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68 posts categorized "Vermont Yankee" Feed

August 09, 2011

Poll: Vermonters Say Yes to Vermont Yankee, Single-Payer Health Care

Vy Oh, Vermonters are a fickle bunch. A new poll finds that most Vermonters want Vermont Yankee to remain open and support Gov. Peter Shumlin's call to create a single-payer health care system.

Those are the latest, and final, results from a poll conducted late last month by Public Policy Polling out of North Carolina. The firm began to release its poll results last week. The final results were released this morning.

Among the last were miscellaneous questions PPP asked more than 1200 Vermonters related to Vermont Yankee, single-payer health care and same-sex marriage. They also asked what Vermonters thought of Sen. Patrick Leahy, Rep. Peter Welch and possible candidates running for Vermont Treasurer. The poll's margin of error was 2.8 percent.

According to PPP, Vermonters are closely divided on VY and health care: 40 percent support the new health care law while 35 percent are opposed and 25 percent remain unsure. The polling firm called it a "single payer health care" law, but the law doesn't establish a single-payer system. Rather it merely moves the state in that direction. The state would need to receive multiple waivers from the federal government, and come up with a way to finance it, before enacting the system.

Continue reading "Poll: Vermonters Say Yes to Vermont Yankee, Single-Payer Health Care" »

July 25, 2011

"Fill ’er Up," Says Entergy As It Approves VT Yankee Refueling

Vyfuel Entergy's board of directors has essentially made a $50 million* bet that Vermont Yankee will remain open beyond March 2012, voting to refuel the plant in October.

The board made the announcement to Vermont Yankee employees and the media in a brief statement earlier today.

The $35 million $50 million* (see correction below) cost of a refueling covers the cost of replacing 120 fuel assemblies as well as other, scheduled capital upgrades and equipment replacements, said Larry Smith, a VY spokesman.

The October refueling will allow the nuke plant to keep running until at least March 2013. Refuelings occur every 18 months.

VY received a 20-year license extension from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission earlier this year, but the state of Vermont has refused to grant a certificate of public good to continue operating beyond March 21, 2012.

Continue reading ""Fill ’er Up," Says Entergy As It Approves VT Yankee Refueling" »

July 19, 2011

Judge Denies Entergy's Request for Injunction

VY The first round in the legal battle between the state of Vermont and Vermont Yankee goes to ... the state. A federal judge on Monday denied Entergy Vermont Yankee's request for a temporary injunction against the state of Vermont.

The company is suing the state to keep it from shutting down the Vernon nuclear reactor in 2012. Entergy was pushing for an early resolution to the suit because of a fuel-buying deadline. The judge denied the request, clearing the way for a full trial in September.

Attorney General Bill Sorrell and Gov. Peter Shumlin praised the ruling by U.S. District Court Judge J. Garvan Murtha, while ENVY officials offered a tempered response.

But, while Judge Murtha ruled in the state's favor this round, his ruling leaves wide open the chance that he'll rule in Entergy's favor when it comes to issuing a decision later this year when the case goes to trial.

Despite the denial, Murtha made it clear he was only denying the temporary injunction and moving for an expedited trial on the broader issues raised by ENVY's suit against the state of Vermont, Gov. Shumlin and the Vermont Public Service Board. That trial is scheduled to begin September 12.

"In the unique circumstances presented in this case, only permanent injunctive relief could likely ameliorate the alleged harms, and therefore trial on the merits has been accelerated. This court declines to order short-term drastic and extraordinary injunctive relief that will not offer certainty either in the short or long term, and will have no operative effect on state actions before trial," Murtha wrote in his 18-page decision.

Download Murtha's ruling.

Continue reading "Judge Denies Entergy's Request for Injunction" »

July 06, 2011

No Charges Filed Against Entergy for Misleading Regulators About Vermont Yankee

Photo* Update below: Reaction from Gov. Peter Shumlin *

Attorney General Bill Sorrell said  Entergy Vermont Yankee personnel repeatedly misled state officials regarding the existence of underground and buried piping that carried radionuclides, but his office lacked "compelling evidence" that the company's actions constituted a crime.

