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Follow VPR's coverage of Vermont Yankee, from the archive and continuing through the plant's planned closure in 2014.Most Recent Reporting | From The Archive

Vernon Business Owner Wants To Purchase Vermont Yankee Property

A worker in construction gear walks past a green building.
Jessica Hill
Associated Press File
Vermont Yankee was sold to NorthStar Decommissioning Holdings last year. Now a Vernon businessman, Mike Renaud, would like to purchase the property for redevelopment.

A Vernon business owner says he wants to buy the Vermont Yankee property after the shuttered nuclear reactor there is decommissioned.

Mike Renaud is part-owner of Renaud Brothers Construction, a company that builds bridges and does commercial work across Vermont and in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. He says he wants to buy the Vermont Yankee propertyto make sure the land is developed after the reactor is gone.

“It’s been used as a commercial property, and it was a good revenue generating tax base for the town,” he said. “I think those spots are getting harder to find, so we shouldn’t pass anything by like that.”

More from VPR: Vernon Gets Ready For Life Beyond Vermont Yankee [Nov. 15, 2018]

Renaud says he doesn't have any specific plans for development right now. He told the Vernon Planning Commission about his interest in the site, though he hasn’t had any direct contact with NorthStar Decommissioning Holdings, the company that now owns Vermont Yankee.

Renaud says he wants to get involved now, to maybe convince NorthStar to not remove all of the buildings and roads within the hundred-acre site.

“What I recommended is that when we explore our options, that maybe some of that infrastructure should remain in place, instead of taking it out,” Renaud said. “It’s kind of an important thing for the town to research all their possibilities instead of just making it just raw land.”

A man stands by a tractor trailer truck.
Credit Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR
Mike Renaud lives in Vernon and has expressed interest in purchasing the Vermont Yankee property. He says he wants to ensure the former nuclear power plant is redeveloped once decommissioning is complete.

NorthStar CEO Scott State says the decommissioning and decontamination of the plant should be done by 2030, or possibly sooner.

"Upon completion, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission must give approval of the site for free release after which point the property could be sold to a new owner for productive economic redevelopment," he wrote in an email.

Bob Spencer is chairman of the Vernon Planning Commission and says the town has an agreement with the company that Vernon would be first in line to buy some of the property.

But Spencer says the town accepts that it might make more sense for a private developer to take over the land to generate tax income and create jobs.

In the meantime, most of the parcel is considered safe. The spent nuclear fuel is being stored on a concrete pad which is within a two-acre secured area. Spencer says some of the other land could be developed soon.

“We have discussed partial release of the site,” Spencer said. “For instance, the cooling tower area, those cooling towers are all gone now, and that land is about as far south, away from the nuclear waste storage pad. But this is all subject to [Natural Resource Commission] and Public Service Commission, and it’s nothing I can really speak to. But it’s on the table.”

Spencer says NorthStar has kept in close contact with the town as the decommissioning progresses.

State, NorthStar's CEO, said his company and the town are discussing how to plan the site's transition.

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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