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A reporter tours Vermont Yankee & witnesses the dismantling of a nuclear power plant

A green cask of nuclear waste is wrapped in bright yellow-orange caution tape with a sign alerting to the nuclear hazard
Jessica Hill
/
Associated Press
A mildly contaminated transfer container stands wrapped and labeled in 2019 as part of the decommissioning of the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station in Vernon.

The Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in Vernon once employed more than 600 people, and at the height of its operation, supplied about a third of the state’s electricity. But the plant shut down in 2014, and this week, the final cask of high-level radioactive waste will be loaded up. By next month, the plant will be essentially free of radioactivity for the first time since it opened 50 years ago.

Decommissioning a power plant is a complex, years-long process. Reporter Susan Smallheer recently toured Vermont Yankee and wrote an update on its decommissioning for the Bennington Banner.

Broadcast at noon on Thursday, Sept. 28, 2022; rebroadcast at 7 p.m.

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Mikaela Lefrak joined Vermont Public in 2021 as co-host and senior producer of Vermont Edition. Her stories have aired nationally on Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Weekend Edition, Marketplace, The World and Here & Now. A seasoned local reporter, Mikaela has won two regional Edward R. Murrow awards and a Public Media Journalists Association award for her work.
Originally from Delaware, Matt moved to Alaska in 2010 for his first job in radio. He spent five years working as a radio and television reporter, radio producer, talk show host, and news director. His reporting received awards from the Alaska Press Club and the Alaska Broadcasters Association. Relocating to southwest Florida, he was a producer for television news and NPR member station WGCU for their daily radio show, Gulf Coast Live. He joined Vermont Public in October 2017 as producer of Vermont Edition.