Sale Of Vermont Yankee Falls Through, Derailing Power Deals

03/30/11 5:04PM By Ross Sneyd

AP/Jason R. Henske
The Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in Vernon.
(Host) Vermont Yankee's parent corporation says a company that was interested in buying the plant in Vernon has pulled out.

Entergy Nuclear won't disclose who the other company was. But Entergy executive Rick Smith says the potential buyer was put off by the state's attitude toward Yankee.

(Smith) "They and their board had a lot of concern about really the political uncertainty up here around the approval process on the state side and they eventually decided not to pursue the plant."

(Host) Smith says the collapse of that deal has also led to the failure of talks with Vermont's largest electric utilities.

Central Vermont Public Service and Green Mountain Power have been in negotiations to buy power from Yankee if it's relicensed.

But Smith says the utilities weren't interested in a contract without a sale of the plant.

(Smith) "It was subject to a sale. I can say that since there is no sale. But we had all the price terms, megawatts, all that was agreed to."

(Host) Entergy won a license from the federal government earlier this month to continue operating the Yankee plant until 2032.

But Vermont is the only state in the country whose Legislature has a role in relicensing. And legislators have so far refused to approve.

Smith says the company faces a deadline for deciding how to proceed by the middle of the summer. 

That's when Entergy must decide whether to refuel the plant, an expensive step that's necessary for the plant to operate beyond March of 2012.

(Smith) "It'll come up more in that June timeframe because in that June timeframe we're going to have make some large investments. So we'll have to decide in that June timeframe what our next step will be."

(Host) Because the NRC has given its approval to a license extension for Vermont Yankee, Smith says one of Entergy's options is to continue to operate the plant without approval from the state of Vermont.

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