- Associated Press - Thursday, February 6, 2020

BRATTLEBORO, Vt. (AP) - A panel of Vermont citizens has voted to give conceptual approval to changes in its enabling legislation to transfer a portion of the costs of the panel to the owner of the Vermont Yankee nuclear site.

The Vermont Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel voted unanimously Monday, with two abstaining representatives from NorthStar Vermont Yankee LLC, to set a contribution from Northstar at $35,000.

The money will be used to pay for experts, public education and meeting logistics, The Brattleboro Reformer reported.

NorthStar’s corporate counsel says the company has no objection to the changes, but the company’s board will have to give final approval.

June Tierney, commissioner of the Department of Public Service, said in a follow-up interview Wednesday that if approved the amendment would have NorthStar directly contribute to the expenses of the panel.

Clay Turnbull, a trustee and staff member of the New England Coalition on Nuclear Pollution, said that NorthStar estimates it will clear $20 million from the decommissioning trust fund once the Vermont Yankee nuclear site is demolished. Turnbull pointed out that other decommissioning citizen panels have budgets of several hundred thousand dollars.

“The company could be making more of an effort,” Turnbull said, at “educating the public.”

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