The nuclear industry – and Entergy in particular – sure seems to have problems keeping promises. Back in the 70s, nuclear power was “too cheap to meter.” With Vermont Yankee, Entergy officials swore under oath there were no underground pipes. Then those pipes were found to be leaking. Last month, Entery told a federal court judge it needed an immediate court order to stay open to make the $65 million investment in new fuel. The Court didn’t buy Entergy’s bullying and last week declined to order a preliminary injunction. Today, Entergy announced it will purchase the fuel anyway.
Entergy’s fuel purchase decision is not surprising. The court’s order noted that refueling will cost between $60 and $65 million, and Vermont Yankee will generate $90 million in revenues by operating until March 2012. Vermont Yankee’s revenues will cover its fuel costs.
Still, this is a dubious and risky business decision for Entergy. Their Nuclear Regulatory Commission license is on appeal. CLF is representing the New England Coalition in this appeal. Also, Vermont Yankee does not have the needed permission to operate from Vermont past 2012. This is an old reactor with a long and troubled history. Retiring the facility as planned on March 2012 is the responsible thing to do.
Entergy’s credibility is buried along with its leaky pipes. Any economic risk is Entergy’s own making. Vermont continues to have a strong legal case. States have the right to decide their energy future and land use and shouldn’t be forced to accept polluting, unreliable and untrustworthy nuclear plants and operators. Let’s leave a clean energy legacy to our children and grandchildren.