State loses appeal on right to close Vermont Yankee

Three justices from the U.S. Court of Appeals decided Wednesday that the Vermont Legislature is federally preempted from shutting down the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant.

After U.S. District Court Judge J. Garvan Murtha made the same preemption ruling in January 2012, Vermont Attorney General Bill Sorrell appealed to the higher court. In a 56-page decision, the appellate judges upheld the crux of Murtha’s ruling in favor of Entergy Corp., Vermont Yankee’s parent company.

The judges agreed that the Legislature was chiefly motivated by concerns of radiological safety when it created two laws aimed at regulating Vermont Yankee. Safety falls under the purview of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission — not state legislatures.

The judges did, however, reverse Murtha’s determination that the state had violated the Constitution’s dormant Commerce Clause when it attempted to work out an advantageous power pricing agreement for state entities. This ruling means that Vermonters do not have to foot the bill for Entergy’s legal expenses, which are estimated at more than $5 million.

“It’s a big win for Entergy and a little win for Vermont,” said Cheryl Hanna, a constitutional law professor at Vermont Law School, who has closely followed this case.

Sorrell said his office has 90 days to decide whether to seek a review of the ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court.

“This is clearly a good one for Vermont taxpayers. We saved many millions of dollars for having to pay attorneys fees because we prevailed on the constitutional issue,” Sorrell said. “We didn’t prevail on the validity of the two legislative enactments, so we’re sorry about that.”

Gov. Peter Shumlin said that while he is disappointed the appeals court ruled against the Legislature, he is hopeful that Vermont’s quasi-judicial Public Service Board will deny the 41-year-old plant a new 20-year operating permit, or certificate of public good, this year. Shumlin is a leading proponent of closing the plant, and he voted against its continued operation when he was president pro tempore of the Vermont Senate.

“The Vermont Public Service Board’s role in reviewing Entergy’s request for a state certificate of public good is preserved and will continue,” Shumlin said in a statement. “The decision does not change the simple fact that Entergy has over the years not been a good partner with Vermont, preferring to focus on multiple lawsuits against the State. I remain steadfast in my belief that Entergy’s continued operation of this facility is not in the best interest of Vermont. Our state’s energy future should be charted by Vermonters, and I am committed to increasing Vermont’s reliance on renewable, sustainable, and responsibly managed sources of energy.”

Vermont Yankee spokesman Jim Sinclair said the plant’s leadership is pleased with the decision.

How safety preempted the Legislature’s authority

At the core of the dispute between the state of Vermont and Louisiana-based Entergy are two bills enacted by the Vermont Legislature in 2005 and 2006: Acts 74 and 160.

Act 74, now part of Title 10, required Entergy to first obtain legislative approval before storing spent fuel at the plant’s site in Vernon after March 21, 2012, which is when the plant’s initial state operating permit expired. Yankee is operating under an extension of that permit, as the Public Service Board considers its application for a new permit.

Act 160, which became part of Title 30 of Vermont’s statutes, states that a nuclear plant cannot operate beyond the end of its permit without approval from the Vermont General Assembly.

Entergy sued Vermont in 2011 on the grounds that the state was attempting to preempt federal authority. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission extended Vermont Yankee’s federal operating license for another 20 years, but the Vermont Senate voted against re-permitting the plant. Murtha sided with Entergy, and the plant has continued to operate.

Eight months after hearing oral arguments on the appeal, federal Judges Christopher Droney, Susan Carney and Paul Gardaphe ruled that the Legislature does not have the authority to regulate based on safety. Although neither state law expressly gives the Legislature power over safety, the judges said this was the driving motivation behind the laws.

The Supreme Court decision that teed up this ruling stems from a 1983 lawsuit between the state of California and Pacific Gas and Electric Co. The U.S. Supreme Court held that California was not preempted by the Atomic Energy Act and could impose a suspension on the licensing of nuclear plants within its boundaries for economic reasons.

Vermont’s attorneys grabbed from language in that case to argue that the court should not dip into the legislative record and should consider the laws at face value. But the appellate justices drew from a range of other cases that used legislative history, and they said it was necessary in this case.

