Register, who reads that? Invitation for Public Comment in the Federal Register.  Comments are being taken through July 31 or email to them at consentbasedsiting@hq.doe.gov.

Here’s how they’re framing it, with questions to be answered:

  • How can the Department ensure that the process for selecting a site is fair?
  • What models and experience should the Department use in designing the process?
  • Who should be involved in the process for selecting a site, and what is their role?
  • What information and resources do you think would facilitate your participation?
  • What else should be considered?

We broke into small groups and actually had a pretty good discussion.  Peggy Rehder, Red Wing City Council, was also at “Table 2” and of course we’re disagreeing.  She’s frustrated at having spent 6 years on this and getting nowhere, but in terms of nuclear waste, 6 years is but a second or two…  I’ve got 22 years in, and some there had many more.  A key point was that the DOE must restore trust if it wants to get anywhere, and how would that happen?  Stopping production of more nuclear waste is a key step.  Dream on… this process is a move to enable continued generation of nuclear waste, continued operation of nuclear plants, now being relicensed, uprated, nuclear waste expanded.

Prairie Island’s President Shelly Buck was on the panel, and that was good — PIIC is in such a mess, the plant and nuclear waste right next door, and they’ve been screwed over so many ways, so many times.  Will they be regarded as a “stakeholder” this time around?  They’ve intervened in so many nuclear matters, doing everything they can to protect the Community…

Parts of it were webcast.  There will be a video of the evening’s festivities sometime, LINK HERE (when it’s posted, scroll down to “Minneapolis”) and there was a photographer snapping shots every few seconds (hmmmm, well, I guess that will be added to all our files!).

Karen Hadden, SEED Coalition (that SEED Coalition grew from Energy Foundation funding, same as MN’s defunct “SEED Coalition” which morphed into “RE-AMP” about 2005), was present, and vocal (YES!), regarding their concerns about nuclear waste siting in Texas and New Mexico, particularly about a recent application to NRC for a nuclear waste storage facility in western Texas, near the New Mexico border. See www.NoNuclearWasteAqui.org for more info.

Alan Muller, environmental consultant in Minnesota, and Exec. Dir. of Green Delaware, spoke of his having TWO Prairie Island reactors on the other side of town here in Red Wing, and the THREE Salem and Hope Creek reactors, visible from the office window in Port Penn, Delaware.

AlanGreenDel

Here’s the Arizona meeting, CHECK OUT THE VIDEO HERE.  Well worth the listen, the panel is much better qualified than the one in Minnesota (with the exception of Prairie Island’s Shelly Buck, and Canada’s Kathryn Shaver from their Adaptive Phases Management Engagement and Site Selection, Nuclear Waste Management Organization, listen up to them when Mpls. video is released).

Take some time and consider the DOE’s informational booklet.  Put your thoughts together and send in comments: consentbasedsiting@hq.doe.gov.

I think it’s worth trotting out the EQB Citizens Advisory Task Force report on nuclear waste, from the Florence Township Nuclear Waste Daze:

Florence Twp Site – Citizens Advisory Task Force – Nuclear Dry Cask Storage

And also thing about the many casks on Prairie Island — those TN-40s and TN-29 have aluminum seals that need to be replaced EVERY 20 YEARS, and to my knowledge they’ve not been replaced, and there are casks that have been loaded and sitting there for more than 20 years.  What’s up with that?  What’s the plan?  Back when they were permitting that, there was no plan.  So…

Consider this 3 Stooges approach to cask unloading — don’t know of any other attempt to unload casks, maybe that’s one of the lessons learned here:

INEL TN-24P stuck

Here’s an INEL report on a TN24 leak:

10813-TN-24P leak

And an NRC report on unloading:

NRC INFORMATION NOTICE 97-51:  PROBLEMS EXPERIENCED WITH LOADING 
AND UNLOADING SPENT NUCLEAR FUEL STORAGE AND TRANSPORTATION                             CASKS

Here’s an EPRI report on (these technical reports are important!) Creep and Crud, which occurs with storage:

100217 – Creep & Crud

Here’s a report generated after the “ignition event” at Pt. Beach, where spent fuel was loaded in a cask, then set out of the pool, and let sit overnight, then they attempted to well it, well, welding cask full of bubbles of hydrogen from the interaction of zinc and the acidic solution the assemblies are sitting in, left overnight, BOOM!

NRC_ Bulletin 96-04_ Chemical, Galvanic, or Other Reactions in Spent Fuel Storage and Transportation Casks

Where are all the reports about the weld flaws on the VSC-24 casks?  They’re in Pt. Beach, Palisades, and Arkansas One.

