Shumlin Lobbying For Yankee Decommissioning Rules Change

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(Host) Governor Peter Shumlin says the state should overlook a 2002 legal agreement that allows Vermont Yankee to avoid decommissioning for up to 60 years.

And he’s lobbying the Obama administration to change the rules.

VPR’s John Dillon reports:

(Dillon) The governor and the Vermont congressional delegation want federal regulators to prohibit Yankee from delaying its decommissioning.

Yankee’s license expires next year, and the governor says the plant should be dismantled and the site cleaned up as quickly as possible after that.

But Yankee has the legal option of allowing the reactor to sit idle while money accumulates in its decommissioning fund. It’s a procedure known as Safestor – and it’s allowed in an agreement Entergy Vermont Yankee signed with the state in 2002.

Shumlin said whatever legal deal was struck, he doesn’t support it.

(Shumlin) "If there’s a few words in some document of the thousands that no one was told about I think that’s too bad. I think that’s bad government. I think they should have been more transparent if that’s what they planned to do. The fact of the matter is your word is your bond in Vermont."

(Dillon) The Public Service Board also authorized Yankee to choose the Safestor option when it approved the sale of the plant in 2002.

But Shumlin – who served in the Senate at the time – said Safestor was news to him and the public until a few years ago. He said the focus in 2002 was on the opposite scenario – that the decommissioning fund would have a surplus. He said the debate at the time was whether the excess decommissioning money would go to Entergy or back to ratepayers. 

(Shumlin) "I’m telling you, Safestor was not on the table. And I’m asking the president, as is our congressional delegation, to re-affirm common sense. You don’t leave the carcass of a nuclear power plant on the banks of the Connecticut River because Entergy Louisiana doesn’t want to fill up the fund. You just don’t do that. It’s not common sense."

(Dillon) Yankee spokesman Larry Smith said the company does have a right to put the plant in storage for up to 60 years. But he said Entergy officials are also discussing other options with the Shumlin Administration.

For VPR News, I’m John Dillon in Montpelier.

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