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Japan Solidarity Vigil At Vermont Yankee

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
JAPAN SOLIDARITY VIGIL AT VERMONT YANKEE
SUNDAY, MARCH 20, 1:00 PM

For further information, please call:

Bob Bady (Safe & Green Campaign) 802-258-7750 bobbady@gmail.com

Deb Katz (Citizens Awareness Network) 413-339-5781 deb@nukebusters.org

Clay Turnbull (New England Coalition) 802-257-0336 turnbull@together.net
JAPAN SOLIDARITY VIGIL AT VERMONT YANKEE
SUNDAY, MARCH 20, 1:00 PM

As a public expression of solidarity with the thousands of Japanese workers and residents affected by the still worsening nuclear disaster in Japan’s Fukushima Prefecture, there will be a solemn, peaceful vigil in front of the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant on Governor Hunt Road in Vernon, Vermont, this Sunday, March 20, at 1:00 pm.

“We who live in the shadow of Vermont Yankee regard the people living near the Fukushima reactors as our sister reactor communities,” said Deb Katz, executive director of Citizens Awareness Network. “Their suffering is breaking our hearts, and it’s a suffering which, given the long-lasting effects of the radioactivity spewing from these melting-down reactors, could continue for many years – and is unacceptable.”

New England Coalition trustee Leslie Staudinger said, “Our compassion for the nuclear plant workers and Japanese families in the evacuation zones is deep and heartfelt. Under these circumstances, our sadness moves us to act beyond the Coalition’s usual role as legal and scientific advocates and educators.”

In addition to expressing concern for the suffering of the Japanese people, the vigilers will continue calling for the closure of Vermont Yankee, a 39-year-old, accident-plagued facility of the same or very similar age and design (Mark 1 Boiling Water Reactor made by General Electric) as the failed nuclear reactors in Japan.

“If this could happen in Japan, with all its technological sophistication and disaster preparedness,” said Nancy Braus of the Safe & Green Campaign, “what unexpected event might overtake the alleged safeguards we’re told are protecting Vermont Yankee?”

Vigil organizers have suggested that those who plan to attend wear black, bring a sign or banner in keeping with the purpose of the vigil, and park in the parking lot of the Vernon Elementary School across from the plant. All are welcome.

The vigil is being sponsored by the Safe & Green Campaign, Citizens Awareness Network, and the New England Coalition.

Comments Posted:
1 Comment posted on "Japan Solidarity Vigil At Vermont Yankee"
Don Worth on April 22nd, 2011 at 6:02 am #

Is the Good Life Possible with Vermont Yankee?

Vermont has “pro-nukes,” “anti-nukes” and those residents not seeming to fit in either group…perhaps there’s room for another category entitled, “anti-Vermont Yankee?” Some Vermonters have said they’re not against nuclear power, (if) the leaks can be stopped, the spent fuel rod storage problem can be solved and the structures can be fabricated to withstand all possible weather anomalies.

Vermont Yankee (VY) is located in the town of Vernon which sits in the southeastern corner of the state at the junction formed by the Connecticut River and the Massachusetts border, and was once actually a part of the town of Hinsdale, NH. Purportedly, Vernon’s 2141 people have even discussed seceding from Vermont (to either NH or MA) if the Legislature refuses to grant VY a license extension beyond 2012.

VY, operating since 1972 and employing about 650 people, is the state’s largest power source with a nominal 540 megawatt boiling water reactor, and is one of five operating nuclear plants in New England. In 2002, VY was sold by eight New England utilities to Entergy Nuclear Vermont Yankee, LLC, a subsidiary of the Entergy Corporation of New Orleans, the second largest nuclear generator in the US.

In February of 2010, the VT Senate voted 26-4 against allowing the Public Service Board (PSB) to consider re-certifying VY after 2012, citing radioactive (tritium) leaks, misstatements in testimony by plant officials, a cooling tower collapse in 2007 and other problems. In the event the PSB refuses to issue them a Certificate of Public Good, VY could elect to continue to operate and the case would be decided in court, since the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has recently granted a license renewal to operate until 2032.

So, where does all this see-sawing leave the customer who’s concerned about how high electric bills will be if VY closes? Since the Vernon plant supplies about a third of the state’s total power, how will that amount be replaced? The average Vermont Electric Cooperative (VEC) member would pay between 50 & 60 cents extra each month if VY closes. Replacement power will have to be purchased from the New England grid, which isn’t the most cost-effective way to obtain electricity, but it appears to be the best option right now.

If Vermont Yankee’s past record predicts its future and safety modifications aren’t made, many Vermonters feel it should be closed permanently. Most VEC members seem to agree. Perhaps divining its prospects, two days after Peter Shumlin became the new VT Governor, Entergy put Vermont Yankee up for sale.

(Don Worth is the Director for District 1 on the VEC Board of Directors and is running for re-election in May. The foregoing does not express the opinion of VEC or its Board.)