Estimated Risk Contribution for Dry Spent Fuel Storage Cask

Failure Modes and Effects Analysis of Welded Stainless Steel Canisters for Dry Cask Storage Systems – EPRI

And here’s a report relevant to us here in Minnesota, given all our granite and our “2nd place” position in the federal site selection resulting in “choice” of Yucca Mountain:

Granite report SAND2011 6203

 

drycasks20040405

The DOE is hosting a meeting on “consent-based” nuclear waste siting?  Who are stakeholders?  What does it take to become a “stakeholder?”  Who has legitimate authority to give consent for storing nuclear waste?  Who would agree?  And who would agree and on whose behalf, i.e., City of Red Wing, Goodhue County agreeing on behalf of those of us living here?  AAAAAAAAACK!?!?!  And given how the Minnesota legislature has dealt with nuclear waste, mandating siting “in Goodhue County.”

DOE Meeting

Thursday, July 21 from 5-9 p.m.

Hilton – 1001 Marquette

Minneapolis

From the south, hop on light rail at Ft. Snelling, and transfer or hoof it down to 10th & Marquette.

If you can’t make the meeting, check the Invitation for Public Comment in the Federal Register and email Comments to consentbasedsiting@hq.doe.gov by July 31, 2016.

Info available online at energy.gov/consentbasedsiting and the DOE’s informational booklet.

From the DOE:

The purpose of the consent-based siting public meeting is to hear from the public and interested stakeholders on what matters to you as the Department of Energy moves forward in developing a consent-based process for siting the facilities needed to manage spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. The agenda includes a presentation from the Department of Energy’s Acting Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy, John Kotek. Mr. Kotek will discuss the nuclear energy activities that have brought us to this point, as well as describe the Department’s vision for an integrated waste management system and the need for a consent-based approach to siting. This presentation will be followed by a panel session with several experts providing diverse perspectives on the primary issues that need to be resolved in the design and implementation of a consent-based process. Participants will then have the opportunity to comment or ask questions to the Department and the panelists.

Following this session, there will be facilitated small group discussions on a variety of topics related to consent-based siting and integrated waste management. These small group discussions will provide the opportunity for participants to engage more closely on topics of interest to them. The Department intends for these small group discussions to be frank and open sessions on key topics that will inform the design of a consent-based process. The consent-based process will in turn serve as a framework for working with potential host communities in the future.

The agenda also includes a public comment period and two open houses with poster sessions before and after the formal meeting. The open house sessions provide participants with an opportunity to engage in less formal discussions with the Department and other meeting attendees.

“Northern States Power d/b/a Xcel Energy” filed a rate case with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, PUC Docket 15-826.  You can see all the filings — GO HERE TO PUC SEARCH PAGE — and search for docket 15-826.

Prehearing Conference

Monday, January 4 at 1:30 p.m.

PUC Large Hearing Room – 3rd Floor

121 – 7th Place E.

St. Paul, MN  55101

Xcel is asking for a big increase, and they admit it’s transmission driven.  So yes, I’m interested, you betcha.  No CapX 2020 and Carol A. Overland (as individual) have intervened:

No CapX 2020 – Overland_InterventionPacket

So far, here’s what’s been happening:

A rough schedule has been proposed by Commerce DER, which will be hashed out at the Prehearing Conference, and probably altered as the case moves forward:

ProposedSched

The PUC Staff Briefing Papers for last Thursday’s meeting:

Staff Briefing Papers_1_201512-116122-01

Staff Briefing PapersAddeudum_1_201512-116402-01

Staff Briefing Papers Addendum_2_ PI Decision Options_201512-116402-02

Staff Briefing Papers_Tuma Option_201512-116402-03

Here’s the webcast:  Video – should be good for 90 days from Dec. 10

Video – Docket 15-662 — Rate Design — video at 00:15:00 – 02:20:00

Video – Docket 15-826 — Rate Case — starts at 02:20:00

There has been one other intervention — “The Commercial Group” which is the biggies, like Walmart.  There have been several Notice of Appearances filed, but not interventions. ???

The AG’s Office has been the only one filing challenging comments thus far, which is why I have felt the need to barge in.  The “usual suspects” have been part of the e21 nonsense, and other agreements in the past that have both compromised their position and not been in the public interest.  Here are the AG Comments thus far.  RUD is dead on about NSP/Xcel’s overstatements, and those proven overstatements should be sufficient to grind this thing to a halt and get on more realistic terms:

OAG_RUD_Comments_11-20-2015_201511-115843-01

OAG_RUD_Comemnts_InitialComments_201511-115670-01

This is just Minnesota.  Obviously there will be a similar proceeding in Wisconsin in the very near future.

And given this rate case is transmission driven, the linkage between the FERC approved MISO rate and the reduction of return on equity in the FERC docket will have to be addressed:

Lower Return on Equity for Transmission

December 29th, 2015

Onward!

mickeymouse

Here we go again, this year’s Power Plant Siting Act Annual Hearing.

Public Utilities Commission (PUC) Docket Number: E999/M-15-785

Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) Docket Number: 60-2500-32901

Date: Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Time: 9:30 a.m.

