Entergy Corporation is suing the state of Vermont to prevent them from forcing the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant to cease operation in March 2012.

Last month, the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission renewed Vermont Yankee’s operating license, authorizing the plant to operate through 21 March 2032. The NRC’s action came after a thorough and exhaustive five-year safety and environmental review of the plant. However, the plant also needs authorisation from the state of Vermont to continue operating.

A 2002 memorandum of understanding signed between Entergy and Vermont officials agreed that Energy’s two subsidiaries would seek a certificate of public good from the Vermont Public Service Board if it sought to operate the plant beyond 21 March 2012. But in 2006, Vermont legislature voted that the PSB could not issue such a certificate without approval from the state, which is against the plant.

Entergy has filed to keep the plant open by requiring Vermont to honor its signed contracts.

“The 2006 state law took the decision about Vermont Yankee’s future away from the Public Service Board, a quasi-judicial expert decision-maker, independent of legislative control,” said Richard Smith, president of Entergy Wholesale Commodities. “It instead placed Vermont Yankee’s fate in the hands of political decision-makers, namely the state General Assembly and governor who could deprive Entergy’s two subsidiaries of the opportunity to operate the Vermont Yankee plant beyond March 21, 2012, for unsupported or arbitrary reasons. This is not what we signed up for in 2002,” he added.

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