Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant to close by late 2014

Entergy said August 27 that it will close and decommission the 600 MW Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant in Vermont by late 2014.

The nuclear plant, located 5 miles south of Brattleboro, Vermont, had its operating license issued in 1972. Anti-nuclear activists have protested the power plant at many times during its operational history.

According to Entergy, the decision to retire and close the plant was based on several factors, including the low price of natural gas, a wholesale market that created artificially low energy and capacity prices in the region, as well as the high cost structure for the plant.

Entergy said in a release it plans to recognize an after-tax impairment charge of about $181 million in the third quarter of 2013, in addition to an expected $55 to $60 million associated with future severance and employee retention costs through the end of next year. The company needs the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) minimum of $566 million for decommissioning, and the decommissioning trust currently has a balance of $582 million as of July 31.

Vermont Yankee has been in the middle of many court and regulatory battles. An appeals court ruled in mid-August that the state could not shut the plant down because it was under the jurisdiction of the NRC. The plant was also the site of numerous tritium leaks throughout 2010 and part of 2011. Entergy also tried to sell the plant in 2011, but no buyer stepped up, according to Power Engineering.

The plant began operating in 1972. Entergy acquired the plant from Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Corp. in 2002, and the plant received its 20-year license renewal in March 2011, extending the license until 2032.

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