VERNON, Vt.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nuclear Matters co-chair, former Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH), issued the following statement on the closure of the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant, owned by Entergy Corporation, which took effect today:
“The premature retirement of Vermont Yankee is representative of a problem that the entire country faces. Too many well-functioning nuclear energy facilities – most of which have decades of useful operating life remaining – are at risk of closure or have announced their early retirement. These conditions, including those surrounding Vermont Yankee’s, are caused by the unintended consequences of poorly designed market structure and government policies, not by the economic fundamentals of nuclear energy. This also signifies the importance of fuel diversity for power generation in the United States. Now is the time for all stakeholders to consider what can be done to prevent additional closures for the sake of electricity consumers, the environment, employees, communities, and the reliability of the electric grid.
“Vermont Yankee’s closure is especially concerning as we head into the Northeast winter, given that nuclear performed at a much higher capacity factor than any other fuel source during last year’s Polar Vortex. In addition, the plant contributes more than $60 million to the local economy each year through financial contributions, taxes paid, and employee involvement. Since 2002, having the facility on-line has saved New England customers approximately $330 million in electricity rate savings compared to the price of purchasing that same power from the spot market. Over the years, Vermont Yankee has prevented more than 50 million tons of carbon dioxide and other pollutants from being released into the environment. This is especially noteworthy as officials from New England’s grid operator have noted that the energy from Vermont Yankee will likely be replaced by other, carbon-emitting fuels. Finally, this closure means that hundreds of jobs will be lost, with company officials announcing that in January 2015, the plant’s staff will be reduced from about 550 employees to 316, with subsequent cuts planned after that.
“Signs of stress in our country’s reliable electricity grid cannot be ignored. It is simply unsustainable for the United States to continue down the path of allowing nuclear energy plants to close. Regulators, policymakers and industry must work together to ensure that nuclear energy is properly valued as a reliable, affordable and carbon-free electricity resource that is essential to America’s energy future and diverse fuel mix, and to ensure that existing nuclear plants are properly recognized in electricity markets for the value that they provide. Nuclear energy is safe, reliable, secure, and 100 percent carbon-free. This 24-7, 365 always-on source of electricity is key to our country’s success.”
About Nuclear Matters
The mission of Nuclear Matters is to inform the public about the clear benefits that nuclear energy provides to our nation, to raise awareness of the economic challenges to nuclear energy that threaten those benefits, and to work with stakeholders to explore possible policy solutions that properly value nuclear energy as a reliable, affordable and carbon-free electricity resource that is essential to America’s energy future.
Supporters of Nuclear Matters include a range of companies and organizations in the energy industry, including Ameren Missouri, American Nuclear Insurers, Arizona Public Service Company, AREVA, Black & Veatch, Burns and Roe Enterprises Inc., Centrus Energy Corp. Dominion, Duke Energy, Energy Future Holdings Corporation, Energy Northwest, Entergy Corporation, Exelon Corporation, FirstEnergy Corporation, GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy, Lightbridge Corporation, Nebraska Public Power District, NextEra Energy Inc., Omaha Public Power District, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, South Texas Project Nuclear Operating Company, Southern Company, Tennessee Valley Authority, and Westinghouse Electric Corporation.