Douglas vetoes Yankee decommissioning fund bill

first_imgDouglas vetoes Yankee decommissioning fund billGovernor Douglas, as expected, today (May 7, 2008) vetoed S373, “An act relating to full funding of decommissioning costs of a nuclear plant.” The bill would have required the owners of the Entergy Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in Vernon to guarantee the full cost of decommissioning the plant at the time of its decommissioning.The governor said forcing the owner to raise or guarantee such a fund would lead to the owner raising costs on future electricity contracts to Vermont utilities; those costs would then be passed on consumers and businesses. The plant currently is owned by Entergy Nuclear, but it wants to spin off some of its plants into their own holding company, including Vermont Yankee.At the moment, there is about $440 million in the decommissioning fund. The estimated cost to shut the plant down and clean up the site, however, is estimated to be about $700 million if decommissioned in 2012. If the plant is relicensed until 2032, the fund would grow as the underlying investments grew, but the cost of the decommissioning could also grow.The bill that Douglas vetoed would not have affected current contracts. While Yankee provides about a third of Vermont’s electricity, the major utilities in the state previously stated that they intended to diversify their portfolios and reduce their Yankee obligations. For now, Vermont has the lowest electric costs in New England and the second lowest “carbon footprint” in the nation.Among his written comments in vetoing the bill, the governor said, “There is no doubt that increases in electricity costs slow economic growth and impair job creation, but rising electricity bills also impair the ability of working families to make ends meet.”last_img

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