Home The People's Lobbyist Decommissioning Act 160 Waste Take Action Resources

We have an extraordinary opportunity over the next year to create a clean, renewable energy future that is right for Vermont. In May 2006, the Vermont legislature unanimously passed Act 160, which gave the power to decide the future of the Vermont Yankee plant to Vermont's democratically elected representatives. Act 160 stipulates that detailed and independent studies must be conducted and that there be significant public input throughout the process. Act 160 allows us to democratically close Vermont Yankee and participate in the creation of a clean, affordable and safe energy future.

Local, renewable technologies such as wind, solar, hydro and minimal biomass can meet a fifth of our energy needs by 2015, improve our economy by supporting new businesses and create new, high-paying jobs. We can replace Vermont Yankee. Act today to change tomorrow.

“Indian Point” Discussion

The film “Indian Point” by Ivy Meeropol was shown at the Green Mountain Film Festival in March 2016. Click here to watch a video of the panel discussion that occurred after the film. The panel included Amy Shollenberger of Action Circles as Moderator; Christopher Recchia, Commissioner of the VT Public Service Department; Marilyn Elie of the Indian Point Safe Energy Coalition (IPSEC). It was filmed and edited by Charlie Olson of The Environment TV.


Entergy won’t face fine for federal violation

Mike Faher | VTDigger | May 4, 2016

Read in full at VTDigger

Entergy violated federal regulations last year by withdrawing $282,000 from Vermont Yankee’s trust fund months before the company was authorized to do so, a new inspection report says.

But the company won’t face any penalties. That’s because the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is admitting that the federal rule in question is confusing and likely should be changed. [...]


New rules would lower rates for net metered power

Mike Polhamus | VTDigger | April 12, 2016

Read in full at VTDigger

The Public Service Board is taking public comment on proposed rules that would lower the reimbursement rate utilities pay for net-metered power.

The scheme also incentivizes development in preferred locations, and subsidizes projects that keep renewable energy credits in-state.

Utilities and state officials say the new rules will tie net-metered power prices closer to the market rate. [...]


Testimony in House Fish & Wildlife Committee

March 30, 2016

Listen to it here

Testimony from the VT Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens' Advisory Panel (CAP); what it is, its 19 members, its purpose to get information out about the decommissioning of Vermont Yankee, and its activities so far.

Kate O'Connor - Vice-chair of the CAP
Trey Martin - Deputy Secretary of the Agency of Natural Resources, CAP member
Chris Campany - Executive Director of the Windham Regional Commission, CAP member
Joe Lynch - Government Affairs Manager for Vermon Yankee


State claims it could be left with big bills for Yankee cleanup

Mike Faher | VTDigger | March 24, 2016

Read in full at VTDigger

[...] The federal government’s “woefully inadequate” financial regulations could leave states like Vermont with big bills and massive cleanups long after a nuclear plant closes, state officials argue in newly released documents.

Vermont — with backing from Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York — is lobbying for the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission to tighten its financial rules and broaden its cost projections for decommissioning nuclear plants. [...]


Three states join Vermont over NRC's new rules for decommissioning nuclear power plants

VT Business Magazine | March 21, 2016

Read in full at VT Business Magazine

[...] The Comments were joined by Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York. “We greatly appreciate having the support of these other Attorneys General in raising the issues Vermont has been talking about for a while now,” said Attorney General Sorrell. “They see the importance of changing the rules to give real weight to state concerns relating to critical decommissioning issues. We don’t want to see plants simply being mothballed for decades. Nor do we want to have a plant owner without the money to cover an environmentally protective cleanup.” [...]


Congressional delegation presses state’s case on nuclear rules

Mike Faher | VTDigger | March 15, 2016

Read in full at VTDigger

Vermont’s members of Congress are asking federal regulators to “give local stakeholders a seat at the table” when nuclear plants are decommissioned.

Sen. Patrick Leahy and Rep. Peter Welch, both Democrats, and independent Sen. Bernie Sanders joined a dozen other lawmakers in writing to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission as that agency begins developing new regulations for shut-down plants. [...]


Watchdog groups concerned about Vt. Yankee storage plan

Alexei Rubenstein | WCAX | February 23, 2016

Read and watch at WCAX

[...] Although the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant stopped generating power more than a year ago, there are plenty of loose ends when it comes to the state's oversight of the plant.

The Public Service board kicked off two days of hearings on one of the key questions-- what to do with the nearly 900 radioactive fuel assemblies, or rods, that have accumulated since the plant first powered up in the 1970s. [...]


