Entergy Nuclear: the Nuclear Renaissance in Reverse
by Jim Riccio
November 8, 2010
Entergy Nuclear has had a bad year in Vermont and this past week was no exception.
Within hours of the election of Peter Shumlin as the next Governor of Vermont, Entergy put the aging Vermont Yankee nuclear plant up for sale. According to Entergy, dumping the aged reactor from their books would benefit their stockholders. But Entergy’s announcement has everyone wondering, who in their right mind would buy this rust bucket of a reactor?
Just days after the announced sale, Vermont Yankee was forced into an emergency shutdown due to radioactive leaks, this time inside the nuclear plant.
Coincidentally, another of Entergy’s troubled old reactors, Indian Point, 24 miles from Manhattan, was also forced to shutdown just minutes earlier because of an explosion and fire.
Ironically, both reactors are in the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) license renewal process and claim they can operate for 20 more years. While the twin shutdowns have led to Time Magazine asking if Nuclear power is Really Safe?
Vermonters already know there is nothing “safe” about splitting atoms, especially at Vermont Yankee. They have already rejected Vermont Yankee’s Certificate of Public Good and elected the State Senator who championed that vote as their next governor. The most recent radioactive leak should help ward off any potential buyers but don’t expect the NRC’s renewal process to take notice; it wont miss a beat. The NRC has set the bar so low that every reactor that has requested a license renewal has received one. All a reactor owner has to do is to prove it has a program to manage aging and leaking pipes be damned.
Regardless of the NRC’s rubber stamped renewals, Vermont Yankee has come to epitomize the so-called “Nuclear Renaissance” in reverse. Rather than a nuclear rebirth, Entergy’s nuclear reactors in New York and Vermont are making the case for retiring reactors on schedule. Entergy’s attempt sell the reactor may benefit its corporate bottom line but the people of Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts would be better served by retiring the leaking old reactor.
Entergy should behave like a responsible corporate citizen and begin preparations to permanently shut down Vermont Yankee as scheduled.