Wildlife refuge buys Connecticut Yankee land

10 January 2013

A US government conservation agency has purchased land next to the decommissioned Connecticut Yankee nuclear power plant to expand its nature reserve there.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has bought a 15-hectare portion of land from the plant. The land will become part of the Salmon River Division of the Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge, which will then cover some 168 hectares.

Connecticut Yankee site - aerial
The site of the former Connecticut Yankee plant on the banks of the Salmon River (Image: Connecticut Yankee)

The Salmon River is recognized by the FWS as a high-priority area for fisheries, and is one of three federal Atlantic salmon restoration areas in the state of Connecticut. Extensive beds of aquatic plants in the Salmon River Division provide significant overwintering, spawning and feeding habitat for a large number of fish species, including commercial finfish and shellfish. At the mouth of the Salmon River, Salmon Cove's freshwater tidal wetlands, flats and adjacent woodland provide migratory birds and shorebirds with sources of food, water and shelter.

Project leader of the Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge Andrew French said, "The investment of this property in the conservation estate as a part of the Conte Refuge is a tremendous accomplishment given its location along the Salmon River and outstanding value to wildlife and people."

Connecticut Yankee president and CEO Wayne Norton commented, "The success of this land transaction is due to the cooperative efforts of the FWS and grassroots organizations in the Haddam community and to the fact that this separately acquired parcel of land adjacent to the original plant property was never associated with site-related operations, nor needed for used fuel storage operations."

The Connecticut Yankee nuclear power plant at Haddam Neck entered commercial operation in 1968 and generated over 110 billion kWh of electricity over 28 years of operation. Significant decommissioning activities began at Connecticut Yankee in May 1998 and were completed in July 2007.

Only a small part of the former plant site - hosting the dry cask storage facility where some 1000 used nuclear fuel assemblies from the reactor's operating life plus some contaminated metals are kept - remains under Nuclear Regulatory Commission licence. Connecticut Yankee retains responsibility for the security and protection of the storage facility's two-hectare site until a national used nuclear fuel disposal facility is available, when it would be removed.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News