Entergy Corp.’s (NYSE:ETR) board voted to continue with fabrication of fuel and refueling at the 510 MW Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant scheduled for October. The move comes despite the state of Vermont’s refusal to grant the plant a certificate of public good to continue operations beyond March 2012. Entergy received a 20-year license extension from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) in March 2011.
In April, two of Entergy's units, Entergy Nuclear Vermont Yankee LLC and Entergy Nuclear Operations Inc., filed a complaint in U.S. District Court for the state of Vermont seeking a judgment to prevent the state of Vermont from forcing the plant to cease operation on March 21, 2012. On July 18, the Court issued a decision denying a preliminary injunction motion filed by the two units.
During a typical refueling outage, approximately 120 fuel assemblies, or one-third of the reactor core, are replaced with new fuel assemblies. Additionally, workers use the outage to perform NRC-required inspections, testing and other work that cannot be performed while the reactor is operating. These workers come from other Entergy nuclear facilities, craft labor unions and outside contractors.
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