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Voices / Letters from readers

VY was most impressive and well-maintained plant

The writer is publisher of Atomic Insights, a blog and podcast advocating nuclear energy.

RE: “” [, Nov. 30]:

If Vermont Yankee is closed, residents of Vermont and surrounding states will regret that decision every time they open their electric bills for the next 18 years.

I had the privilege of touring the plant in March 2014. As a former submarine engineer officer and maintenance requirements officer in the U.S. Navy, I’ve had the opportunity to tour a large number of steam power plants. VY was one of the most impressive and well-maintained facilities I’ve ever seen.

For the past 42 years, it has reliably produced almost enough electricity to supply the entire state of Vermont by itself, giving the state the lowest per-capita carbon dioxide emission rates in the country.

Until 2010, it sold its power for $40 per megawatt-hour, day in and day out, even on the harshest winter days when the price of power from natural gas fired plants spiked to levels above $250 per MW-hr.

Eliminating that supply of reliable, emission-free electricity will inevitably drive up prices, since demand is not falling and no other similar supply is available.

Intriguingly enough, Entergy will be one of the beneficiaries of the higher-capacity payments and the higher electricity prices in New England. If the state’s leading politicians had not been so adamant about shutting down the plant, perhaps they might have noticed the supply-constraining aspect of the deal and asked harder questions about the effects on consumers.

I guess it’s possible that some of the politicians have contributors who are also interested in selling electricity at higher prices and higher profits after Vermont Yankee stops pumping out the juice, as it has proven that it does so well.

Rod Adams
Forest, Va.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #275 (Wednesday, October 8, 2014). This story appeared on page E1.

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