On October 12, 2018, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) announced that the agency has issued an Order approving the transfer of the operating license for the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant from Entergy Nuclear Operations, Inc. (Entergy) to NorthStar Nuclear Decommissioning Company, LLC (NorthStar NDC).
Entergy requested the transfer to NorthStar NDC to decommission the plant, which ceased operations in December 2014.
Based on its review, the NRC confirmed that NorthStar NDC met the regulatory, legal, technical and financial requirements necessary to qualify them as a licensee. The NRC also determined that the transfer is consistent with law and NRC regulations, as well as that the transfer can be conducted without endangering the health and safety of the public and will not be inimical to the common defense and security.
The NRC Order approving the transfer was issued on October 11, 2018. The Order and other documents related to the license transfer review are available in the NRC’s ADAMS online database at ML18242A638.
Based on the staff’s review, NRC approved the application for transfer of the licenses for the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant subject to the following conditions:
- prior to the closing of the license transfer, NorthStar NDC and NorthStar Vermont Yankee, LLC (NorthStar VY) shall provide the Directors of NRC’s Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards (NMSS) and Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation (NRR) satisfactory documentary evidence that they have obtained the appropriate amount of insurance required of a licensee under 10 CFR 140.11(a)(4) and 10 CFR 50.54(w) of the Commission’s regulations, consistent with the exemptions issued to Vermont Yankee on April 15, 2016;
- NorthStar VY and NorthStar NDC shall take no action to cause NorthStar Group Services, Inc. to void, cancel or modify the $140 million support agreement to provide funding for Vermont Yankee as represented in the application without prior written consent of the NRR Director; and,
- NorthStar VY shall obtain a performance bond if a settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) on federal reimbursements for spent fuel management expenses is not entered into by January 1, 2022.
The performance bond will be effective January 1, 2022 initially in the amount of $4.3 million and it will be renewed annually. This amount covers the annual amount of Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation (ISFSI) operation and maintenance costs projected for 2022-2024. If a settlement is not reached by January 1, 2024, this amount will be increased to $9.3 million, which covers the annual amount of ISFSI operation and maintenance costs projected for years after 2024.
The plant is currently owned by Entergy Nuclear Vermont Yankee (Entergy VY) and operated by Entergy Nuclear Operations (Entergy NO), both of which are listed on the license. Entergy and NorthStar NDC requested the license transfer by letter dated February 9, 2017. According to the request, the new owner will be NorthStar VY and the operator in charge of dismantling the plant will be NorthStar NDC. The transfer includes the plant’s dry cask spent nuclear fuel storage facility.
In particular, the applicants requested the NRC consent to the direct transfer of Entergy NO’s currently licensed authority (licensed operator for decommissioning) to NorthStar NDC. In addition, the applicants requested the indirect transfer of control (ownership) of Entergy VY’s facility licenses to NorthStar Decommissioning Holdings, LLC (NorthStar DH) and its parents NorthStar Group Services, Inc. (NorthStar GS), LVI Parent Corp. (LVI) and NorthStar Group Holdings, LLC ( NorthStar GH).
The applicants also requested that the NRC consent to the transfer of the licensed possession, maintenance and decommissioning authorities to NorthStar NDC in order to implement expedited decommissioning at Vermont Yankee. In addition, the applicants requested approval of a conforming amendment to the license pursuant to Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR), Part 50.80, “Transfer of licenses,” and 10 CFR 50.90, “Application for amendment of license, construction permit, or early site permit.”
Notice of the application was published at 82 Federal Register 23,845 as dated on May 24, 2017. The supplemental information letters contained clarifying information, did not expand the application beyond the scope of the original notice and did not affect the applicability of the NRC’s no significant hazards consideration determination.
For additional information, please contact David McIntyre of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission at (301) 415-8200.