Entergy will sell Vermont nuke plant

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Published: November 5,2010

Tags: Entergy, nuclear plant, Vermont Yankee

MONTPELIER, Vermont — Entergy Corp. made it official Thursday: It’s putting the troubled Vermont Yankee nuclear plant on the market.

But Vermont’s governor-elect said a new owner wouldn’t change his view that the plant should shut down when its current license expires in 2012.

Entergy said in a statement that it is exploring the sale of the 605-megawatt nuclear plant in Vernon.

“While no decision has been made to sell the plant, the company expects interest from multiple parties,” the company said.

The 38-year-old reactor’s value may be limited by at least two factors. While it appears on track to win a 20-year license extension from the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission, getting the needed state permit for continued operation is much less certain.

Vermont is the only state in the country where the Legislature must vote in favor of continued operation before regulators can grant the state “certificate of public good” – or permit. The Vermont Senate voted in February against a bill to allow the Public Service Board to do that. Because the Senate killed the bill, it never saw House action or went to the governor.

The second factor hurting Vermont Yankee is recent leaks of radioactive substances into soil and groundwater surrounding the plant. In January it was announced that radioactive tritium had been found in a test well, and other radioactive substances were found later. It was later revealed that Entergy personnel had misled state officials by saying Vermont Yankee didn’t have the type of underground piping that carried radioactive substances.

A possible sale had been speculated about for months and was first confirmed by The Associated Press on Wednesday.

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