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Entergy Looks To Sell VY Plant To Firm That Will Expedite Decommissioning

A deal is being finalized that would resolve financial issues related to the cleanup of the closed Vermont Yankee  nuclear plant.
Jason R. Henske
Entergy wants to sell Vermont Yankee to a company that specializes in cleanup at nuclear power plants. The sale will have to be approved by the Vermont Public Service Board and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Entergy says it wants to sell the shuttered Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant to Northstar Group Services, a firm that specializes in the dismantling and remediation of energy plants.

Entergy vice president for external affairs Mike Twomey says Northstar has agreed to decommission VY before 2030, about 45 years sooner than Entergy said it would clean up the site in its federal decommissioning report.

"The Northstar group and their team and partners have expertise in this decommissioning process," Twomey says. "Allowing them to do the work instead of us to do the work permits the project to be done much faster. It's a good opportunity for Vermont, because it means the site will get cleaned much sooner  than it otherwise would."

Entergy also announced Tuesday that it would accelerate the transfer of all spent nuclear fuel to dry cask storage from 2020 to 2018.

It's still up to the Department of Energy to remove the spent fuel, but Entergy says Northstar will maintain the stored spent fuel facility in Vernon.

As part of the deal, Northstar will take over the Decommissioning Trust Fund.

In a press statement released soon after the announcement, Gov. Peter Shumlin supported the sale, and said the accelerated decommissioning means the property could be re-developed sooner.

"Today’s announcement that Entergy is planning to file for approval at the Public Service Board to transfer ownership of the Vermont Yankee site to a third-party offers the potential for an accelerated decommissioning of the plant," Shumlin said. "This is something my administration has advocated for, and as a governor who is from Windham County, I can tell you that it would be a major positive for the economy and for jobs in Southern Vermont."

Shumlin says the state will make sure Northstar has the financial capabilities to handle the complex decommissioning process.

Entergy didn't released the terms of the sale, but in a press release said that the deal would "result in a loss at closing."

The sale will have to be approved by the Vermont Public Service Board and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Entergy and Northstar say they hope the deal can be completed before the end of 2018.

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