Learning from the tragedy of Vermont Yankee.
Former U.S. Senator Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) is co-chairman of Nuclear Matters, a campaign designed to engage and inform policymakers and the public about the need to preserve existing nuclear energy plants.
The end of 2014 marked a sad moment with the closure of the Vermont Yankee nuclear energy plant. A lifeline for many in the communities it served, including Vernon, Vt., and parts of New Hampshire and Massachusetts, Vermont Yankee's closure is indicative of a problem that nuclear plants across the country currently face. Too many well-functioning nuclear energy facilities - most of which have decades of safe, useful operating life remaining - are at risk of closure or have announced their early retirement.
These closures are due not to the economic fundamentals of nuclear plants, but rather the unintended consequences of poorly designed market structures and government policies. Looking ahead, regulators, policymakers and industry should keep in mind the impacts of Vermont Yankee's shutdown - which will spread far and wide - and should do everything they can to prevent further premature nuclear closures. The reliability of the electric grid and the well-being of electricity consumers, the environment, employees, and communities across the country depend on it.