Entergy, the owner of the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant, announced this morning that the reactor will shut down and go off line at the end of 2014.
Entergy Wholesale Commodities President Bill Mohl delivered the news to the 630 workers at Vermont Yankee this morning. Mohl says the company recently conducted an analysis where it became “painfully clear” the plant could not remain profitable against natural gas prices, the effects of regulations and costs, and what they make for their product.
Vermont Yankee will shut down at the end of its fuel cycle, which will occur in the fourth quarter of 2014. Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin says Entergy has made the right decision to close the plant. A long time opponent of the reactor, he told VPR’s Vermont Edition that his focus now shifts to working with Entergy and neighboring governors to help displaced employees.
The effect of today’s decision on several pending lawsuits are uncertain. One, argued today before a federal appeals court, regards the validity of a state tax imposed on the plant. State officials are also deciding whether to appeal another case that struck down statutes giving the Legislature a say in the plant’s operation. In a third legal review, the state Public Service Board is deciding whether to issue a 20-year state license. Vermont Attorney General Bill Sorrell.
New England Coalition Technical Advisor Ray Shadis says any observer the electricity market in New England and the dominance of natural gas probably anticipated Entergy’s decision. But he cautions that officials and advocates must remain vigilant.
This is the fifth announcement to close a nuclear reactor within a year. Nuclear plants in Wisconsin, Florida and California have also been scheduled for closure.