The Vermont Yankee nuclear reactor, one of the oldest nuclear plants in the country and the subject of heated battles over the decades, will close late next year. This would leave the US with 99 operating reactors. Four reactors in Georgia and South Carolina are under construction, and the Tennessee Valley Authority is finishing a fifth in Tennessee. But the industry is in a period of rapid decline.
Vermont Nuclear Plant to Close
This ends a long, protracted battle between “the people” of Vermont and Vermont Yankee, their nuke-plant. Literally everyone in the state, residents and politicians, voted, subpoenaed, rallied and petitioned for years to have Vermont Yankee shut-down, to no avail. Until now.
According to the owners of Vermont Yankee, low cost natural gas is the reason. Nukes can’t compete for cheap. Not they ever could without billions in gov-subsidies to build, maintain and insure Nukes’ eternally-hot steam machines. Then Fukushima happened. And still is happening. And will continue to happen, forever.
Risk of Never-Ending Meltdowns Must End
When Chernobyl blew in 1986 (still melting), that was Russian low-technology. But when Fukushima went, proving even Japanese technology can’t successfully harness nukes-on-the-loose. Then there’s the lethal-matter of nuke-waste-tonnage stored on site at every US (104) nukers (too-hot-for, take a guess – 5, 10, 50, 100,000 years?), oh that: nukes’ radioactive by-product we have no safe place to store…it, gulp.
With SONGS and now Vermont Yankee closed, the number’s shrunk to 102. Keep an eye on NY’s Indian Point nuker, 20-miles up the Hudson from NYC’s. It’s old and creaky, rhymes with leaky, and like SONGS, threatens the well being of millions of NYC’ers. NY’s governor wants it closed. We’ll see what Indian Point’s bean counters say. Seems like, Fukushima was the first faulty domino to fall, then SONGS, now Vermont Yankee.