Vermont Yankee

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is being asked to restrict storage of highly radioactive nuclear waste in spent fuel pools like the one at the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant.

The commission heard recently from two authors of a 2003 report saying densely packed fuel pools create a heightened danger of fire and a catastrophic release of radioactivity. They urged fuel older than five years be stored in dry concrete casks.

A third author of the report was Allison Macfarlane, then a researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and now chairwoman of the NRC.

AP/Toby Talbot

An Austin-based commission that oversees a radioactive waste disposal site in Texas met in Vermont on Wednesday.

The discussion at the meeting of the Texas Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact Commission revolved partly around details of requests from companies from Maryland to California to ship low level waste to the West Texas facility.

An anti-nuclear group is calling for a slow, deliberative decommissioning of the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant.

Vermont Citizens Action Network says it opposes the 60-year decommissioning time frame that Entergy Vermont Yankee wants to follow.

But the group says it may take 20 years or so to safely dismantle the plant.

Entergy Vermont Yankee plans to shutdown the plant late next year. The company then has up to six decades to dismantle and decommission the plant under a government-approved process known as “SAFSTOR.”

AP File Photo

The closing of the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant at the end of next year will leave the state with an $11 million dollar gap in tax revenues.

But some politicians – including Gov. Peter Shumlin – suggest Yankee should continue to pay the state. They’re talking about a fee or tax on the storage of high level nuclear waste in Vermont.

The revenue shortfall will arise because when Entergy Vermont Yankee stops producing electricity, it also will stop paying the state’s generation tax.

AP/Jason R. Henske

Studies predict that the announced closing of the Entergy Corporation's Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant will have enormous economic consequences.  How serious those consequences will be depends on decisions that will be made in the coming year. 

In Brattleboro this week, a panel of experts considered ways to keep the region’s interests in the discussion when decisions are being made.

The discussion was sponsored by the Commons, a Brattleboro Weekly. It drew more than 100 people, some of whom had spent years trying to shut the nuclear plant down.

The Vermont Yankee nuclear plant has experienced a steam leak in a key reactor safety system. But a plant spokesman said Thursday technicians have already fixed the problem.

Yankee reported the event to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. NRC spokesman Neil Sheehan said the leak occurred in the “high pressure coolant injection system,” which is used to inject water inside the reactor vessel if it’s required to shut down suddenly.

A deal is being finalized that would resolve financial issues related to the cleanup of the closed Vermont Yankee  nuclear plant.
Jason R. Henske / AP

Wed 9/11/13 at Noon & 7PM: The Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant will go offline permanently in 2014, but there are still a lot of questions about the process of decommissioning the plant. 

Even before the news that Vermont Yankee would close in 2014, the state’s southeast corner was grappling with declining jobs, wages and population.

A Career Expo in Brattleboro this month will address these problems, which experts say would exist with or without the region’s highest-paying employer.

A coalition hoping to improve the local employment picture has been working since last fall on the expo, scheduled for September 26.


The news that Vermont Yankee will close next year has state and local officials focused on what’s next. They’d like the site in Vernon to be used for a power plant or for industrial development.

But experts say decommissioning the Entergy Vermont Yankee nuclear plant will take at least a decade, despite the state’s hopes for a faster timetable.

When Entergy executives announced that Yankee would be shutdown next year, they indicated the site in Vernon could be in limbo for many years. Jeff Forbes is chief nuclear officer for Entergy.

AP / Jason R. Henske

The news that Entergy Corporation of Louisiana would close the Vermont Nuclear Power plant at the end of 2014 struck like a bombshell yesterday. But for some long-time observers and reporters tracking the saga of Vermont’s only nuclear facility, the news wasn’t entirely surprising.

Mitch Wertlieb sat down with VPR’s John Dillon, to talk about what’s next for Yankee, and for the future of energy in Vermont.

With today’s announcement about the closure of Vermont Yankee, residents in Windham County say the news is a mixed bag.

Some in the local community welcomed the news, while others are worried.

Besides generating electricity, Vermont Yankee also fuels the local economy. Laura Sibilia of the Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation said the closing is disheartening after years of a poor economy on top of the injuries from Tropical Storm Irene.

“It’s a little like, oooh! Enough with the body blows please!’”

Anyone doing a victory lap over the decision by Entergy to close Vermont Yankee by the end of 2014, might want to bring an extra water bottle and slow down to a jog because the actual dismantling of the plant might be another 60 years, or more, away - because the fight between Entergy and the state of Vermont is not even close to over.

VPR/Charlotte Albirght

Reporters, including many who’ve been covering Vermont Yankee for decades, showed up at Tuesday’s press conference at company headquarters in Brattleboro with slightly stunned expressions.

The media room at the offices of Vermont Yankee on the outskirts of Brattleboro has seen hundreds of press conferences, but none—in 41 years—quite like this one.

Police cruisers were parked outside. The media door was locked until shortly before three serious top officials from the Entergy Corporation sat down at a nondescript table.

AP File Photo

Entergy Corporation said today it plans to close and decommission its Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station in Vernon and that the plant will close at the end of 2014.

"Citing Economics, Entergy To Close Vermont Yankee By End of 2014"
 John Dillon's report recapping all the developments of the day: 

Entergy Corporation held a press conference following their announcement that the Vermont Yankee plant in Vernon, Vt. will close at the end of 2014.

The press conference was held August 27, 2013 at Entergy's office in Brattleboro, Vt.

AP Photo/Matthew Cavanaugh

Vermont Yankee will close by the end of next year, ending years of litigation over the plant’s future.

But Yankee says financial pressure not lawsuits or legislative mandates are forcing the shutdown.

Gov. Peter Shumlin said he got the call from Entergy Tuesday morning, shortly before the news release went out announcing the company’s decision to shutter Vermont’s only nuclear plant.

Governor Peter Shumlin held a press conference reacting to Entergy's decision to close the Vermont Yankee plant in Vernon, Vt. The press conference was held August 27, 2013 in Montpelier, Vt.


Vermont Yankee will close by the end of next year, ending a lengthy legal battle with the state over the plant’s future. The Entergy Corporation says economic pressures prompted the shutdown decision.

The state of Vermont has been trying to close the forty year old Vermont Yankee plant since 2010. The battle over Vermont Yankee’s future has gone from the state legislature to a U.S. appeals court. But in the end it was low natural gas prices and a changing energy market that doomed the plant.

Many questions remain about the proposed sale of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant. We're looking at all the latest developments on this "Vermont Edition."
Toby Talbot / Associated Press File

Tue 8/27/13 Noon & 7pm Entergy Corporation said today that it plans to close and decommission its Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station in Vernon. We'll talk with Governor Peter Shumlin about the closing. We'll also hear from Vernon Representative Mike Hebert, and Richard Watts, author of Public Meltdown: The Story of Vermont Yankee.

A radiation monitor at the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant showed faulty readings last week, a continuation of a problem that has plagued the plant several times this summer.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission told state officials that a monitor experienced “spurious spiking” on Aug. 19.  The NRC said the device showed false high levels, similar to incidents involving other monitors in June and July.

NRC spokesman Neil Sheehan said no radiation was released and that Yankee technicians have replaced some of the equipment.