The soon-to-close Vermont Yankee nuclear plant wants to stop paying for emergency services in the region, but a watchdog group opposes that, saying nuclear waste on-site will create continuing risks.
Plant officials have told the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that the radioactive spent fuel will have cooled enough by mid-2016 that they can then stop paying to maintain the 10-mile emergency evacuation zone around the plant.
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The plant is closing at the end of this year.
The zone extends out from the reactor in Vernon in Vermont's southeast corner to six Vermont towns and parts of neighboring New Hampshire and Massachusetts.
There's concern that a breach of the plant's spent fuel pool could create a fire and large release of radioactivity.