Nuke plant's owners want to dip into decommissioning fund
Vermont Yankee's owners want to use money from its decommissioning fund to pay for spent fuel storage instead, and that plans is drawing criticism from lawmakers.
The Vernon nuclear plant currently has about $420 million in a trust fund intended to pay for the work necessary to dismantle the plant once it closes. Some estimate the actual cost of taking Vermont Yankee off-line could be closer to $800 million.
In an exchange of letters this week, owners Entergy Nuclear and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission sparred over the wisdom of the company's proposal to use $157 million from the decommissioning fund to pay for storage of spent fuel from the reactor.
Entergy Nuclear officials said that if Vermont Yankee gets the OK for a license extension that would allow it to remain operating past its scheduled 2012 closing, it would give more time for the decommissioning fund to grow.
The Vermont Legislature passed a bill last week that would require the infusion of more money, or some financial guarantees, into the fund. It is currently awaiting the signature of Governor Jim Douglas.