- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 3, 2020

VERNON, Vt. (AP) - Federal regulators have approved a relaxed timetable for the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant to ship low-level radioactive waste.

NorthStar Nuclear Decommissioning Co. requested an exemption from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s requirement that waste be shipped to a Texas disposal facility in 20 days, the Brattleboro Reformer reported Monday.

NorthStar has encountered weekslong delays shipping waste to the Andrews, Texas, facility. The company is shipping the majority of the waste from the demolition and cleanup of Vermont Yankee by rail.

NorthStar CEO Scott State wrote an email Monday asking that federal regulators understand the 20-day “notification standard” is not workable in every situation.

“NorthStar’s experience at Vermont Yankee, which is consistent with the experience at other decommissioning plants, shows that rail and combined rail and truck shipments take longer to reach their destination than shipments by truck alone. That is why we sought and received a reasonable extension on reporting acknowledgement of shipments within 45 days instead of 20,” State wrote.

Neil Sheehan, a spokesman for the NRC, wrote an email that a 45-day window will be granted before the company is required to investigate, trace and report the status of the low-level radioactive waste shipment.

Sheehan said that 45 days is a “reasonable upper limit” if a breakdown in tracking were to occur. NorthStar, he added, has “never lost track of the shipments.”

Vermont Yankee’s decommissioning is expected to be finished by 2030, according to NRC.

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