Energy & Environment

State appeals decision on Vermont Yankee emergency monitoring

The State of Vermont has appealed a decision by federal regulators Monday in an effort to keep in place real-time emergency monitoring at the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant.

The plant in Vernon went permanently offline Dec. 31 and Entergy, the Louisiana-based company that owns the plant, confirmed in January that all spent nuclear fuel was removed from the reactor. Vermont Yankee will store up to 2,996 spent fuel assemblies in a cooling pool until 2020.

The Atomic Safety and Licensing Board on Feb. 2 denied a petition from the state requesting that Entergy maintain an emergency response data system in the event of an emergency in the spent nuclear fuel pool.

The three-member panel said under federal regulations nonoperating plants are exempt from maintaining the emergency system. But the state says the monitoring systems in necessary for safety reasons.

“We need that in order to determine how to respond to an emergency situation. The idea that that would be shut off now is unconscionable,” Department of Public Service Commissioner Chris Recchia said.

Entergy agrees with the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board’s decision, reiterating that the plant is shut down and there is a reduced need for real-time monitoring. To keep the monitoring in place, the company would need to hire staff to maintain the system at a time when it is not necessary, according to Marty Cohn, an Entergy Vermont Yankee spokesman.

Because the plant is no longer generating revenue, Cohn said any legal costs the company incurs will come out of the decommissioning trust fund.

“It’s part of our decommission costs,” he said. “This is money that’s going to be coming from trust fund.”

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John Herrick

About John

John Herrick joined VTDigger in June 2013 as an intern working on the searchable campaign finance database and is now VTDigger's energy and environment reporter. He graduated from the University of Vermont with a bachelor’s degree in political science and a minor in Spanish. He wrote for the Vermont Cynic, university’s student newspaper, before interning and later freelancing for the Burlington Free Press.

Email: [email protected]

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