BRATTLEBORO — The proposed sale of the shuttered Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant to a New York City industrial demolition company has brought questions from the administration of Gov. Phil Scott. One after another, state officials told a panel Thursday night the plan by NorthStar Group Services Inc., of New York, raised many questions — particularly financial — as details of the plan are being filed with state regulators. No one from NorthStar was at Thursday night’s meeting of the Vermont Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel in Brattleboro. NorthStar President Scott State was in Montpelier all day Thursday meeting with legislative leaders, including House Speaker Mitzi Johnson, Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman and Senate President Pro Tem Tim Ashe, but did not make it to the meeting in Brattleboro. Had he been there, he would have gotten an earful. Stephanie Hoffman, an attorney with the Department of Public Service who is the lead counsel on the review of the NorthStar offer to Entergy, said her agency had filed 462 questions about the sale. She said Public Service was concerned about the ownership structure and the company’s “financial health.” State experts would be vetting NorthStar’s experts on decommissioning, Hoffman said, as well as NorthStar’s three partners in the Vermont Yankee project: Areva, a French nuclear company; Waste Control Specialists of Texas, which operates the largest nuclear waste facilities in the country; and Burns & McDonnell, an engineering firm based in Kansas City, Missouri. Hoffman said the question was “whether NorthStar was the proper partner” for the decommissioning. NorthStar is paying Entergy $1 for Vermont Yankee, and in return will receive Yankee’s decommissioning trust fund, currently at about $571 million. In exchange, NorthStar will be on the hook to demolish and clean up the old nuclear plant decades earlier than Entergy’s plans. Entergy said two years ago that it would cost $1.24 billion to demolish and clean up the plant, but would take 50 years to do so. Hoffman’s concerns were echoed by Peter Walke, deputy commissioner of the Agency of Natural Resources, who later in the meeting took Entergy to task for failing to provide a complete report on the non-radiological hazards at the Vernon site. The site restoration plan is necessary to calculate the final costs, said Walke, a member of the panel. “We have yet to see one that is complete. We don’t have that information,” he said. “The filings were not very thorough.” Kyle Landis-Marinello, an assistant attorney general, said the office of Attorney General T.J. Donovan has questions about the “financial soundness” of the plan. “We do see significant financial issues with site cleanup. We want to make sure all Vermonters are protected,” said Landis-Marinello, adding the state wanted to “kick the tires” of the NorthStar proposal to make sure that the longterm cleanup costs and costs of storing thousands of highly radioactive fuel rods doesn’t fall on Vermont taxpayers. A recurring criticism from officials and the public is that NorthStar doesn’t have the financial resources that Entergy does. At particular issue was a $125 million agreement by Entergy to help pay for the cleanup if NorthStar’s plan for using Yankee’s existing decommissioning trust fund comes up short. Landis-Marinello asked who would pay if more money was needed beyond the $125 million. After the meeting, Joseph Lynch, Entergy’s senior government affairs manager, said in response to Walke’s criticism that additional site characterization, “if warranted, will be performed during the physical decommissioning of Vermont Yankee.” He said that Entergy submitted a non-radiological site assessment in October 2014. “This document represented a detailed evaluation of on-site contamination and the actions taken by Entergy to address them,” he said. The absence of NorthStar’s president was a matter of scheduling, as Slate had to be at another out-of-state meeting Friday morning. Anthony Iarrapino, a Montpelier attorney who is working for NorthStar, said Thursday afternoon that State would be at the next NDCAP meeting in April, and that he planned to attend the Public Service Board workshop and public hearing on the proposed sale on April 6 in Vernon. susan.smallheer

You must be logged in to react.
Click any reaction to login.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.