Information Related to the Closure of Vermont Yankee
Information as of August 30, 2013, including:
- WRC Statement on Announcement by Entergy Nuclear Vermont Yankee That the Plant Will Close in 2014
- VY Employees by Town
- Resiliency Action Plan for the Town of Vernon in Preparation for the Eventual Closure of the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station
WRC Statement on Announcement by Entergy Nuclear Vermont Yankee That the Plant Will Close in 2014
The Windham Regional Commission has always maintained a neutral position as to whether or not the Entergy Nuclear Vermont Yankee power station located in Vernon should continue operation. We have taken this position so we could facilitate discussions among those on all sides of the issue. The Commission has, however, been very involved in Vermont Public Service Board dockets since 2007, arguing not for whether or not the plant should continue operation, but rather for what is in the best interest of the region when the plant does eventually cease operation, whenever and for whatever reason that occurs.
Our positions seek to mitigate to the greatest extent possible the economic, employment, cultural and social impacts of the closure on the region; advocate for the fiscal well-being of our towns; and advocate for the restoration of the Vermont Yankee site to greenfield status as soon as possible so that it may be reused. These positions were most recently stated in our Initial Brief filed on August 16, 2013 in Public Service Board docket 7862. The following is a summary of those positions excerpted from the brief.
We ask that whether or not a Certificate of Public Good is granted, the Public Service Board consider the following:
- Recognize the value of the Station to the region and state while it is operating, and that the general good would be best served if, upon cessation of operations, the Station is promptly decommissioned with complete site restoration so that the site can be reused and serve the orderly development of the region and state.
- Require that ENVY (Entergy Nuclear Vermont Yankee), ENO (Entergy Nuclear Operations), and Entergy Corporation be held jointly and severally responsible for all costs associated with operations, decommissioning, spent fuel management, and site restoration.
- Require the prompt and complete decommissioning and site restoration of the VY Station after shutdown (whenever that occurs) and prohibit the use of SAFSTOR. The best way to accomplish this is to ensure the decommissioning trust is adequate.
- Recognize the Decommissioning Cost Analysis prepared by TLG is inadequate. The Board should specifically recognize the Decommissioning Cost Analysis and Decommissioning Trust Fund do not adequately account for the costs of removing all structures, reasonable property taxes, and additional elements identified by other parties. The Board should require that Entergy VY fully fund the decommissioning trust to cover all potential costs associated with radiological decommissioning, spent fuel management, and complete site restoration without the use of SAFSTOR.
- Require Entergy VY to meet its MOU (memorandum of understanding) commitment to remove “all structures” as part of site restoration, rather than just removing structures to three feet below grade.
- Require Entergy VY to establish separate and adequate funds to cover radiological decommissioning, spent fuel management, and site restoration, and require substantial additional payments into those funds.
- Require Entergy VY to identify a suitable location for a second ISFSI (independent spent fuel storage installation).
- Require Entergy VY to consider shifting spent fuel from wet to dry storage, or alternatively require a payment-in-kind into the decommissioning trust as if fuel had been moved. Additionally, the Board should require that Entergy VY provide funding to the decommissioning trust to cover all the costs of managing spent fuel derived from any period of extended operations after March 21, 2012.
- Require specific actions from Entergy VY to comply with its commitment to use its “commercial best efforts” to have the spent fuel removed from Vermont.
We feel these positions are in the best interest of the region, and the state. What Entergy Nuclear Vermont Yankee intends to do upon closure is on the record, under oath, before the Public Service Board. Our positions were developed in response to what has been entered into the record. The Public Service Board docket remains open, and we believe that these positions should serve as the primary point of negotiation between the state and Entergy going forward. This filing, and other information related to the Commission’s work on Vermont Yankee, can be found on our website at http://windhamregional.org/vermont-yankee.
