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Citizens Decommissioning Advisory Panel Gets Started

Entergy Vermont Yankee says it's looking forward to a new era of cooperation as the plant the plant winds down operations this year. The comments came as the Vermont Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel held its first meeting last Thursday at Brattleboro Union High School.

The 19-member panel was created by the legislature to serve as a conduit for information related to the decommissioning of Vermont Yankee. It includes six members of the public and a number of legislators and officials. The town of Vernon and neighboring towns in New Hampshire and Massachusetts are also represented.

T. Michael Twomey is one of two panelists representing Vermont Yankee’s owner Entergy. He reported on the company’s plans after it stops operating at the end of December. And he said Entergy has almost completed a site assessment requested by the state as part of an agreement last year.

Twomey says he hopes for an open dialog with the community, after years of mistrust.

"I think having us as a part of the panel, along with the citizens, along with the elected officials, sends a signal that we’re all there on sort of an equal footing, so that we can have a conversation about what’s happening next at the site," Twomey says.

Chris Recchia, the commissioner of the Vermont Department of Public Service, is the panel’s temporary chairman. He says the group will help establish standards for the restoration of the Vermont Yankee site -- an area where the state has responsibility.

"There are a ton of steps between here and there, including the spent fuel management that will feed into it," Recchia says. "But ultimately it’s about how to make this site available for economic use after the plant is removed." 

Recchia says it will be a decades-long process.

Susan Keese was VPR's southern Vermont reporter, based at the VPR studio in Manchester at Burr & Burton Academy. After many years as a print journalist and magazine writer, Susan started producing stories for VPR in 2002. From 2007-2009, she worked as a producer, helping to launch the noontime show Vermont Edition. Susan has won numerous journalism awards, including two regional Edward R. Murrow Awards for her reporting on VPR. She wrote a column for the Sunday Rutland Herald and Barre-Montpelier Times Argus. Her work has appeared in Vermont Life, the Boston Globe Magazine, The New York Times and other publications, as well as on NPR.
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