"We demonstrate in our report today that, in our view, Entergy and certain of its personnel were at best untrustworthy," said Sorrell (pictured at podium) at a late morning news conference. "We lack the smoking gun evidence that this untrustworthy behavior was criminal."

Sorrell issued an eight-page report outlining his office's investigation. The report includes emails and other correspondence between Entergy officials. Click here to read the report.

Sorrell said the 18-month investigation, requested by former Gov. Jim Douglas and other legislative leaders, cost taxpayers a minimum of $100,000.

Was it worth it?

"Absolutely," said Sorrell, even though no charges are being brought. "Any prominent Vermont company that offers repeatedly misleading information deserves to have that conduct scrutinized."

Entergy officials were pleased with the outcome of today's decision and acknowledged that some of their own employees were punished internally for their roles in the misleading statements.

Continue reading "No Charges Filed Against Entergy for Misleading Regulators About Vermont Yankee" »

June 28, 2011

Women's World Cup is Happening... Without the Vuvuzelas and the Media Hype

Picture 4 Question: How many of you knew that the FIFA Women's World Cup began on Sunday?

I'm going to go out on a limb and say about three of you. And for two of you, it's because you saw the story about the Muslim female soccer players in the Sunday New York Times. If you're not one of those three, you can be excused for not knowing that this event was happening. I didn't know it was going on and I like to think I know a thing or two about women's sports. That said, I'm pretty embarrassed that the World Cup took me totally by surprise.

But why didn't we/I know the tournament — arguably one of the largest in the women's athletic calendar— was happening? During last year's men's World Cup, people were tripping over themselves to watch the games at bars around Burlington and talk about their mutual hatred of the South African vuvuzela. Seemingly everyone had an opinion on Cote d'Ivoirian player Didier Drogba's fearsomeness and Spaniard Carles Puyol's Weird Al-like hair. We collectively crossed our fingers that powerhouse Ghana would become the first African nation to win a World Cup (They didn't. They were routed by Uruguay in the quarterfinals.). And we all grimaced when the slick-rick U.S. team couldn't make it past their bracket. Again.  

Continue reading "Women's World Cup is Happening... Without the Vuvuzelas and the Media Hype" »

May 31, 2011

Vermont: A Wholly-Owned Subsidiary of Canada?

Flag_canadian_maple_leaf Vermont's power future can be summed up in two words: "O Canada!"

On Monday, Fortis, a Newfoundland-based power company, announced a $700 million deal to buy Central Vermont Public Service, Vermont's largest utility. The deal includes Fortis buying up about $230 million in CVPS debt. Fortis owns several utilities across Canada, as well as the Caribbean and Belize.

If approved by Vermont regulators, CVPS would become the third major state utility owned by a Canadian firm. Quebec-based Gaz Métro owns Northern New England Energy Corporation, which, in turn, owns Green Mountain Power and Vermont Gas.

GMP's sale to Gaz Métro was approved in 2007, while Vermont Gas was taken over back in 1986.

In addition, all of the dams along the Connecticut River are owned by TransCanada, which is based in Alberta. They purchased the dams in 2005 from USGen New England.

Who's got the power now, eh?

Continue reading "Vermont: A Wholly-Owned Subsidiary of Canada?" »

May 18, 2011

Antinuclear Group Denied Intervention in Entergy Case

VTYankee A federal court judge late Tuesday denied the antinuclear group New England Coalition's petition to intervene in Entergy's lawsuit against the state of Vermont.

NEC filed a motion two weeks ago in U.S. District Court. In his ruling, U.S. District Court Judge J. Garvan Murtha said NEC's concerns are "adequately represented" by the state.

"The motion is denied because NEC’s interest in this case is adequately represented by the Attorney General, representing the State of Vermont, which shares NEC’s ultimate objective in upholding the constitutionality of Vermont’s statutory and regulatory scheme governing the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant," wrote Murtha in his ruling.

