NRC renews Vermont Yankee license

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission voted 4-0 to renew the operating license for the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station near Brattleboro, Vt., for an additional 20 years. [NRC web page on Vermont Yankee license renewal]

jaczkoEven more significantly, NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko, who was criticized by some plant supporters for the appearance of playing to the anti-nuclear crowd in a controversial visit to the reactor last July, now stepped up to the plate to explain the NRC’s decision.

“ This is the final step in the NRC’s detailed technical and legal process of examining whether it’s appropriate to issue a renewed license,” said NRC Chairman Gregory B. Jaczko. (left)

“Since there are other approval processes outside the NRC, we’ll continue to ensure Vermont Yankee is meeting the appropriate public health and safety standards regardless of the reactor’s ultimate status.”

In a conference call with the news media, Jaczko said, ““We believe Entergy, through the exhaustive review that we’ve done for license renewal, meets all of our requirements and standards needed to be able to operate for another 20 years.”

Vermont supporters of reactor “elated.”

Howard Shaffer and Meredith Angwin, two pro-nuclear activists, told this blog they are elated over the NRC decision. Angwin, who publishes the blog Yes Vermont Yankee said the NRC decision “vindicates the fact that the plant is safe.”

As recently as last week, Angwin was on the stump at the University of Vermont debating the future of the reactor with Arnie Gundersen, a special consultant hired by the legislature to provide technical information on the plant.

Angwin says she is still amazed by “Gundersen’s fish stories,” but said the news that the reactor has been relicensed is a strong vote for reason.”

Angwin and Shaffer were supported in some of their work by the American Nuclear Society as part of its Vermont Pilot Project.  See the February 2011 issue of ANS Nuclear News for a profile of their activities.

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