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Boston Globe Editorial: Vermont Yankee plants owner must honor its own promises

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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-24-11 02:54 AM
Original message

April 24, 2011

A DEAL is a deal except, apparently, when Entergy is involved. The company, a major energy supplier in New England, provoked justified outrage in Vermont last week when it announced it was reneging on a longstanding commitment to abide by the states stringent nuclear regulations.

Instead, the company has done precisely what it had long promised it would not: challenge the constitutionality of Vermonts rules in federal court, as part of a last-ditch effort to keep its Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant running. Its a stunning move.

The conflict in Vermont has been brewing since 2002, when the Louisiana-based corporation bought Vermonts only nuclear power plant, an aging reactor on the Connecticut River in Vernon, near the Massachusetts border. As a condition of receiving state approval for the sale, the company agreed to seek permission from state regulators to operate past 2012. In 2006, the state went a step further, requiring that any extension of the plants license be subject to the Vermont legislatures approval. Then, too, the company went along.

Either Entergy never really intended to live by those commitments, or it simply didnt foresee what would happen next. A string of accidents, including the partial collapse of a cooling tower in 2007 and the discovery of an underground pipe system leaking radioactive tritium, raised serious questions about both Vermont Yankees safety and Entergys management especially after the company made misleading statements about the pipe. Enraged by Entergys behavior, the Vermont Senate voted 26 to 4 last year against allowing an extension. And that was before the disaster in Japan rekindled popular concern over nuclear plants, especially older reactors like the one at Vermont Yankee, which is similar in design to those at the stricken Fukushima Daiichi plant.

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