The Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power plant sits on a peaceful bend of the Connecticut River, where jays call and herons dive lazily over sun-dappled water. There’s something ominously familiar, however, about the tower of Vermont Yankee’s reactor, which has the same design as those that melted down last spring at Fukushima in Japan. And just a day before that tragedy, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) approved Vermont Yankee’s request to operate for another twenty years past the forty years for which it was designed.
… The fight over Vermont Yankee goes back to 2002, when Louisiana-based Entergy Corporation purchased it. In exchange for state approval of the sale, Entergy signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU), agreeing that in order to renew its license past March 21, 2012, it would require a certificate of public good from Vermont’s Public Service Board. And in 2006, when the plant increased its power output, it agreed that relicensing would require legislative approval as well.
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