Additionally, at the request of the Town of Vernon and using a Municipal Planning Grant, we prepared a study titled Resiliency Action Plan for the Town of Vernon in Preparation for the Eventual Closure of the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station. This plan, completed in June, 2012, explains the closure and decommissioning process, and what actions the town can take to prepare. That plan is available here: http://windhamregional.org/images/docs/vy/exhibits/wrc-cross-35.pdf. As we note in the plan, federal law and regulations do not require Entergy Nuclear Vermont Yankee to work with the town or the region as they prepare for closure and decommissioning, but we hope they will voluntarily do so. The WRC is prepared to assist in this effort. We have reached out to our counterparts in New Hampshire and Massachusetts to engage them in preparing for the closure of the plant as well.
We recognize the significant and diverse impacts the closure of the plant will have on our region, our towns, our families, our friends, our neighbors, our businesses, and our economy. Understanding these impacts, and what might be done to mitigate them and make our region more resilient, is the reason we have invested considerable staff and volunteer resources over the last 6 years into planning for the plant’s eventual closure. We stand by to assist our towns with planning for a post-Vermont Yankee future, and to lead a regional resiliency planning effort. Given our experience and background, we also expect to be integral to any statewide response and recovery efforts. Mitigating the impacts on the region’s economy will require region-wide solutions, and we will continue to participate in and support the Southeast Vermont Economic Development Strategy, and the development of a Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy, being led by our regional partner, the Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation. We will also encourage Entergy to voluntarily work with the region and our towns to establish a working group through which there will be clear communication about what the plant intends to do, and what those actions mean for our communities. We all must work together to plan for resiliency as the region loses not only a major employer and economic engine, but also many plant workers and their families that call our region home.
Vermont Yankee Employees by Town
This document provides a list of where Vermont Yankee employees live by town (likely identified by zip code). This was provided to us by Entergy in response to one of our discovery questions in Public Service Board docket 7862. We have more detailed information about Vernon. The following is an excerpt from the Action Plan for the Town of Vernon in Preparation for the Eventual Closure of the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station.
“The following information was reported for this project to the WRC by Entergy Vermont Yankee on June 12, 2012. As of that date, the total number of people employed by Vermont Yankee was 624. The total number of employees residing in Vernon was 84. The number of spouses of employees residing in Vernon was reported as 61, and the number of children was reported as 129. These numbers together (employees and their spouses and children residing in Vernon) represent approximately 12.4 percent of the total population of the town. The number of contracted employees residing in Vernon is assumed by Vermont Yankee to be small. The 2011 distribution of employees by state was reported as 239 in Vermont, 191 in New Hampshire, and 164 in Massachusetts.”
While the numbers provided to us by Vermont Yankee differ between the discovery question answer and the information provided for the Vernon resiliency plan, they provide a general sense of who lives where.
List of Vermont Yankee Employees by Town: PDF
Resiliency Action Plan for the Town of Vernon in Preparation for the Eventual Closure of the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station
In December, 2010, the Town of Vernon applied for a Municipal Planning Grant through the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development, “to expand the Vernon Town Plan, an update of which is already underway, to include a significant component regarding post-closure planning related to the eventual closure of the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station.” While the urgency of this proposal was prompted by the possibility that the plant might close in March, 2012 as a result of the expiration of its authority to operate from the State of Vermont, the purpose was driven by the recognition of the fact that the town’s largest employer and tax generator will, at some point, close.
The Windham Regional Commission was retained by the Town of Vernon to conduct this planning effort as directed by the Vernon Planning Commission. The WRC has participated extensively in the Public Service Board dockets related to Vermont Yankee, and has maintained a neutral position as to whether or not the plant should or should not continue to operate. The WRC adopted this position in order to facilitate discussion among all sides about the plant, and to share information from those dockets with the public. Information gathered over time about the potential impacts of the eventual closure of the plant informs this report. While the WRC has adopted specific positions related to the eventual decommissioning of the plant, and the storage of spent fuel on the site, those positions are not presented or advocated for here. The goal is to provide the Town of Vernon with objective information about the eventual closure of the plant such that it can make its own informed decisions.
Link to report: PDF