The judges looked back at Murtha’s findings, where he concluded that the legislative record included “references, almost too numerous to count, (which) reveal legislators’ radiological safety motivations and reflect their wish to empower the Legislature to address their constituents’ fear of radiological risk.”

The judges pulled from the record an example when Washington County Sen. Ann Cummings, then chair of Finance, was told that regulating based on safety was preempted.

“OK, let’s find another word for safety,” she said.

The judges decided that legislators worked around the language of the Pacific Gas case for the purpose of regulating the plant on grounds outside of their power.

“These are not merely isolated comments by a few legislators, but rather a part of a consistent effort by those responsible for drafting and passing Act 160 to obfuscate the record through the use of misleading statements that they thought would pass muster under Pacific Gas,” Judge Droney wrote.

In a separate opinion, Judge Carney wrote she was reluctant to rule against Vermont on the two laws.

“I concur, reluctantly, in the majority’s detailed and carefully reasoned opinion striking down Vermont Acts 74 and 160,” she wrote. “My reluctance stems not from any flaw in the majority’s analysis, but rather from my concern that Congress, in enacting the Atomic Energy Act … did not intend the result we reach.”

The Atomic Energy Act gives the NRC the power to regulate radiological safety. In the end, it was the case the state used in an attempt to excuse the legislative record that led to its poor result. The Pacific Gas decision expressly prohibited California from creating laws “grounded in safety concerns.”

“No reader of this record can fairly claim that the statutes at issue were not ‘grounded in safety concerns,’” Carney wrote. “I write separately to emphasize that it is principally the judicial phrase ‘grounded in safety concerns,” and not the Court’s holdings or the text of the Atomic Energy Act, that compels us to strike down Vermont’s statutes.”

This article was updated at 5:36 p.m.


Andrew Stein

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56 Comments on "State loses appeal on right to close Vermont Yankee"

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Bill Gardyne
3 years 1 month ago

Big surprise there……

3 years 1 month ago

So the state of Vermont is subordinate to the whims of the federal government? I’m still waiting for the outcry from all the right wing Vermonters who hate how the federal government interferes in our affairs…

Hmm, silence on this issue from the Republicans? How strange…

While I think the Democrats are often weak and lacking in vision, the reason the Republicans are becoming an extinct species is not because of your stances, but because your platform is inconsistent and arbitrary.

keith stern
3 years 1 month ago

So who on staff in the Vermont state government is an expert on nuclear energy? I’ll take the opinions of highly qualified engineers and scientist than an elected governor and AG who are less brilliant than they think they are.

Rob Simoneau
3 years 1 month ago

Dear Mr. Keith Stern, Please read the research literature, there are no experts, none, on aging nuclear power plants. The reports state this. They – do – not – know – what – will -happen, how, where or when aging plants will fail!!!!! As far as a nuclear plant that is being run beyond its designed life-cycle, again nobody knows, and operated beyond its design limits, you are on your own. There are no qualified engineers and scientists.

bob thomas
3 years 1 month ago

Too bad your politics and opinions are not the law. Give ti up Vermont, the world does not revolve around you and the socialist views you may have.

Hattie Nestel
3 years 1 month ago

Bummer on top of bummer!
Direct action is our only recourse.
Hattie Nestel

Diane Butler
3 years 1 month ago

Our country has become some strange new land that I didn’t know growing up. Nukes, fracking, GMO foods, environmental destruction – it’s all interrelated and leaving a future wasteland for our grandchildren. Industry has hijacked regulation and shifted expense and liability to the taxpayers – for generations to come. It’s a real shame, but it should be a crime…

Cheryl Twarog
3 years 1 month ago

This is great news for Vermont Yankee and their families. The courts have once again confirmed our belief that the state has acted illegally in its dealings with Vermont Yankee.

