Vermont Yankee

sTAFF:  CHRIS CAMPANY

The Windham Regional Commission (WRC) has been engaged in discussions about the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station since it was first proposed because of its regional economic, energy, land use, emergency planning, and even cultural significance. The plant is now undergoing decommissioning and site restoration as governed by an order from the Vermont Public Utility Commission which incorporates a settlement agreement agreed to by all but one party engaged in the docket which approved the transfer of ownership of the plant from Entergy Nuclear Vermont Yankee to NorthStar. The transfer of the plant license from Entergy to NorthStar was also approved by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
The WRC continues to remain engaged in matters related to the decommissioning and site restoration because of its importance to the orderly development of the region. It does so independently as well as through its seat on the Vermont Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel. And because we engaged in proactive planning around the eventual closure and decommissioning of the plant, we have emerged as a leader in national policy discussions about planning for the local socioeconomic impacts of nuclear power plant closures.

The Town of Vernon, which is home to Vermont Yankee, has engaged in its own planning related to the plant’s closure and mitigating the impacts to the town.

Vermont Yankee Overview

The Vermont Yankee (VY) Nuclear Power Station is located on the Connecticut River in the Town of Vernon in the extreme southeast corner of the State of Vermont. The power station site is approximately 125 acres in size. Vernon is bordered by Franklin County, Massachusetts to the south and by Cheshire County, New Hampshire along and across the Connecticut River to the east.

The boiling water reactor became operational in 1972 and was owned and operated by the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Corporation, which was a public utility. It was originally constructed to produce 500 megawatts of electricity, but was later uprated to produce 620 megawatts. In 2002 the plant was purchased by Entergy Nuclear Vermont Yankee, thereby becoming a merchant plant rather than a public utility. Merchant plants are funded by private investors and sell power into a wholesale electricity market rather than directly to retail customers. In August, 2013 Entergy Nuclear Operations announced it would cease operations and close VY during the fourth quarter of 2014 due to economic factors and filed a letter with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) on September 23, 2013 stating its intention to permanently cease power operations. It filed its Post Shutdown Decommissioning Activities Report, its decommissioning activities plan, with the NRC on December 14, 2014 and ceased operation fifteen days later on December 29th.

VY reported in December 2011 that it had 623 employees, with 167 of those residing in Massachusetts, 210 in New Hampshire, and 238 in Vermont. Eight employees lived elsewhere. The majority of employees resided in the three adjoining counties of Windham County, Vermont, Cheshire County, New Hampshire, and Franklin County, Massachusetts.

In January 2019, ownership of VY was transferred from Entergy to NorthStar for the purpose of decommissioning and site restoration after receiving approvals from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Vermont Public Utility Commission. The approvals for transfer of ownership were conditioned upon a decommissioning plan, related budget and financial assurances. Except for the small portion of the site that will be used for dry cask used fuel storage, NorthStar has committed to complete the radiological decommissioning and site restoration by December 2030. Entergy had originally planned to put the plant into a SAFSTOR condition for a period, after which the decommissioning would be completed by 2068.

Resources

The Vermont Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel: https://publicservice.vermont.gov/electric/ndcap

NorthStar Vermont Yankee Decommissioning: http://vydecommissioning.com/

Unofficial Website for the Town of Vernon (the town has no official website): https://vernonvermont.org/

The Nuclear Decommissioning Collaborative: https://decommissioningcollaborative.org/

Related Documents

The Windham Region Experience with the Closure of Vermont Yankee (comments to Nuclear Power Plant Decommissioning Federal Executive Branch Roundtable organized by the Nuclear Decommissioning Collaborative) April 10, 2019

Request to Nuclear Regulatory Commission for Public Meeting on Citizens Advisory Panel Best Practices April 3, 2019

WRC Policy Development Proposal - Engaging Nuclear Plant Host Communities to Inform Multiple Federal Agencies across Interrelated Policy Issues Concerning Nuclear Plant Closure, Decommissioning, and Spent Fuel and Waste Management January, 2018

When People and Money Leave (and the Plant Stays) – Lessons Learned from the Closure of the Vermont Yankee Power Station: A Tri-Region Experience October 14, 2016

WRC Comments on Consent-Based Siting of Spent Fuel and High Level Nuclear Waste July 22, 2016

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