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February 17th, 2012
03:30 PM ET

Vermont battle could determine U.S. nuclear future

The Vermont Yankee Nuclear Plant near Brattleboro, VT is 39 years old, part of a generation of aging nuclear plants.

The plant is the same design as the notorious Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan and has a history of problems - water towers collapsing, pipes leaking radioactive material, to name a few.

Now the plant is at the center of a battle that could well shape America's nuclear future. The Vermont legislature has voted to shut down the plant, but the plant owners insist Vermont doesn't have the right to shut them down and has won approval from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to keep the plant going for another 20 years.

Will the people of Vermont have a say in their own nuclear future? CNN's Amber Lyon investigates.

Don't miss Nuclear Standoff, one of three in-depth stories in one riveting hour hosted by CNN's Randi Kaye and Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

CNN Presents premieres an all-new show this Saturday at 8pm ET, re-airing at 11:00 pm ET, 2:00 am ET and the same times on Sunday.

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Filed under: Amber Lyon • nuclear • Uncategorized
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Tim Sutton

    I can't believe this reporter is being criticized for a lack of balance in this story when on camera there is a representative from the NRC who refuses to talk about the issue. The reporter has clearly done the legwork required of a professional journalist. If you don't like what she finds out, don't blame the messenger.

    February 21, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
  2. Kathy

    Amber, interesting piece on Yankee power plant in Vermont last night. I think I heard you say that Entergy owns another 10? plants around the country. I was wondering if you looked into whether or not the other plants are in the same state of "decay" as Yankee or have mysterious environmental issues in their areas that can be blamed on nuclear testing as well? Also, does Entergy have a lobby group working for them in Washington to ensure their other plants are granted another 20 years?

    February 20, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
  3. Mark Miller

    I was pretty disappointed with the shoddiness and lack of balance of your report. Too bad you didn't have a contrasting opinion to that presented by Arne Gunderson. The issue is much more complex than presented, the hazards are much less severe than alledged and the objectively quantified safety in continuing to operate Vermont Yankee is completely ignored. Try agian (but I doubt if I'll watch.)

    February 20, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
  4. Daniel

    Nuclear power provides a source of safe, reliable power. It's safety record far surpasses that of all other energy sources. Not one person has died as the result of a US commercial nuclear power accident. The same cannot be said for coal, gas or oil. Yet people are not screaming for the closure of coal mines or off shore oil rigs. People are not boycotting those sources by giving up their cars, their air conditioners or refridgerators. Nuclear is the answer to our nation's ever-increasing demand for energy. The only way that will happen is to build new plants and extend the licenses of current plants. Granted, these extensions should only be given to plants/utilities that can prove they are safe or be upgraded to be safe. I believe the NRC is doing that. The safety records in conjunction with numerous required upgrades allows the NRC to confidently extend these licenses.

    February 19, 2012 at 11:57 pm |
  5. Spectator

    After watching the story on Vermont Yankee on CNN Presents, I'm amazed at how they can present such a one-sided story to help sensationalize a show. The interview list consisted of an anti-nuclear whistle blower, a congressman who has opposed the plant for years and an attorney general who just got totally whipped in the court case by the plants lawyers. When they interview the state's own nuclear engineer who countered the issue of finding a fish with strontium in the adjacent river by showing it came from bomb testing years ago, well...there needs to be additonal studies. Amber Lyon should do a little more work to get both sides of the story, not just stand next to a wall with "shut down VY" spray painted on the side. Everything I've read from impartial news outlets say the plant is one of the most reliable in the country. Just a coincidence that the show had commercials from the petroluem industry.

    February 18, 2012 at 9:26 pm |
  6. VT Girl

    The Majority of Vermonters want it to stay open. Shumlin uses it as a political platform. Get the real facts about the incidents at VY. Major media hype about nothing and that is the reason the NRC award the license on all accounts. Not one issue that VT Attorney General presented was won their way. VT'ers are pissed that they are pursuing it and waste our tax dollars some more!

    February 18, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
  7. John Gagnon

    You guys must be crazy! Here in Canada' our Candu reactors, which are one of the safest designs in the world, have mandatory rebuilds every 25 years. To just extend the license of a questionable design is not only dangerous, it's asking for something bigger than 3 mile, Chernoble, or the latest from Japan. Vermont should be shut down and rebuilt to the latest standards! As a machinist that produces all the components for Candu reactors worldwide and has been involved in building reactors in China, Korea and refitting in Canada, I should know!

    February 18, 2012 at 8:41 pm |