Rob Simoneau
3 years 1 month ago
Cheryl, Our legislators are elected to serve the people not corporations, well at least not until recently. The Vermont legislature acted to protect the best interests of Vermonters and neighboring states. Their act was deemed “illegal” by the federal courts based on the Atomic Energy Act which was drafted out of fear during the cold war and the misguided assumption of sticking an atomic bomb to a turbine was a good and economical way to generate electricity. Their decision to try to close Vermont Yankee by any standard is ethical. Again your silly a.. laws do not apply to VY… Read more »
Jason Farrell
3 years 1 month ago

“My reluctance stems not from any flaw in the majority’s analysis, but rather from my concern that Congress, in enacting the Atomic Energy Act … did not intend the result we reach.”

Your Honor, with all due respect, I have seen nothing to dissuade me from the belief that the result this court reached was, in fact, what Congress intended with the enactment of the Atomic Energy Act.

Townsend Peters
3 years 1 month ago
The decision voids the requirement that VY obtain legislative approval for continued operation. However, it leaves intact the requirement for VY to get approval from the Public Service Board and arguably strengthens the PSB’s authority by removing a limit that Judge Murtha had placed on the scope of the PSB proceeding. The PSB will now be free to fully evaluate the economic benefits and costs to Vermont of Vermont Yankee’s continuing operation. With no contract to sell power to Vermont utilities, employee layoffs, a cash-strapped owner, and a creaky plant that could shut down any time, Vermont Yankee’s benefits to… Read more »
Annette Smith
3 years 1 month ago

And a Public Service Board that does what the Governor wants…

Bob Stannard
3 years 1 month ago

I’m sorry, Annette, but that’s about the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard you say. The PSB is a quasi-judicial board. It’s current members were appointed by Gov. Jim Douglas. The Chair was reappointed by Gov. Shumlin. They act in accordance with the law. I don’t always agree with them and at times have taken issue with their rulings, but at no time, ever, have I thought that they were doing any administration’s bidding.

The problem that you have is that the PSB doesn’t do what you want.

3 years 1 month ago

Peter,
“The PSB will now be free to fully evaluate the economic benefits and costs to Vermont of Vermont Yankee’s continuing operation.”

That would include reducing CO2 emissions of about:

620 MW x 8760 x 0.92 x 1000 lb/MWh x 1 metric ton/2204.6 lb = 2,266,490 metric tons/yr.

Vermont emits about 8.1 million metric tons/

Townsend Peters
3 years 1 month ago

Post – Since VT has no contract with VY, the plant does not affect VT’s emissions.

Also, you are not including the emissions from mining and milling and transportation of uranium fuel for the plant, or the emissions from energy expended for disposal of the waste. On a life cycle basis, renewable energy beats nuclear for reducing GHG emissions.

Kathy Nelson
3 years 1 month ago
Mr. Peters, Some items for you to consider: VT utilities are not currently buying power from VY but when a price is announced I have no doubt there will be bidders. And GMP is buying nuclear power from Seabrook in NH. Do you think it’s okay for VT ratepayers to be paying another state for what is readily available here? VT has outlawed fracking in this state because of its environmental hazards. VT, however, has not made it unlawful to buy fracked gas from other states and transport it to VT. VT allows the selling of renewable energy credits to… Read more »
John Greenberg
3 years 1 month ago
Kathy Nelson writes: “VT utilities are not currently buying power from VY but when a price is announced I have no doubt there will be bidders.” The price was announced in over 3 years ago by Entergy’s Jay Thayer after 2 years of negotiations with Vermont utilities had failed. That, in a nutshell, is WHY Vermont is no longer buying power from VY. “And GMP is buying nuclear power from Seabrook in NH. Do you think it’s okay for VT ratepayers to be paying another state for what is readily available here?” GMP negotiated the contract with Seabrook after its… Read more »
Dennis Pearson
3 years 1 month ago
I don’t understand this rationale. The plant is providing Vermont with good paying jobs, taxes, and community investment. Maybe a little less now than in the boom times, but still! The power generated by the plant is sold at a bargain price to consumers with little carbon impact to the atmosphere. How could an unbiased politically unmotivated PSB come to the decision that the plant is not within the best interests of Vermont and its people? Is it really credible that Entergy, a US Fortune 500, would not be on the hook for full decommissioning of the site to federal… Read more »
Bob Stannard
3 years 1 month ago
The power is not sold at bargain prices. If it was our utilities would be buying it today. They’re not. VY is a merchant plant and an LLC. Entergy has gone to great lengths to distance itself, legally, from this plant. We have never closed a merchant plant before, but you can rest assured that whether we close it or it closes on its own, because it’s no longer economically viable that Entergy will be back in court. But this time it will be to fight against its obligation to decommission the plant. If there was ever a reason to… Read more »
Peter Liston
3 years 1 month ago

Regardless, it won’t be long before Vermnont Yankee closes. Their business is crumbling.

