Controversial Nuke Plant Will Close, Entergy Says
VERNON, Vt. (CN) - Entergy will close its Vermont Yankee nuclear plant, the only one in Vermont, which has been the center of years of unsuccessful litigation from opponents of nuclear power.
Vermont Yankee is in Vernon, immediately south of Brattleboro, on the Massachusetts border and the Connecticut River.
A series of accidents in recent years, including the collapse of a cooling tower and leaks of radioactive water, and Entergy's dodgy, shifting explanations of them, increased the unpopularity of the plant in Vermont, where "Vermont Yankee is closing" signs and bumper stickers have been common sights for years.
The plant employs 630 people, at wages above the state median.
The Vermont Legislature for years has fought in court to try to regulate the plant, but lost repeatedly, including most recently at the 2nd Circuit, which said only the federal government can regulate the nuclear industry.
Entergy fought for, and appeared on track to get, a recertification to run the plant for another 20 years, though under its original deal it was supposed to have closed by now.
Entergy tried to spin off Vermont Yankee but failed to find a buyer. Opponents claimed it was trying to do so to get out from under the massive costs of decommissioning it once it does close.
Entergy said in a statement today that it was closing the plant for economic reasons.
It said the plant will operate until the end of 2014.
The region expects to replace the lost power with hydroelectric power from Canada.