United States In a surprise move, the sale of Vermont Yankee was put off in early August as interest in the 504 MWe BWR picked up.
The Vermont Yankee board of directors had been poised to vote on last February’s bid by AmerGen Energy, a joint venture of British Nuclear and PECO Energy. But just days before the vote, Entergy Nuclear submitted a second, unsolicited bid. This was possible because the 120-day “due diligence” period, during which AmerGen scrutinised the 28-year-old plant, expired in late June. The Vermont Yankee board had agreed not to talk to other potential buyers during that period.
Robert Young, chairman of Vermont Yankee’s board and chief executive of its largest shareholder, Central Vermont Public Service, described Entergy’s unexpected expression of interest as “serious” and said it confirmed that Vermont Yankee is a valuable asset. The plant is currently licensed to operate until 2012.
Young said the board would negotiate with both bidders and announce a deal by 1 October.
If AmerGen wins the bidding war, Vermont Yankee will bring to five its planned nuclear plant acquisitions. The other plants are Three Mile Island 1 (740 MWe, PWR), Clinton, (940 MWe, BWR), Nine Mile Point 1 (614 MWe, BWR) and a share of Nine Mile Point 2 (1140 MWe, BWR). None of the deals have been finalised.
Entergy completed its first nuclear acquisition on July 13, when it paid $81 million for Pilgrim (670 MWe) in Massachusetts. Entergy Nuclear is also managing decommissioning activities at Maine Yankee and Millstone 1.
Neither company has made the size of its bid for Vermont Yankee public.
Both AmerGen and Entergy also plan to bid on other New England nuclear plants, including a share of Millstone 2 and 3 in Connecticut, which Northeast Utilities must sell by 2004 under state electricity deregulation rules, and Seabrook in New Hampshire.
Recently Virginia Power, part of a team that helped return Millstone 2 to service, has revealed plans to bid for nuclear plants in the northeastern US over the next five years.