Vermont Yankee tells NRC it will cost $728 million to dismantle plant in 2012

03/07/08 6:02PM By John Dillon
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(Host) Vermont Yankee has told federal regulators that it will cost 728 million dollars to dismantle the reactor if its shuts down in 2012.

Yankee says if the plant continues to operate past that date, the decommissioning costs will go down slightly.

VPR's John Dillon reports:

(Dillon) The Nuclear Regulatory Commission requires plants to file decommissioning reports five years before their license expires.

Yankee's license expires in 2012, so the report was due last year. But plant officials told the NRC they didn't have to submit the cost estimate because it had applied to extend its license for another 20 years.

The NRC disagreed. Neil Sheehan is a commission spokesman.

(Sheehan) ``We clarified that with them, and they have now actually filed the report totally 200 pages and we are in the process of reviewing that.''

(Dillon) The report details various scenarios, including, including an option known as Safestor.

That's when the plant is shut down and mothballed for years before it's taken apart and hauled away.

Yankee estimates it will costs $728 million to decommission the reactor and other components if it's shut down in 2012. It says the cost will decline to $655 million if it's allowed to operate for another 20 years.

The estimate that the decommissioning costs will decline the longer it operates doesn't make sense to Ray Shadis. He's a technical expert with the New England Coalition, a nuclear watchdog group.

(Shadis) ``These numbers are being run in reverse. The plant should cost more to decommission the longer you let it sit there. It should cost more to decommission the longer you let it run. There's no justification for numbers going in the opposite direction.''  

(Dillon) The Vermont Department of Public Service has come up with a much higher estimate of decommissioning costs - around $1.7 billion in 2032.

Yankee said that whatever the cost, ratepayers will not be on the hook. That's because the state  Public Service Board has ordered the company to pay for decommissioning out of a special fund, not through additional charges to customers.

For VPR News, I'm John Dillon in Montpelier.

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