Changes to Nuclear Reactor Decommissioning Regulations

Presentation video | February 15, 2016

Watch it here
Powerpoint presentation file: Decommissioning from the Front Lines: History, Experience, and the Path Forward
Powerpoint presentation file: Responsible - Accountable - Transparent - Democratic: Overview of CAN-NIRS Comments


State will allow nuclear critic’s testimony in fuel case

Mike Faher | VTDigger | February 14, 2016

Read in full at VTDigger

[...] Plant owner Entergy had asked the Public Service Board to throw out the testimony of Raymond Shadis, an adviser to the Brattleboro-based New England Coalition on Nuclear Pollution. But the board, in an order dated Thursday, overruled each of Entergy’s objections. [...]


Vermont Yankee decommissioning plans get fed OK

AP | Burlington Free Press | February 5, 2016

Read in full at the Burlington Free Press

MONTPELIER - The federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission, despite objections voiced by state officials, is giving positive reviews to the decommissioning plans developed by the owner of the closed Vermont Yankee nuclear plant. [...]


Entergy won’t make any financial promises

Susan Smallheer | Times Argus | February 4, 2016

Read in full at the Times Argus

BRATTLEBORO — Entergy Nuclear officials refused to give a financial promise that it would cover any additional costs if its choice of location for a new spent fuel pad creates costly problems during Vermont Yankee’s decommissioning.

The decision, which could have ramifications into the millions of dollars, continued to be debated Wednesday as a group concerned citizens debated whether to endorse Entergy’s plan on how and where to expand its radioactive fuel storage facility. [...]


State sets hearings on Vermont Yankee fuel debate

Mike Faher | VTDigger | February 1, 2016

Read in full at VTDigger

BRATTLEBORO — The quest to build a 76-by-93-foot concrete pad at Vermont Yankee already has generated reams of written testimony and hours of debate.

Later this month, the state Public Service Board will extend that debate by holding two days of technical hearings on the topic in Montpelier. [...]


Entergy spent down 10 percent of Vermont Yankee trust fund in 2015

Mike Faher | VTDigger | January 26, 2016

Read in full at VTDigger

[...] Entergy has estimated that decommissioning Vermont Yankee will cost $1.24 billion. The trust fund contained a little over half that sum when the plant shut down, and Entergy in early 2015 began spending fund money on a variety of operational expenses including salaries and utilities.

The trust fund has been the subject of much debate. Vermont officials have challenged several of Entergy’s proposed fund uses, and they are particularly upset that the NRC decided to allow the company to withdraw money for long-term management of Yankee’s spent nuclear fuel. The state has filed a lawsuit and a hotly contested petition seeking to block that use. [...]


Three states jump into Vermont Yankee trust fund fray

Mike Faher | VTDigger | January 5, 2016

Read in full at VTDigger

[...] The three attorneys general cite concerns about cleanup at Vermont Yankee, given their states’ proximity to the Vernon facility. But they’re also thinking about the future decommissioning of nuclear plants in their own states.

“While (Vermont’s) petition was filed to address issues at Vermont Yankee, it raises serious, never before adjudicated questions about the use of decommissioning trust funds that apply to every such fund in the nation,” the states’ filing says. [...]


NRC, Entergy deride state’s concerns about VY decommissioning fund

Mike Faher | VTDigger | December 13, 2015

Read in full at VTDigger

[...] Now, NRC staffers and Entergy administrators are playing defense, deploying a variety of unflattering terms about the state’s complaint – “duplicative,” “impermissible,” “alarmist,” “meritless” and “vague,” to name a few – in an attempt to urge the NRC’s commissioners to reject Vermont’s petition.

Both the federal agency and the energy company take pains to say the scenario state officials are imagining – exhaustion of the Vermont Yankee trust fund before radiological cleanup is finished at the Vernon plant – simply can’t happen. [...]


Vt. congressional delegation: Public needs more say in nuke rules

Mike Faher | VTDigger | December 9, 2015

Read in full at VTDigger

[...] The creation of new federal regulations for cleaning up nuclear power plants is supposed to address a common complaint: that the decommissioning process doesn’t allow for meaningful public participation.But even as the Nuclear Regulatory Commission gets started on drafting those rules, there is new controversy regarding the rule-making process itself. [...]


Security, storage concerns linger at closed nuclear sites

David Abel | Boston Globe | November 26, 2015

Read in full at Boston Globe

[...] “We’re talking about a colossal amount of dangerous waste,” said Deb Katz, executive director of Citizens Awareness Network, who lives 18 miles from Vermont Yankee. “The radioactive plume from an accident could travel more than 100 miles within 24 hours, depending on which way the wind blows.” [...]


