- State officials and Entergy Corp. have reached an agreement on the sale and decommissioning of the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant, potentially allowing the utility to sell the facility to a company specializing in power plant demolitions.
- Entergy has targeted 2075 for the decommissioning and site restoration, but NorthStar Group Services Inc. says it could have the job complete by 2030. Under the proposed deal, NorthStar would initiate decontamination and dismantlement by 2021, and possibly as early as next year. Decommissioning and restoration of the Vermont Yankee site would be complete by 2030, and possibly as soon as 2026.
- Only one party involved in the discussions would not sign off on the agreement. The Conservation Law Foundation believes the decision is being rushed and "excludes reasonable protection for Vermont communities."
There is no doubt that NorthStar is offering to restore the Vermont Yankee site much, much faster than Entergy had estimated it could.
But the Conservation Law Foundation says that speed may be coming at a price. The group's senior attorney, Sandra Levine, said in a statement that "in a rush to secure a possible – and by no means certain – quick clean-up of the site, the settlement excludes reasonable protection for Vermont communities."
And if things do not go as planned, Levine warned that the deal would leave the state's residents "vulnerable to picking up the tab if something goes wrong.” The group says it will participate in hearings at the state's Public Utilities Commission over the issue.
But among the commitments, NorthStar also agreed to increase in its support agreement from $125 million to $140 million, and Entergy will contribute an anticipated $30 million to the site restoration trust.
The deal will require signoff from the PSC, but the companies have support from a range of stakeholders outside CLF. The groups have filed a memorandum of understanding with regulators; signing onto the MOU are: Vermont's Department of Public Service; the Agency of Natural Resources; the state's attorney general; the town of Vernon, where the plant is located; the Windham Regional Commissio; the Abenaki Nation of Missisquoi and the Elnu Abenaki Tribe as well as the New England Coalition on Nuclear Pollution .
Vermont Yankee was shuttered in 2014 in difficult, tight market conditions as it faced pressure from low-cost natural gas. After the plant closed, the ISO New England concluded the loss of the plant, combined with an increase in gas- and oil-fired generation to replace it, had contributed to a spike in the state's carbon emissions.
The ISO New England Electric Generator Air Emissions Report concluded CO2 emissions rates in 2015 were 747 pounds/MWh, up from 726 pounds/MWh in 2014.