New concerns over cost and safety of Vermont Yankee tear down - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

New concerns over cost and safety of Vermont Yankee tear down

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VERNON, Vt. - A new report says Vermont Yankee's owner, Entergy, could tear down the plant three times faster than it plans.

Representatives with the non-profit energy group Fairewinds Energy Education presented their findings to the public wednesday night in Montpelier. They say a federal loophole that allows energy companies to wait 60 years before dismantling a mothballed plant creates both money and safety problems.

According to Anthony Leshinskie, the state's nuclear engineer, "Entergy has presented its position. The state has come back with its concerns and there is discussion on both sides."

The state and Entergy have sparred for years over safety concerns. Entergy says the 60 year window for the project keeps workers safe from radiation. That process is called SAFSTOR.

 Here's how it works:

  - An energy company invests in financial markets.

  - It hopes that money grows large enough  over the next half century TO pay for a plant's decommissioning.

 The nuclear industry argues SAFSTOR is the safest tear down solution, but Fairewinds told Vermont's Senate Natural Resources committee in April it leads to hidden costs.

Meanwhile, Entergy SAYS it may use part of the fund to cover the cost of spent-fuel storage.

Arnie Gundersen of Fairewinds said, "Entergy is trying to strip the fund to cover spent fuel storage."

Leshinskie noted the state cannot audit what the money that's withdrawn from the fund is used for.

"The state is standing up and saying hey look guys we have a say in this," Leshinskie said.

The decommissioning fund has about $665 million in it, roughly half the amount needed to get the job done. Entergy projects it could have the rest by 2052.

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