The Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station officially disconnected from the grid on December 29, 2014, at 12:12 PM Eastern Standard Time. The reactor was manually shut down at 1:04 PM, following a controlled reduction of reactor recirculation flow and a sequential insertion of the plant’s regulating control rod groups. The shutdown occurred without incident.
Governor Peter Shumlin released the following statement on the closure of Vermont Yankee:
“The closure of Vermont Yankee marks the end of years of controversy over operation of a nuclear plant in our state. I have long advocated for the closing of this plant at the end of its original license, and I believe the ceasing of operations today after nearly 43 years represents a positive step for our state and our energy future. Today, thanks to investments in renewable energy such as solar, Vermont's energy future is on a different, more sustainable path that is creating jobs, reducing energy costs for Vermonters and slowing climate change.
“I know this is hard news for the many Vermonters who have relied on the Vermont Yankee plant for employment and economic opportunity in Windham County and beyond. I want to thank the employees of the plant for their hard work over the years. My administration will continue working with local communities to ensure that the Windham County region grows jobs and economic opportunity as operations wind down at Vermont Yankee. We will also continue to work with Entergy and community partners to ensure that decommissioning happens as promptly and smoothly as possible.”
In December 2013, the Governor, Attorney General Bill Sorrell, and Bill Mohl, President of Entergy Wholesale Commodities, announced a settlement agreement between the State and Entergy Nuclear Vermont Yankee that resolves all ongoing litigation between the State and Entergy VY and provided a path to resolve proceedings at the Public Service Board.
Under the terms of that agreement, Entergy VY agreed to close the facility before the end of 2014, and will provide $10 million in economic development for Windham County over five years and $5.2 million in clean energy development support for Windham County and elsewhere, as well as a transitional $5 million payment to the State for calendar year 2015. Entergy VY also agreed to set aside a new $25 million fund to ensure the site is restored after decommissioning.
In a message to the Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel, Public Service Department Commissioner Chris Recchia said that while Vermont obviously disagreed with the continued operation of the facility, everyone’s efforts at ensuring safe plant operations this past year, as well as the efforts of all to meet the scheduled shutdown consistent with the settlement agreement, were appreciated. “I look forward to working constructively with everyone on the timely transfer of fuel to dry cask storage and ultimate decontamination and dismantlement of the property as soon as possible,” Recchia added.