NRC seeks more detail on Entergy plan to sell Vermont Yankee nuclear facility
- State officials and Entergy Corp. last month reached an agreement on the sale and decommissioning of the Vermont Yankee plant, but the arrangement still needs signoff from federal regulators and they have asked for more information on the proposal.
- According to the Rutland Herald, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has asked for additional information on how the decommissioning will be funded, citing inadequate assurances the funds would be there.
- NorthStar's proposal could have the site cleanup done by 2030, or even before, compared with Entergy's 2075 site restoration and decommissioning plan. The nuclear facility was shuttered in 2014.
This is the first time the NRC has been asked to review a deal like this—selling a nuclear plant to a decommissioning company— and as such, regulators say they are simply doing due diligence.
In a statement, NRC spokesman Neil Sheehan said that based on the evidence submitted so far, "NRC staff is unable to find that the funding mechanisms proposed by the applicants are adequate to provide reasonable assurance that sufficient funds will be available for the decommissioning of Vermont Yankee."
NRC is also seeking information showing NorthStar is financially prepared to complete licensed activities, and wants to ensure the company is qualified to do the work. To bring officials on board, NorthStar 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.
Entergy targeted 2075 for the decommissioning and site restoration, but NorthStar said 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 the Conservation Law Foundation did not sign on the the state agreement, arguing the decision is being rushed and "excludes reasonable protection for Vermont communities."
Vermont Yankee closed down four years ago, as it struggled to compete against cheap natural gas. The ISO New England has analyzed the plant's closure, concluding the loss of the carbon-free generation combined with an increase in gas- and oil-fired generation to replace it, had contributed to a spike in the state's carbon emissions.
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