The Vermont Statutes Online
The Vermont Statutes Online have been updated to include the actions of the 2023 session of the General Assembly.
NOTE: The Vermont Statutes Online is an unofficial copy of the Vermont Statutes Annotated that is provided as a convenience.
Chapter 005 : State Policy; Plans; Jurisdiction and Regulatory Authority of Commission and Department
Subchapter 001 : General Powers(Cite as: 30 V.S.A. § 254)
§ 254. Construction or extended operation of nuclear plant; public engagement process
(a) Timelines for approval.
(1) Any petition for approval of construction of a nuclear energy generating plant within the State, or any petition for approval of the operation of a nuclear energy generating plant beyond the date established in a certificate of public good issued under this title, must be submitted to the Public Utility Commission no later than four years before the date upon which the approval may take effect.
(2) Upon receipt of a petition for approval of construction or operation as provided under this section, the Public Utility Commission shall notify the General Assembly of that fact. The Department of Public Service with the review of the Joint Energy Committee, is authorized and directed to arrange for studies to be conducted as appropriate to support the General Assembly in the fact finding and public engagement process established in subsection (b) of this section.
(3) Upon completion of the studies, the Department of Public Service shall provide the studies to the Public Utility Commission and to the Senate Committees on Finance and on Natural Resources and Energy and the House Committees on Commerce and Economic Development and on Energy and Technology, together with other information requested by the General Assembly.
(b) Public engagement and fact-finding.
(1) The objectives of the studies to be arranged by the Department of Public Service with the review of the Joint Energy Committee and the objectives of the public engagement process as a whole shall be:
(A) to facilitate public discussion of long-term economic and environmental issues relating to the operation of any nuclear facility in the State;
(B) to identify and assess the potential need for the operation of the facility and its long-term economic and environmental benefits, risks, and costs; and
(C) to assess all practical alternatives to those set forth in the applicant’s petition that may be more cost-effective or that otherwise may better promote the general welfare.
(2) The studies arranged by the Department in consultation with the Joint Energy Committee and the public engagement process, in general, shall:
(A) identify, collect information on, and provide analysis of long-term accountability and financial responsibility issues, such as:
(i) funding plans for guardianship of nuclear waste after licensure but before removal of nuclear waste from the site;
(ii) closure obligations, dates of completion, and assurance of funds to secure fulfillment of those closure obligations;
(iii) federal obligations and assurance of funds to provide for any undischarged federal responsibilities;
(iv) funding for emergency management requirements and evacuation plans before and after plant closure; and
(v) any other financial responsibility related to any periods in which the facility is out of service.
(B) identify, collect information on, and provide analysis of long-term environmental, economic, and public health issues, including issues relating to dry cask storage of nuclear waste and decommissioning options.
(C) identify, collect information on, and provide analysis of current economic issues, in light of the fact that the operation of the nuclear energy generating plant beyond the date permitted in any previous certificate of public good is to be evaluated under present day cost-benefit assumptions and analyses and not as an extension of the cost-benefit assumptions and analyses forming the basis of the previous certificate of public good for the operation of the facility.
(3) In conducting its part of the public engagement process, the Department shall conduct no less than three public meetings. The meetings shall be at separate locations within the State, in proximity to the nuclear energy generating facilities involved as well as in other locations as determined by the Department, and each shall be noticed by at least two advertisements, each occurring between one and three weeks prior to the meetings, in newspapers having general circulation within the State and within the municipalities in which the meetings are to be held. Copies of the notices shall be provided to the Public Utility Commission, the General Assembly, the Agency of Natural Resources, the Department of Health, the Agency of Transportation, the Attorney General, and each retail electricity provider within the State. During this public engagement and fact-finding process, the Department shall have authority to retain expert witnesses, counsel, advisors, stenographic, and other research assistance it may require. The Department may compensate the same and allocate related costs, as well as the costs of procuring the studies, to the owner of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power station, in the same manner authorized for personnel in particular proceedings under sections 20 and 21 of this title. The Department shall prepare a report of the proceedings containing a discussion of the principal contentions made by members of the public, analyses by any expert witnesses or consultants retained by the Department, presentations by any State agency and by any utility, and shall provide the same to the members of the Senate Committees on Finance and on Natural Resources and Energy and the House Committees on Commerce and Economic Development and on Energy and Technology, and to the public.
(4) The public engagement and fact finding process set forth in this section may be held in conjunction with or separately from the statewide public engagement process on energy planning to be conducted by the Department pursuant to the Energy Security and Reliability Act.
(5) The General Assembly shall conduct proceedings it deems appropriate in order to complete the fact finding and public engagement process.
(c) Public Utility Commission action. In acting on a petition subject to this section, the Commission shall consider the objectives of the studies to be arranged by the Department, the objectives of the public engagement process as a whole, and the general and specific issues that the studies are required to address, as specified in subsection (b) of this section. (Added 2005, No. 160 (Adj. Sess.), § 4; amended 2017, No. 113 (Adj. Sess.), § 173c.)