….President Barack Obama had hoped to usher in a “nuclear renaissance,” and proposed $36 billion in new federal, taxpayer-subsidized loan guarantees to entice energy corporations to build new plants (adding to the $18.5 billion already approved during the George W. Bush administration). The first energy corporation in line to receive the public largesse was Southern Co., for two reactors slated for Georgia. The last time new construction on a nuclear power plant in the United States was ordered, and ultimately built, was back in 1973, when Obama was a seventh-grader at the Punahou School on Honolulu. The Three Mile Island disaster in 1979 and the Chernobyl disaster in 1986 effectively shut down new commercial nuclear projects in the United States. Nevertheless, this country remains the largest producer of commercial nuclear power in the world. The 104 licensed commercial nuclear plants are old, close to the end of their originally projected life spans. Plant owners are petitioning the federal government to extend their operating licenses.
These licenses are controlled by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). On March 10, the NRC issued a press release “regarding renewal of the operating license for the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station near Brattleboro, Vt., for an additional 20 years. The NRC staff expects to issue the renewed license soon.” Harvey Wasserman, of NukeFree.org, told me, “The first reactor at Fukushima is identical to the Vermont Yankee plant. … There are 23 reactors in the United States that are identical or close to identical to the first Fukushima reactor.”
A majority of Vermonters, including the state’s governor, Peter Shumlin, support shutting down the Vermont Yankee reactor, designed and built by General Electric…..