Which should lead to 19 to 39 percent higher energy costs. The Heritage Foundation:
When it comes to nuclear energy, fact is one thing and perception is another. The fact of the tritium leak is that it was minor in scope and did not threaten public health or safety. Vermont Yankee has been safely operated for over 37 years, and officials from the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission informed Vermont lawmakers that there is no reason to close the plant.
Further, while public health and safety is not imperiled by Vermont Yankee, the economic and environmental future of the state could be jeopardized by needlessly closing down the plant. Nuclear accounts for a higher percentage of electricity generation in Vermont than in any other state: around 75 percent. And since Vermont Yankee is the only nuclear plant in the state, it is responsible for every bit of that production.
Shutting down Vermont Yankee now, when the state has no viable power alternative, will result in substantially higher electricity rates. One analysis from a year ago estimated a 19 percent to 39 percent increase in the cost of electricity. Given that Vermont households and businesses already pay 30 percent more than the national average, such rates could be devastating for the state’s economy.
Then there are the environmental facts. The truth is that Vermont enjoys emissions-free electricity because of Vermont Yankee. What’s going to replace it? Wind? Solar? Hardly. Not only are these sources expensive, they are intermittent and require massive amounts of land to produce a similar amount of energy. Natural gas and coal could provide Vermont with the electricity, but building a new plant when the existing one is working just fine is a monumental waste of resources.