Wed, Aug 28, 2013 07:23 PM
(AP) - Vermont's only nuclear power plant will shut down by the
end of next year, ending a nasty legal battle over the future of
the 4-decade-old plant, Entergy Corp. announced Tuesday, Aug.
The Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station is expected to cease
power production after its current fuel cycle and will begin being
decommissioned in the fourth quarter of 2014, the company said. The
station will remain under the oversight of the Nuclear Regulatory
Commission throughout the decommissioning.
The New Orleans-based company has been battling with the state
since 2010, when the Vermont Senate voted against a measure that
would have authorized a state board to grant Vermont Yankee a
permit to operate for an additional 20 years. Lawmakers were
concerned about the plant's safety, age and misstatements by plant
management about components at the reactor.
''This was an agonizing decision and an extremely tough call for
us,'' Leo Denault, Entergy's chairman and chief executive officer,
said in a statement. ''Vermont Yankee has an immensely talented,
dedicated and loyal workforce, and a solid base of support among
many in the community. We recognize that closing the plant on this
schedule was not the outcome they had hoped for, but we have
reluctantly concluded that it is the appropriate action for us to
take under the circumstances.''
Denault said that when it closes, the plant will be placed in
''safe-store,'' in which federal regulations allow it to be
mothballed for up to 60 years while its radioactive components cool
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission said in a statement released by
spokesman Neil Sheehan that the federal agency would ''continue its
rigorous oversight of the plant through the rest of its operations
and into and through decommissioning. We have a decommissioning
process that the details steps that would have to be taken by
Entergy going forward.''
The decision to close Vermont Yankee was based on a number of
financial factors, including low wholesale energy prices, high
costs and what the company called a flawed market design that
artificially deflates energy prices.
Nuclear plants have been under significant price competition due
to the recent natural gas boom in the United States. Vermont
Yankee, among the oldest and smallest plants in the country and
located in a state with one of the nation's strongest anti-nuclear
movements, had long been considered among the most likely to be
Vermont Yankee opened in 1972 in Vernon. In the past, the plant
has provided as much as a third of the state's electrical supply.
Currently, nearly all of its power is shipped to electric companies
in neighboring states.
After being granted the federal license it also needed for
continued operation, Entergy sued the state and won a first round
in federal court in Brattleboro.
The state appealed but largely lost earlier this month. Attorney
General Bill Sorrell has said the ruling worked out well in one
respect: The court overruled a part of the lower-court decision
saying the state had violated the U.S. Constitution by trying to
demand cut-rate power from Vermont Yankee if it were allowed to
The company employs about 630 people, a staffing level that will
gradually be reduced as the plant moves through the stages of