Nuclear, O&M, Reactors

NRC wants more info on Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant safety upgrades

Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant retirement not affect grid reliability ISO New England Entergy

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) asked Entergy (NYSE: ETR) for more information on safety upgrades for the 605 MW Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant before making a decision to grant the utility an exemption due to the plant’s closure.

NRC is requesting information from Entergy about plans to perform required post-Fukushima analysis for hardened vents as well as its overall post-Fukushima plan, according to the Times Argus newspaper. Entergy announced last year that it would shut down the single-unit Vermont Yankee plant in December 2014. Entergy said adverse market conditions and low natural gas prices led to the decision to close the plant.

“While the NRC staff fully understands your intentions to permanently shut down the Vermont Yankee facility, the staff also understands that Entergy is under no legal obligation to shut down the facility,” an NRC official wrote in the article.

“The staff is concerned that if your current plans change and you decide to enter an extended shutdown period as opposed to submitting the (NRC) certifications, Vermont Yankee would not be prepared to meet the requirements of the order on schedule,” the NRC official wrote in the article.

An Entergy Nuclear spokesperson said in the article that the utility would supply the additional information within 30 days, but Entergy also filed several requests for exemptions from different NRC requirements or regulations covering the last year of plant operations. None of the exemptions have been granted and are still under review, the article said. Entergy is not required to inform NRC about its last day of operation until the plant actually shuts down.

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