There are a handful of signs out marking a so-called “Vermont Yankee Evacuation Zone.” VY does not have an evacuation zone, but does have a 10-mile Emergency Planning Zone, an NRC requirement. The 650 men and women who work at Vermont Yankee have earned a green rating for safe operations, which is the highest rating by the NRC. This rating reflects that VY is operating within normal range, and met the NRC’s clearly defined performance criteria for safe operations.
Some of these sign-setters must be confused, as their signs are set far outside of the EPZ limits, or within a 10-mile radius of VY. They missed out in being included in the EPZ, but luckily they and their communities are part of the Vermont Yankee Economic Benefit Zone.
Of the 600-plus VY employees, nearly half are Vermont residents. Most of the rest are residents of New Hampshire or Massachusetts, some coming from as far away as the Holyoke or Portsmouth areas. In addition to all employees being Vermont taxpayers, each of them also pays taxes to their hometowns, making their hometowns all a part of the Vermont Yankee EBZ.
Vermont alone receives more than $6 million in annual and local taxes from Vermont Yankee. Tax dollars are used throughout the state for various public projects, including the Clean Energy Fund, which is a benefit to all Vermonters.
Every 18 months, more than 1,000 contract employees come to the area to work at Vermont Yankee for a refueling outage. These supplemental employees come from all over the country, bringing business to local hotels, restaurants, and stores.
Each year, Vermont Yankee and its employees donate approximately $300,000 to the community through sponsorships, grants, and employee pledges to United Way organizations. These dollars benefit community projects, school programs, health care, emergency services, clubs, and scholarships. All of these organizations and those who benefit from them are a part of the Vermont Yankee EBZ.
The EBZ reaches far from Vermont Yankee, much further than anyone would place a sign marking an imaginary evacuation zone.
I am thankful to live within Vermont Yankee’s EBZ.