MONTPELIER, Vt. — The owner of Vermont's only nuclear power plant plans to move forward with a $60 million refueling this fall despite uncertainty about whether it will be able to operate beyond March, when its current operating license expires.
New Orleans-based Entergy Corp., which is locked in a legal battle with the state over the future of the Vermont Yankee plant, said the company's attorneys felt the company would eventually win its legal battle with the state.
Earlier this year, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission issued Vermont Yankee a 20-year license extension that would allow the plant to remain open until 2032. But the state, which claims it has jurisdiction over the plant's operation, wants the plant to close and has so far not acted on a state certification that it says is needed for Vermont Yankee to remain open.
Entergy's lawsuit challenging the state is scheduled to go to trial in September.
"Our board believes both the merits of the company's legal position and the record strongly support its decision to continue to trial scheduled to begin on Sept. 12," said Entergy CEO J. Wayne Leonard. "On that basis, the decision was made to move forward with the refueling as planned."
Saturday had been the deadline for ordering the fuel rods that will be used in the refueling, scheduled for October.
Vermont Yankee said Monday that about 120 fuel assemblies — or one-third of the reactor core — are replaced during a typical 30-day refueling outage.
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