Another Reactor Closes, Punctuating New Reality for U.S. Nuclear Power
As Vermont Yankee shuts down, the U.S. has yet to address industry issues that span decades.
Almost all its nearly 100 remaining reactors will be more than 60 years old by 2050. Their owners will have to decide whether the investments needed to keep them running are worth it, given the influx of cheap natural gas that has reshaped the U.S. energy economy.
So far, nuclear isn't winning. Vermont Yankee, which shut down Monday after 42 years of operation, is the fourth U.S. nuclear facility to close in two years. For the owners of each recent retiree—from Vermont Yankee to San Onofre in California, Kewaunee in Wisconsin, and Crystal River in Florida—the math just didn't work.
"When we looked at the cost of those improvements with what we projected as the cost of energy, the decision was