Is It Still Too Soon to Talk About Nuclear Power?
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)