Vt. Senate votes against Entergy, Miss. AG questions $1.3B transfer

John O'Brien Mar. 1, 2010, 1:19pm


MONTPELIER, Vt. (Legal Newsline) - The Vermont Senate decided Wednesday not to grant Entergy Corp. a 20-year extension on its current license to operate a nuclear power plant in the state.

The decision, reached in a 26-4 vote, came after the company gave state Attorney General William Sorrell the results of an independent investigation into statements company employees made to state officials regarding possible leaks at Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station. Entergy also suspended five high-ranking employees.

A whistleblower has alleged Entergy has attempted to patch leaks of radioactive tritium without shutting down the plant. The plant's current license expires in 2012.

"The effort to win a 20-year renewal of Vermont Yankee's operating license is far from over," company spokesman Larry Smith said in a statement reported by the Associated Press.

"We remain determined to prove our case to the Legislature, state officials and the Vermont public."

Both houses of the state Legislature and the governor must approve nuclear licenses in Vermont.

Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood referenced the Vermont Senate vote in a press release issued Friday.

"If this type of misinformation and these false statements can happen in Vermont, it can happen in Mississippi-and we believe it already has," Hood said.

Hood has his own lawsuit against the company. He has said the company is "kind of like the mafia."

Hood feels that Entergy Mississippi is buying gas at an inflated cost from the other Entergy companies, driving prices up for Mississippi consumers.

Entergy called Hood's civil investigative demands a "fishing expedition" and feels the Attorney General's Office has no business investigating utilities.

Entergy recently transferred $1.3 billion from its company that oversees Mississippi operations to its nuclear program, Hood said.

"My translation of the (transfer) means that the regulated utilities like Entergy Mississippi, which are subsidiaries of Entergy Corp., put $1.3 billion less in their pockets in 2009," Hood wrote in a letter to Sorrell.

"One of my claims in Mississippi is that Entergy Corp. has wrongfully transferred money from the regulated utilities to Entergy's nuclear businesses and that money should be returned to Mississippi ratepayers."

From Legal Newsline: Reach John O'Brien by e-mail at jobrienwv@gmail.com.

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