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Frequently Asked Questions

Didn't Vermont Yankee shut down?

Yes. Vermont Yankee ceased power generation in December of 2014.  However, the state still conducts emergency planning for the site because of the spent fuel on-site.

Can a nuclear power plant "blow up"?

No. A nuclear power plant does not contain any explosive material and therefore cannot explode.  An operating reactor can have a build-up of steam that can effectively explode and breach the reactor containment, but since it has been shut down for over a year even that is no longer possible at Vermont Yankee.

Can there be a Fukushima or Chernobyl in Vermont?

A problem with the spent fuel pool leading to a fire and explosion, similar to what happened in Fukushima, is the worst case scenario that could happen at Vermont Yankee. Such an event would take weeks to develop and that is what the plant and local, state, and federal response organizations plan and rehearse to prevent. Chernobyl was an open, graphite-moderated reactor that had no containment around the core and the graphite that was used to slow the reactor was susceptible to burning at high temperatures; that was and is not possible at Vermont Yankee.

What kind of reactor is Vermont Yankee?

Vermont Yankee was a Boiling Water Reactor. That means that the water heated by the reactor is the same water that turns the turbine to create energy. A Pressurized Water Reactor uses two separate water loops to do that same process.

Where can I learn more about the plans for my town?

To learn more about the plans for your town please contact your Emergency Management Director (EMD). The EMD for your town can be reached by contacting your town office.

How can I help my town if there is an emergency?

Please contact your Emergency Management Director. There are many positions that can be filled during trainings, drills, and real emergencies. Your EMD may have certain functions that they need performed.

If there is an evacuation ordered, where do I go?

If there is a radiological release, the most important thing to do is simply to get out of the area. Emergency Alert System (EAS) radio stations such as WTSA (96.7 FM) or WKVT (92.7 FM) will broadcast information and directions to Red Cross shelters.

What is "Shelter in Place"?

If there is an ongoing danger, such as a terrorist attack or a hurricane, officials may direct you to shelter in place whether there is a radiological hazard or not.  That means closing all doors and windows, shutting off outside air coming into your home, and going to an inside room and waiting for an all clear. EAS stations and VT-Alert messages will tell you when it is safe to resume normal activities or if it becomes necessary to evacuate.

What is Potassium Iodide (KI)?

Potassium Iodide (KI) is a stable salt that blocks the uptake of radioactive iodine into the thyroid gland. With the Vermont Yankee nuclear reactor shut down for over a year, there is no longer a threat of a release of radioactive iodine and the Vermont Department of Health no longer gives out KI to area residents.