The Vermont Radiological Emergency Response Plan (RERP) consists of a large number of plans and procedures for state, local, and private Offsite Response Organizations (OROs) that would respond if an accident occurred at Vermont Yankee in Vernon. There are several thousand people who might respond to a major accident. The Vermont Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security (DEMHS) RERP Program coordinates and provides the planning, training, and equipment necessary to facilitate such a response. The RERP program is not responsible for the safe operation of the power plant, but prepares to respond to the effects of an accident by helping protect, shelter, or evacuate residents and visitors from threatened area.
The Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plan in Vernon ceased operations in December of 2014. Because radioactive material remains on site, Vermont continues to plan for the safety of the public outside the VY fence.
The potential danger from an accident at a nuclear power plant is exposure to radiation. Radioactive materials are composed of atoms that are unstable. An unstable atom gives off its excess energy until it becomes stable. The energy emitted is radiation. Each of us is exposed to radiation daily from natural sources, including the Sun and the Earth. Small traces of radiation are present in food and water. Radiation also is released from man-made sources such as X-ray machines, television sets and microwave ovens. Radiation has a cumulative effect. The longer a person is exposed to radiation, the greater the effect. A high exposure to radiation can cause serious illness or death.