Vermont Yankee to lay off 30 workers

VERNON -- The owner of the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant says about 30 jobs will be cut by the end of the year.

Entergy Corp. spokesman Terry Young said that the cuts represent about a 4 percent reduction from the Vernon plant's workforce and are part of about 800 layoffs throughout the company.

Young said the company knows how many people will be laid off but hasn't yet determined which ones. He said the cuts won't be focused on any one area and that the company will make sure the reductions don't pose any hazards to the plant's operation.

Earlier this month, Chanel Lagarde, a national spokesman for Entergy Corp., issued a statement saying there are "a number of companywide strategic imperatives under way examining how we meet both the challenges and opportunities of today's business realities."

"One specific initiative is focused on finding ways to increase efficiencies in all parts of our business," Lagarde said. "We do expect workforce reductions to be one result of this initiative. We don't have final specifics at this time regarding who or how many employees will be affected."

The statement added that Entergy will "remain focused on all our key stakeholders throughout this process, and we will deal fairly and communicate openly and honestly."

"We will not compromise safety, security, reliability, customer service or compliance as we move forward," Lagarde said.

Entergy says it employs about 15,000 companywide. It owns and operates power plants with about 30,000 megawatts of generating capacity, including more than 10,000 megawatts of nuclear generation capacity.

On July 16, Entergy said its second-quarter operational earnings are expected to be approximately $1 per share compared with $2.11 per share in the second quarter last year.

The company attributed a decrease in earnings to "substantially higher income-tax expense than the prior year" as well as to "higher non-fuel operation and maintenance expense and higher depreciation expense."

Also cited in the notice were lower revenues due to "lower volume and energy prices" for the company's nuclear holdings.

"Nuclear production declined due to more unplanned and refueling outages," the company's notice said. "Refueling days at Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station and Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station totaled 50 days in second quarter 2013, versus 35 days at two other plants for the same quarter last year."

Additionally, the earnings release noted "expenses associated with the implementation of the human capital management strategic imperative."

The long-term future of Vermont Yankee remains in doubt due to an ongoing court battle with the state.

Though the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission has renewed the plant's license for another two decades, the state Public Service Board has not yet issued a certificate of public good for the facility's continued operation.

A federal judge ruled in 2012 that Vermont lawmakers overstepped their authority when they voted to forbid issuance of a state certificate of public good for Vermont Yankee.

State officials have appealed.

Due to that uncertainty, Entergy has not renegotiated a longterm tax deal with the town of Vernon. In May, Vernon Selectboard approved a second oneyear extension of an expired taxstabilization agreement keeping the Vermont Yankee plant's value steady at $300 million.


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