What Happens When Vermont Yankee Closes in 2012?
Vermont is at a crossroads. We can be leaders and innovators - or not. We have the opportunity to lead the way and set the tone for clean, safe energy for generations to come. Or, we can just do the same old same old and let our kids, grandchildren and their grandchildren deal with the consequences. For those who hold Vermont's best interest at heart, the decision will be clear.
Vermonters Want Change
• A WCAX poll in 2008 showed that 52% want to see the nuclear power plant closed.
• Only 29% want to see it continue past its designed life cycle.
• What Happens When the Vermont Yankee Plant Closes in 2012?
What's the Truth?
You will hear from Entergy claim how important Vermont Yankee is to the state and how we can't live without it. The company has mounted a costly advertising campaign promoting their position. We can expect that they will spend even more money this year. They say:
• Vermonters will pay more for power if Vermont Yankee is not relicensed;
• Vermont will lose jobs and revenue if Vermont Yankee closes;
• We can't replace Vermont Yankee's power before 2012;
• Vermont Yankee is clean, safe, and reliable;
• Any replacement would contribute to global warming;
• Vermont needs baseload power.
Let's Look at Each of These Points
Paying More for Power:
Entergy is not offering a deal that benefits Vermonters. In fact 27% of customers would not be affected by replacement since none of their power comes from Vermont Yankee. Entergy claims that any alternative to VY will lead to skyrocketing electric rates. In fact, Entergy itself has admitted that it will have to raise rates in order to continue operating.Vermont Yankee only accounts for about 17% of your electric bill. So when VY is replaced only a small fraction of your bill would go up depending on what Vermonters chose to replace VY with. The truth is, over time Vermont Yankee will cost more than other alternative, sustainable resources since it will continue to age and need repeated upgrading. If we replace Vermont Yankee with energy efficiency and in-state renewable sources, we can actually provide lower electric rates. In fact efficiency is the cheapest source of "power" available at 2-3 cents per kWh.
Entergy employs only 218 people who live in Vermont. The number of good jobs that could be generated through efficiency and the creation of other power plants would supersede what Entergy contributes to the state. With a commitment to renewables, conservation, and efficiency, Vermont could become a leader in job creation. Efficiency Vermont currently employs 150 people, and will need more when their programs expand. Additionally, closure can employ the skilled Yankee workers in cleanup of the contaminated site for 15 years or longer.
Replacement Power by 2012:
There is enough power right now to replace VY. Central Vermont Public Service recently stated that it could replace Vermont Yankee and enter into an agreement with other power producers if needed. Remember, Vermont Yankee only provides about 270 MW of power to Vermont - the rest, more than half, is sold out of state.
Vermonters are not the first consumers to face replacing their nuclear power. The citizens of Sacramento, California voted to close the Rancho Seco reactor in 1988. Its owner, the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD), replaced it with a diverse package of energy solutions including small hydro, gas, solar, wind, efficiency and conservation. Rancho Seco was a large 1,000 MW reactor; Vermont only has to replace 270 MW.
If the 6th largest public utility in the U.S. can figure out how to replace its nuclear power, Vermont can surely do it!
We can replace Vermont Yankee through a diverse package of energy solutions that include biomass, renewables and most importantly efficiency. A 2007 Department of Public Service report showed that efficiency alone could reduce power consumption in Vermont by 215 MW by 2015 - that in itself could replace a significant part of the 270 MW Vermont Yankee produces for Vermont's usage.
We have enough "baseload power" without Vermont Yankee because its power contribution to the New England grid is only 2% and can easily be replaced with other, cleaner, safer options.
Clean, Safe and Reliable:
Vermont Yankee is not clean or safe; it is a high-level radioactive waste dump on the banks of the Connecticut River for an undetermined period of time. This plant, designed 40 years ago, does not meet present-day design safety standards and could not be built today. The only benefit from continued operation is to Entergy which will gain larger and larger profits. Vermont Yankee's age and its flawed management has resulted in an endless series of mishaps over the last few years. There is no guarantee that this reactor will prove reliable. In these uncertain times it is far wiser to create a safer and diversified energy package.
We can replace Vermont Yankee without increasing our carbon footprint. Replacing VY with efficiency and renewably sourced electricity would not produce additional greenhouse gases, and would completely eliminate further production of deadly radioactive waste.