More than 50 experts and officials met in Putney Wednesday to begin to plan a national conference for regions and states facing nuclear plant closings.
The country will see a landslide of nuclear plant closings in the next few decades, organizer Jeff Lewis told the group. He said the economic and social impacts on those regions will be severe. But Lewis says there isn’t much information on how host communities and states can protect their interests when nuclear power plants stop operating.
The Public Service Board has given the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant the ‘ok’ to operate through the end of 2014, at which point Entergy, the plant's owners, says it will shut down Vermont Yankee.
State regulators have granted Entergy Vermont Yankee a permit to operate through December 2014, when the nuclear plant will close permanently.
Friday's decision includes the approval of a Memorandum of Understanding between the state and Entergy Vermont Yankee. It also settles years of litigation between the state and the plant's owners. But not everyone thinks the ruling serves the region’s best interests.
State utility regulators have allowed Entergy Vermont Yankee to operate the state’s only nuclear plant through the end of the year.
The Vermont Public Service Board on Friday also approved an agreement between the state and Entergy that requires the company to pay $10 million for economic development in Windham County and to set up a $25 million fund to restore the Vernon site after decommissioning.
Vermont utility regulators have until March 31 to decide whether to approve a tentative agreement between Entergy Vermont Yankee and the Shumlin Administration.
The pact calls for Entergy to pay $10 million to help with economic recovery after Vermont Yankee closes later this year. But opponents say the state would lose more than it gains if the deal goes forward.
Vernon residents may be asked to rethink their unexpected Town Meeting vote to eliminate funding for the town’s police department. A petition is circulating in town that calls for a special town meeting to reconsider the original $2.1 million dollar budget proposed by the town select board.
Vernon residents met Wednesday for a third and final installment of a town meeting that began on Monday evening. The town is grappling with the unknown impact of losing Vermont Yankee, its biggest tax payer and employer.
After lengthy debate Tuesday, voters made deep cuts in the municipal budget and eliminated the town’s police department. The school budget was defeated by Australian ballot. On Wednesday, several people said they had heard that a petition was being drawn up, calling for a vote to restore the police department.
Turnout was heavy at Vernon’s annual meeting Monday night. Voters debated school expenditures until so late in the evening that discussion of the town budget was postponed. The meeting will continue Tuesday evening.
Vernon select board chairwoman Patty O’Donnell said the strong attendance reflects concerns about losing Vermont Yankee, the town’s biggest employer and taxpayer.
O’Donnell said the proposed town budget is down almost $400,000 from last year’s without cutting programs like the town recreation department or police.
A federal inspection of flood prevention measures at the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant has found several deficiencies but none requiring enforcement action.
A team from Nuclear Regulatory Commission arrived at the reactor last July to conduct the on-site audit. The NRC required the inspections after an earthquake and tsunami crippled several reactors in Japan in 2011.
NRC spokesman Neil Sheehan said the team did identify some problems with Yankee's record-keeping and flood-assessment calculations. He said the observations were similar to what NRC teams found at other
The town of Vernon is bracing for the loss of its biggest taxpayer – the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant.
Yankee has allowed Vernon to offer amenities and services far beyond the reach of most Vermont communities. Yankee's largess can be seen at the town's elementary school, where the gym is pretty impressive. Seth Deyo, the town’s recreation director, said it’s used a lot.
“It’s an NCAA regulation basketball court,” Deyo said. “We’re fortunate in that it has a great dividing wall so we can actually host two programs at the same time.”