The Nuclear Regulatory Commission describes “decommissioning” as the:
process of safely closing a nuclear power plant to retire it from service after its useful life has ended. This process primarily involves decontaminating the facility to reduce residual radioactivity and then releasing the property for unrestricted or (under certain conditions) restricted use. This often includes dismantling the facility or dedicating it to other purposes.
On December 6, 2018 the Vermont Public Utility Commission approved the request to transfer the Certificate of Public Good for the Vermont Yankee plant from Entergy to NorthStar. This enabled NorthStar to begin executing its decommissioning plan. NorthStar began decommissioning in early 2019, decades earlier than would have been required under Entergy’s ownership.
Vermont state agencies—including the Department of Public Service, the Agency of Natural Resources, and the Department of Health—are monitoring and overseeing the decommissioning and site restoration work. This includes careful review of the financial reporting NorthStar must produce to the Department under a previous agreement with the state agencies called a “memorandum of understanding” or “MOU,” filed in Public Utility Commission Docket 8880. A summary of the MOU is provided on the Department's website. The key documents involving the sale, including the MOU and the Public Utility Commission’s order, are available on the Key Documents webpage.