Entergy sets shutdown scenario

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BRATTLEBORO, VT. >> Entergy Vermont Yankee says it has settled on a site assessment study en route to decommissioning its nuclear power plant on the banks of the Connecticut River in Vernon.

According to Nuclear Regulatory Commission regulations, Entergy could take up to 60 years to clean up the site, which has been home to the nuclear power plant since 1972. It is also home to a spent fuel storage facility, at which is stored the nuclear waste produced in its 42 years of operation.

The site assessment study also revealed the cost for cleaning up the site is more than expected: $1.24 billion.

In August 2013, Entergy announced that the Vermont Yankee would not be refueled and would cease operations at the end of its current operating cycle in late 2014.

In December 2013, a settlement was reached between Entergy and the state of Vermont that, among other things, included commitments by Entergy that Vermont Yankee would cease operation by the end of 2014 and that it would prepare a site assessment study.

The site assessment study, released last week, is intended to provide a basis for discussion about what will become of the Vermont Yankee plant and site after the plant ceases operations.

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Following shutdown, the first activity that will occur at the site is the transfer of spent fuel from the reactor and spent fuel pool into dry casks. This is expected to take until 2020.

Cleanup costs

The $1.24 billion includes $817 million for costs associated with terminating the NRC operating license, $368 million for spent fuel management and $57 million for site restoration.

However, Entergy must receive NRC approval to use any of the decommissioning trust fund for spent fuel management. The NRC has indicated it is not yet convinced this is a best use of the funds.

Vermont Yankee has contributed $119 million to the Department of Energy for spent fuel management and the development of a permanent storage facility for nuclear waste. That plan has not come to fruition and nuclear power plant operators have successfully petitioned federal courts for reimbursement of those funds. Entergy has indicated it will continue to do so.

Once the decommissioning trust fund has reached the required levels, Entergy plans to begin decommissioning within 120 days.

Entergy has launched a website that contains the site assessment study and additional information about the nuclear plant's decommissioning plan at vydecommissioning.com.


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