Voters in 25 towns give no-confidence vote to Vt. Yankee

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In a Town Meeting day vote Tuesday, voters in Brattleboro, Brookline, Calais, Charleston, Charlotte, Corinth, Dummerston, East Montpelier, Greensboro, Guilford, Hinesburg, Holland, Marlboro, Marshfield, Middlesex, Newfane, Plainfield, Richmond, Townshend, Warren, Westfield, Windham, Woodbury and Worcester all approved a measure that calls on state lawmakers to block the Vernon power plant from staying open once its license expires and to force its owners to fully fund a decommissioning fund set up to pay for the plant's eventual dismantling - whenever that is.

Westminster voters approved the article on Saturday.

Bolton and Wardsboro split the article into separate elements. In Wardsboro Tuesday, voters passed over closing the plant, but voted to require Entergy Nuclear Vermont Yankee, the plant's owner, to fully fund the decommissioning fund. In Bolton on Monday, voters rejected closing VY but approved the decommissioning fund requirement.

The measure was tabled in Walden and defeated in Topsham.

More than 40 towns around the state took up the measure at their Town Meetings.

Vermont is the only state with a law giving its legislature veto power over continued operation of a nuclear reactor beyond the expiration of its license. So plant owner Entergy Nuclear's efforts to win approval for a 20-year extension have focused not only on its relicensing application before the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which governs the industry, but on the Vermont Statehouse.

"I think most Vermonters feel that nuclear energy has to be part of the mix, for reducing fossil fuel use and supporting the economy," Vermont Yankee spokesman Rob Williams said Tuesday. "Our focus is on keeping the plant reliable and productive. In the end, that makes the best case for continued operation."

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