Frank Seawright
3 years 1 month ago

Crumbling?
What I fear the most.

Stan Hopson
3 years 1 month ago

Overreaching Government SMACK DOWN

Love it.

Jason Farrell
3 years 1 month ago
“Overreaching Government SMACK DOWN” … by an overreaching Government. The irony is that the SMACK DOWN you purport to “love” is the direct result of judicial branch decisions that find support for legislation developed by our federal government for the promotion and benefit of a single industry. The courts have held that this legislation (the Atomic Energy Act), enacted by our federal government nearly sixty years ago, in essence, permits our federal government to continue to pick the winners and losers in the energy sector, but state governments aren’t permitted to do so because the legislation codified that “safety” is… Read more »
Charles Smith
3 years 1 month ago

Does anyone see the twisted irony here?

In the case of VY, Shumlin has gambled (and lost) millions in a failed effort to enable critical decisions for Vermonters on a more local basis.

With industrial wind, Shumlin has aggressively shunned and undermined local decision making.

In trying to reconcile the dichotomy, a careful analysis of Shumlin’s own deposition testimony taken prior to the Murtha decision reveals that there is much more to the irony than we might yet realize.

Jason Farrell
3 years 1 month ago
I see the twisted irony. I have a vote, and along with that an opportunity to persuade members of my community to use our votes for, or against, our elected representatives as we see fit. In a state the size of Vermont, that’s a very powerful tool of accountability for those who seek our votes every two years. In this case, Governor Shumlin never attempted to deceive the electorate with regard to his stance against the continued operation of Entergy Louisiana’s nuclear power plant during either of his campaigns for governor. Therefore, Governor Shumlin’s continued pursuit of the shutdown of… Read more »
Arthur Coates
3 years 1 month ago

Those in favor of Vermont Yankee should go to the people of Japan or Chernobyl and tell them not to worry about nuclear power plant safety – They’re perfectly safe; cockroaches show no ill effects whatsoever. Oh, but wait; we’re human and tend to find exposure to radionuclides both carcinogenic and mutagenic. OK, not safe; deadly!

Stan Hopson
3 years 1 month ago

Remember that 8.0 earthquake in Brattleboro? No one else does either.

John Greenberg
3 years 1 month ago
1) “Remember that 8.0 earthquake in Brattleboro?” I’m perfectly happy to grant Mr. Hopson that the odds of a high magnitude earthquake are quite low. Unfortunately, however, granting that gets him precisely nowhere. The assumption behind the question is that earthquakes (and tsunamis) are the only two initiating events for a loss of power accident at a nuclear plant because that’s what occurred at Fukushima, but that’s simply wrong. There have been almost as many different initiating events for nuclear accidents, large and small, as there have been accidents. (I’m not sure there have been ANY 2 accidents with similar… Read more »
Walter Carpenter
3 years 1 month ago

Wonder how much entergy paid to get this decision.

Bill Gardyne
3 years 1 month ago

Wonder how much the State of Vermont wasted in passing the legislation and paying for the legal defense of it…

Walter Carpenter
3 years 1 month ago

“Wonder how much the State of Vermont wasted in passing the legislation and paying for the legal defense of it”

Probably not nearly as much as entergy paid off the right people or when they tried to spin off this rickety nuke plant off to a holding company and then attempted to hide it.

Bob Stannard
3 years 1 month ago

Are you referring to the legislation that Entergy supported and financially benefitted from? Like being allowed to uprate the plant by 20%? That certainly helped its bottom line, don’t you think? Like being able to store high-level, nuclear waste in dry casks here in Vermont forever (well, until those containers start to crack and leak; then we’ll fight over who’ll deal with that mess, because Entergy will be long gone).

