New England Coalition receives seed money to green Vermont Yankee site

BRATTLEBORO, Vt. – The New England Coalition on Nuclear Pollution Inc. has recently received $5,000 from the Lintilhac Foundation. These funds support the coalition’s new Vermont Yankee decommissioning effort titled, “The Greening of Vermont Yankee.”

“Decommissioning can be adequate or it can be thorough,” said Ned Childs, NEC board president. “The NEC wants to support a thorough outcome that respects the land and benefits future generations.”

Without intervention, there may be little left of the historically, culturally, and environmentally sensitive property. Without caring community stewardship, the land under the former nuclear plant will be turned into an industrial brownfield.

With the community’s help, brown can become green. NEC’s two-pronged “greening” project will supply technical expertise and community outreach.

First, the technical expertise. NorthStar has agreed to collaborate with NEC and other interested stakeholders in forming a decommissioning advisory working group. Together, the stakeholders will work with NorthStar throughout the decommissioning to ensure the site is cleaned up to the best achievable level. NEC’s aim for a state-of-the-art clean up of the VY site is that the site will meet or exceed the stringent radiological clean up standards achieved at the other original “Yankee” plants in Connecticut, Maine, and Massachusetts. NorthStar has already agreed to try to meet those standards; reducing residual radiation levels to less than half of federal limits.

Next, the NEC will initiate a campaign to elevate NorthStar’s, state agencies’, and the public’s perceptions of the plant site. Right now, the VY site is generally viewed as inert disposable land; something to be commercially exploited.

After outreach and education, NEC’s hope is that public stakeholders will come to see the land as a cultural and environmental inheritance for this and future generations. NEC hopes to weld the former Vermont Yankee site into a growing consciousness of stewardship for the entire Connecticut River Valley.

In coming months, NEC will invite like-minded organizations, including Connecticut River-oriented associations, environmental groups, historical preservation interests, and civic groups to participate in formulating the project through community dialogue. According to Childs, it is hoped that the resulting first product of the new project will be a prospectus titled, “The Greening of Vermont Yankee.”

“We really appreciate the confidence Lintilhac has placed in us,” said Childs. “This grant allows us to start this project.”

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