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A Decommissioning of a Different Sort: NRC Resident Inspector Office at Vermont Yankee Shuts Down

Neil Sheehan
Public Affairs Officer
Region I

VYResidentOfficeClose 7-2015Something happened last week at the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant that might not merit headline news but is nonetheless worth highlighting: The lights were turned off for the last time in the NRC’s Resident Inspector office at the site.

As is well known by now, Vermont Yankee permanently ceased operations last December, bringing to a halt power production that had begun in November 1972. Since 1978, when the Resident Inspector program was launched, the NRC has had two such inspectors assigned to the site.

Among other things, these inspectors have kept close watch on day-to-day activities, responded to events, performed inspections and reviews and served as a vital conduit of information to the NRC. But commensurate with the reduced safety risk associated with a permanently shutdown reactor, the NRC has ended its daily inspector presence.

The NRC had kept a Resident Inspector at the Vernon, Vt., site to allow us to maintain on-site scrutiny during the early stages of the transition from an operating plant to one entering decommissioning. (Vermont Yankee will be using the SAFSTOR approach, which will involve placing the unit in storage for many years before embarking on major decontamination and dismantlement work.)

Although the Resident Inspector office has closed, NRC’s review activities have not come to a halt. Rather, the agency will continue to perform inspections at the plant on a periodic and targeted basis.

For instance, whenever there is major work taking place, such as the demolition of a nuclear-related building or the removal of spent fuel stored in the plant’s spent fuel pool into dry casks, an NRC inspector will be present. In addition, NRC will conduct inspections at the site at regular intervals to check on the plant’s safety status and any key developments until all spent fuel has been removed from the site and the plant’s NRC license is terminated.

Anyone seeking to contact the NRC regarding Vermont Yankee can continue to do so by calling the agency’s Region I Office via its toll-free phone number at 1-800-432-1156 and asking for the Division of Nuclear Materials Safety or by e-mail at OPA1@NRC.GOV .

Vermont Yankee is not unique with respect to this change involving the Resident Inspectors assigned to the plant. Three other plants that have shut down in recent years have also seen this changeover.

6 responses to “A Decommissioning of a Different Sort: NRC Resident Inspector Office at Vermont Yankee Shuts Down

  1. Crystallography July 24, 2015 at 10:16 pm

    Thanks for your sharing! This should be paid attention.

  2. Public Pit Bull July 24, 2015 at 8:18 pm

    The inaction by the NRC on this spent fuel problem is inexcusable! Almost 2,000 years ago a Roman official washed his hands of the blood of an innocent man. In their own sick way today’s NRC is washing its hands of our innocent blood.

  3. CaptD July 23, 2015 at 5:56 pm

    The NRC should also have Resident Decommissioning Inspectors since there will be RISKS that need to be monitored for decades and trusting Utility Operators of these decommissioned Reactors to do the job is simply “Poor Judgement” by the NRC, no matter what the Utilities say.

  4. George Courser July 23, 2015 at 4:00 pm

    Are we supposed to take heart here – with onsite presence of the most toxic substances ever generated left to the control of defunct and failing corporations? Here’s the NRC bailing out on responsibility with a part-time status. Any abdication of control of deadly radioactive compounds is not welcome news to the at-risk public. Tell us again just how SAFE San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station is… gcourser@hotmail.com

  5. Half-TruthSlayer July 23, 2015 at 3:52 pm

    Too bad the NRC still has to have some involvement at a nuclear site even with the reactor there long shutdown. As long as spent fuel is there yoy must remain involved. At utility/taxpayer expense. There are now 25 reactors shutdown across the country. And the spent fuel sits there causing not only NRC involvement but the costly involvement of utility personnel to guard it from sabotage. What a waste, all because the NRC has not provided for a safe centralized storage location.

    store this waste.

    the costly

    • Nuke Puke July 24, 2015 at 9:52 am

      Sorry for the messed up prior message. Let me try to clear up Half-TruthSlayer’s last post.
      Dereliction of Duty
      Too bad the NRC still has to have some involvement at a nuclear site even with the reactor there long shutdown. As long as spent fuel is there the NRC must remain involved. At utility/taxpayer expense. There are now 26 reactors shutdown across the country. And the spent fuel sits there causing not only NRC involvement but the costly involvement of utility personnel to nurse-maid it, check it, and guard it from sabotage. What a “waste”, all because the NRC has not provided for a safe centralized storage location.
      Not having a safe centralized location for spent fuel puts us all at considerable risk, not only from radiological sabotage but from a Japanese-type nuclear disaster. The NRC is waiting for others to act on this problem while they sit back and watch these dangerous nuclear stockpiles grow all over the US. They are the ones that know the dangerous consequences from a spent fuel accident. The NRC should be cited for dereliction of duty with regard to their stated mission of protecting public health and safety!

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