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Vermont Yankee Nuclear Plant to Close

VERNON, VT (WGGB) — After forty years and a lengthy court battle, Vermont Yankee is calling it quits. Entergy Nuclear announced today the reactor will be turned off next year. Many people who live on both sides of the border are relieved.

“This was purely on economic factors,” Entergy Nuclear spokesman Rob Williams said.

Williams says the cheap price of natural gas made it impossible for Vermont Yankee to stay open. It’s news that the Citizens Awareness Network fought seven years for.

“How Entergy was actually going to keep the reactors safe and how they were going to show that they had enough money not only to run the reactor but to do all the repairs that would be needed as these reactors age,” Executive Director Deb Katz said.

The reactors will be shut down for good next year. The question now becomes how long it will take to decommission the plant and safely remove the waste. Entergy prefers a gradual process over many years, a plan Katz and others disagree with.

“Its fuel pool is located seven stories in the air, outside of containment. It has more fuel in its fuel pool than all of the reactors that melted down at Fukushima, and there is no solution to this problem,” Katz said.

“It is Entergy’s obligation to ensure that funds are provided for safety commissioning within the regulations of the nuclear regulatory commission,” Williams said.

He added that Entergy meets their obligations but that the final plan has not been announced. Meantime, Senator Ed Markey supports the closure, saying it’s time everyone looks to cleaner, safer energy.

“I think it’s all part of this very rapid transition that New England is making to renewable efficiency and natural gas,” he said. “Nuclear power is something that we are going to be looking at in our rear view mirror.”

Vermont Yankee pledges to treat their employees and their community commitments fairly as they downsize.

Entergy posted an FAQ section on its website.

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