(Host) The Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant has won federal permission to renew its operating license, which was scheduled to expire a year from now.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission rejected one last challenge to Yankee’s license extension request and voted unanimously to issue a new one.
NRC-Chairman Gregory Jaczko says the vote authorizes Yankee to operate through March of 2032.
(Jaczko) "We believe that Entergy through the exhaustive review that we’ve done for license renewal, meets all of our requirements and standards to be able to operate for another 20 years."
(Host) But the decision doesn’t automatically mean Yankee can continue operating. Yankee owner Entergy still hasn’t won state permission.
And Jaczko says Entergy needs to win all regulatory approvals.
(Jaczko) "There are a variety of permits and actions that are required for this facility to operate. The NRC’s action today is just one piece of that."
(Host) Vermont’s top elected officials oppose Yankee’s continued operation.
Governor Peter Shumlin says he’s pleased that the NRC recognizes the state’s authority over the Vernon plant.
(Shumlin) "They feel very strongly that Vermont has the right to make determinations about reliability, about the future of the plant and the NRC has no intention of standing in our way."
(Host) Entergy executives have suggested that they may challenge Vermont’s authority over Yankee. Vermont is the only state whose legislature has power over re-licensing a nuclear plant.
Shumlin says the state has no intention of backing down, even if Entergy sues.
(Shumlin) "As Vermonters, we’ve got to stand up and implement our legal authority to determine our own futures. And if Entergy’s going to break their word and go to the judge and say, ‘Hey, we didn’t really mean it when we signed the document saying we’d abide by Vermont laws,’ good luck to them."
(Host) Vermont’s congressional delegation also issued a statement calling on Entergy to respect the state’s authority over the plant.