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Citizens Panel Wants Local NRC Meeting On Vermont Yankee Sale

The Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel wants federal regulators to schedule a meeting in Windham County as Entergy seeks approval to sell the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant.
Entergy announced at the end of last year that it wanted to sell VY to the demolition company, NorthStar Group Services.

The proposed sale is the first of its kind in the United States, as NorthStar looks to purchase the Vernon reactor outright, and retain ownership throughout, and beyond, the decommissioning process.

Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel chairwoman Kate O'Connor says the group wants the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to hear about the proposed sale directly from people who live in Vermont, Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

"The plan has fundamentally changed on the length of the decommissioning and how much it's going to cost," O'Connor says. "So that's why we felt it was very important to say to them, 'We want you to do a public meeting up here.'"

But NRC spokesman Neil Sheehan says a local meeting may not be needed.

Sheehan says federal regulators came to Vermont back when Entergy filed its post-shutdown status report for the plant, and he says Northstar's plan may be similar to the one that was discussed at that meeting.

"The question is whether the changes contained in the revised post-shutdown decommissioning activities report are so extensive as to warrant another meeting," Sheehan says. "But we just received  the letter and will carefully consider it."

Once the license transfer request is submitted, Sheehan says a formal hearing can be requested. He says that hearing will most likely be held near the Vernon reactor.

NorthStar wants to purchase VY for $1,000 and take over the $565 million decommissioning trust fund.

NorthStar says it can decommission the plant for less money than Entergy proposed, and also finish the job decades ahead of the original date in 2060 that Entergy proposed.

The sale requires state and federal approval, and the companies hope to complete the deal by the end of 2018.

Howard Weiss-Tisman is Vermont Public’s southern Vermont reporter, but sometimes the story takes him to other parts of the state.
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