Vermont Yankee Shuts Down – After 42 Years

Neil Sheehan
Public Affairs Officer
Region I


Update: The NRC is accepting comments from the public on the Vermont Yankee Post-Shutdown Decommissioning Activities Report. The comment period will be open through March 23, 2015. Written comments can be submitted to: Cindy Bladey, Office of Administration, Mail Stop: 3WFN-06-A44M, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, D.C. 20555-0001, and via, using Docket No. 50-271. Another opportunity for members of the public to offer comments on the report will be at an NRC meeting being planned for Feb. 19 in Brattleboro, Vt.


Capping off slightly more than 42 years of splitting atoms and generating electricity, the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant’s reactor was shut down for the final time today.

Although Vermont Yankee’s operating license was valid until March 21, 2032, its owner, Entergy, decided last year to close the Vernon, Vt., plant. It cited low natural gas prices and other factors when announcing that decision.

Planning is already well under way by the company on what lays ahead, namely a decommissioning process expected to take place over several years. Many of the details are outlined in a roadmap document known as a Post-Shutdown Decommissioning Activities Report (PSDAR).

Entergy filed the report for Vermont Yankee with the NRC on Dec. 19. Before the decommissioning process kicks into gear – an undertaking some have likened to construction in reverse – the NRC will review the report and determine if the approaches meet the applicable federal criteria.

In conjunction with that review, the NRC plans to hold a public meeting in early 2015 to receive comments on the PSDAR. More details will be provided in the near future.

There is a significant amount of review and additional planning work to be accomplished in the months and years ahead. The NRC is prepared to keep close watch on those activities for every step of what promises to be a lengthy journey. State officials and a Vermont-formed decommissioning oversight panel will also play key roles in this process.

Throughout the journey, the NRC will continue to carry out its oversight responsibilities through on-site inspections and reviews of regulatory filings by Entergy. These NRC programs have a common goal: To protect public health and safety and the environment as the site moves through the various stages of decommissioning.

More information about the NRC’s decommissioning activities is available on the agency’s website.


Author: Moderator

Public Affairs Officer for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

18 thoughts on “Vermont Yankee Shuts Down – After 42 Years”

  1. If the government fulfilled their obligations in which was put into law the undersite storage facility at YUCA mountain, storage would not be a burden of the taxpayers. However, money that should have been allocated to this facility has been spent and the nuclear community is in limbo with the only current option to store used fuel and waste on site. So check your facts about the “nuclear industry and their well funded leaders”, before you post. This was facility and storage plan was put into law by Congress, hold them accountable.

  2. Just a reminder that the NRC blog comment guidelines say comments must be related to the topic of the blog post under which they are submitted. Other, unrelated comments, can be posted to the Open Forum page.

    Thank you,


  3. Please provide references to the “many drinking water aquifers” that “are being polluted with fracking waste water”?! Please advise as to specifically which aquifers are no longer fit for use due to fracking.
    Besides drinking water is so scarce now that water district managers in Texas are looking at direct urine to drinking water processing. Lets just frack away and get off our reliance on middle east oil and dangerous nuclear power.

  4. are you significantly invested in natural gas?

    Perhaps you should consider that many drinking water aquifers are being polluted with fracking waste water?


  6. It’s a full time job keeping tabs on CaptD, but this one is easy to care of in a few minutes. If you are wondering about decommissioning, you can check out the NDT survey at NISA investments, which is the primary consultant on the matter in the US. Over 100 reactors, NDT total about 50 billion in assets (NDT funds) while estimated liabilities (decommissioning expenses) are 68 billion. Considering that nearly all of these reactors will operate for another 20 to 30 years, and that decommissioning will not take place for decades, this is highly unlikely to be anything like CaptD imagines.

  7. Nonsense. The backend of the fuel cycle is about 5% of the cost of electricity, at most. Many plants have been decommissioned and the costs are well known.

    And New England will pay dearly for this closure.

  8. The sin here is in shutting down a perfectly good nuclear plant to replace it with fossil fuels.The costs you go on about are nothing compared to the added externalities from fossil fuels. By all accounts, the plant was safe and economical. It will be replaced by something that is relatively dangerous and expensive.

    Entergy just had enough nonsense from the State of Vermont and pulled the plug.

  9. It is a pity that a company like Entergy has such a narrow vision that focusses on making immediate profits, and does not consider the environmental benefits, that have a large dollar value and eventual social benefits as well.

    Note: Moved by the moderator to the appopriate post.

  10. The real sin was building this dangerous monstrosity in the first place. All the costs associated w building this plant originally; the costs of multiple upgrades; and the costs of unrealized license extension, all for nothing. When we will ever learn?!

  11. When will an estimate of the total curie content be available? At any rate it will be a staggering amount of radioactivity. It is criminal that all this waste is lying all around our country. Makes our nuke plants a prime terrorist target.

  12. San Onofre (CA) and Vermont Yankee (VT) nuclear power plants started their decades long decommissioning process in 2014 because of Utility mis-management and/or potential nuclear problems that made them no longer cost effective, since the cost of other forms of Energy generation are dropping dramatically.

    This is important because now US taxpayers will learn first hand that decommissioning nuclear power plants and storing their radioactive waste long term (many decades, if not generations) are hugely expensive ; both of which are BIG reasons to oppose any new nuclear installations in the USA, no matter what the nuclear industry or their well funded elected leaders say to the contrary!

  13. Can you really blame Entergy here? I agree with the spirit of your comment, but I can’t blame Entergy for simply washing their hands of the whole thing and letting New England suffer the consequences.

  14. The NRC does not discuss exact quantities of high burnup spent nuclear fuel at U.S. nuclear power plants. General information about this fuel is available in an NRC backgrounder: . The Vermont Yankee spent fuel pool currently holds 2,627 spent fuel assemblies. The existing Independent Spent Fuel Storage (ISFSI) at Vermont Yankee holds 13 loaded dry casks. Each cask holds 68 fuel assemblies, or bundles of fuel rods. The ISFSI pad has a capacity of 36 dry casks. A second pad will be required to completely off-load the spent fuel pool. Altogether, 45 dry casks will needed to handle all of the fuel used by Vermont Yankee.

    We do not have immediately available an estimate of the total curie content of the plant’s spent nuclear fuel.

    Neil Sheehan

  15. Entergy should be charged a sin tax for replacing a non carbon dioxide polluting nuclear power plant with carbon dioxide polluting natural gas power plants.

  16. How many tons of high burnup, spent nuclear waste is currently stored in the cooling pools and in dry cask storage at Vermont Yankee? And how much long lived radiation (in curries) is contained in the radioactive waste?

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