Study Details Cost of Decommissioning
Vernon, VT – Entergy Nuclear Vermont Yankee has submitted its site assessment
study for the decommissioning of the nuclear facility to the state of Vermont's
Public Service Department, Agency of Natural Resources, Department of Health and
Public Service Board. The study includes a description of existing radiological
and non-radiological conditions at the site, a description of the
decommissioning process, a description of steps required to move spent nuclear
fuel to dry storage and to close the spent fuel pool, information on the likely
cost and schedule of decommissioning and drafts of the post-shutdown
decommissioning activities report and site-specific decommissioning cost
estimate that ENVY expects to submit to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
in December 2014.
In August 2013, Entergy Corporation announced that the Vermont Yankee Nuclear
Power Station would not be refueled and would cease operations at the end of its
current operating cycle in late 2014. In December 2013, several Vermont state
agencies and VY owner ENVY negotiated a settlement agreement that, among other
things, included commitments by ENVY that VY would cease operation by the end of
2014 and that ENVY would prepare a site assessment study.
The site assessment study is intended to provide a basis for discussion about
what will become of the VY plant and site after cessation of operations. The
report consolidates into one source a summary of the historical environmental
and radiological condition of the site, to explain what activities ENVY
currently expects to occur as VY transitions from an operating to
decommissioning site and to outline updated cost estimates for decommissioning
the site. The report's summary of historical environmental and radiological information
includes information about events that were reported to state or federal
regulatory authorities. Where required, these events were reported at that time
to appropriate regulatory agencies.
The most significant piece of new information presented in the site
assessment study is the updated cost estimate to decommission VY, which is
higher than previous cost estimates.
Entergy Vermont Yankee expects to shut down VY by the end of 2014 and
immediately begin transitioning the plant from operations to dormancy. This
transition period is expected to last until approximately 2020, at which time
all spent nuclear fuel is expected to be transferred from the spent fuel pool to
dry cask storage on the VY independent spent fuel storage installation. The
began operating in 1972. VY has reliably operated more than 550 days as a
base-load electricity generating plant during its final operating cycle.
- ENVY has selected the SAFSTOR decommissioning option – one of three
options approved by the NRC, and one chosen by several other retired U.S.
nuclear plants. Under this option, the plant will remain in a safe condition
until decommissioning work is completed.
- The estimated decommissioning cost is $1.24 billion in 2014 dollars. The
total decommissioning cost estimate includes costs associated with
terminating the NRC operating license ($817 million), spent fuel management
($368 million) and site restoration ($57 million).
- The nuclear decommissioning trust continues to exceed NRC financial
assurance requirements in the SAFSTOR scenario for license termination
activities such as preparation for dormancy and decontamination and
- With NRC approval, excess funds in the trust may be used for spent fuel
management activities. ENVY plans to seek NRC approval to use a combination
of the nuclear decommissioning trust funds and financing to fund spent fuel
management to fulfill NRC financial assurance requirements for spent nuclear
fuel, with financing being repaid from litigation recoveries of costs from
the federal government. The need for a spent fuel management plan is largely
driven by the U.S. Department of Energy's failure to remove and dispose
spent nuclear fuel, for which ENVY and prior owners of VY have already paid
the DOE more than $119 million. ENVY has prevailed in past litigation for
recovery of the large majority of its claimed spent fuel storage costs.
- ENVY is committed to seek NRC approval to commence major decommissioning
activities within 120 days after it has made a reasonable determination that
the funds in the nuclear decommissioning trust are adequate to complete
decommissioning and remaining spent nuclear fuel management activities.
- Safe operations will continue to be the top VY priority for the
remainder of 2014, and decommissioning of the facility will be done in a
safe and environmentally responsible manner. Radiological and environmental
monitoring will continue during the entire decommissioning process to ensure
safety and environmental protection.
- The plant's spent nuclear fuel will remain in the existing on-site fuel
pool until a second independent spent fuel storage installation pad is built
onsite. Most U.S. nuclear plants store spent fuel onsite – either in fuel
pools or dry storage casks – because the United States does not yet have a
permanent federal repository for used nuclear fuel.
- Consistent with a Vermont state requirement, ENVY has applied for a
certificate of public good to construct the second independent spent fuel
storage pad, which is required to complete moving all the spent nuclear fuel
currently stored in the spent fuel pool to dry cask storage. ENVY's ability
to transfer all spent fuel to dry storage by 2020 (as currently anticipated)
is dependent on obtaining the certificate of public good in a timely manner.
- After all of the VY spent fuel is moved to dry storage, the fuel will
remain on the spent fuel storage pad until DOE removes it from the site. At
that point, VY will be similarly situated to the other three decommissioned
Yankee plants (Yankee Rowe in Rowe, Mass.; Maine Yankee in Wiscasset, Maine;
and Connecticut Yankee in Haddam Neck, Conn.), which continue to store their
spent fuel on their spent fuel storage pads as they await progress at the
federal level to remove the fuel from their sites.
“Decommissioning Vermont Yankee will be a well-defined process, with significant
NRC oversight,” said Bill Mohl, president, Entergy Wholesale Commodities.
“Nuclear safety will remain our top priority. The plant will remain in a safe
condition. Our comprehensive emergency plan will continue to meet all applicable
NRC requirements, and we will continue to maintain a 24/7 security force
throughout the decommissioning process.”
ENVY has launched a web site that contains the site assessment study and
additional information about the nuclear plant's decommissioning plan,
Entergy Corporation is an integrated energy company engaged primarily in
electric power production and retail distribution operations. Entergy owns and
operates power plants with approximately 30,000 megawatts of electric generating
capacity, including more than 10,000 megawatts of nuclear power, making it one
of the nation's leading nuclear generators. Entergy delivers electricity to 2.8
million utility customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Entergy
has annual revenues of more than $11 billion and approximately 14,000 employees.
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In this news release and from time to time Entergy Corporation makes
certain “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private
Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Except to the extent required by the
federal securities laws, Entergy undertakes no obligation to publicly update or
revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information,
future events or otherwise.
Forward-looking statements involve a number of risks and uncertainties.
There are factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from
those expressed or implied in the forward-looking statements, including (a)
those factors discussed in this news release and in Entergy's most recent Annual
Report on Form 10-K, any subsequent Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and Entergy's
other reports and filings made under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934; (b)
uncertainties associated with rate proceedings, formula rate plans and other
cost recovery mechanisms; (c) uncertainties associated with efforts to remediate
the effects of major storms and recover related restoration costs; (d) nuclear
plant relicensing, operating and regulatory risks, including any changes
resulting from the nuclear crisis in Japan following its catastrophic earthquake
and tsunami; (e) changes in decommissioning trust fund values or earnings or in
the timing or cost of decommissioning Vermont Yankee or any of Entergy's other
nuclear plant sites; (f) legislative and regulatory actions and risks and
uncertainties associated with claims or litigation by or against Entergy and its
subsidiaries; and (g) economic conditions and conditions in commodity and
capital markets during the periods covered by the forward-looking statements, in
addition to other factors described elsewhere in this release and subsequent