The Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station operated on a 125-acre site in Vernon from from 1972 until December 29, 2014, when its owner, Entergy Corporation, shut down the plant. In 2008, the plant provided 71.8% of all electricity generated within Vermont, amounting to 35% of Vermont's electricity consumption.
During 2018, Entergy completed the removal of spent nuclear fuel from the reactor building's spent fuel storage pool into Holtec Hi-Storm casks. These are now stored on the site's Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation (ISFSI) pads.
In January 2019, ownership of the site was transferred from Entergy to subsidiaries of NorthStar Group Services, which is now decommissioning the site, with a projected completion date of 2026 or early 2027. Prior to the transfer the Town of Vernon signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Northstar, outlining a variety of obligations of NorthStar to the Town.
NorthStar has informally indicated to the Town that following decommissioning and release of the site for unrestricted use by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, it will turn over control of the site (with the exception of a secure area surrounding the ISFSI* pads on which casks of spent nuclear fuel are stored) to the town for redevelopment purposes. Accordingly, the town has taken steps to plan for such redevelopment. The following resources provide information tracking the site decommissioning and redevelopment process.
*Interim Spent Fuel Storage Installation
Site Restoration and Development Plan (2020-2021)
With financial assistance from Vermont Municipal Planning Grant and Northstar, the Town carried out a planning process to create a landscape inventory of the Vermont Yankee site, and to explore options for its future redevelopment.
Phase I: Landscape Inventory
In the first phase of this study, students and faculty at Antioch University New England in Keene, NH, created a landscape inventory of the site that enables exploration of multiple layers, including historical, built infrastructure, land cover, geology, hydrology, solar radiation, natural communities, and archeological sensitivity. The inventory also suggested several land re-use scenarios. Explore the interactive version of the landscape inventory here, or download a PDF version here. A discussion of the landscape inventory among representative of Antioch, the Town, and Northstar may be viewed here.
Phase II: Site Restoration and Redevelopment Plan
In the second phase, the town engaged the planning and design firm Stevens & Associates, P. C. of Brattleboro, VT, which produced a report including a comprehensive master plan. (Note: as of 10/1/2021 this plan has not been finally accepted by the Selectboard. This is expected to take place during October 2021.)
- Vermont Yankee decommissioning process (NorthStar informational site)
- Vermont Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel
Town Plan (2018)
The current (2018) Vernon Town Plan was completed just as the sale of the plant site to NorthStar was being finalized, and outlines the Town's preferences for site redevelopment, as well as its Post-VY Resiliency Plan. (See also the full Town Plans and Maps page.)