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Is It Still Too Soon to Talk About Nuclear Power?

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May 05, 2011 – Comments (5)

From Reuters; Government FilingsUtility rejects contract to buy Vermont Yankee powerWed, Apr 27 10:34 AM EDT

* State could shut reactor in 2012

* Entergy wants federal court to keep plant open

NEW YORK, April 27 (Reuters) - A utility in Vermont rejected a contract to buy power from Entergy Corp's (ETR.N) embattled Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant on Tuesday.

The board of directors at the Vermont Electric Cooperative, the third biggest power distribution company in the state, voted nine to one to reject a 20-year offer from Entergy to buy power from the 39-year old nuclear plant at below market prices.

The plant will shut by March 21, 2012 unless the state allows it to continue to operate longer or the company wins a court battle to prevent the state from shutting the plant.

When Entergy bought the reactor in 2002 from a group of New England utilities, the company agreed to seek permission from state regulators if it sought to operate the plant beyond March 21, 2012.

Vermont is the only state in the nation with the authority to block a license renewal.

But in a complaint filed last week, Entergy argued the Vermont General Assembly in 2006 passed a law that breached the 2002 agreement, excusing the requirement that the company seek state approval to operate the plant for another 20 years. [ID:nN18205202]

In March, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved a 20-year extension of the reactor's original 40-year operating license following a long renewal process begun in 2006.

CO-OP REJECTS CONTRACT

Entergy said in March it negotiated a 20-year agreement to sell power to the Vermont Electric Co-op but the co-op's board rejected that agreement on Tuesday.

"Unfortunately there are no easy energy choices," said Dave Hallquist, CEO of the Vermont Electric Co-op. "However, (the co-op's) power supply is secure and stable through 2016. We will continue to seek competitively priced, long-term contracts that meet our members' needs beyond 2016."

Although the co-op was the third largest power distributor in Vermont, it only served about 34,000 people in 74 towns in the northern part of the state.

The agreement with Entergy would have saved the co-op about $375,000 in the first year of the deal, according to local papers.

Larry Smith, Entergy's spokesman at Vermont Yankee said, "We are disappointed that the (Vermont Electric Co-op) Board did not approve the agreement. Vermont Yankee is an important resource for the New England region, producing clean, reliable electricity. This agreement would have provided (the co-op's) customers with access to that resource at attractive rates."

Smith could not comment on the complaint the company filed last week. ----------------------------------------------------------- PLANT BACKGROUND/TIMELINE STATE: Vermont COUNTY: Windham TOWN: Vernon OPERATOR: Entergy Nuclear OWNER(S): Entergy Corp CAPACITY: 620 MW UNIT(S): General Electric Boiling Water Reactor FUEL: Nuclear DISPATCH: Baseload COST: $183 million TIMELINE: 1972 - Reactor enters commercial service 2002 - Entergy buys reactor for $180 million from

Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power and enters a

10-year power purchase agreement to sell power

back to the former owners for about 4.5 cents

per kilowatt hour Jan 2006 - Entergy files with NRC to renew the original

40-year operating license for an additional 20

years Jan 2010 - Entergy identifies tritium leak Feb 2010 - Vermont Senate votes 26-4 against authorizing

the Vermont Public Service Board to issue a

certificate of public good that would allow for

the license renewal. Vermont is the only state

in the nation with the authority to block a

license renewal. The state gained that authority

when Entergy bought the plant Mar 2010 - Entergy stops tritium leak Nov 2010 - Entergy mulls sale of Vermont Yankee Mar 2011 - NRC approves of 20 year extension of operating

license Mar 2011 - Entergy drops plan to sell plant, agrees to sell

power to Vermont Electric Co-op for 20 years Apr 2011 - Entergy files complaint in federal district

court in Vermont to block the state from forcing

the plant to cease operation in March 2012 when

the original operating license was to expire Apr 2011 - Vermont Electric Co-op Board rejects Entergy

power sale offer Jul 7, 2011 - Entergy to decide whether to buy new uranium

fuel for the upcoming autumn 2011 refueling

outage Oct 2011 - Entergy to shut reactor for refueling Mar 21, 2012 - Reactor to shut unless state approves of

extension or Entergy wins court case to keep

reactor operating Mar 2032 - Renewed license expires (Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by Alden Bentley)

5 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On May 05, 2011 at 8:01 PM, devoish (99.07) wrote:

And in Michigan

http://www.beyondnuclear.org/storage/May%205%202011%20media%20release%20for%20NRC%20annual%20meeting.pdf 

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#2) On May 05, 2011 at 8:03 PM, chk999 (99.98) wrote:

Vermont's going to be unhappy when they flick the light switch and nothing happens.

We go through this cycle every couple of decades. Nobody wants to have a power plant near them, but everybody wants power. Power usage grows until we don't really have enough capacity. Then we have a bunch of blackouts and there is a hue and cry and we build some plants. Then it happens all over again.

Wind and solar don't work on cold still nights. The base load has to be able to handle the peak need for either heating or cooling. The utilities have to plan for worst case scenarios, not rosy ones. 

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#3) On May 05, 2011 at 10:33 PM, valunvesthere (21.57) wrote:

It all depends on where energy investors money is invested in and strategies implemented by energy power brokers to sell energy. Other alternatives to conventional energy besides Nuclear are Coal, Fossil Fuels, and Hydro. Geo Thermal (regional limits). Solar and Wind is in its infancy in mass energy production, the infrastructure is not there because of the cost, large amounts of area use, and weather consistancy.

At present Nuclear is in the hot chair. So it's a safe bet that investors and energy power brokers are probably in Coal, Fossil Fuels, and Hydro.

All in all energy has strengths and flaws and at present Nuclear is under the microscope from all interest groups and especially from its Coal, Fossil Fuels, and Hydro competitors. Eventually given more time special interest people will move on and investors and energy power brokers will move in on snapping up battered and depressed Nuclear energy stock prices and promote the benefits of Nuclear energy (driving up prices).

Valunvesthere

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#4) On May 06, 2011 at 7:02 AM, devoish (99.07) wrote:

chl999,

I think Vermonters are less afraid of cold still nights than you are, but the politics of fear are pretty powerful. Vt believes they have their electricty needs, including increased usage, covered until 2016.

I am also pretty sure that peak demand is in the heat of the day, not the still of the night.

Vt has also been spending money on energy efficiency subsidies - some call that recklessly interfering with free markets - that are presently costing them 3.8 cents for each kwh saved. Kwhr's that would have cost them 13.6 cents to produce and deliver.

I would not mind saving that money for myself. In fact I did.

As a result of energy efficiency investments made in 2009, Efficiency Vermont has saved approximately 85 million kWh. In 2009, energy efficiency provided 1.8 percent of Vermont's electric supply requirements, and for the third time, energy efficiency savings completely offset electric energy load growth...

Valuinvestor,

Well, its all hopeless then. ;-

But I think people can understand that spending 3.8 cents to save a kwh, is better for them than spending 13.6 to buy a kwh, even if it is not good for the special energy power brokers interests that benefit from funneling that 13.6 cents to a nuclear power source.

Even if they enjoy the thrills of living near a nuclear power plant or breathing sooty air.

Best wishes,

Steven

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#5) On May 06, 2011 at 11:11 AM, Melaschasm (65.13) wrote:

A great thing about supporting states rights is allowing VT to buy electricity from the sources they deam best. 

I wish more people would leave these decisions to the individual states, rather than demanding the federal government mandate what energy policy each state can impliment.

 

 

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