Biomass facility proposal excites Vermont officials

The possibility of a new biomass power plant on the Vermont Yankee nuclear facility site in the US is to be discussed in a public forum organised by selectmen in Vernon, where the plant is located.

Vermont Yankee is due to cease producing power by the end of this year. Entergy, the plant's owner, made the announcement last year citing financial difficulties and competition from the natural gas market.

The proposal by American Generation Partners, which is in its infancy, is for a $350 million (€258.3 million) biomass plant that would burn wood-based materials to generate power at the site. A £1 billion hybrid facility with a natural gas component is also included in the proposal.

Vermont's Public Service Board, which regulates all utilities in the state, will ultimately decide whether or not the plan will move forward.

According to a statement from Entergy, the company does not have any plans for the site beyond its decommissioning, which is likely to take years.

Town officials are preparing to look at the proposal in greater depth, with selectboard members set to ask the Windham Regional Commission to assemble its own expert panel to examine it more closely.

A US Nuclear Regulatory Commission official is quoted as saying that any redevelopment of the site would be limited to the parts not containing the nuclear reactor or related facilities, which will be off-limits for a number of years to come.

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