Vermont Yankee

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.

Vermont Yankee, pictured in 2013, in Vernon, Vt.
Toby Talbot / Associated Press 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.

A deal is being finalized that would resolve financial issues related to the cleanup of the closed Vermont Yankee  nuclear plant.
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.

A deal is being finalized that would resolve financial issues related to the cleanup of the closed Vermont Yankee  nuclear plant.
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.

A deal is being finalized that would resolve financial issues related to the cleanup of the closed Vermont Yankee  nuclear plant.
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.

A deal is being finalized that would resolve financial issues related to the cleanup of the closed Vermont Yankee  nuclear plant.
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.

A deal is being finalized that would resolve financial issues related to the cleanup of the closed Vermont Yankee  nuclear plant.
Jason R. Henske / AP

Federal regulators say they’re confident the public is not in danger from the tons of radioactive spent fuel stored in an above-ground pool at the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant.

The comments by Nuclear Regulatory Commission officials came after a nuclear critic told Vermont lawmakers that the fuel rods should be moved because of the potential threat.

The NRC releases an annual safety report card on Vermont Yankee. The agency says Yankee’s grades this year were good.

A deal is being finalized that would resolve financial issues related to the cleanup of the closed Vermont Yankee  nuclear plant.
Jason R. Henske / AP

A nuclear engineer is warning the Legislature that Vermont Yankee could close before its federal license expires and leave the state with a huge clean-up bill.

But that testimony was disputed by another nuclear expert who said the federal government would step in to help the state.

The House Natural Resources and Energy Committee is considering a bill to require Vermont Yankee to reserve $40 million to restore the Vernon site to its pre-industrial condition.

Entergy Vermont Yankee has sued the state again in federal court, claiming the state has delayed approval of a back-up emergency generator.

Entergy has brought a familiar claim to the latest court action. It says federal law trumps state law on issues of safety.

In 2012, Entergy won a similar federal preemption case in a suit that challenged two Vermont laws that required legislative approval to operate the plant after its state license expired.

VPR/John Dillon

A former U.S. Department of Energy official has warned lawmakers that spent nuclear fuel stored in a waste pool at Vermont Yankee poses an unacceptable risk.

The Statehouse testimony came as some lawmakers want to impose a new tax on radioactive waste at the Vernon reactor.

Robert Alvarez worked at the Department of Energy in the 1990s as a senior policy advisor. He’s now a scholar at the Institute of Policy Studies in Washington.

The Shumlin Administration wants Vermont Yankee to pay more to help emergency officials respond to a nuclear accident.

The request for increased funds draws on lessons learned from Tropical Storm Irene and the 2011 nuclear accident in Fukushima, Japan. 

The administration added $770,000 last week to the proposed budget now under review in the Senate Appropriations Committee. But the state requires that Yankee reimburse the funds. 

Hundreds Protest Vermont Yankee

Apr 1, 2013

Hundreds of people who rallied in protest of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant over the weekend, and they say it's time for the 41-year-old reactor to shut down.

More than 500 people marched through downtown Brattleboro Saturday carrying banners and chanting shut it down. Organizers claim the plant, owned by Entergy, has been operating illegally.

The march came five days after the Vermont Supreme Court denied a petition from the anti-nuclear New England Coalition to shut down the plant.

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