Samantha Fow '12 Analyzes "Vermont Yankee Experiment"
August 2, 2011
Using the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant as an example, Vermont Law School student Samantha Fow '12 recently looked at the potential benefits of increased state-level nuclear regulation as well as the potential drawbacks of such a policy without federal cooperation.
Fow analyzes whether the current disposition of nuclear policy in America would allow Vermont to regulate the Vermont Yankee according to the state‘s best interests, focusing in particular on the current litigation brought against the state by the power plant‘s private corporate owners, Entergy.
"The Vermont Legislature has attempted to insulate the state from harm that could result from the continued operation of an aging nuclear facility. However, the state has struggled with a private nuclear operator‘s non-compliance with certain aspects of Vermont‘s regulatory scheme and a lack of enforcement mechanisms to ensure compliance. Without a change in federal policy, state nuclear regulators may have difficulties actively regulating the nuclear power plants within their borders. State regulation of nuclear power has grown substantially more sophisticated since 1954, and the time is ripe for the additional legislation contemplated by the Atomic Energy Act that would bolster state authority in this field."