Statement Released By Senator Patrick Leahy For Presentation To The Public Gathering About The Future Of Vermont Yankee

My highest concern about Vermont Yankee has always been the safety of Vermonters and everyone living near the plant.  Everything else is secondary.  While the Atomic Energy Act gives the Nuclear Regulatory Commission exclusive jurisdiction over safety issues, I was not alone last year in spotlighting the irony of NRC’s renewal of Vermont Yankee’s license just as similar reactors in Japan were careening perilously out of control.  Even today this plant is running at less than full power because of problems with aging and degenerating steam condensers.

The State of Vermont has vital economic and reliability interests in the plant’s operation and the plant’s future.  I shared Governor Shumlin’s disappointment with the court ruling in January that limited the State’s authority.  The plant’s owner, Entergy Louisiana, has long since lost the trust and confidence of the people of Vermont by ignoring Vermonters’ voices as they scramble to protect only their shareholder’s interests.  Those involved in far-reaching decisions like these must have Vermont’s and Vermonters’ best interests at heart by protecting our economy, our environment and the public’s safety.

I will continue to support the efforts of Governor Shumlin, the Vermont Legislature and the Public Service Board to assert and defend Vermont’s interests concerning Vermont Yankee, and I will keep the pressure on the Federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission to fulfill the responsibility they have, under law, to ensure the safety of this aging facility.

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