Yesterday, I wrote about Rod Adams work to keep Vermont Yankee running through an employee buy-out. Saving Vermont Yankee: Rod Adams Moves Forward. At the end of that post, I wrote
Imagine that a Vermont Yankee employee asked me: "Well, should I stop looking for a new job? Will VY continue?" I don't think I would advise her to stop looking for a new job. There is a reasonable chance Adams efforts will succeed....and a reasonable chance they will fail.
There are many roadblocks to an employee buyout. The comment stream on my post includes several of the potential problems. In my estimation, there are basically two major issues:
- Political opposition
I debated calling this roadblock: "NRC" instead of "money." The group that buys the plant must not only have enough money for the purchase, they must convince the NRC that they have enough money to run the plant, replace anything that needs to be replaced, etc. They have to be fiscally sound.
Getting that kind of money together is hard, and doing it on an ad hoc basis unlikely to be convincing. Let's say Warren Buffet decided to buy the plant. Buffet has had money for a long time. He could convince the NRC that he can run it. A new entity called "Employees Purchase Group" would have a tough battle convincing the NRC that the Purchase Group was fiscally sound.
If the employees own the plant, instead of "Entergy Louisiana" owning it, much of the political opposition might go away. Or it might not. If the political opposition doesn't go away, the state won't let the plant operate. If the state was forced to let it operate, the state will do its best to tax it to death.
Maybe or Maybe Not
These are the facts here in Vermont. I think Adams is doing something worthwhile, not something completely quixotic. Still, buying the plant is hardly a slam-dunk. Adams is trying to do something that has never been done before. His path is seriously uphill.
My issue is that I want to be supportive to the effort to keep VY running, but I don't want to be Pollyanna. I want to make it clear that I think that individuals at the plant should look to their own futures, and not assume that VY will keep operating.
That said, I want to say that I support Rod's efforts to keep it running.