A run-down facility, leaked radioactive materials and untrustworthy executives persuaded the Vermont senate to vote to close the Vermont Yankee power plant, run by New Orleans-based Entergy Corporation.

What does this mean for Louisiana? Well, Entergy fed Vermont misinformation about known faults in the plant's piping — or, as the Alliance for Affordable Energy states, Entergy showed "at least, profound ignorance of the design of this plant." What does that say about Entergy Louisiana's Waterford 3 nuclear facility in St. Charles Parish, or the Entergy Gulf States River Bend facility in St. Francisville? The Louisiana Public Service Commission's latest renewable portfolio standard strawman proposal suggests nuclear power as a "renewable" source that utilities companies include in Louisiana's future.

The Alliance issued a statement earlier this week before the Vermont ruling:

Entergy Corporation has shown that it cannot be trusted to safely operate these facilities or to provide honest, accurate information about the risks involved.

This disaster clearly demonstrates the risks associated with nuclear generation.  Nuclear power is not clean, not safe, and not renewable, and it has no place in policies designed to encourage renewable energy generation.  Furthermore, nuclear power is expensive.  The potential for disasters such as the one at Vermont Yankee are both a risk for communities and add to the financial burdens that nuclear projects carry, including large sums for decontaminating the sites that house these facilities.  Importantly, ratepayers are those who foot the bill for these projects, which endanger their very lives.

Subsidies and other incentives for energy generation should be reserved for clean, safe, renewable energy sources that can create jobs for Louisiana residents.  We hope that the Louisiana Public Service Commission sees the risks inherent in these plants and adopts a policy that does not include nuclear power.

If unchallenged, this will be the first time in more than 20 years the public or law closed a reactor. (The last was the 1989 closure of a Sacramento plant with faulty electronics.)

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