Vermont Yankee (USA)

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BWR 510 MW constructed by General Electric; grid connection in 1972

Facilities in Vermont Yankee

plantreactor typconstruction startoperation startshut down
Vermont YankeeBWR19671972

February 24, 2010

"Vermont Senate Votes To Retire Vermont Yankee Nuclear Plant in Historic

Today, the Vermont State Senate voted to retire the Vermont Yankee
Nuclear plant, owned by the Louisiana based corporation Entergy. Despite
Entergy´s efforts to renew the license for the 40-year-old reactor, the
Vermont Senate voted to shut down the nuclear plant as scheduled in 2012.

This vote may be followed by a vote in the House of Representatives. If
either body votes to deny an extension of a certificate of good (the
equivalent of a state license), - as the Senate has -the plant must shut
down. Vermont is unique in that it is the only state in which the
legislature has the ability to vote to shut a plant and this historic vote
will mark the first time a plant has been closed by a state legislature.

"Vermonters sent a message to President Obama and the nuclear industry
today," said Greenpeace´s Nuclear Power Analyst Jim Riccio. "The nuclear
renaissance is dead on arrival. We can retire old, decrepit and leaking
reactors like Vermont Yankee and help usher in the energy revolution that
America needs."

A host of problems have plagued the Vermont nuclear plant, from missing
fuel rods to the collapse of cooling towers to the uncontrolled and
unmonitored releases of radiation into the groundwater. On Monday, the NRC
acknowledged yet another radioactive leak from the reactor in 2005. The
NRC is currently investigating allegations by Vermont Yankee employees
about radioactive leaks from underground piping.

"When American´s have the choice about the kind of energy they want in
their communities, they don´t want nuclear. Vermont has shut down the myth
of the so-called nuclear renaissance. Greenpeace is calling on Vermont
legislators to vote against relicensing in the house as well so that the
message to America registers loud and clear."

Despite President Obama´s announcement last week of 8.3 billion dollars in
loan guarantees to build the first new nuclear plant in thirty years, the
illusion of a nuclear renaissance is going to suffer a setback with the
vote in Vermont.

"From farmers and schoolteachers to businesspeople and students, the
people of Vermont are overwhelmingly in support of a energy future that
relies on clean and safe renewables like wind and solar. The communities
living in the shadow of Vermont Yankee have had to worry for too long
about this aging reactor," said Vermont Organizer Jarred Cobb."

(source: distributed by no-nukes list)


A fire in the electrical conduits leading to the main transformer plus a small fire inside the turbine building.
(source: greenpeace nuclear accident calendar)


With the closure of four nuclear power plants in New England in the last six years, anti-nuclear activists believe a "nuclear-free New England" is within reach . The Nuclear Information & Resource Servics (NIRS), a national, Washington-based group, and the Citizens Awareness Network, a New England group based in western Massachusetts, have chosen Vermont Yankee NPP as their newest target.

The groups are opposed to Vermont Yankee's attempts, with Vermont and Maine, to form a low-level waste compact and site a waste facility in Texas. Secondly, the plant is a General Electric Mark I BWR, which opponents consider an inherently unsafe design.
Vermont Yankee plans to again expand the spent fuel pool there.

Vermont Yankee supplies more than 75% of the state's electricity output. But the plant is getting old (26 years now). Of the New England reactors that have closed, Yankee Rowe made it through 31 years of commercial operation; Connecticut Yankee, 28 years; Maine Yankee, 24; and Millstone-1, 27.
Annual economic analyses of Vermont Yankee show it has a net present value in favor of continued operation, versus premature retirement, ranging from $14-million to $485-million, "depending on assumptions." For comparison, Connecticut Yankee shut down with a net present value of $100-million and Millstone-1 went from a net present value of $72-million to just $19-million in one year's time, before it was shut down.

In 1995, Vermont Yankee was the first GE BWR in the world to replace its low pressure steam turbines, casings, and related components. The job cost $33-million, but was predicted to have a net present value over the remaining life of the plant of $105-million and add 14 MW to the plant's capacity.
Plant officials noted that the plant´s recirculation piping and the core shroud has already been repaired.
The company is spending an estimated $17-million between 1996 and 2000 to reconstitute the plant's design basis.

Vermont Yankee´s spent fuel pool is getting full and there is no reracking option that will get the plant through the end of its currently licensed life in 2014.
In the 1970s the NPP signed a legal agreement with the local antinuclear Coalition in 1977, the first time it sought approval to expand the pool. The agreement called for the plant's shutdown if no site were found for permanent disposal of the spent fuel by the time the spent fuel pool was full again. That occurred in 1987 but Vermont Yankee claimed, at the time, that the agreement wasn´t legally binding. Vermont Yankee sought and received approval to expand the fuel pool's capacity a second time. Now, the NPP is going for a third expansion, which is one of the highest priority projects for 1998. The company is also evaluating dry storage options. If they cannot find a solution Vermont Yankee will lose full core off-load capability in spring 2001.


NRC propsed a fine of 50.000 $ for a violation of tech. specs. which involved a single failure vulnerability in the RHR system which had been unnoticed and uncorrected for 22 years.


Plant became the first GE BWR in the world to replace low pressure steam turbines, casings and related components because of erosion/corrosion problems. The replacement added 14 MW of capacity to the 23 year old plant. The replacement job was completed within the 6 week refueling outage: costs 53 million $; The additional capacity could save ca. 100 million $ over the remaining lifetime.


Loss of offsite power lasted for 5 hours. EDGs started correctly. Loss of power was caused by maintenance work on the switchyard breaker. During the event service water flow to certain components was less than normal. Safety relief valves also were used intermittently during the event. Moreover the loss of power restricted the plant's ability to process radioactive waste -> Operators were unable to pump the torus.


During refueling outage uranium fuel pellets in the bottom 200 mm of a 3,7 m fuel rods were discovered missing, due to a break of a fuel rod. Utility had expected some fuel rod erosion, because of slightly elevated off-gas levels since June 1989. Because of the great dilution of the amount of uranium in 400.000 liters of coolant the utility didn't find it necessary to stop operation before the planned outage.


Reactor vessel inventory was lost due to cracking out the RHR suction valve breakers which caused the minimum flow bypass valve to open, creating a flow path to the suppression pool .