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November 04, 2010

Entergy Makes it Official: Vermont Yankee is For Sale

VermontYankeeNPP Entergy made it official this morning: They are exploring the sale of Vermont Yankee.

In an announcement posted to Entergy's website this morning, the company said, "The sale process is being conducted on a confidential basis and no additional details will be released at this time. While no decision has been made to sell the plant, the company expects interest from multiple parties," the company noted.

Entergy bought the plant back in 2002 for $145 $180 million. A possible sale of Vermont Yankee has been rumored for weeks and became a campaign issue when Democrat Peter Shumlin, now Governor-elect Shumlin, was circumspect when asked if he could support VY's continued operation if it was sold to a new owner.

Shumlin's opposition to VY's operation beyond 2012 was a key factor to his primary win. He led the effort in April in the Vermont Senate to ensure the plant was shut down as scheduled in two years.

On "The Mark Johnson Show" this morning on WDEV-FM, Shumlin told host Mark Johnson, "I'm not going to speculate on what might happen or what might not happen. We'll deal with that as those events develop. The only thing I'll say is the plant is old and tired, and it's my judgment that it should be retired in 2012."

Entergy has struggled to gain confidence of Vermonters, some regulators and state politicians after lying to regulators and the Vermont Public Service Board about the existence of underground pipes. Two of those non-existent pipes ended up leaking thousands of gallons of tritium into the groundwater and also into one drinking water aquifer at the VY site. The latest leak was only revealed after members of the media asked questions.

Shumlin said cleanup of the VY site, given the tritium contamination and other radioactive isotopes in the soil, would have to be part of any sale deal. Ditto shoring up the plant's decommissioning fund.

"This is not something someone would buy easily, because they'll be responsible for cleaning up the last buyer's mess," Shumlin said on WDEV. "I don't know how many people would enter into that mess."

Entergy's top official said the company is trying to work out a long-term power deal with Vermont utilities, which could help sweeten the deal.

“Our motivation for exploring the sale of the plant is simple – we want to do whatever is in the best interest of our stakeholders, including the approximately 650 men and women who work at the plant,” said J. Wayne Leonard, Entergy’s chairman and chief executive officer. “At the same time, we have been successfully resolving any issues to secure Nuclear Regulatory Commission approval for a license extension at the plant, and we have been in negotiations with the local electric companies to finalize a long-term power purchase agreement to ensure the continued output of clean and reliable energy for Vermont utilities.

“We will aggressively negotiate with potential buyers for extension of employment to all current employees as a condition of any sale.”

One of the parties is likely to be Exelon Nuclear, the nation's largest owner of nuclear power plants and the largest fleet of boiling water reactors — the type of reactor design at Vermont Yankee.

"We'll deal with that as those events develop."

Golly, I thought he was going to shut it down no matter what!

Wait, Jimmy, what is your opinion of Peter Shumlin again? I'm confused.

I deal with facts, BB. If you want to talk about the contradictions between Thursday's, Friday's and today's statements, I'm all ears.

I get it, J. You don't contradict yourself at all. You're like a broken record in that sense.

Thanks for maintaining your signal-to-noise ratio of zero, BB.

I would be interested to hear opinions about what kinds of assurances may or may not have been offered privately, and to whom.

It's the LEAST I could do. :)

But seriously, if you only deal in facts, why are you interested in hearing opinions? So you can rebut with the facts again? And around and around we go. My point is, you are tired. My comment may have nothing to do with Entergy and may be noise in this forum (for which I apologize to other 7Days readers), but at this point, it's no worse than your repetitive signal. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. It's like the battery is dying in your smoke detector.

0 for (insert huge number here)

Jimmy's comments are generally the most insightful posts on this blog. Most of the other commentary here is predictable left-wing echo chamber stuff.

There's no beneficial difference between a left wing echo chamber and a right wing one. In both cases, the mind is made up, shut down, and closed for business. Views contrary to the group-think orthodoxy are unacceptable, treated with hostility, and their proponents are shouted down and excluded.

That's why politics in America is broken. Probably beyond repair. Either you agree with me 100%, or your my sworn enemy and I won't even speak to you, much less compromise with you.

That's the attitude primarily of the right wing outside Vermont, and primarily of the left wing inside Vermont. But left wing intolerance is just as bad as right wing intolerance.

Webber, I agree with Jimmy probably 60% of the time. And many times I'm thankful for his posts. I'm just tired of his Shumlin rants. He doesn't think Shumlin can follow through with single payer healthcare and the closing of Vermont Yankee. I get that. We all get that. Hell, I even agree. I am not a Shumlin fan. But it's time to move on to another issue until 2012 when it will be time for his predictable "I told you so" post. I tolerate Jimmy. I'm just not tolerating his tired Shumlin routine.

I actually agree with you about the time to move on thing. To say that I disliked and distrusted Shumlin would be an understatement. But Dubie ran a shockingly piss-poor campaign (which is not to say I buy the Dem kool-aid nonsense that he was "negative" and Shumlin wasn't -- that's total bull____) and his performance in the debates was abysmal, and I'm coming to the conclusion that if that is how you run a campaign, maybe you shouldn't be governor.

I still distrust Shumlin. But he did run a very, very effective (if somewhat slimy) campaign. And as a Vermonter, it's my duty, and in my interest, to hope his governorship succeeds. So I do. I just pray to God that of Shumlin's several identities, the one who actually shows up for work on Jan. 6 is the supposedly "pro business, fiscally conservative" one, and not one of the others.

BB, I think there will plenty of "I told you so" moments between now and 2012. I apologize if I repeat myself sometimes. Some points are relevant to more than one blog post.

But I will say that I hate that Shumlin's fooling people into thinking they'll get single payer health care. HATE it. It's beyond cruel to give people false hope like that. There might be people who would realistically be better off moving their families to other states where they could get jobs that provide health care. Instead they literally believe that the health insurance fairy is going to come down from the sky in the next couple of years and take care of them. As a result, people are going to go untreated and/or go bankrupt when they had other options, and anyone who is helping to perpetuate that bullshit, especially now that the campaign is over, is complicit in that.

When Jeanne Keller's short essay on this blog re: why single payer in Vermont is IMPOSSIBLE gets more traction, I'll shut up about it. Until then, if you have to skip over all comments with my name on them, I understand.

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