Vermont Yankee timeline

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1967-1972: Construction begins on a 500-megawatt nuclear power station at the former Williams Farm in Vernon. The power station is owned by a consortium of New England power companies, including Vermont's Central Vermont Public Service and Green Mountain Power. Hearings take place before the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (precursor to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission).

1972: Construction completed, testing begins and the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Corp. starts putting electricity into the New England power grid in November. The company receives a 40-year license from federal regulators. It is the largest electric generation station within the boundaries of Vermont. Forty percent of the power is used by Vermont customers.

1979: Three Mile Island disaster in Pennsylvania

1979-82: Large protests are held at Vermont Yankee in Vernon, lasting for days and resulting in hundreds of arrests of anti-nuclear protesters.

2001: Vermont Yankee's original utility owners put the plant up for sale, leery of projected liability associated with decommissioning. Proposed sale to AmerGen falls through after state regulators raise questions. Terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C., put Vermont Yankee on high alert, leading to changes to security measures at the Vernon plant and prompting the company to spend millions on security upgrades in coming years.

2002: Entergy Nuclear is the new owner of Vermont Yankee, purchasing the plant for $180 million. In exchange, it gets the plant's $310 million trust fund, set aside for future decommissioning.

2006: Entergy gets state and federal permission to increase power production by 20 percent, from 500 megawatts to 620 megawatts.

2007: Deferred maintenance causes a portion of the west tower of the plant's two cooling towers to collapse, with Gov. James Douglas raising questions about the plant's operation and maintenance.

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2010: Tritium leak, Vermont Senate votes 26-4 against continued operation of Vermont Yankee, setting up a series of legal battles by Entergy Nuclear against the state.

2011: Fukushima, Japan nuclear disaster prompts more protests at Vermont Yankee. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission grants Entergy a 20-year license extension.

2012:Vermont Yankee's original 40-year federal operating license expires. There is a large demonstration against continued operation in Brattleboro, 160 arrested at Entergy headquarters.

2013: Entergy Nuclear wins court battle in Second Circuit Court of Appeals, as a federal court declares Vermont laws giving the state legislature veto power over relicensing unconstitutional. Two weeks later, the company announces it is shutting Vermont Yankee down permanently because of economic forces, and not state opposition.

2014: Vermont Yankee stops operating on Dec. 29, 2014, setting in motion a series of actions that ultimately result in the loss of close to 600 jobs at the plant. Vermont Yankee officially disconnected from the New England power grid on Dec. 29, at 12:12 p.m., and the reactor is manually shut down at 1:04 p.m.

2015: Entergy immediately begins transfer of radioactive fuel out of reactor core to spent fuel pool for final cool-down, and hundreds of Entergy employees are laid off. Transfer to dry-cask storage starts in 2017 to a facility north of the reactor. Department of Energy to take control of it eventually.

2016: NorthStar Holding Co. and Entergy announce a proposed sale to the New York City industrial demolition company. Timetable calls for much speedier decommissioning.

2019: Sale to NorthStar completed in January, demolition and cleanup begin on a full-time basis, decommissioning expected to take five years.


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