Today, the Vermont State Senate voted to retire the Vermont Yankee Nuclear plant, owned by the Louisiana based corporation Entergy. Despite Entergy’s efforts to renew the license for the 40-year-old reactor, the Vermont Senate voted to shut down the nuclear plant as scheduled in 2012. The final vote was 26-4.
This vote may be followed by a vote in the House of Representatives. If either body votes to deny an extension of a certificate of good (the equivalent of a state license), - as the Senate has -the plant must shut down. Vermont is unique in that it is the only state in which the legislature has the ability to vote to shut a plant and this historic vote will mark the first time a plant has been closed by a state legislature.
"Vermonters sent a message to President Obama and the nuclear industry today," said Greenpeace's Nuclear Policy Analyst Jim Riccio. "The nuclear renaissance is dead on arrival. We can retire old, decrepit and leaking reactors like Vermont Yankee and help usher in the energy revolution that America needs."
A host of problems have plagued the Vermont nuclear plant, from missing fuel rods to the collapse of cooling towers to the uncontrolled and unmonitored releases of radiation into the groundwater. On Monday, the NRC acknowledged yet another radioactive leak from the reactor in 2005. The NRC is currently investigating allegations by Vermont Yankee employees about radioactive leaks from underground piping.
"When Americans have the choice about the kind of energy they want in their communities, they don't want nuclear. Vermont has shut down the myth of the so-called nuclear renaissance. Greenpeace is calling on Vermonter legislators to vote against relicensing in the house as well so that the message to America registers loud and clear."
Despite President Obama's announcement last week of 8.3 billion dollars in loan guarantees to build the first new nuclear plant in thirty years, the illusion of a nuclear renaissance is going to suffer a setback with the vote in Vermont.
"From farmers and schoolteachers to businesspeople and students, the people of Vermont are overwhelmingly in support of a energy future that relies on clean and safe renewables like wind and solar. The communities living in the shadow of Vermont Yankee have had to worry for too long about this aging reactor," said Vermont Organizer Jarred Cobb.
Other contacts: Molly Dorozenski, Media Officer, 917-864-3724, Jim Riccio, Nuclear Policy Analyst, 202-319-2487, Jarred Cobb, Field Organizer, 603 770 8679,