(Host) Governor Peter Shumlin says it’s clear that the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power plant will be allowed to continue to operate after its license expires next week.
But Shumlin says he’s optimistic that the Vermont Public Service Board will ultimately deny the plant a 20 year extension of its operating license.
VPR’s Bob Kinzel reports:
(Kinzel) Next Wednesday, the forty year license for Vermont Yankee will expire, but because of ongoing litigation between the owners of the plant, Entergy Louisiana, and the state of Vermont, the facility is expected to be operating for the foreseeable future.
Several months ago, Federal Judge Garvin Murtha said the Legislature overstepped its authority when lawmakers gave themselves veto power over the re-licensing of the plant.
The case is now back before the Vermont Public Service Board and the Board is in the process of deciding if it will reopen a previous docket concerning the future of the plant.
Governor Peter Shumlin says there’s a lot riding on the outcome of this case.
(Shumlin) "Judge Murtha has issued a decision that clearly gives them the authority to continue to operate pending a decision by the Public Service Board. I have a lot of confidence in the Public Service Board. We’re going to be working together with them, my department to try and get a better outcome than what Judge Murtha gave us."
(Kinzel) Shumlin says there’s absolutely no doubt in his mind that the PSB should not extend the Vermont Yankee license for another 20 years:
(Shumlin) "I want to shut the plant down on schedule and I’m disappointed that it’s not going to be shut down next week but I’m hoping that we can get a decision from the Public Service Board that will bring that about as quickly as we can. I think it’s in Vermonters best interests – look, we’re not even buying power from the plant anymore."
(Kinzel) Legal experts say there’s a good chance that this case will be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. How long could the plant possibly operate while the case is being litigated? The Governor isn’t saying.
(Shumlin) "It’s hard to know and I’m not going to speculate on that. I’m going to be a little careful about what I say because this is being litigated, and as you know the Attorney General’s litigating the case. So I‘m not going to litigate it on the air. All I can tell you is I’m optimistic that we’ll get the outcome that we are seeking before we’re done."
(Kinzel) In the short term, the Shumlin Administration has asked the PSB to require Vermont Yankee to meet all of the conditions that were originally established for the operation of the plant.
For VPR News, I’m Bob Kinzel in Montpelier