Montpelier, VT: 1.11.2019 Gov reports – Today, the NorthStar Group Services (NorthStar) became the new owner of the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station (VYNPS). Under its ownership, NorthStar will commence decommissioning and environmental clean-up work at the facility on an expedited timeline, which will allow the site to become available for reuse decades earlier than previously planned. The VYNPS ceased operations at the end of 2014 under the ownership of Entergy, and the plant has since been prepared to undergo decommissioning including the removal and management of spent nuclear fuel from the reactor. 

On December 6, 2018, the Vermont Public Utility Commission issued an order approving the sale and transfer of the facility to NorthStar, ending a years-long process and review by the State of the proposed sale to NorthStar and of NorthStar’s proposed plan for an expedited clean-up up the VYNPS site.  The Commission’s Order adopts and incorporates the terms of an agreement that was reached among State agencies (Department of Public Service, Agency of Natural Resources, Department of Health), the Vermont Attorney General’s Office, NorthStar, Entergy, and several parties in the PUC proceeding.  The agreement ensures that decommissioning and cleanup activities commence as early as this year and will be completed by 2030, perhaps earlier, and the project will be bolstered by additional financial protections.

“This is a great day for the people of Vernon, Windham County and Vermont. The agreement will shave decades off the decommissioning timeline and return the site to safe and productive reuse as quickly as possible,” said Governor Phil Scott. “The State initially had concerns that Entergy and North Star were not willing to make sufficient financial commitments to this process in order to protect Vermonters. We pressed the companies to address our concerns, and we are pleased with the end result.”

In addition, the agreement with NorthStar and Entergy requires that the two companies collectively provide approximately $250 million in additional financial assurance above and beyond what is currently available in the Nuclear Decommissioning Trust for the VYNPS decommissioning. This additional assurance will help to protect against project risks and will ensure that funds are available to complete the decommissioning and restoration work.

The agreement also requires NorthStar to perform site investigation, clean up, and restoration in accordance with Vermont’s laws and regulations, and to engage with ANR and other state agencies throughout the life of the project. The agreement also ensures that the State has oversight of disbursements of funds for certain phases of work and is informed of any major delays or disruptions in work. These commitments ensure close and ongoing State regulatory oversight of the project.

“I want to thank the teams at the departments of Public Service, Environmental Conservation and Health, the Agency of Natural Resources and the Attorney General’s office, as well as all of the signatories on this deal for their constructive engagement,” added Governor Scott.

The Commission’s order followed approval of the sale by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on October 11, 2018.