Utilities, Opponents Debate Sale of Vermont Yankee

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(Host) The merits of the Vermont Yankee sale were the subject of debate last night on VPR’s Switchboard. The Vermont utilities that own the nuclear plant want to sell it to the Entergy Corporation. The utilities contend the sale will benefit Vermont ratepayers and free the utilities from the risks and costs of operating the plant. Opponents say the sale commits the utilities to continue to buy power from Vermont Yankee. They argue the power will be more expensive for ratepayers.

On last night’s program, Mark Sinclair of the Conservation Law Foundation said the sale also means the state would have no control over the way Entergy operates the plant:

(Sinclair) “They have no ties in Vermont, they’re not going to have any ties in Vermont other than owning this plant, which is a money making machine for them. Nobody is going to be able to pick up the phone at state government and call the CEO at Entergy say, ‘Hey, we have a problem at Vermont Yankee.’ They’re not gonna answer the phone.”

(Host) Bruce Wigget of Vermont Yankee pointed out that the state currently has only an advisory role in plant operations. Wiggett says state officials can take any complaints about Entergy to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which oversees the nation’s nuclear plants.

(Wiggett) “Once that happens, Entergy operates nine other plants. If they’re having problems with the NRC, with one of their plants, the NRC is going to look at all of their plants. It’s a real pressure on Entergy.”

(Host) The Public Service Board is currently reviewing the Entergy offer to buy Vermont Yankee. The Board is expected to reach a decision on the sale in late spring.

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