State legal fees could come from VY decommissioning fun

Mike Faher | VTDigger | November 16, 2015

Read in full at VTDigger

[...] Plant owner Entergy has been notified that Vermont will bill the company for legal fees incurred in the state’s lawsuit against the NRC. The state’s expenses in that case, in which Vermont is challenging the use of trust fund cash for nuclear fuel management, may total $250,000.

In response, Entergy is looking into whether the state’s bills may be paid from Vermont Yankee’s decommissioning trust fund. [...]


Entergy to Close James A. FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant in Central New York

PRNewswire | November 2, 2015

Read in full at PRNewswire

NEW ORLEANS, Nov. 2, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Entergy Corporation (NYSE: ETR) announced today that it will close the James A. FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant in Scriba, NY, in late 2016 or early 2017.  The company said its decision to close the plant is based on the continued deteriorating economics of the facility. The key drivers cited by the company include significantly reduced plant revenues due to low natural gas prices, a poor market design that fails to properly compensate nuclear generators like FitzPatrick for their benefits, as well as high operational costs. [...]


NRC: No investigation into Entergy finances needed

Mike Faher | VTDigger | October 29, 2015

Read in full at VTDigger

VERNON – Nine months ago, state officials demanded that the federal government “fully investigate” Vermont Yankee owner Entergy to determine whether the company “has sufficient financial capacity” to decommission the Vernon nuclear plant.

This week, the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission delivered its response, which could be paraphrased this way: Thanks for the suggestion, but we’re taking care of it. [...]


Entergy wants to take $1.2 million from trust fund for property taxes

Mike Faher | VTDigger | October 28, 2015

Read in full at VTDigger

[...] State officials may try to challenge the pending withdrawal. On Wednesday, Vermont Public Service Department Commissioner Chris Recchia said officials are “evaluating our options.”

“We do not believe taxes are an appropriate withdrawal from the decommissioning trust fund,” Recchia said. [...]


Entergy may move spent nuke fuel sooner than anticipated

Mike Faher | VTDigger | October 24, 2015

Read in full at VTDigger

BRATTLEBORO – An important part of Vermont Yankee’s decommissioning process – moving the plant’s spent nuclear fuel into more-stable storage – could begin two years earlier than originally planned.

In new filings with the Vermont Public Service Board, an Entergy executive says administrators may start to move the fuel into dry cask storage in “as early as 2017.” The company previously has said it would transfer the fuel in 2019 and 2020. [...]


Pilgrim nuclear power plant to close in Plymouth

David Abel | Boston Globe | October 13, 2015

Read in full and watch related video at the Boston Globe

The company that owns Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station said Tuesday that it plans to close the 43-year-old plant in Plymouth.

Entergy, a Louisiana-based energy conglomerate that has owned Pilgrim since 1999, said it will close the plant no later than June 2019. It will keep its estimated 600 workers on its payroll until that time. [...]


Nearly A Year After Shutdown, Vermont Yankee Continues To Spark Debate

Jane Lindholm & Sam Gale Rosen | Vermont Public Radio | October 12, 2015

Read in full and listen at VPR

Almost a year after its shutdown, the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant is still sparking debate over safety, spending and the disposal of nuclear waste. [...]


State steps up demand for details of Vermont Yankee spending

Mike Faher | VTDigger | October 5, 2015

Read in full at VTDigger

[...] State officials are demanding more-detailed information about how Vermont Yankee owner Entergy is spending cash from the nuclear plant’s decommissioning trust fund.

In documents filed Friday, Vermont asked the federal Atomic Safety and Licensing Board to require Entergy to “provide the state all supporting documentation for specific expenses” from the trust fund – a request that applies both to past and future expenditures. [...]


State creates email address for Vermont Yankee comment, questions

Mike Faher | VTDigger | October 5, 2015

Read in full at VTDigger

[...] State officials have created an email address to allow the public to comment on or ask questions about the decommissioning of the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant.

The address – PSD.NDCAP@vermont.gov – is meant to improve communications with the Vermont Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel. The panel is tasked with serving as a conduit for public information and education while also advising the governor, Vermont Legislature and state agencies on Vermont Yankee matters. [...]


Advisory panel looks for consensus on Vermont Yankee

Mike Faher | VTDigger | September 3, 2015

Read in full at VTDigger

Like its name, the Vermont Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel is a bit unwieldy: There are 19 members including government officials, private citizens and representatives of the nuclear industry.

