Vermont Yankee to be Shut Down

“Vermonters sent a message to President Obama and the nuclear industry today,” said Greenpeace’s Nuclear Policy Analyst Jim Riccio. “The nuclear renaissance is dead on arrival. We can retire old, decrepit and leaking reactors like Vermont Yankee and help usher in the energy revolution that America needs.”

“When American’s have the choice about the kind of energy they want in their communities, they don’t want nuclear. Vermont has shut down the myth of the so-called nuclear renaissance. Greenpeace is calling on Vermonter legislators to vote against relicensing in the house as well so that the message to America registers loud and clear.”

This decision is an interesting one. Like Sacramento many years before it, Vermont decided to proactively shut down their Nuclear plant. In this case, Vermont was choosing this pathway even though the variable costs of the plant were less than $0.03/kWh.

For new Nuclear we have a slightly different case. The recently $8.3B in loan guarantees for Southern Company’s nuclear plant is on a total bill of $14.4B for just 2,200MW of nuclear. At the same time, McKinsey claims that over over 85% of the 17 gigatons of carbon reduction we need globally by 2020 could be achieved by efficiency alone. Further, that for $14.4B, Southern company could perform such deep energy efficiency retrofits that they would create 10 times the number of construction jobs than the Nuclear plant.

I am not anti-nuclear, but some of these large Nuclear plants plans need to rethought towards more manageable strategies. Companies like Hyperion are creating small reactors that can be sited and financed more easily than the large Nuclear power plants.

Nuclear power holds the promise to be a big player in our effort to decarbonize the electricity grid, but their lack of common sense around how to handle public relations seems to be their Achilles heel.

Jigar Shah
CEO, Carbon War Room
Founder, SunEdison

2 replies
  1. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Fact one, ‘King Coal’ kills over 25,000 Americans a year due to particulate pollution alone.-US EPA. I would like to ask all the anti nukes who were against Vermont Yankees licenses renewal just how many Americans do they think they will be responsible for killing after Yankee closes down? There is no way the anti nukes can shirk their impending responsibility for the eventual death of hundreds if not thousands of American citizens. Fact two, once Vermont Yankee closes the Northeastern United States will rely more on ‘King Coal’ to produce its electricity. With the closure of Vermont Yankee it will be impossible to reach the zero emission carbon levels that we need to achieve in the Northeast. In fact due to alternative energies expense and unreliability it is in all likelihood we will not be able to reach the low carbon levels that the Northeast currently achieves when Yankee is in operation. Yes the statuesque will change with the closure of Vermont Yankee. Unfortunately come the fall equinox of 2012 it will change for the worse. Once again I ask the planet killing anti nukes to come out and take responsibility for future deaths that will be caused due to the closer of Vermont Yankee. I would laugh about the insanity of it all if I were not already crying, Jfarmer9

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