In Vermont, Nuclear Shutdown Would Mean Turn to Fossil Fuels
America’s greenest state may take a surprising step to embrace fossil fuels. On Thursday, Forbes reported that numerous Vermont citizens are working to have the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant shut down. The plant, responsible for 80 percent of the state’s power production and one-third of its consumption, heavily contributes to Vermont’s greenness because nuclear energy does not emit carbon.
If the plant is closed, it is likely that more fossil fuels will be needed to pick up the slack. A utility company that purchases power from Vermont Yankee has stated that it will have to rely on other carbon-emitting sources such as natural gas fired plants.
Such news does not seem to concern opponents of nuclear energy however. Democratic Representative Tony Klein has said, “there are serious liabilities that come with these plants, and the liabilities far outweigh the benefits.”
Vermonters’ concerns are not completely unfounded. According to Forbes, “the plant has had a couple of alarming accidents, including a dramatic cooling tower collapse in August of 2007.”
If nuclear opponents are successful in shutting down Vermont Yankee, it could prove troublesome to Senate Democrats who have endorsed the increased use of nuclear energy, partly in exchange for Republican support of the cap and trade bill.