Are those the laws you’re talking about? And you do know that it was Entergy who sued Vermont, right? Entergy began the litigation process.

Coleman Dunnar
3 years 1 month ago

“And you do know that it was Entergy who sued Vermont, right? Entergy began the litigation process.”
Bob: I don’t know about your world but here in the United States it is usually the injured party that begins the litigation. In reading the 2nd Circuit decision it seems the court had a real problem with the legislature doing away with judicial review in the approval process. Don’t know about you but I believe everyone one is entitled to due process, and has the right to seek redress when it is denied by legislative whimsy.

Bob Stannard
3 years 1 month ago
Coleman, your party was injured when the legislature voted not to allow the plant to continue to operate; just as the law that Entergy supported allowed for them to do. Entergy knew full well what it was doing back when the laws were being passed. They knew that should the day come when Vermont lost faith in them that they need only cry foul on pre-emption, which is exactly what they did. The only mistake made here was that the legislature back then actually believed that Entergy would act in good faith. The lessen learned is that Entergy, under no… Read more »
Bob Stannard
3 years 1 month ago
Mr. Dunbar, the laws recently overturned allowed for legislative approval over continued operations of the plant beyond its licensed (and designed) date of 40 years. Entergy agreed to this in exchange for the uprate and the ability to store high-level waste in dry casks for the end of time (or the container; whichever comes first). It’s called compromising. The only mistake made here was that the legislature of that time trusted Entergy to act in good faith. No one foresaw that Entergy would lie to our PSB and shattered their faith and trust, but that’s what happened. The legislature acted… Read more »
Wayne Andrews
3 years 1 month ago
What we need is a multy port home electrical switch that will enable a user to choose his/her electrical power. Each switch should have a k/hr rate assigned to it. Then……. the utopic “greenies” out there can pick their power and pay accordingly. I bet you the middle class/poor “greenie” will choose the lowest price after their paycheck is dwindled from previously choosing their desires. Then the rich “greenie” can choose their more expensive power (we can constantly alter an additional tax on that power because they are rich) and they will be happy and the State will be happy… Read more »
3 years 1 month ago

It would seem this ruling undermines a whole lot of other lawmaking efforts – think of all the laws passed that attack a woman’s right to manage her own body! How many times have lawmakers expressed their desire to outlaw abortion entirely and then cloaked those efforts with bills that claim to protect a woman’s health.

While this may suck vis-a-vis Vermont and Louisiana Entergy Yankee, this could have some laudable effects elsewhere.

Guy Page
3 years 1 month ago
In the interests of nuclear safety nationwide, I am heartily pleased that the federal government reasserted its safety prerogative. Just imagine a state-by-state “nuclear safety” program run by political hacks appointed by the likes of former Gov. Rod Blagoyevich in Illinois. There’s a reason they don’t let children play with construction equipment. Some things – like air traffic control, and national defense, and nuclear safety – the U.S. government does extremely well. And deep down I think that even Gov. Shumlin sleeps better at night knowing that the NRC, and not one of his agencies, is ultimately responsible for oversight… Read more »
Bob Stannard
3 years 1 month ago
Guy, no one has ever doubted the individual employee’s dedication to their jobs. What many of us doubt is the industry’s dedication to safety and the regulatory agency, the NRC’s, ability to regulate. You must have written your comments prior to watching NBC’s Nightly News last night. There was an excellent report highlighting the fact that all 104 nuclear plants in American are vulnerable to terrorists attack and nothing’s changed to since 9/11. Ask yourself why is it that when reviewing the relicensing of a plant that no one is allowed to bring up potential terrorist risks. One would think… Read more »
Josh Fitzhugh
3 years 1 month ago

I have not read the decision yet but it leaves the Shumlin Administration and Attorney Genleral in a difficult spot: seek appeal to the Supreme Court (or the full Second Circuit) to overturn the closure decision based on legislative comments but run the risk of getting socked with $5 million in fees if that portion of the decision also is reversed (Entergy would surely cross appeal), owr accept the decision and hope the PSB can do something. S

