Entergy back in court over Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant

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The ongoing dispute between Entergy Corp. (NYSE: ETR), which operates the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant, and Vermont state government has made it the U.S. Court of Appeals, Bloomberg reports.

Entergy contends that Vermont’s state government lacked jurisdiction to deny the 620 MW plant a license renewal, arguing that the denial was predicated on radiological safety concerns and only the federal government has the authority to grant or deny a license on those grounds. According to court filings, the plant currently provides about 66 percent of the energy consumed in the state.

Asserting state’s rights in its brief to the court, Vermont said “The states, not the NRC, ultimately decide whether a nuclear plant will continue to operate.” The state insisted non-radiological health concerns were at issue as well, including stormwater runoff, thermal discharges into waterways, and the potential for contamination from diesel fuel and other pollutants. Vermont’s attorney general ordered more oversight at the plant after tritium was discovered in monitoring wells. Entergy has said extensive environmental remediation was undertaken to clean up the contaminated soil and water. In 2011, Entergy sued Vermont officials, asserting that the state could not overrule the NRC, which had renewed the operating license for Vermont Yankee.

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