Entergy to refuel Vermont Yankee as lawsuit proceeds

first_imgNorthstar Vermont Yankee,Today Entergy Corporation (NYSE: ETR) communicated to its employees that the company’s board of directors voted to approve the fabrication of fuel and the refueling of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in October. This will be the plant’s 29th refueling. While the company has received a 20-year license extension from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the state of Vermont has refused to grant a certificate of public good to continue operating beyond March 21, 2012. That issue is currently being litigated before the US District Court for the state of Vermont. According to Laurence Smith, Manager of Communications at Vermont Yankee, the entire refueling operation will cost $92 million, which includes $50 million for the fuel plus $42 million for labor, maintenance and other factors associated with the month-long outage. A refueling keeps the plant going about 18 months. Without this refueling, the plant would have had to begin ramping down its operations by the end of the year.‘Entergy’s board of directors carefully reviewed the merits of our case and the arguments put forth by all parties during the recent hearing in District Court when we requested a preliminary injunction against the state of Vermont taking any actions to close Vermont Yankee,’ said J Wayne Leonard, Entergy’s chairman and chief executive officer. ‘Our board believes both the merits of the company’s legal position and the record strongly support its decision to continue to trial scheduled to begin on Sep. 12. On that basis, the decision was made to move forward with the refueling as planned.’During a typical refueling outage, approximately 120 fuel assemblies, or one-third of the reactor core, are replaced with new fuel assemblies. Additionally, workers use the outage to perform Nuclear Regulatory Commission-required inspections, testing and other work that cannot be performed while the reactor is operating. All told, approximately 5,000 tasks are typically performed during the approximately 30-day period. An additional workforce of 800 to 1,000 skilled laborers is assembled to perform these tasks. These workers come from other Entergy nuclear facilities, craft labor unions and outside contractors. Governor Peter Shumlin submitted this statement in reacton to Entergy’s refuleing decision: ‘Judge Murtha made clear in his decision to deny Entergy Louisiana’s request for a preliminary injunction that he didn’t buy the company’s argument that the injunction was a prerequisite for refueling. Today’s decision by Entergy Louisiana to refuel affirms that Judge Murtha was right, and that his decision to deny the injunction was the correct one.’Brad Ferland, President of the Vermont Energy Partnership, issued the following statement: ‘This decision is very good news for Vermont.  It keeps 1,200 people at their jobs and ensures more price competitive and reliable electricity for Vermont.  Furthermore, it shows Entergy is committed to working in Vermont for the long-term and has the confidence to make this long-term investment.  We applaud Entergy for this decision and encourage the state to re-examine its position on Vermont Yankee as the plant provides compelling economic and environmental benefits.’In April, two of Entergy’s subsidiaries, Entergy Nuclear Vermont Yankee, LLC and Entergy Nuclear Operations, Inc., filed a complaint in U.S. District Court for the state of Vermont seeking a judgment to prevent the state of Vermont from forcing the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant to cease operation on March 21, 2012. On July 18, the Court issued a decision denying a preliminary injunction motion filed by the two subsidiaries.Entergy Corporation is an integrated energy company engaged primarily in electric power production and retail distribution operations. Entergy owns and operates power plants with approximately 30,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity, and it is the second-largest nuclear generator in the United States. Entergy delivers electricity to 2.7 million utility customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Entergy has annual revenues of more than $11 billion and more than 15,000 employees.Source: Entergy 7.25.2011last_img

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