Article

Editorial: What's the alternative to Vermont Yankee?

In the ongoing debate about Vermont Yankee's role in the state's energy future, those for and against the continued operation of the nuclear power plant have something to prove. Nuclear energy opponents must come up with a reliable and affordable alternative to the power Vermont Yankee supplies. ...Yet no one has come up with a reasonable alternative for the reliable power provided by Vermont Yankee. Conservation and efficiency efforts are insufficient to reduce the state's energy demand by a third within five years. Nor can Vermont develop wind and solar capacity to provide the base load power to make up for Vermont Yankee's output. Powering down Vermont's economy is not an option, nor is a dramatic increase in electricity rates.

In the ongoing debate about Vermont Yankee's role in the state's energy future, those for and against the continued operation of the nuclear power plant have something to prove. Nuclear energy opponents must come up with a reliable and affordable alternative to the power Vermont Yankee supplies. Those who support Vermont Yankee -- especially owner Entergy Nuclear -- must show that the plant can operate safely for another 20 years.

A problem with a pressure valve that triggered an automatic shutdown and the collapse of a cooling tower, both in August, have put the spotlight on safety at the state's sole nuclear power plant. The grave consequences of a nuclear accident call for making sure that Vermont Yankee and the way the plant stores radioactive spent fuel are safe.

Yet no one has come up with a reasonable alternative for the reliable power provided by Vermont Yankee. Conservation and efficiency efforts are insufficient to reduce the state's energy demand by a third within five years. Nor can Vermont develop wind and solar capacity to provide the base load power to make up for Vermont Yankee's output. Powering down Vermont's economy is not an option, nor is a... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

In the ongoing debate about Vermont Yankee's role in the state's energy future, those for and against the continued operation of the nuclear power plant have something to prove. Nuclear energy opponents must come up with a reliable and affordable alternative to the power Vermont Yankee supplies. Those who support Vermont Yankee -- especially owner Entergy Nuclear -- must show that the plant can operate safely for another 20 years.

A problem with a pressure valve that triggered an automatic shutdown and the collapse of a cooling tower, both in August, have put the spotlight on safety at the state's sole nuclear power plant. The grave consequences of a nuclear accident call for making sure that Vermont Yankee and the way the plant stores radioactive spent fuel are safe.

Yet no one has come up with a reasonable alternative for the reliable power provided by Vermont Yankee. Conservation and efficiency efforts are insufficient to reduce the state's energy demand by a third within five years. Nor can Vermont develop wind and solar capacity to provide the base load power to make up for Vermont Yankee's output. Powering down Vermont's economy is not an option, nor is a dramatic increase in electricity rates.

Vermont Yankee supplies about one-third of the state's electricity at a stable price that has proven key to keeping overall electric rates down. There's no assurance renewing Vermont Yankee's license will mean low electric rates, but closing the plant virtually guarantees a spike in power bills.

Entergy Nuclear seeks to renew the operating license for Vermont Yankee for 20 years beyond 2012. While the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has the final word on licensing, an agreement with Entergy gives Vermont regulators and lawmakers a say. For lawmakers, the goal must be a safe, affordable and reliable supply of electricity for the state.

The uncertainty hovering over the energy debate already poses a risk to the state. Businesses often make decisions about how to invest, where to move and whether to expand years in advance. Uncertainty about the reliability and cost of electricity can influence decisions by businesses today that could have an impact on Vermont's economy for years.

Here's an example of what's at stake: If IBM were to supply its own electricity, it would be the fourth-largest power company in the state. On that scale, even a rate change of a few pennies has a big impact on costs. In fact, IBM said the company moved one of its more power-hungry processes a few years ago to Canada, where electricity rates are much lower.

For just about everyone else, higher electricity costs mean more than a bigger power bill. The price of electricity likely will work its way into just about everything we pay for, from services to the restaurant tab to items on store shelves.

The debate over Vermont's energy future will only escalate during the coming legislative sessions and spread throughout the state. Every Vermonter has a vested interest in the outcome of this debate. We all need to be engaged fully aware of how much is at state.


Source: http://www.burlingtonfreepr...

OCT 28 2007
https://www.windaction.org/posts/11963-editorial-what-s-the-alternative-to-vermont-yankee
back to top