NRC to present annual safety assessment of VY at public hearing on May 23

BRATTLEBORO — U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) staff will conduct a public meeting and open house on Wednesday, May 23, regarding the agency's annual assessment of safety performance for the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in Vernon.

The public meeting and open house will take place from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the Multipurpose Room at Brattleboro Union High School, 131 Fairground Road. During the open house, members of the public will have an opportunity to talk on a one-on-one basis with NRC inspectors assigned to the plant and NRC managers about plant-related topics.

At 7 p.m., the NRC will conduct a public meeting at which agency staff members will take questions from attendees.

Overall, the NRC found that Vermont Yankee operated safely during 2011. At the conclusion of last year, the NRC's Reactor Oversight Process, said they found no performance indicators for Vermont Yankee other than “Green” (very low risk), and no inspection findings that were “Greater than Green” (all findings were of very low safety significance).

Therefore, for the rest of 2012, the NRC said that Vermont Yankee will receive the very detailed inspection regime used by the NRC for plants that are operating well. In 2011, the NRC devoted approximately 6,325 hours of inspection to the Vermont Yankee facility.

“Throughout 2011, our inspectors kept close watch on safety performance at all 104 commercial power reactors operating in the United States,” said NRC Region I Administrator Bill Dean. “Vermont Yankee was among those that met our clearly defined performance criteria last year.”

“In addition, our inspectors spent time in 2011 verifying that there were no immediate safety concerns at Vermont Yankee, as well as all other U.S. nuclear power plants, following the March events at the Fukushima Daiichi facility in Japan,” Dean added. “Those reviews indicated the plants remained safe for continued operation.”

The NRC utilizes a combination of color-coded inspection findings and performance indicators to measure plant performance. The colors start with “Green” and then increase to “White,” “Yellow” or “Red,” corresponding to the significance of the safety issues involved.

The agency issues reports on performance at specific plants twice a year. Inspection findings and performance indicators are also updated on the NRC's web site,, each quarter. Following the release of an annual assessment report every March, the NRC meets with the public in the vicinity of each plant to discuss the results.

The annual assessment for the Vermont Yankee plant is available on the NRC web site at:

Routine inspections are carried out by NRC Resident Inspectors assigned to the plant and by inspection specialists from the agency's Region I Office in King of Prussia, Pa. Among the areas of performance at Vermont Yankee to be inspected this year by NRC specialists are activities associated with permanent plant modifications, radiological safety, emergency preparedness, and the implementation of a voluntary industry initiative to address potential degradation of underground piping.

Current performance information for Vermont Yankee is available on the NRC web site at:

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