Vermont lawmakers focus on Vermont Yankee decommissioning shortfall

first_imgSource: Senator Shumlin’s office. June 23, 2009 Less then a week after the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) raised concerns with the inadequacy of Vermont Yankee’s decommissioning fund, Speaker Smith and President Pro Tem Shumlin vowed to place another decommissioning bill on Governor Douglas’ desk at the beginning of the 2010 legislative session, which begins next January.The leaders called on Governor Douglas to join them in their support for this important piece of legislation.“We are pleased that the NRC has joined the Vermont legislature in voicing its concern with the decommissioning fund shortfall for Vermont Yankee,” said Speaker Smith.  “It is a shame that Governor Douglas chose to veto the legislature’s decommissioning bills but we intend to move forward by crafting legislation to protect Vermonters from what is clearly a potentially significant financial risk.”In addition to the NRC’s concerns is a recent report by the Associated Press, which found that the companies, including Entergy, that own almost half the nation’s nuclear plants are not putting aside an adequate amount of money to properly close the reactors once they shut down and a Bloomberg report indicating that the shareholders of Entergy intend to move ahead with spinning off Vermont Yankee.  The Vermont legislature passed the decommissioning bill in order to protect Vermonters from a significant financial risk if the present owner of Vermont Yankee, Entergy Corporation spins off the plant to a highly leveraged company, Enexus.  If this spin off occurs, and the decommissioning fund is inadequate, Vermont will be left with no assets to pursue and Vermonters will be stuck with the responsibility of cleaning up the plant.The legislature’s previous decommissioning bills would have held the shareholders of Entergy to the promise they made upon acquisition of the plant by requiring the corporation to have enough assets and financial guarantees to pay for restoration of the site upon the closing of Vermont Yankee.  If the decommissioning fund is inadequate at the time of sale, additional funds, a letter of credit or other guarantee from Entergy will be required.  If the fund is adequate, nothing further will be required. “The concerns of the NRC, the AP report and the Bloomberg report highlight the necessity of the legislature’s decommissioning bills,” said Senator Shumlin.  “We will begin work on another bill as soon as the legislative session resumes and I hope that this time Governor Douglas will support our work and place the interests of Vermonters ahead of the interests of the shareholders of Entergy.”A letter from the NRC to Entergy regarding the status of the decommissioning fund is attached.last_img

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