U.S. nuclear plant to shut over costs

AFP-JIJI

A 40-year-old nuclear plant in Vermont will shut down next year due to the high costs of competing with cheap natural gas, the company said Tuesday.

Entergy Corp. said the Vermont Yankee plant, which employed some 600 people and was licensed to operate until 2032, will be decommissioned after its current fuel cycle ends.

The Louisiana-based Entergy said that the move was based on “a number of financial factors,” and noted it had poured $400 million into the plant’s operations since 2002.

The top reason cited in a company press release was “a natural gas market that has undergone a transformational shift in supply due to the impacts of shale gas, resulting in sustained low natural gas prices and wholesale energy prices.”

Vermont Yankee is a single unit boiling water reactor that began operating in 1972. Entergy acquired the plant from Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Corp. in 2002.

Closures of nuclear plants in the United States — where nuclear energy provides 20 percent of the electricity mix — are rare.