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Vermont Yankee Ends Operations After 42 Years

The Vermont Yankee nuclear plant stopped sending power to the New England electric grid at just after noon Monday following more than 42 years of producing electricity from the southeastern Vermont town of Vernon.

The shutdown came at 12:12 p.m., as the plant completed its 30th operating cycle when operators inserted control rods into the reactor core and stopped the nuclear reaction process, the plant's owner said.

In its 42 years of operation, the plant produced more than 171 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity. During that same period the plant provided 71.8 percent of all electricity generated within Vermont, or 35 percent of the electricity consumed in the state, the company said, citing information from the Energy Information Agency.

Bill Mohl, the president of Entergy Wholesale Commodities, said economic factors, especially related to the natural gas market in the Northeast, were the primary reason for the shutdown.

"The Northeast has undergone a shift in supply because of shale gas, resulting in sustained low natural gas prices and low wholesale energy prices," Mohl said in a statement.

The plant employed more than 600 people when it announced it would close. The workforce will be cut in half after a round of layoffs and retirements Jan. 19.

In 2016, the plant will see another big reduction as it prepares for a 30-year period during which time its radiation will cool. The plant likely won't be dismantled until the 2040s or later.

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