Vt Yankee is key issue in Lt. Gov candidate’s campaign

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(Host) Democratic Lt. Governor candidate Tom Costello says the future of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant is a key issue in his campaign.

Costello says lawmakers shouldn’t support a license extension for the facility unless a clear and concrete plan to decommission the plant is included in the deal.

VPRs Bob Kinzel reports:


As part of the process to secure a 20 year extension of their current license, the Entergy Corporation – the owners of Vermont Yankee – are going to have to win the approval of the Vermont Legislature during the 2009 – 2010 session.

A special oversight commission is reviewing the reliability of the plant and the panel is expected to issue its report to lawmakers sometime this winter.

Speaking on VPRs Vermont Edition, Democratic Lt. Governor candidate Tom Costello said he doubts the commission will reach a positive conclusion, but if it does, Costello wants lawmakers to ensure that there’s enough money to decommission the plant in a timely manner:

(Costello) "If the Legislature determines by a majority vote that it is reliable the Legislature should go beyond that and determine if sufficient measures have been made to eventually close down the plant now that’s the issue that came back at the end of last session that’s the bill that was vetoed by the governor and in order to re-license it we must be assured that in the event that it is re-licensed that there will be a provision to effectively and safely shut it down."

Costello says he’s also concerned about the condition of Vermont’s transportation infrastructure.

He says the time has come for the state to issue a major bond package to finance road and bridge repairs before the cost of these projects gets much more expensive.

But he says he’s not sure how this bond package should be paid for:

(Costello) " That is a question that I don’t know the answer to and there’s got to be some extremely creative work done to find out how to pay those monies off or the interest on those monies but the choice of doing nothing or paying those off is one that I believe should result in our action."

Costello is hoping to unseat Republican incumbent Lt. Governor Brian Dubie in the November election.

For VPR News I’m Bob Kinzel in Montpelier.

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