"Indeed, NEC has not explained how its views would diverge from those of Vermont," Murtha added. "It professes its interest is 'to ensure that the Vermont Yankee plant is not relicensed,' and concedes 'Vermont appears to have accepted NEC’s position, and decided that the continued operation of this plant in our State is not in the public good.'"

Murtha will allow NEC to file an amicus brief, or as a so-called "friend of the court" brief, by May 31. In his ruling Murtha even welcomed the amicus filings, writing that the briefs often bring attention to issues otherwise not raised by the main parties.

Continue reading "Antinuclear Group Denied Intervention in Entergy Case" »

May 13, 2011

Environmental Groups Seek to Intervene in Entergy Lawsuit

VY Two more environmental groups are seeking to intervene in Entergy's lawsuit against the state of Vermont: The Conservation Law Foundation of Vermont and the Vermont Public Interest Research Group.

Last week, the New England Coalition (NEC) filed a similar petition to intervene. Entergy filed a response earlier this week with the court asking U.S. District Judge J. Garvan Murtha to deny NEC's request.

"NEC's participation as a full party to the proceeding would be of little value to the Court and, more likely than not, would needlessly inject collateral, time-consuming issues into the case, while opening the floodgates to requests to intervene by other Vermont Yankee opponents," Entergy lawyers argued in court papers.

Entergy also argues that other district courts have denied such petitions on the grounds that the state is perfectly capable of defending itself in court and doesn't need outside intervenors getting in the way.

VPIRG and CLF believe they do have a role to play in this case.

“This is an important case that will decide the direction of our energy future," said Chris Kilian, vice president and director of CLF Vermont, in a statement. "CLF and VPIRG will support the state of Vermont in its efforts to uphold Vermont law and ensure that the people’s voice and vision for their energy future will prevail over the interests of out-of-state polluters.”

Continue reading "Environmental Groups Seek to Intervene in Entergy Lawsuit" »

May 05, 2011

Citizens' Group Petitions to Intervene in Entergy Lawsuit

VT-Yankee-10x22-crop-w The antinuclear group New England Coalition announced Wednesday it has filed a motion in the U.S. District Court seeking to intervene in Entergy's attempt to keep Vermont Yankee running beyond 2012.

Entergy is suing Vermont in federal court in an attempt to keep Vermont Yankee running beyond 2012, when its state certificate of public good expires. Earlier this year, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission gave the go-ahead for VY to operate another 20 years -- to 2032.

A 26-4 vote taken last year by the Vermont Senate put the kibosh on Entergy's efforts to have the Vermont Public Service Board hear its case to stay running.

Continue reading "Citizens' Group Petitions to Intervene in Entergy Lawsuit" »

April 26, 2011

Vermont Yankee Employees Out of the Loop on Relicensing?

VY State lawmakers aren't the only ones who have felt left in the dark by the embattled owners of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant. Some VY employees apparently felt out of the loop too.

The Vernon reactor's corporate owners, Louisiana-based Entergy Corp., sued the state of Vermont in federal court in Burlington last week seeking to prevent the state from shutting the plant down when its operating license expires next year.

Among the hundreds of pages of exhibits attached to the lawsuit are "exit interview" forms completed by eight plant workers on their way out the door. The records are intended to show that uncertainty over the plant's future is costing the company employees — and they do. The eight employees, all of whom left the company between January and March of this year, list uncertainty over the plant's future as the primary or secondary reason for their departure.

One worker wrote: "It was a very hard decision — I waffled back and forth — what I need the company can't supply — get re-licensed."

But the forms wind up illustrating something else too. Several nuke plant workers —  whose names were removed from the questionnaires — complain that plant higher-ups didn't communicate about the status of the re-licensing effort. Ironic, considering Vermont Yankee has spent thousands of dollars on TV and print newspaper ads that use personal testimonials from VY employees to argue for re-licensing.

In response to the question, "What are your general feelings about VY?", one unnamed worker wrote: "Communications are lacking — we find out information from the Newspaper versus in house communications department."

Illustration by Tim Nuke 'Em

Continue reading "Vermont Yankee Employees Out of the Loop on Relicensing?" »

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