VERNON, Vt. (AP) — A big step toward demolishing the now-closed Vermont Yankee power plant in Vernon has been taken.

The Thursday demolition of the east cooling tower comes as NorthStar Nuclear Decommissioning continues its work to tear down the Vermont Yankee plant.

NorthStar bought Vermont Yankee in January. It plans to decommission the plant by 2026, decades ahead of the schedule endorsed by the plant's former owner.

The Brattleboro Reformer reports the second, or west cooling tower, is expected to come down Friday.

NorthStar Chief Executive Officer Scott State says the company is six months ahead of schedule for the exterior work at the Vernon site.

He says it's too soon to say whether the interior work, including cutting up the nuclear reactor, is ahead of schedule.

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