The US Court of Appeals of the Second Circuit has said that Vermont does not have the authority to shut down the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant.

The appeals court agreed with the state’s contention that Entergy’s, which operates the nuclear plant, claim was premature and without factual support.

The ruling removes the basis for Entergy’s current claim that Vermont taxpayers should reimburse Entergy for $4.62m in attorney’s fees in addition to any fees incurred by the company during the course of the appeal.

The court’s decision notes that the board has statutory authority to consider issues like ‘power generation stability, economic impact on the State, aesthetic and environmental issues, and likelihood of compliance with federal regulations’ in deciding whether to grant Entergy’s pending application for a certificate of public good.

The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has renewed Entergy’s permit to operate the Yankee power station until 2032. State action is preempted by the federal Atomic Energy Act.