Updated: Decommissioning VY – Mission Impossible?

Please note: THIS EVENT IS HAPPENING ON WEDNESDAY, JUNE 3. When I posted this last night, I had misunderstood the date and thought it was happening right then. I hope my mix-up didn’t cause any problems.


Concerned Vermonters will gather Wednesday night, June 3, from 6:00- 8:00 PM, at the Bethany United Church of Christ in Montpelier for a screening of the documentary film, “Decommissioning Our Nuclear Power Stations: Mission Impossible?” and a presentation by Arnie Gundersen of Fairewinds Associates, Inc. on findings and recommendations from his special report on VY decommissioning.

Produced in 2012 by Bernard Nicolas for France’s Arte TV network, the subtitled documentary takes a hard look at the status of decommissioning nuclear power plants in France and Germany. Nicolas also looks at the implications of decommissioning reactors in the United States.

Even though operators of reactors like Vermont Yankee are required by the NRC to create and maintain a decommissioning fund; it is becoming clear that the one created for Vermont Yankee still has to grow for many more years before it is projected even to meet the extremely conservative parameters upon which estimates of the cost were based; and Entergy is actively pursuing reasons to dip into the fund prematurely.

Those earlier estimates have since been shown to be severely deficient, and similar scenarios can be expected to play out all over the country as one-by-one, nuclear power reactors reach the end of their functional or economically viable lives and are taken out of service; all having based their decommissioning fund planning on  similarly inadequate models accepted by the NRC.

Bearing in mind that both the advanced age of most U.S. nuclear power reactors and a failing economic argument for their continued use predict that we are entering an unprecedented era of nuclear power reactor closures.

It is now estimated that the shortfall in funding for decommissioning all U.S. reactors currently in operation is $43 billion!  As things now stand, that ‘shortfall’ will be passed on to the taxpayers.

Further compounding the issue of decommissioning costs are the problems and expenses associated with long term storage of spent fuel and nuclear waste.  

Then there is the fact that even the best option currently available for spent fuel involve leaving it on site for perhaps a century or longer in concrete casks that have been not been demonstrated to be resistant to cracking or leaks in the long term.

Hosted by Beyond Nuclear, the Vermont Yankee Decommissioning Alliance and Vermont Citizen Action Network, the evening will provide a free opportunity for Vermonters to gain a better understanding of the challenges that lay ahead in the Age of Decommissioning.

I am very pleased to be associated with Fairewinds Energy Education in a non-technical capacity, but the opinions I express on GMD are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of Fairewinds.

About Sue Prent

Artist/Writer/Activist living in St. Albans, Vermont with my husband since 1983. I was born in Chicago; moved to Montreal in 1969; lived there and in Berlin, W. Germany until we finally settled in St. Albans.

One thought on “Updated: Decommissioning VY – Mission Impossible?

  1. The event is happening on Wednesday night, 6:00-8:00 PM, at Bethany United Church of Christ in Montpelier.

    Energy is showing signs of anxiety as it attempts a distraction maneuver in the form of  a fluff piece on decommissioning that it is running on local access TV.

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