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Vermont Yankee owner: ‘Expect workforce reductions’

Vermont Yankee cooling tower collapse, 2007As reported by Andrew Stein at the Vermont Digger, Entergy Nuclear is forcing its Vermont Yankee workforce of 650 to essentially re-apply for their own jobs, with indications to up to 10% could be let go as a cost-saving measure.

VY was just named by nuclear economist Mark Cooper as one of the dozen atomic reactors in the U.S. most at risk of "early retirement." Earlier this year, the Swiss financial analysis firm UBS even warned that VY's permanent shutdown could yet occur in 2013. On Feb. 8th, Entergy's brand new CEO, Leo Denault, admitted in a Reuters interview that major needed safety repairs were contributing to the company's financial challenges across its fleet of 12 atomic reactors. 

Raymond Shadis, New England Coalition's Technical Advisor, had this comment regarding the news of VY's workforce reduction: "Asking fewer people to do more work will inevitably impact both reliability and safety. Vermont Yankee is already hurting because revenue from electricity sales barely meet O&M. It is clear that Entergy is desperately seeking a way to make its older, smaller nuclear plants pay but devoting fewer resources to inspection and maintenance is exactly what brought down and ultimately closed VY's sister plants -- Connecticut Yankee and Maine Yankee. Workforce reduction, by-the-way, is not something Entergy brought to the attention of the Vermont Public Service Board in recent hearings on a company proposal to extend operation of Vermont Yankee another twenty years. Really the right, graceful thing to do, would be to shutdown now before they break something and ruin both a lot of people's lives and the tri-state area environment."