Recent articles in Vermont newspapers have given the impression that the proposed sale of the Vermont Yankee (VY) nuclear plant by Entergy to NorthStar, a recent consortium of corporations, is expected to be approved by the Public Utility Commission (PUC), thus making it seem like a done deal. So, why is such an assumption being presented to us? Entergy likely spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on their media advertising blitz over the past year proclaiming that the proposed Vermont Yankee sale would be a “good deal for Vermont.” Yet, this proposed sale shows Entergy’s blatant attempt to unload this shuttered nuclear plant (for a mere $1,000) to a recently cobbled-together group of corporations. Such a situation could result in financial collusion over time, possibly to the detriment of Vermont taxpayers. Instead of selling the plant, Entergy should subcontract the actual decommissioning to a corporation that has had experience in that kind of work. This would likely entail temporarily transferring the operating license to the corporation doing the decommissioning — as has been done at other nuclear plants in the past — and then transferring the operating license back to Entergy when the work is done, thus holding Entergy to their promise to be responsible to the state of Vermont. A sale of VY to other corporations would likely also set a precedent nationwide for a number of other nuclear plants expected to be shut down in the next one to 20 years, thus putting the ownership of those nuclear plants in a murkier category of responsibility for safely decommissioning those plants. One would hope that the two Vermont PUC commissioners presently deciding the case will be responsible to us, the people of Vermont, and either disapprove this proposed sale outright or at least include a provision which would hold Entergy financially responsible for the long term.

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