Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Vermont Yankee Site Unlikely to be Used Again: On Decommissioning Vermont Yankee

Industry in the Northeast

In order to get new business to the area around Vermont Yankee, the area needs incentives, not further industrial sites.  The existence of a decommissioned Vermont Yankee site will not attract an employer.

In the nineteenth century, and even up to World War II, the Northeast was a manufacturing powerhouse.  Since then, industries have been leaving the area. In Vermont, there are far more industrial sites than businesses that want such a site.
Mill on the Merrimack River

If you live in the Northeast, you know this.  There are hundreds of sites in Vermont, Massachusetts and New Hampshire that used to be industrial sites-- until the industries moved away.  There are mills that have been turned into art galleries, and there are mills that are just decaying in place.  People talk about the "old Georgia Pacific site," or the "old gear factory."  And so forth.

Getting the Vermont Yankee site ready for a new business will do absolutely nothing for the economy of the region.  Having one more site available is not going to attract a new employer.

Nuclear sites are rarely used again, except sometimes for fossil plants

Also, it is a nuclear site. A few days ago, Terri Hallenbeck of the Burlington Free Press wrote an excellent article about the fate of decommissioned nuclear sites: A Future Use for Vermont Yankee? Don't Hold Your Breath. Her article puts the "we need to decommission it quickly" rhetoric in context.

In her article, Hallenbeck shows that most of the decommissioned nuclear sites had no further industrial use, though some eventually hosted other power plants (usually gas-fired). The location of these sites usually works against their use as anything except a power plant.

Furthermore, the Vermont Yankee site is clearly not attractive for further development.  The Hallenbeck article quotes Ray Shadis. Shadis thinks the site should "probably be ... left alone" after decommissioning. He notes the Vermont Yankee site is long and narrow, which is problematic (for further development).

Despite all the fuss about "decommission it promptly," the Vermont Yankee site is unlikely to attract another employer to the area.  I will also note that many of the people who are most eager to encourage "prompt decommissioning" don't live in Windham County. They live in Massachusetts, and they live in Maine.  They will not be affected by the employment situation in southern Vermont. Their rhetoric shows their hatred of nuclear power far more than it shows any care for the economy of the region.


This is the third in a series of blog posts about various aspects of Vermont Yankee decommissioning.


Anonymous said...

Good news. Let the site be used for SAFSTOR. After that, dry cask storage until (if it happens) a central storage facility is available. That's the best deal for the owner, whose property this is and as long as we have private property rights in this country (which is problematic at this point, I know) they should be allowed to use the site as they wish as long as it is a legal use. Last I checked, NRC was okay with SAFSTOR.

Anonymous said...

Nice Blog Meredith as you know from on line conversations there are unused full developed site in the immediate vicinity of VY one of which is partially utilized by Entergy VY. I live 30 miles away from VY in VT and my village is a monument to the industries which have left and will not return. The next town up the river from us Springfield VT is more of the same. The discussion of reuse is a silly pipe dream. Keep up the good work and reporting Mike E