Lt. Governor candidates differ on Vermont Yankee future

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(Host) The plant supplies the state with roughly one third of its power needs and the license is set to expire in 2012.

Owners of the facility are hoping to win approval of a 20 year license extension from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Speaking last night on VPR’s Lt. Governors’ debate, Democratic candidate Matt Dunne expressed concern about any license extension:

(Dunne) “I would prefer that it not be and that’s why I think we need to get started now with 2012 as our target to replace one third of the energy we consume through efficiency investments combined with investments in renewable energy here in the state of Vermont. The plant is old and I’m concerned about some of the reports on its safety.”

(Host) Republican Brian Dubie wants to consider a license extension because he says power from the plant helps the state reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.

(Dubie) “There’s 700 high-paying jobs. It’s four cents a kilowatt base line power. It has an incredibly excellent safety record. But I’m really not prepared to answer that question because that question today is before the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. What I would say is that safety of the plant would be paramount before I would answer that question and I look forward to being part of that analysis.”

(Host) Progressive candidate Marvin Malek says he’d strongly oppose any license extension for Vermont Yankee. He thinks the state should aggressively pursue policies to help make Vermont more energy independent.

(Malek) “The first steps in addressing that are for every municipality. Every state in this case should be doing all they can to lower our dependence on fossil fuels and nuclear power. And this is something that is most certainly not happened during the years of the Douglas Administration.”

(Host) Liberty Union candidate Mary Alice Herbert also strongly opposes extending Vermont Yankee’s license. Herbert says preventing the plant from operating after 2012 is the primary reason why she’s running for Lt. Governor this year.

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