NRC FOIA response on dry casks

October 14th, 2021

Quite a while back, when starting to dig into this matter of Xcel Energy’s request for Public Utilities Commission approval for a yet to be identified dry cask for storing and transporting Prairie Island Nuclear Generation Plant’s nuclear waste (PUC Docket E-002/CN-08-510), I filed a Freedom of Information Act Request:

ESTIMATED COST: $3,142.66.

Yeah, right… and I’ve been deemed a “commercial use requester.” HUH?

And I’ve received this response, with this attached spreadsheet of possible responsive publicly accessible documents — for sure it’s worth putting on the waders and searching for juicy titbits:

Greetings Ms. Overland.

Even with the narrowing of your request, there appear to be a significant number of records that that may be responsive.  In an effort to minimize the fees that would be chargeable to you, we asked NMSS staff to search ADAMS for the records already publicly available that may be responsive to your request, with the thought of providing you that listing, and with the hope that it would meet your needs.  With the listing, you can review the records listed therein, and identify any that were of interest to you.  A copy of that spreadsheet is attached.

If, after your review, you determine that you would like for us to continue processing your request, this will necessitate a search through ADAMS’s non-publicly available records to identify which ones, if any, include content that is responsive to your request, and undertake a review of those records to determine whether they may be released to you.  To move forward, then, we would need your commitment to pay the estimated fees and if the fees exceed $250, remit payment in advance.  So, please see the fee estimate below.   For purposes of our fee estimate, although you did not express your preference, we assume that we would provide you our response electronically. Since the NRC does not charge requesters duplication fees when we respond electronically, we have not included in our fee estimate any duplication costs.

Because you are determined to be a “commercial-use” requester, you will be responsible for search and review fees associated with the processing of your request.

We have now received the cost estimate for the search and review time, associated with the processing of the non-publicly available records that may be responsive to your September 14, 2021 FOIA request.  It is estimated that a total of 12 hours of search time and 26.5 hours of review time will be necessary to complete your request.  Please note that, after completing our search and reviewing potentially responsive records, the NRC may find few, if any, responsive records.

As reflected in the attached Form 509, Statement of Estimated Fees, your search and review cost is estimated to be 38.5 x $81.72/hour, which accounts for the  search and review time expended at the professional/managerial level, which amounts to $3146.22.

You may wish to refer back to the “Explanation of Fees” page attachment to the September 14, 2021 acknowledgment letter we sent you, and as required pursuant to 10 C.F.R. 9.37, for additional information about the fees we may charge.

Pursuant to 10 C.F.R. 9.40(e), we will not continue processing your request until we receive a response from you of your willingness to pay up to the above-referenced fee estimate.  Additionally, because the estimated fee exceeds $250, the NRC will not process your request without advance payment of the estimated fee.  We have attached a Form 629, Authorization for Payment by Credit Card, should you choose to remit the estimated fee by credit card. Alternatively, you may remit payment at www.pay.gov by checking the box “Other” and entering the FOIA request’s reference number.

If we have not received a response from you by Thursday, October 28, 2021, we will assume that you are satisfied with the public ADAMS listing we have provided, and administratively close your request.  You may also try to further narrow the scope of your request to reduce the estimated fees associated with the processing of your request.

Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.  I may be reached by email at Stephan.Ellis@nrc.gov or by telephone at (301) 415-3655.

RULES! PUC’s 7849 & 7850

October 12th, 2021

Can it be?!?! The rulemaking based on the 2005 statutory changes was published in the state register today. TODAY… 2005… SIXTEEN YEARS, and NINE YEARS since this 12-1246 docket was opened. Comments are due by November 17, more on that below.

The Public Utilities Commission did one hell of a job delaying until BILLIONS of CapX 2020, a/k/a CapX 2050 and Grid North Partners and MTEP MVP projects were rammed through. Public interest anyone? Naaaaaaah…

Here it is — First the Notice (60 page service list!), then Statement of Need and Reasonableness (SONAR) and then the proposed rules (yeah, 120+ pages):

Comments are due November 17th:

Here’s the catch — they are planning on putting these through without a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge, UNLESS there are at least 25 requests for a hearing — I think that can be arranged. Here are the details, note that they must be “valid” requests, which means explain in short what you want differently in the rules:

ONWARD! SIXTEEN YEARS… UNREAL!

Statkraft may have put wind in, but the Norwegian Supreme Court says otherwise.

Here’s the Court’s press release.

From that press release, it seems that cumulative impacts was the factor that tipped the scales:

And the decision about the Fosen Vind project, IN NORWEGIAN — the court has said it will be translated in its entirety someday:

A conceptual solar canal.

Why did it take so long for this to arrive here in the U.S., it took many years, and a release of a study pointing out the siting and efficiency advantages. Parking this here for future reference!

Why India’s Canals Could Help Fast-Forward Its Solar-Energy Plans

“Not only do they perform more efficiently, but because we can assume that the generated electricity is utilised in nearby areas, the transmission losses of (normally) 4% and distribution losses of 3% are avoided,” said Sagarkumar Agravat, head of GERMI’s solar research and development.

Apart from this, since the panels are placed on top of water, they are cooled from below, which also increases their efficiency and enhances output by 2.5-5%.

Renewable future: Gujarat govt to set up 100 MW solar power project atop Narmada canal

The ‘solar canals’ making smart use of India’s space

Overall, Gujarat has more than 80,000km of canals meandering through the state. According to Gujarat State Electricity Corporation, if 30% of this were converted to solar, 18,000MW of power could be produced, saving 90,000 acres of land.

This is not a new idea, a demonstration canal project was built in India in 2012:

Gujarat’s solar panels over canals project is a great idea for sustainable energy production

And almost a decade later, in California:

Study looks at covering California’s canals with solar panels

And the study:

Energy and water co-benefits from covering canals with solar panels

And in Popular Science:

Solar panels and water canals could form a real power couple in California

Today, starting at 10:30, the Wisconsin PSC meeting is on, and last on the agenda, #15, is the Cardinal-Hickory Creek transmission line. They will be deciding whether they will interfere in judicial review of their C-HC order and make that moot by rescinding the order, and then, whether they will immediately RE-ORDER as the utilities want. Regulatory capture much?

Tune in early, because last time they ran through 40 items in 5-6 minutes!

FULL AGENDA

To listen to meeting (whatever happened to the webcast?) go HERE: https://apps.psc.wi.gov/APPS/eventscalendar/broadcast/livebroadcast.aspx

To check out all the filings in this docket, go HERE! Some very interesting and highly recommended comments were filed over the last month.

If you’re curious or upset that there is no longer video livestreamed, contact PSC Helpdesk at (608) 267-9195 or email at PSCHelpdesk@wisconsin.gov