Yet another American nuclear power plant is going to shut down permanently, giving New Englanders reason to be as excited as the nucleus of a decaying uranium isotope.
Entergy Corp. announced Tuesday that it will power down the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant next year.
This is just the latest in a string of bad news for the industry. Nuclear plants are also being shut down in California, Florida, and Wisconsin, and plans to build new ones are being canceled. From Reuters:
Leo Denault, Entergy’s chief executive since February, said in an interview with Reuters that the plant was no longer economically viable due to a combination of rising capital costs after the September 11 attacks, Japan’s 2011 Fukushima disaster and low wholesale electricity prices stemming from cheap natural gas burned by competing plants.
“We did everything we could to keep the plant open,” he said, praising the 600 employees for operating the plant even when “they did not feel welcome in the state.”
Opponents of the plant were quick to voice their approval.
“This is not a big surprise to me and I don’t think it’s a big surprise to many who follow the economics of aging nuclear power plants,” [Peter] Shumlin, Vermont’s Democratic Governor who led the state’s fight to have the plant shut down when its initial operating permit expired in 2012, told reporters.
But the news came at a surprising time: Just two weeks ago, Entergy won a hard-fought U.S. Court of Appeals case. The court ruled that Vermont lawmakers, who’ve been worried by the plant’s poor safety history, lacked the authority to shutter it.