Douglas Says Yankee Could Be In Vermont’s Energy Future

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(Host) Governor Jim Douglas says Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant could play a role in the state’s energy future – if some questions about the facility are answered, and if plant officials repair a breach of trust with the state of Vermont.

VPR’s Bob Kinzel reports.

(Kinzel) The Senate vote against Vermont Yankee this week is not necessarily the final vote concerning the future of the facility.

That’s because plant officials hope that the 2011 Legislature will revisit this issue and will vote to allow the Vermont Public Service Board to rule on a 20 year license extension.

Speaking on VPR’s Vermont Edition, Governor Jim Douglas said a future vote could have a different outcome if Vermont Yankee successfully deals with the leaking of radioactive water at the facility and if plant officials develop a new and more honest relationship with the state:

(Douglas) "Let’s be honest, probably a month or so ago and maybe not everyone will agree with this but I think the momentum was in Entergy’s future…but then came tritium and then came misrepresentations before the Board and sentiment shifted quite dramatically. Well it might shift back and I think we need to get answers to all these questions before a final decision is made."

(Kinzel) Earlier this week, Douglas and a group of governors met with President Obama in Washington to discuss energy issues – the President wants to build several new reactors in the United States:

(Douglas) "He sees it as an economic imperative – the need to have a source of electricity that gets us away from fossil fuels and is competitive from a price standpoint. So I thought it was ironic during the same week that he’s advancing a very strong message in favor of nuclear power we have the vote in the senate."

(Kinzel) It’s been suggested that the state could replace its Vermont Yankee power with additional energy contracts with Hydro Quebec.  Right now Vermont gets about a third of its power from Hydro Quebec and Douglas doesn’t think it’s a good idea to substantially increase this percentage:

(Douglas) "I think we have some real potential for at least as much or maybe a little more from them. I don’t know that we want to get two thirds of our power or 70% of our power from only one source, so that’s why I’m concerned about an over reliance there."

(Kinzel) Douglas says Entergy officials are working to regain his trust but he says it may take awhile to repair this relationship.

For VPR News, I’m Bob Kinzel in Montpelier.


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