With the close of 2014 came the closing of the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant.
At 1:04 pm EST on Monday, the 620 Megawatt plant in southern Vermont was completely shut down. The nuclear facility had been ramping down slowly for several months. It had been running at 74% capacity on Monday morning, with other New England power stations taking up the growing gap as it drew down its electricity production.
The plant’s closure follows that of of Southern California Edison’s San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, Dominion’s Kewaunee plant in Wisconsin, and the Duke Energy’s Crystal River plant in Florida. According to recent analysis by the Energy Information Administration’s Robert McManmon, these facility shutdowns contributed to more than 4,900 job cuts across the country.
The shift has already appeared in the EIA’s tool for tracking the status of the U.S. nuclear fleet. Launched earlier this year, this tool displays daily nuclear power plant capacity data. The Yankee Nuclear Power Plant now shows a daily plant output of 0 percent.
The plant had been in operation for 42 years. According to Vermont’s Governor, Peter Shumlin, the shutdown reflected a distinct shift in Vermont’s energy sector. In a statement yesterday, he stated that “thanks to investments in renewable energy such as solar, Vermont’s energy future is on a different, more sustainable path that is creating jobs, reducing energy costs for Vermonters and slowing climate change.”
The plant is now expected to be decommissioned and dismantled, a process that will likely take decades and cost upwards of $1.2 billion.