Josh Fitzhugh
3 years 1 month ago

I have not read the decision yet but it leaves the Shumlin Administration and Attorney Genleral in a difficult spot: seek appeal to the Supreme Court (or the full Second Circuit) to overturn the closure decision based on legislative comments but run the risk of getting socked with $5 million in fees if that portion of the decision also is reversed (Entergy would surely cross appeal), or accept the decision and hope the PSB can do something. Sounds like the latter from the comments I read here…

3 years 1 month ago
Bob Stannard says: “You don’t honestly believe that Entergy is going to sit back and pay for decommissioning of this plan. Bob has a good point. Unfortunately, Bob’s hero, Governor Peter Shumlin never did his homework, analyzed or anticipated this potential problem before he took off on his ill considered strategy to close Vermont Yankee on the basis of safety. A move rejected by the courts and resulting in a poisoned environment between Energy and the State of Vermont that will only lead to further headaches and costs for the state and its citizens. Too be redundant, here’s what I… Read more »
Bob Stannard
3 years 1 month ago
Mr. Yankowski, the plant will be decommissioned by the NRC in conjunction with Entergy. Vermont has very little, if any, control over that process. The NRC is perfectly fine with a process known as SafStor, which basically mothballs the plant for 60 years. Do you really believe that Entergy, as a company will be around in 60 years? Think Enron. The argument is that the money in the fund will increase to the degree that there will be plenty in 60 years to close the plant. Somehow they don’t seem to think that the cost of doing business is going… Read more »
3 years 1 month ago
Bob, exactly, the taxpayers will pay will. Any chance of working with Energy for a orderly shut down of the plant and establishment of a adequate decommissioning fund went out the window thanks to Gov. Shumlin’s “Close it down of safety reasons” strategy. As a lobbyist, you should know that starting a negotiation by punching your opponent in the mouth seldom works, which is exactly what Shumlin and his followers have done with VY. Now if you want to talk about boondoggles, lets move the show to Lowell Mountain, the missing link to the grid and coming tsunami of rate… Read more »
Bob Stannard
3 years 1 month ago
I don’t know you, Mr. Yankowski, but you seem like a reasonably intelligent person. You don’t honestly believe, after all we’ve been through with this corporation, that there was ever a chance to negotiate honorably with them about anything, do you? Stop and remember that Entergy and Vermont enjoyed a good relationship when Entergy bought the plant in ’02. When the laws recently overturned were negotiated, with Entergy, they were done so in good faith; at least on behalf of Vermont. It was Entergy who lied to the PSB about underground pipes. It was their plant that leaked; leaked again… Read more »
Coleman Dunnar
3 years 1 month ago
When the laws recently overturned were negotiated, with Entergy, they were done so in good faith; at least on behalf of Vermont. Really Bob? The operative words in your statement are “laws recently overturned”. When the legislature places you in a situation where the deal includes laws that can’t pass the straight face test you characterize that as “good faith”. Remember it wasn’t Entergy that asked for the legislation to politicize the approval process. That effort was a pet project of the president pro-tem of the senate, our current Governor. Time to get you washing machine fixed it’s still stuck… Read more »
John Greenberg
3 years 1 month ago

Entergy DID ask for Act 74, without which Title 10 Section 6501a would have forced it to shut down after the uprate.

The president pro-tem at the time that Act 160 passed was Peter Welch. Shumlin was out of office. Act 160 passed the House by a vote of 130 to zero. There were 58 Rs in the House at the time, including Patty O’Donnell of Vernon, a major VY supporter, who voted FOR the bill, which Governor Douglas signed.

