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Court Observers Assess Arguments in Vermont Yankee Appeal

Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant
Courtesy NRC and Entergy Corp.
Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant before decommissioning

A U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel heard arguments Monday in a dispute between Entergy Nuclear and the state of Vermont about continued operations of the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant.
Vermont’s only nuclear power plant has continued to operate without approval from state regulators since last March.  The federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission had extended the plant’s license for 20 years. But the Vermont Legislature had blocked the state Public Service Board from renewing the required state permit. Last January, a federal judge ruled that the nuclear plant could continue to operate under the NRC licensing. The state of Vermont appealed.
Lawyers from each side had fifteen minutes each to present their case before the Appeals court on Monday.  

Attorneys David Frederick argued for the state of Vermont and Kathleen Sullivan represented Entergy, the company that owns Vermont Yankee.  Vermont Law School Professor Cheryl Hanna, who traveled to Manhattan to observe the proceedings, says Vermont’s Attorney General made a good decision in hiring outside counsel to argue the appeal for the state.

Vermont Energy Partnership Spokesman Guy Page, a supporter of continued operations,  was among the Vermonters watching the court arguments.

Guy Page says the judges asked pointed questions of both lawyers.

Cheryl Hanna says she overheard Vermont’s Attorney General comment that there were more questions from the court that made him happy than made him cringe.  

It is unknown when the Appeals Court will issue a decision.