In a press release, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced it would continue "its rigorous oversight" of Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant "through the rest of its operations and into and through decommissioning."
"We have a decommissioning process that the details steps that would have to be taken by Entergy going forward," noted the press release.
Entergy has 30 days to submit a a written certification of permanent cessation of operations, after which there is no turning back. Within two years of shutdown has to submit a decommissioning activites report. The report provides a description of the planned decommissioning activities, a schedule for accomplishing them, and an estimate of the expected costs. Following receipt of the report, the NRC makes it available for public review and comment, and holds a public meeting near the plant to discuss the company's plans.
Within two years of expected license termination, Entergy must also submit a license termination plan, in which it must address site characterization, any remaining dismantlement activities, plans for site remediation, final radiation survey plans and more.
Ninety days after the NRC receives the decommissioning activities report, the owner can begin major decommissioning activities without specific NRC approval. These include the permanent removal of such major components as the reactor vessel, steam generators, large piping systems, pumps and valves.
In order for a plant site to be approved for unrestricted use, any residual radiation would have to be below the NRC limits of 25 millirems of annual exposure for a member of the public living at the site year-round, 24 hours a day.