Bob Stannard
3 years 1 month ago
I’m sorry to disappoint you Mr. Dunnar, but it was Entergy who came forward requesting legislation. They had to ask the State for permission to uprate their plant by 20% and to be able to remove high-level nuclear waste from the fuel pool and place it in dry cask storage units. They initiated the process. The legislature back then decided, in the spirit of negotiations, that it would be prudent to allow them their request, but in exchange wanted oversight for any continued operations beyond the expiration date of March 2012. In any negotiation process one party gets; one party… Read more »
3 years 1 month ago
Bob, I don’t know if anything productive could have been negotiated with Entergy/VY in regard to a mutually agreed upon closing of the plant and establishment of an adequate decommissioning fund. I do know that with so much at stake, it was worth a real good try. This try, or opportunity, to do the responsible thing was missed, all at an ever increasing cost to the taxpayers. As a result of Entergy/VY having been knocked back on their heels from company miscommunications regarding plant issues, maybe there was an opportunity or workable leverage for the state to use to achieve… Read more »
Rob Simoneau
3 years 1 month ago
From a previous post… The economic reality of nuclear power is that it is no longer feasible and was never feasible. Please read the attached report from the University of Vermont School of Law; PUBLIC RISK, PRIVATE PROFIT RATEPAYER COST, UTILITY IMPRUDENCE ADVANCED COST RECOVERY FOR REACTOR CONSTRUCTION CREATES ANOTHER NUCLEAR FIASCO, NOT A RENAISSANCE. http://www.vermontlaw.edu/Documents/PublicRiskPrivateProfit_Cooper.pdf The end of nuclear power … “A record number of reactors closed in North America this year – at San Onofre 2 & 3, CA; Crystal River, FL (pictured, left); Kewaunee, WI; and Gentilly-2 (Quebec). Plus there is a growing list of new reactors… Read more »
Douglas Hutchinson
3 years 1 month ago
In reply to Kathy Nelson on August 15th, John Greenberg indicates as he has previously on Digger that the reason Green Mountain Power (GMP) and perhaps other Vermont utilities bought nuclear power from Seabrook is that VY was not competitive on price. As you can see from the following article/press release at the time GMP revealed its deal with Seabrook, the perceived issue with VY was its uncertain future as a result of Vermont legislation not any inability to reach an agreement on price. http://www.deseretnews.com/article/700138359/Vt-utility-to-buy-power-from-NHs-Seabrook.html This near contemporaneous link to a Digger article from 3/30/2011 indicates VY was willing to… Read more »
Bob Stannard
3 years 1 month ago

The 4.9 cent rate was only for year one. There were many other complicated factors that were part of their offer that were not part of Seabrooks’ offer

John Greenberg
3 years 1 month ago
Douglas Hutchinson accuses me of ignoring evidence which “doesn’t fit with Mr Greenberg’s narrative so he prefers to spin it as a price disagreement.” But the “new” evidence he introduces isn’t new at all, and I’ve discussed it many times in public comments. The 4.9 cents offer Entergy made to VEC was a teaser. As Bob Stannard notes in his comment, the price was offered for 1 year and for 10 MW only, after which the price would have been market price. Entergy considered its offer great PR, so they announced that they had reached a deal with VEC even… Read more »
Douglas Hutchinson
3 years 1 month ago
Let’s make this simple and succinct. 1. Nowhere in my comment do I suggest my evidence is “new” 2. And Greenberg entirely fails to respond to my principal point. After the Vermont senate voted to deny permission for VY to put its application for license renewal before the PSB in February 2010, GMP was no longer interested in negotiating because they didn’t want to enter a long term contract with a merchant power supplier that might not be around after March 2012. And they said so in the first link in my previous post. Notably, they didn’t say they couldn’t… Read more »
John Greenberg
3 years 1 month ago
Somehow, Douglas Hutchinson and I seem to be talking past one another and frankly, I no longer have any idea what exactly he’s getting at. I’ll try not to repeat myself here, but to provide some chronology which might at least provide helpful historical context. 1) From 2007-2009, the utilities and Entergy attempted to negotiate a contract. Since everyone believed that the PPAs would be an integral part of the CPG case, an agreement was reached that they would be available no later than the end of September, 2009 (I’m going by memory here, because the precise date doesn’t matter… Read more »
John Greenberg
3 years 30 days ago

Douglas Hutchinson might want to note Mary Powell’s statement today in the Burlington Free Press: ““Candidly we were never able to get a contract we thought was a good value,” she said.”

http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/article/20130827/NEWS07/308270019/Power-grid-unaffected-by-Vermont-Yankee-closing

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