PSB: Make sure Entergy does not hold Vermont taxpayers with a multi-million (billion?) dollar bill.
The Nuclear Retreat
We coined the term, "Nuclear Retreat" here at Beyond Nuclear to counter the nuclear industry's preposterous "nuclear renaissance" propaganda campaign. You've probably seen "Nuclear Retreat" picked up elsewhere and no wonder - the alleged nuclear revival so far looks more like a lot of running away. On this page we will keep tabs on every latest nuclear retreat as more and more proposed new nuclear programs are canceled.
Safe and Green Campaign’s statement to the press (Entergy HQ press conference, 1pm 08/27/13):
It is indeed good news that Entergy is closing Vermont Yankee. If the reactor and the company are in such a dire financial position, we have many concerns. Safe and Green supports immediate shut down and prompt decommissioning of the reactor.
Does yesterday’s report of yet another radioactive spike mean there is something gravely wrong at the reactor that Entergy cannot fix? Will the reactor be operated safely until the end of 2014, or will Entergy cut corners to save money? SafeStor is a frightening proposition for a corporation that is on such shaky ground financially. Will Entergy be around in 60 years to oversee final decommissioning? Can Entergy meet their financial obligations for decommissioning? Or will Vermont’s taxpayers be burdened with safeguarding tons of radioactive waste on the shore of the Connecticut River?
Yankee has been operating for 17 months without a state Certificate of Public Good, and the Federal court just ruled that our legislators acted deceitfully and do not have the freedom of speech within the Statehouse walls. What happens to these important legal issues? Does Entergy hope these questions will simply go away in light of their announcement?
The Safe and Green Campaign will continue to be vigilant in speaking out and demanding answers to the challenges that lie ahead for those of us who live in the shadow of Vermont Yankee.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Eben Burnham-Snyder, Senator Ed Markey, 202-224-2742
Markey Statement on Closing of Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station
WASHINGTON (August 27, 2013) -- Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) issued the following statement in response to the announcement that the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station will permanently close in 2014:
“Closing Vermont Yankee reflects the growing realization in New England and around the nation that it is time to move towards a safer, more affordable clean energy future of wind, solar, geothermal, along with well-regulated, domestic natural gas. While nuclear energy was once advertised as being too cheap to meter, it is increasingly clear that it is actually too expensive to matter.
“While the nuclear industry is blaming today’s closure on competitive electricity markets, they should be looking into the mirror with the rest of the energy industry. Had the Senate passed the Waxman-Markey bill in 2009 that would have put a price on carbon, nuclear power today would be better able to compete.”
The announcement today marks the planned closure of the fifth nuclear reactor in the past year:
--In October 2012, Dominion Resources announced the closure of the Kewaunee Power Station in Wisconsin, citing economic factors related to the price of affordable natural gas.
--In February 2013, Duke Energy announced that it would permanently close Florida’s Crystal River plant rather than pay for costly repairs.
--In June 2013, Southern California Edison announced that it would close the San Onofre Nuclear Generation Station’s two reactors rather than pay for costly repairs that resulted from the licensee’s apparent effort to avoid regulatory scrutiny.
--Additionally, Exelon announced in 2010 that the Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station is expected to close permanently in 2019, ten years earlier than previously planned, in part to avoid the installation of costly cooling towers.
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For Immediate Release – August 27, 2013
Deb Katz, Vermont Citizens Action Network – 413-339-5781
Chris Williams, Vermont Citizens Action Network - 802-767-9131
Amy Shollenberger – 802-793-1114
Statement of Deb Katz, VCAN on Entergy’s Decision to Close Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant
“We applaud Entergy’s decision to shut down an aging nuclear power plant, rather than to push it past its limits. We appreciate their commitment for planning for a safe and orderly shutdown. We will remain vigilant to ensure that the decommissioning is done responsibly and in the safest way possible. Today, we celebrate this milestone in our work to end nuclear power generation in the Northeast and to foster a renewable energy future. This is a win for the people. Their relentless work has made the closure of Vermont Yankee possible. We thank all who have worked to make this day happen, especially the state of Vermont for its perseverance on this issue.”
VCAN is a 501c4 organization dedicated to building a renewable energy future for Vermont and the Northeast. More information can be found at http://www.vtcitizen.org/index.shtml.
The rising cost of increasingly dangerous and non-competitive nuclear powered electricity has forced yet another aging atomic reactor to permanently close in the United States. The New Orleans-based Entergy Corporation announced that it will permanently close Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in the fourth quarter of 2014. The Entergy announcement continues this year’s “domino effect” that began with the permanent closure of four operating US atomic reactors in Florida, Wisconsin and California in 2013 and the abandonment of construction projects for six more units across the country. Still more announcements for reactor closures are expected in 2013 and 2014 as the nuclear industry continues to economically implode.
Vermont Yankee is a 600 megawatt electric Fukushima-style reactor, a General Electric Mark I boiling water reactor located in southeastern Vermont. It was first licensed to operate in 1972 and received a twenty year license extension from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission the day before the Japanese nuclear catastrophe began on March 11, 2011 in spite of a broad citizen-based mobilization and the State of Vermont to deny the license extension.
Proponents of nuclear power will no doubt lament the closure of Vermont Yankee to mean an increase in fossil fuel replacements in Vermont and New England. In fact, the small 600 megawatt merchant power reactor does not sell its electricity in Vermont and can be simply retired on the combination of new renewable energy resources, improving energy efficiency standards and an existing cushion of excess electricity capacity in the region that exceeds well beyond the 12.5% to 15% reserve margin maintained through the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC). The reactor can be closed without jeopardizing the region’s electricity reliability or necessarily raising carbon emissions. The broader energy future for the region and the United States can now focus on the expansion of safer and more sustainable renewable energy resources from the wind and the sun and stronger energy efficiency and conservation programs.
The public health and safety concern now focuses the next year as Entergy winds down reactor safety investments in advance of shutdown. When the reactor is finally shuttered one Entergy spokesperson has described the company plan to “mothball” the reactor for up to 60 years on the shores of the Connecticut River before fully dismantling and decommissioning the radioactive hulk. While Entergy claims to have a war chest of more than $500 million for the radioactive cleanup, waiting 60 years should raise concern over who becomes liable for what will likely run into hundreds of millions more in extensive cost overruns as the buried radioactive skeletons begin to come out of the closet.
Beyond Nuclear was quoted in an Environmental News Service article, as well as a Common Dreams article. Common Dreams also reprinted Beyond Nuclear's press release.
WCAX TV-3 provided an extensive report, including an interview with a spokesman for the Safe and Green Campaign, dedicated to Vermont Yankee's closure and clean-up. The WCAX coverage also links to various reactions from all sides of the debate, including leaders of the effort to shutdown Vermont Yankee, such as VT Gov. Peter Shumlin, VT's entire U.S. congressional delegation, VT State Democratic and Progressive Party leaders, as well as spokespersons for the Conservation Law Foundation, VPIRG, Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility, and Renewable Energy Vermont.
Arnie Gundersen has discussed Vermont Yankee's closure announcement on Fairewinds Energy Education podcast. Arnie also discusses lessons learned from Fukushima Daiichi about the risks of loss of offsite power and loss of ultimate heat sink at Vermont Yankee, an identically designed General Electric Mark I boiling water reactor.
Vermont Digger has reported on this story, and has provided a link to press statements from all sides of the debate, including groups long calling for VY's shutdown, such as Vermont Yankee Decommissioning Alliance, Vermont Natural Resources Council, and the New England Coalition.
Marketwatch reprinted Entergy's own press release.