Plan to close Vermont Yankee marks latest blow to nuclear power
The Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant will shut down by the end of 2014, its owner said Tuesday, citing 'financial factors.' It is the fifth nuclear plant this year to close or to have plans made for closure.
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In May, Dominion Resources shut down the Kewaunee Power Station in Carleton, Wis., saying at the time that the “decision was based purely on economics," and in February, Duke Energy announced plans to shut down the reactor at the Crystal River power station in Florida because of a crack in the containment dome.Skip to next paragraph
Chelsea Sheasley is the Monitor's Asia Editor, overseeing regional coverage for CSMonitor.com and the weekly magazine.
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Meanwhile, utilities have plans to build three new reactors, the Monitor reported in June.
Supporters of nuclear power say that nuclear power is an important long-term energy source for the US and that the closures mean more support should be given to the industry.
“This announcement, and the retirement of Wisconsin’s high-performing Kewaunee nuclear facility earlier this year, is jarring evidence that market reform is essential to ensure that the nation maintains a diversified portfolio of electricity options,” said Marvin Fertel, Nuclear Energy Institute president and chief executive officer, in a statement. “Failure to do so will jeopardize reliable electricity supplies and leave consumers vulnerable to steep or long-term electricity price swings.”
The United States has 100 nuclear power reactors in 31 states, operated by 30 different power companies, according to the World Nuclear Association.
Electricity produced from the plants accounted for nearly 20 percent of total electrical output in 2011, the association says.
Since 2009, technological advances in extracting shale oil have resulted in sustained low prices for natural gas and wholesale energy.
Bernie Sanders, a US senator from Vermont, praised the decision to close Vermont Yankee.
“I am delighted that Entergy will shut down the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant which has had so many problems in recent years,” he said. “The closure will allow Vermont to focus on leading the nation toward safer and more economical sources of sustainable and renewable energy like solar, wind, geothermal and biomass."
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