Location: Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, Large Hearing Room, 121 7th Place East, Suite 350, Saint Paul, MN 55101

Bad weather? Find out if a meeting is canceled. Call (toll-free) 1-855-731-6208 or 651-201-2213 or visit mn.gov/puc

 

Here are some prior dockets (to access the entire docket, individual comments, etc., go to :

2000 Summary of Proceedings

2000 Report EQB

2001 Summary of Proceedings

2001 Report EQB

2002 Summary of Proceedings

2002 Report to EQB

2003 Summary of Proceedings

2003 Report to EQB

2004 Summary of Proceedings

2004 Report to EQB

2005 Report to PUC

2006 Report to PUC – Docket 06-1733

2007 Report to PUC – Docket 07-1579

2008 Report to PUC – Docket 08-1426

2009 Report to PUC – Docket 09-1351

2010 Report to PUC – Docket 10-222

2011 Report to PUC – Docket 11-324

2012 Report to PUC – Docket 12-360

2013 Report to PUC – Docket 13-965

2014 Summary Comments– Docket 14-887

NSP_Stack

Notice of the Power Plant Siting and Transmission Line Routing Program Annual Hearing

Issued: November 6, 2015

In the Matter of the 2015 Power Plant Siting Act Annual Hearing

Public Utilities Commission (PUC) Docket Number: E999/M-15-785

Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) Docket Number: 60-2500-32901

Date: Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Time: 9:30 a.m.

Location: Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, Large Hearing Room, 121 7th Place East, Suite 350, Saint Paul, MN 55101

Bad weather? Find out if a meeting is canceled. Call (toll-free) 1-855-731-6208 or 651-201-2213 or visit mn.gov/puc

Hearing Description

The annual hearing is required by Minnesota Statute § 216E.07, which provides that:

Thecommission shall hold an annual public hearing at a time and place prescribed by rule in order to afford interested persons an opportunity to be heard regarding any matters relating to the siting of large electric generating power plants and routing of high-voltage transmission lines. At the meeting, the commission shall advise the public of the permits issued by the commission in the past year….

Note – No decisions about specific projects are made at the annual hearing.

Public Hearing Information

  • Public hearings start on time.
  • Arrive a few minutes early so you have time to sign in, pick up materials, and find a seat.
  • Administrative Law Judge James LaFave will preside over the hearing.
  • Public Utilities Commission and Department of Commerce staff members are available to answer questions about the Power Plant Siting Act processes and the projects.
  • You may add verbal comments, written comments, or both into the record.
  • Learn more about participating at a public hearing at http://mn.gov/puc/resources/meetings-and-hearings.jsp
  • Judge LaFave will use information gathered at the public hearing and during the comment period to write a summary report for the Commission

Submit Comments

Topics for Public Comment:

  • Any matters related to the site permit process for large electric generating power plants and routing of high-voltage transmission lines.

Comment Period: November 6, 2015 through January 5, 2016 at 4:30pm.

  • Comments must be received by 4:30pm on the close date
  • Comments received after comment period closes may not be considered

Online Visit mn.gov/puc, select Speak Up!, find this docket (15-785), and add your comments to the discussion.

If you wish to include an exhibit, map or other attachment, please send your comments via eFiling (see below) or U.S. Mail.

Please include the Commission’s docket number in all communications.

Filing Requirements: Utilities and state agencies are required to file documents using the Commission’s electronic filing system (eFiling). All parties, participants and interested persons are encouraged to use eFiling: mn.gov/puc, select eFiling, and follow the prompts.

Important Comments will be made available to the public via the Public Utilities Commission’s website, except in limited circumstances consistent with the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act. The Commission does not edit or delete personal identifying information from submissions.

Hearing Agenda

I. Introductions
II.Overview of Programs
A. Public Utilities Commission – Facilities Permitting and Public Advisor
B. Department of Commerce – Energy Facilities Permitting Unit
C. Role of Other Agencies
III. Projects Reviewed
A. Projects Permitted in 2015
B. Pending and Anticipated Projects
C. Electric Facilities Subject to Power Plant Siting Act
1. Generating Plants
2. Transmission Lines
IV. Public Questions and Testimony
V. Adjourn

How to Learn More

Subscribe to the Docket: Subscribe to receive email notifications when new documents are filed. Note – subscribing may result in a large number of emails.

  1. mn.gov/puc
  2. Select Subscribe to a Docket
  3. Type your email address
  4. For Type of Subscription, select Docket Number
  5. For Docket Number, select 15 in the first box, type 785 in the second box
  6. Select Add to List
  7. Select Save

Full Case Record: See all documents filed in this docket via the Commission’s website – mn.gov/puc, select Search eDockets, enter the year (15) and the docket number (785), select Search.

Project Mailing Lists: Sign up to receive notices and opportunities to participate in other dockets relating to specific projects in which you are interested (meetings, comment periods, etc.). Contact docketing.puc@state.mn.us or 651-201-2234 with the docket number, your name, mailing address and email address.

Minnesota Statutes and Rules: The hearing is being conducted according to Minnesota Statute 216E.07. Minnesota Statutes are available at www.revisor.mn.gov.

Project Contacts

Public Utilities Commission Public Advisor

Tracy Smetana – consumer.puc@state.mn.us, 651-296-0406 or 1-800-657-3782