Vermont Yankee

With today’s announcement about the closure of Vermont Yankee, residents in Windham County say the news is a mixed bag.

Some in the local community welcomed the news, while others are worried.

Besides generating electricity, Vermont Yankee also fuels the local economy. Laura Sibilia of the Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation said the closing is disheartening after years of a poor economy on top of the injuries from Tropical Storm Irene.

“It’s a little like, oooh! Enough with the body blows please!’”

Anyone doing a victory lap over the decision by Entergy to close Vermont Yankee by the end of 2014, might want to bring an extra water bottle and slow down to a jog because the actual dismantling of the plant might be another 60 years, or more, away - because the fight between Entergy and the state of Vermont is not even close to over.

VPR/Charlotte Albirght

Reporters, including many who’ve been covering Vermont Yankee for decades, showed up at Tuesday’s press conference at company headquarters in Brattleboro with slightly stunned expressions.

The media room at the offices of Vermont Yankee on the outskirts of Brattleboro has seen hundreds of press conferences, but none—in 41 years—quite like this one.

Police cruisers were parked outside. The media door was locked until shortly before three serious top officials from the Entergy Corporation sat down at a nondescript table.

AP File Photo

Entergy Corporation said today it plans to close and decommission its Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station in Vernon and that the plant will close at the end of 2014.

"Citing Economics, Entergy To Close Vermont Yankee By End of 2014"
 John Dillon's report recapping all the developments of the day: 

Entergy Corporation held a press conference following their announcement that the Vermont Yankee plant in Vernon, Vt. will close at the end of 2014.

The press conference was held August 27, 2013 at Entergy's office in Brattleboro, Vt.

AP Photo/Matthew Cavanaugh

Vermont Yankee will close by the end of next year, ending years of litigation over the plant’s future.

But Yankee says financial pressure not lawsuits or legislative mandates are forcing the shutdown.

Gov. Peter Shumlin said he got the call from Entergy Tuesday morning, shortly before the news release went out announcing the company’s decision to shutter Vermont’s only nuclear plant.

Governor Peter Shumlin held a press conference reacting to Entergy's decision to close the Vermont Yankee plant in Vernon, Vt. The press conference was held August 27, 2013 in Montpelier, Vt.

  

Vermont Yankee will close by the end of next year, ending a lengthy legal battle with the state over the plant’s future. The Entergy Corporation says economic pressures prompted the shutdown decision.

The state of Vermont has been trying to close the forty year old Vermont Yankee plant since 2010. The battle over Vermont Yankee’s future has gone from the state legislature to a U.S. appeals court. But in the end it was low natural gas prices and a changing energy market that doomed the plant.

Many questions remain about the proposed sale of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant. We're looking at all the latest developments on this "Vermont Edition."
Toby Talbot / Associated Press File

Tue 8/27/13 Noon & 7pm Entergy Corporation said today that it plans to close and decommission its Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station in Vernon. We'll talk with Governor Peter Shumlin about the closing. We'll also hear from Vernon Representative Mike Hebert, and Richard Watts, author of Public Meltdown: The Story of Vermont Yankee.

A radiation monitor at the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant showed faulty readings last week, a continuation of a problem that has plagued the plant several times this summer.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission told state officials that a monitor experienced “spurious spiking” on Aug. 19.  The NRC said the device showed false high levels, similar to incidents involving other monitors in June and July.

NRC spokesman Neil Sheehan said no radiation was released and that Yankee technicians have replaced some of the equipment.

Senator Bernie Sanders says he’s disappointed a federal appeals court ruled against the state’s attempt to close the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant.

Sanders was reacting to last week's decision by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals that said federal law trumped two state laws that would have forced Yankee to close. The court said Vermont lawmakers were improperly motivated by safety concerns, and that safety is the sole province of the federal government.

Toby Talbot / AP/file

Thurs. 8/15/13 at Noon & 7PM:  A federal appeals court has handed the state of Vermont a significant defeat in its efforts to close the state’s only nuclear power plant.  Entergy, the corporation that owns Vermont Yankee, sued the state in 2011 over two state laws that would have forced the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant to close when its original 40 year license expired in 2012.

Jason R. Henske / AP

A federal appeals court has handed the state of Vermont a significant defeat in its efforts to close the state’s only nuclear power plant.

The court said only the federal government can regulate nuclear safety, and that Vermont lawmakers tried to hide their focus on safety concerns.

The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals said federal law trumps two state laws that would have forced the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant to close when its original 40 year license expired last year.

Jason R. Henske / AP

A company-wide downsizing at Entergy will lead to 30 lay-offs at the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant.

Entergy officials announced the restructuring on Tuesday in the face of disappointing earnings. The company plans to cut about 800 of its 15,000 jobs in a move that’s supposed to save up to $250 million by 2016.

Yankee critics worry that the job cuts will compromise safety.

But Terry Young, Entergy’s vice president for nuclear communications, disputed that argument.

Toby Talbot / AP file

The Shumlin Administration has asked federal regulators to look into why radiation monitors failed recently at the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant.

Yankee reported the failures to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission earlier this week. A plant spokesman has said the monitors sent false readings and four have since been replaced.

The Department of Public Service, which represents consumers in utility issues, has asked the federal agency to dig deeper. Deputy Commissioner Darren Springer said the monitors are a key piece of equipment at the nuclear plant.

Many questions remain about the proposed sale of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant. We're looking at all the latest developments on this "Vermont Edition."
Toby Talbot / Associated Press File

Entergy, the corporation that owns the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant, plans to cut its labor force.

State officials say they have not been notified how many jobs could be lost in Vermont. But the lay-offs could play a role in Yankee’s request before utility regulators that it be allowed to

Entergy has launched a company-wide effort to cut costs and increase efficiencies. Company officials did not agree to an interview. But in a written statement, Entergy said: “We do expect workforce reductions to be one result of this initiative.”

AP/Jason R. Henske

The Public Service Board has cleared the way for critics of the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant to examine the plant’s impact on water quality.

The ruling was a reversal for Entergy Vermont Yankee, which tried to keep water pollution issues out of the ongoing hearings over the nuclear plant’s future.

The PSB this week rejected Entergy’s argument.

The board said it was allowed to independently examine water impacts, even though Yankee must also get a separate permit from the state Agency of Natural Resources.

Jason R. Henske / AP

Entergy Vermont Yankee and the state of Vermont were back in federal court on Tuesday in another case that tests the state’s authority over the nuclear power plant.

In this latest lawsuit, Yankee charges that state regulators have delayed approval of an emergency generator it says it needs to meet a federal safety mandate.

Entergy wants a court order saying that federal law preempts any Vermont law that would stop plant operators from installing the back up diesel generator by Sept. 1.

Vermont and three other states have asked the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to conduct a more expansive environmental review of storing highly radioactive waste at nuclear power plants.

The petition follows a federal court ruling last summer that found the NRC’s environmental review of onsite waste storage was inadequate.

The NRC staff has since launched a more limited review process. Attorney General Bill Sorrell says the petition asks the commission to overrule its staff.

Jason R. Henske / AP

  A federal court judge has set a hearing date for early June in Entergy Vermont Yankee’s latest legal challenge against the state of Vermont.

The owner of Vermont’s only nuclear plant sued the state last month, charging that state regulators have delayed approval of a back-up emergency diesel generator.

Yankee is under orders from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to install a back-up power source by September. The generator is supposed to be available if the plant is disabled and loses electricity from the transmission grid.

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