Vt. nuke fights for future but chances are dimming

From the Associated Press:

Vermont's piece of the nuclear age, launched four decades ago, seems to be coming to a close, even as advocates push for a renaissance of nuclear power in the United States.

The Vermont Yankee nuclear plant's initial 40-year license expires March 21, 2012, less than 15 months from now. And despite a safety and performance record no worse than many of the other 61 reactors that have won 20-year license extensions from the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Vernon power plant's future looks short.

That's largely because it's located in the only state in the country with a law saying both houses of its legislature have to give their approval before Vermont regulators can issue a state license for the plant to continue operating.

The Vermont Senate voted 26-4 last February against letting the Public Service Board issue the new state license. That vote came a month after it was revealed that Vermont Yankee was leaking tritium, a radioactive isotope of hydrogen, into soil and groundwater surrounding the reactor on the banks of the Connecticut River. It also followed revelations that senior plant personnel had misled state officials about whether Vermont Yankee had the sort of underground pipes that carried radioactive tritium.

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