“I think it’s unlikely that there’s any topic that we would find that we have consensus on, given the range of parties on the panel,” said Martin Langeveld, a citizen member of the panel.

At the same time, though, the word “advisory” is in the panel’s name and its charter. So, on Wednesday, several members got together in Brattleboro to wrestle with an important question: How can the panel find a way to offer advice on controversial issues involving the cleanup of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant? [...]


State sues federal regulators over Vermont Yankee trust fund

Erin Mansfield | VTDigger | August 17, 2015

Read in full at VTDigger

[...] Vermont alleges that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission abused its power, broke three federal laws and “acted arbitrarily” when it decided in June to give the owner of Vermont Yankee legal exemptions on how it uses a $665 million fund created from ratepayer money. [...]


NRC approves step toward eliminating emergency protection requirements at Vermont Yankee

Robert Audette | Brattleboro Reformer | August 5, 2015

Read in full at VTDigger (reposted)

[...] Because there is no longer an active reactor on site, the NRC allows Entergy to apply for exemptions to relieve it of its “formal” off-site emergency response responsibilities.

NRC regulations concerning emergency planning do not recognize the reduced risks after a reactor is permanently shut down and defueled. “As such, a permanently shutdown and defueled reactor, such as VY, must continue to maintain the same EP requirements as an operating power reactor under the existing regulatory requirements,” notes the document.

The NRC is revising its emergency preparedness regulations concerning retired reactors, but until those regulations are finalized, an owner of a reactor that has ceased operations must apply for exemptions to the rules. [...]


State Worries Feds Too Lax On Yankee Oversight

John Dillon | VT Public Radio | July 27, 2015

Listen and read at VPR

[...] As head of the non-profit Nuclear Information and Research Service, Tim Judson has closely observed the industry as it wrangles with regulators around the country. He's also watched Vermont's efforts to push the federal NRC bureaucracy. And he says Vermont is taking the lead that other states may follow.

“We see Vermont as really being on the cutting edge of ensuring the best possible outcome under the circumstances because the state took a proactive approach toward negotiating with Entergy about what decommissioning is going to be like,” he says. [...]


Vermont Yankee: Three parties granted motion to intervene

Robert Audette | Brattleboro Reformer | July 9, 2015

Read in full at the Brattleboro Reformer

The Vermont Public Service Board granted motions by the town of Vernon, the Windham Regional Commission and the New England Coalition to intervene in hearings concerning Entergy's request to construct a new spent fuel storage area at its shuttered nuclear power plant in Vernon.

Both Vernon and Windham Regional Commission were granted intervenor status because they had demonstrated "a substantial interest in the proceeding as it relates to the orderly development of the region." [...]


VT official: Vermont Yankee trust fund process is 'broken'

Michael Faher | Brattleboro Reformer | June 26, 2015

Read in full at the Brattleboro Reformer

Chris Recchia is not happy.

The commissioner of Vermont's Public Service Department made that clear Thursday night at a meeting in Brattleboro, where he repeatedly criticized the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission for its decisions regarding the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in Vernon.

Specifically, Recchia and other state officials say they are deeply concerned about how, when and for what purposes plant owner Entergy will be allowed to withdraw cash from Vermont Yankee's decommissioning trust fund. [...]


NRC says Entergy can use decommissioning fund to store spent fuel

Erin Mansfield | VTDigger | June 18, 2015

Read in full at VTDigger

[...] The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has granted requests from Entergy Nuclear Operations Inc. to use some of the $665 million in its decommissioning fund to store used fuel rods that remain radioactive for thousands of years.

Thursday’s decision from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission will allow Entergy to use about $225 million to manage spent fuel — only after it uses up about $143 million from a line of credit.

The decision also allows Entergy to take money out of the decommissioning fund without asking the NRC for permission. Without the exemption, the company would have had to give 30 days’ notice of its intent to withdraw from the fund. [...]


Vermont Yankee fuel storage debated

Michael Faher | Brattleboro Reformer | May 29, 2015

Read in full at the Brattleboro Reformer

Five months after the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant stopped producing power, debate about the site's future has turned to a 76-foot-by-93-foot concrete slab that doesn't yet exist.

That pad eventually will host dry casks containing some of the Vernon plant's spent nuclear fuel. But the pad's location, security and cost have become matters of intense scrutiny that only will increase as state officials consider granting permission for its construction. [...]


