Leahy: New effort for nuclear waste site offers no quick solution via VT Digger

BRATTLEBORO — Vermont’s senior U.S. senator says the long-term storage of radioactive waste in Vernon and at other former nuclear plant sites nationwide is unacceptable.

Democrat Patrick Leahy, in a new letter to the Vermont Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel, points out that the federal government is starting a program aimed at finding somewhere to store spent nuclear fuel.

But that program is in its infancy. And Leahy doesn’t offer any other solutions to the problem, noting that the latest federal spending bill included no money for a proposed pilot interim storage facility.

“The continued failure of the federal government to remove spent nuclear fuel under its statutory obligation … means that the country, and small host communities, are facing risks that need to be addressed,” Leahy wrote. “Beneficial reuse of the sites of closed nuclear plants is also being delayed for decades.”


Vermont Yankee quit producing power in December 2014, and plant owner Entergy has said there are 3,880 spent fuel assemblies on the site that eventually will be stored in sealed dry casks. But the lack of a federal repository means it is difficult to say when those casks will be shipped out of Vernon.

Long-term management of Vermont Yankee’s spent fuel is expected to cost $225 million, and that’s assuming all fuel is removed by 2052.

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