But the Vermont legislature saw it as an opportunity to close the plant, an action that Vermont Yankee's owner, Entergy, has filed suit over. The NRC has issued a license allowing the facility to operate an additional 20 years and Entergy would like to do that. We'll see if Entergy's suit prevails - I'm not a lawyer and have no special intelligence on it. You can read more about the suit here.
So let's leave that all on the side of the road and focus on the possibility of Vermont Yankee closing. Care to guess how much of Vermont's electricity is generated by nuclear energy?
72 percent. Let that sink in - clearly, the Vermont legislature hasn't - and it's largely from Vermont Yankee, the only nuclear facility in the state. There are no coal plants and only a little natural gas (0.1%) - a little renewable energy (5 percent). Hydro (also renewable, of course) is number 2 at 22 percent.
Unwilling to gamble on Vermont Yankee, Green Mountain Power Corp. is looking instead to a nuclear plant in neighboring New Hampshire for power.The company has reached a 23-year power purchase deal to get electricity from Seabrook nuclear plant in Seabrook, N.H., officials said Tuesday.That's called irony. Now, in fairness, Green Mountain is looking elsewhere, too, so this isn't a one-to-one swap:
You'll notice that Quebec and Massachusetts benefit, but not Vermont. If the facility closes, Vermont loses about 300 jobs there - and more around the facility - and the state taxes from the facility - with no replacement. That's bad, however you look at it.
The agreement, combined with a recently approved power pact with Hydro Quebec and plans to build a wind project in Lowell, helps Green Mountain Power make good on its promise of providing reliable, low-cost and low-carbon power, she said.
But we were intrigued by comments gathered by reporter John Curran:
"Appealing" - we'll take it. But not everyone is happy.
Representatives of two of the company's biggest customers -- IBM in Essex Junction and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, in Waterbury -- welcome the power deal, saying the cost and low-carbon footprint of nuclear power were appealing.
"We'd prefer to see our state's utilities moving away from all forms of dirty and unreliable power, including nuclear energy," said James Moore, clean energy program director for Vermont Public Interest Research Group.
Well, you've always got the other foot.