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Vermont Yankee

Entergy sues Vermont over Vernon plant’s diesel generator permit

VERNON, Vt. — Entergy Nuclear has again sued the state of Vermont, this time over the delayed permit for construction of a backup power diesel generator.

The state Public Service Board has refused to authorize construction of the so-called station blackout diesel generator, and has treated Entergy’s petition in “an unusual manner,” Entergy claimed in its 27-page lawsuit.

Entergy Nuclear filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court, saying the Vermont Public Service Board had dragged its feet on its application, which was filed in September 2012. Without a certificate of public good for the generator, Vermont Yankee might be forced to shut down on Sept. 1, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuitalso claims that the Public Service Board’s actions are at conflict with the Atomic Energy Act, which gives the federal government preemption in regulating nuclear power plants.

Vermont Yankee needs the new source of backup power because of a decision last year by ISO-New England, which operates the New England power grid.

“Vermont’s attempts to regulate the VY station and frustrate Entergy’s compliance with NRC regulation are preempted,” the lawsuit states.

According to the 2012 decision, ISO would no longer allow Vermont Yankee to rely on the emergency start-up power source it had for decades — the hydroelectric dam in Vernon, immediately down river from Vermont Yankee.

Without the Vernon hydro as a source of independent power, Entergy Nuclear decided that a third, dedicated, diesel generator was needed. Vermont Yankee already has two similar diesel generators at the Vernon reactor to power emergency systems in the event of an emergency, said James Sinclair, a spokesman for Vermont Yankee. Sinclair refused to say how much the generator cost.

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