Vermont Yankee could be sold to New York company, Brattleboro coalition yet to determine next steps

MONTPELIER, Vt. — The New England Coalition has spent decades raising issues before the Vermont Public Service Board about the operation, sale, uprate and relicensing of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power station.

Now that the plant — permanently shut down two years ago by Entergy Nuclear — could be sold to a New York City industrial demolition company, the coalition said recently it has yet to make up its mind about whether to take an adversarial role again.

Clay Turnbull, a staff member of the Brattleboro nonprofit organization, said last week the coalition was reviewing the trove of documents that Entergy Nuclear and the potential new owner, NorthStar Group Services Inc., filed about the sale and the ultimate decommissioning of Vermont Yankee.

“Intervene? We are reviewing the materials they filed in December, and have brought in some folks to help us with that, to review it all,” Turnbull said. He declined to elaborate.

Turnbull said that intervening before the Public Service Board, the quasi-judicial board that oversees the state’s utilities, was valuable because people testify under oath, and thus provide compelling testimony on the various questions.

But Turnbull said initially the proposal, which would see Vermont Yankee decommissioning decades earlier than originally proposed by Entergy Nuclear, would seem like a good step.

“As it’s presented, it could be a really positive thing for Vermont. But there’s that overused phrase, ‘the devil in the details,’” he said.

“But it’s only before the PSB, under oath, that you can get the kind of details to fully evaluate the proposal,” he added.

Under the NorthStar plan, the Vernon reactor would be demolished by 2030, compared with 2075, the year envisioned by Entergy.

In addition to getting approval from the Vermont Public Service Board, the transfer of the license from Entergy Nuclear to NorthStar must be approved by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The NRC has slated a first meeting on the issue next week in Rockville, Md.

NorthStar has said it hoped to start decommissioning the Vernon reactor in 2021, rather than 2068, as scheduled by Entergy.

Citizens Awareness Network President Deborah Katz told The Recorder in Greenfield, Mass. on Tuesday that “it’s not clear” whether CAN will intervene in the proceedings, but added, “We feel it’s very important. This is a radical proposition. We’re talking to other groups, and we feel it’s really important to scrutinize this deal.”

Author: By SUSAN SMALLHEER Rutland Herald

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