Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant
Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station completed its 30th and final operating
cycle at 12:12 p.m. December 29, 2014. The station was in commercial operation
Entergy Vermont Yankee supplied nearly one-third of all electricity consumed
in Vermont at beneficial, below-market rates. Vermont Yankee contributed
significantly to the environmental quality of the state's electric portfolio,
which had the lowest carbon footprint of any state in the nation.
The impact of Vermont Yankee on the local community and the state was
substantial. During construction many good jobs were brought to the local area,
and when Vermont Yankee became fully operational some 250 local jobs made the
facility an economic engine for the community. After a four-year construction
and federal licensing, Vermont Yankee was staffed with highly qualified
maintenance technicians and electrical, mechanical and nuclear engineers. Many
of the operating staff were drawn directly from the US Navy nuclear propulsion
program. By 1972, the plant was up and running and selling nuclear-generated
electricity over the 345,000-volt transmission lines to New England consumers.
The plant's electricity, dispatched by the New England Power Pool, proved
reliable for full-power operations around the clock and it positioned the state
well against the Middle East embargo on oil shipments to the United States.
With Vermont Yankee reliably on line, and with safety as the highest
priority, oil-fired power plants in the northeast were gradually edged out of
the role of baseload electric generators which was a major step in reducing air
pollution in the region.
Less fossil-fired pollution has meant less mercury in the rivers and less
acid rain impact on sugar maple trees and other important species in the
economy. With the discovery of the greenhouse effect on a global scale, it is
clear that the environmental benefits of nuclear generators like Vermont Yankee
go well beyond New England.
Over the next 42 years, Vermont Yankee brought in additional engineering
services, quality assurance and licensing personnel -- positions that had
previously been filled by out-of-state contractors -- and made additions to its
normal staff to bring the total employees including permanent contractors to
nearly 650. During those years, Vermont Yankee provided low-cost, base-load
power to Vermont.
Throughout Vermont Yankee's operating life, New England electricity consumers
benefited from the stable fuel cost inherent in nuclear energy and the continued
safety focus of those who oversaw the plant.