Radioactive and Short on Cash to Pay for Closures

Isaac Arnsdorf | Bloomberg News | May 3, 2015

Read in full at Bloomberg

At the edge of Humboldt Bay in northern California lies a relic from the heyday of U.S. nuclear power.

The reactor was shut down in 1976. The remaining cost to decommission the plant once and for all -– cleaning up lingering radiological dangers, dismantling the remains -- will be about $441 million, according to its owner, PG&E Corp.

The question is who will pay -- for Humboldt Bay, and for dozens of other reactors that are in the process of closing or might soon. Nuclear operators like PG&E are supposed to lay up enough money to cover the costs, similar to how corporations fund pensions. Turns out, most haven’t. [...]


Sens. Markey, Boxer and Sanders call for increased safety at nuclear plants

Press Release | April 16, 2015

Posted at VTDigger

[...] Washington (April 15, 2015) – Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) reintroduced three bills today aimed at improving the safety and security of decommissioning reactors and the storage of spent nuclear fuel at nuclear plants across the nation. [...]


CCTV airs 'The Impact of the Nuclear Age on Earth' with Les Kanat

Press Release | CCTV | March 23, 2015

Posted at VTDigger

[...] *WATCH ON TV : * You can watch this program on Channel 17/ Town Meeting Television, on Comcast Cable and Burlington Telecom at the following times:

1 Monday March 23, 6:00 PM
2 Wednesday April 1, 2:00 PM
3 Saturday April 4, 3:00 PM
4 Sunday April 5, 7:00 PM
5 Thursday April 9, 4:30 PM

*WATCH ONLINE : * You may watch the program on-line by clicking here:

https://www.cctv.org/watch-tv/programs/impact-nuclear-age-earth-les-kanat-phd [...]


State concerned about future contamination at Vermont Yankee

John Herrick | VTDigger | March 12, 2015

Read in full at VTDigger

On Jan. 29, a security guard at the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant sat on a radioactive contaminant located on the stairwell in the reactor building. When the problem was discovered, his pants were removed and shipped to Texas for low-level radioactive waste disposal. The state was not notified of the incident, but Entergy says it was included in a daily report to the state.

“It’s not the best way for us to be in the know about things,” said Bill Irwin, chief of Vermont’s radiological health program. “But we have asked Entergy when incidents are of this nature, to let us know.”

The incident points up broader concerns the state has about how much radiological contamination is present at the Vermont Yankee site, which shut down last year after 42 years of operation. The Vermont Department of Health says Entergy has not given the state enough information to ensure there is no risk to public health and safety, among other concerns. [...]


Vt. joins call: Probe Entergy finances

Susan Smallheer | Barre-Montpelier Times Argus | March 5, 2015

Read in full at the Times Argus

[...] Deb Katz, a spokesman for the Citizens Awareness Network, said her organization had been urging Vermont state officials to join her group’s request of the NRC to launch a thorough investigation of Entergy’s ability to decommission Vermont Yankee, as well as continue to operate its Pilgrim nuclear plant south of Boston and the FitzPatrick reactor in upstate New York, since it filed the petition in March 2013.

Katz said that the so-called 2.206 petition had been filed after news of the troubled finances of Entergy’s merchant nuclear reactors became public. [...]


Vermont seeks details on Entergy's finances

John Herrick | VTDigger | March 1, 2015

Read in full at VTDigger

[...] “I’ve been concerned for quite some time what they want to use the decommissioning trust fund for given the fact that they say they are not going to put any more money into the fund,” said Attorney General Bill Sorrell. “I think there are very few Vermonters who want the decommissioning process to be unduly long.” [...]



Read older news stories


Japan’s Nuclear Crisis Prompts Calls For U.S. Safety Review

March 15, 2011 by VPR
Experts say the growing problems at crippled nuclear power plants in Japan may prompt a review of safety issues in the U.S. If there is a review, Vermont Yankee would probably be part of it because its design is similar to the reactors in Japan.

Fukushima Reactors Same Age, Design as Vermont Yankee

March 15, 2011 by 24/7 Wall St.
It’s no surprise that the disaster at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power generating site is causing an almost instant re-thinking of global nuclear policy. It is not even surprising that it took a disaster of this magnitude before the issue of nuclear power got the scrutiny it deserves.

With new scrutiny on nuclear power, Vermont's aging plant faces critics

March 15, 2011 by The Boston Globe
The catastrophe at Japan's nuclear power plants has added new impetus to the debate over whether to extend the operating license for an aging plant in Vermont.
VT Citizens Action Network PO Box 16 Hancock, VT 05748 Tel: (802) 767-9131 Email: cevan@sover.net