Vt. ready to fight effort to keep nuke plant open

AP News
Posted: Apr 09, 2011 10:37 AM
Vt. ready to fight effort to keep nuke plant open

Vermont is preparing for a legal battle if the owner of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant tries to keep it running after its license expires, state Attorney General William Sorrell said.

Sorrell said he and his staff are preparing their legal strategy if plant owner Entergy Nuclear ignores the state's refusal to authorize it to operate after 2012 when its current license expires, even though the Nuclear Regulatory Commissioner has extended the plant's license for 20 years.

"We are not going to sit on our hands and let Vermont law be ignored," Sorrell told the Brattleboro Reformer. "We are prepared for any eventuality."

When Entergy bought the plant in 2002, it agreed to abide by the Vermont Public Service Board's decision on whether it would issue a certificate of public good to extend its operation beyond 2012. And in 2006 the Legislature gave itself the power to forbid the PSB from issuing the certificate.

But some feel Entergy could argue state law can't pre-empt the federal license issued by the NRC and sue the state of Vermont to keep operating. Company officials have said they feel the plant is under federal jurisdiction, but they won't comment on their legal strategy.

"We've been of the view that Entergy was going to be suing us and we would be defending the law," Sorrel said.

Gov. Peter Shumlin, who wants the plant to close, said the state would do what had to be done to enforce the law.

"We will always make the resources available to insure that corporations are held to the same standard as our citizens are and obey our laws," Shumlin said.