Monday, July 25, 2011

Vermont Yankee Will Refuel!

I was wrong. In a post a few hours ago, I said that I predicted that Entergy would not order fuel for the October outage. I thought they would look at Judge Murtha's ruling denying Entergy an injunction. I thought they would decide that the positive things Murtha said about their main case were not grounds enough to place a $60 million dollar bet by ordering fuel.

This morning, Entergy announced that it will order fuel to be loaded in the October outage.

Reading the Entergy press release, it is clear that Entergy did not base their decision on a tea-leaf analysis of Judge Murtha's words about the injunction. Instead, Entergy's assessed the strength of their own case. Good for them!

Entergy looked at the big picture and the law itself. Meanwhile, I let myself get caught up in microscopic examination of Murtha's statements and whether Murtha's statements were enough basis for ordering fuel.

I am glad to have been wrong about this! I am glad Entergy is ordering fuel!

(Also, I would not recommend hiring me as a fortune teller. If you were thinking of doing so, don't do it.)

Part of the press release is quoted below:

New Orleans, La. – Today Entergy Corporation (NYSE: ETR) communicated to its employees that the company's board of directors voted to approve the fabrication of fuel and the refueling of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in October. This will be the plant's 29th refueling.

While the company has received a 20-year license extension from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the state of Vermont has refused to grant a certificate of public good to continue operating beyond March 21, 2012. That issue is currently being litigated before the U.S. District Court for the state of Vermont.

"Entergy's board of directors carefully reviewed the merits of our case and the arguments put forth by all parties during the recent hearing in District Court when we requested a preliminary injunction against the state of Vermont taking any actions to close Vermont Yankee," said J. Wayne Leonard, Entergy's chairman and chief executive officer. "Our board believes both the merits of the company's legal position and the record strongly support its decision to continue to trial scheduled to begin on Sep. 12. On that basis, the decision was made to move forward with the refueling as planned."


PleasantGuitar said...

Isn't this an irresponsible or at least very expensive move on Entergy's part to create pressure to keep the plant open?

Meredith Angwin said...

No. It isn't.

Entergy made a wise business decision.

Helius said...

Just by reading your blog entry here I'll bet you'd like the book: "The Black Swan" by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. It indicates yet another set of reasons to favor Nuclear Energy and Nuclear Energy Research.

Thank you very much for your writing regarding VT. Yankee and Nuclear Power; I really appreciate your blog and your sane perspective. It is one of my favorite "stops" on my Internet Browsing.

Meredith Angwin said...


Thank you! I met Nassim Taleb very briefly once. He came to our daughter's book launch party (Julia Angwin, book is "Stealing MySpace)". Our daughter and Nassim Taleb had the same main editor at Random House, which is why Taleb came to the party, I think.

Great recommendation!

Joffan said...

I was expecting them to make a mini-reload with a smaller amount of fresh fuel (or buy some part-used fuel from a shut-down reactor) but I guess they felt they were best just going ahead with the promise of an early trial date (and retry the injunction if the trial moves).

Meredith Angwin said...

Another thought. Helius sees past the usual interpretation of the Black Swan book. The usual interpretation is that "all kinds of awful outlying events will happen so energy sources just aren't safe!" The book has a deep interest in reilience, but that is rarely mentioned. Glad to see Helius' comment!