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New England Nuke Plant to Shut Doors: Environmental Victory but Vital Work Still Ahead

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In a victory for decades-old movements against nuclear power in Vermont, the state's only nuclear power plant will be permanently shuttered by the end of next year, corporate owner Entergy announced Tuesday.

As many celebrate the shutdown of the 'Vermont Yankee' nuclear plant, similar in design to the Japanese Fukushima Daiichi facility currently wreaking environmental and humanitarian havoc in Japan after a 2011 reactor explosion, environmental and workers' organizations acknowledge that the fight to ensure a safe decommissioning process and just transition for workers has only just begun.

"We cannot treat these workers like they're disposable," James Haslam of the Vermont Workers Center told Common Dreams. "The plant needs to be decommissioned in a way that promotes healthy community and healthy environment."

The New Orleans-based owner of the 4 decades-old facility has been fighting against the state of Vermont since 2010, when the Senate struck down a measure that would have extended plant authorization by decades, citing concerns about the safety and age of the plant.

"Each day of news from the widening catastrophe in Japan brings a grim reminder that this design is inherently dangerous and fundamentally flawed, a known fact since the first day Vermont Yankee came on line in 1972," declared Paul Gunter, director of reactor oversight for Beyond Nuclear.    
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