7-23-11 Clamshell reunion meeting notes
Posted (Diane Clancy) on 15-08-2011

7-23-11 Clamshell reunion meeting notes in doc format for download also

Clamshell Alliance 2011 Reunion

On July 23, 2011, thirty-eight anti-nuclear organizers met at World Fellowship in Conway NH to discuss resistance, particularly focused on the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant (VY) in Vernon on the Connecticut River at juncture of VT, NH & MA. These are notes from the meeting: those attending, commitments made by the end of the day, morning (large group) and afternoon (break out and large group) discussions. (Notes taken by Lynn Chong, Shel Horowitz, and Randy Kehler; organized by Sharon Tracy.)

Attending Andy Davis and Andrea Walsh (World Fellowship co-directors,; Arnie Alpert, Canterbury, NH; Bob Bady, Brattleboro, VT (Safe & Green,; Randy Kehler, Colrain, MA (Safe & Green); Eric Bachman, Barre, VT (VT Yankee Decommissioning Alliance, VYDA, formerly of Germany); Dorie Wilsnap, Barre VT (VT Action for Peace); Shel Horowitz, Amherst, MA (re: closing nukes via AP report,write; Charles Smith, Wendell MA (Conservation Commission); Lynn Chong, Sanbornton, NH; Paul Gunter, Takoma Park, MD (Beyond Nuclear,,19-yr NH resident); Judith Kauffman, Cornish, NH, (Upper Valley Energy Coalition & Beyond Nuclear board);  Elizabeth Cushing, Hampton, NH, (youth activist); Jean Sherlock, Pelham, MA; Peter Kellman, N. Berwick, ME (Southern ME Labor Council); Rebekah Yonan, N. Berwick, ME; Jeff Brummer, Jamaica Plain, MA; Rob Pearlman, Sanbornton, NH; Court Dorsey, Wendell, MA; Debbie Lynangale, Wendell, MA; Robbie Leppzer and Maria, Wendell, MA (, filming new no nukes documentary); Doug Bogen, Barrington NH (Seacoast Anti-Pollution League,; Mary Cupp; Jay Gustaferro, Gloucester, MA; Linda Gunter, Takoma Park, MD (Beyond Nuclear); Nancy Brous, Putney, VT (Safe and Green); David Detmold, Montague, MA (Solar Rollers, Montague Reporter); Jessica Rosenberg and Ethan Cummings, extreme northern Wisconsin; Martha Yates, NH/NM, (former Bur. of Land Mgt Citizens Advisory Council,; Pam Moffet Pam Moffat,; Donlon Wade, Lebanon area, NH; Patricia Green, Lebanon area, NH; Renny Cushing, Hampton, NH; Tom Wyatt, Warwick, MA (Clamshell website affinity group—WAG:,; Sharon Tracy, New Salem, MA (WAG); George Mokray, Cambridge, MA (WAG & solar civil defense,

Commitments made, Saturday afternoon, 7/23/11 (notes — Randy and Shel)

ü     Arnie Alpert, Will lead a nonviolence training-for-trainers in Brattleboro with Eric Bachman and Dorie Wilsnap if Safe & Green Campaign will take care of the logistics.  Will put information coming from this meeting on his blog and spread the word re VY.

ü     Dorie Wilsnap:  Will work with Arnie and Eric and is available for other trainings.

ü     Eric Bachman, : Will work with Arnie and Dorie on training, is available to talk about his no-nukes organizing in Germany, and will help the WAG re international communications, particularly Europe.

ü     Lynn Chong, Will talk to her daughter and son-in-law (a doctor) about hosting a meeting in Lebanon.

ü     Patricia Green and Donlon Wade, Will work on forming an affinity group in the Lebanon, NH, area, perhaps with Lynn’s daughter. Patricia will help Sharon re mapping project.

ü     Judith Kauffman, Will send out “next steps” to her network as soon as she receives specific word about an action. Focus on local people who can ask a farmer if we can use their field.

ü     Paul Gunter, : Beyond Nuclear is willing to serve as a D.C. spokesperson for whatever actions at Vermont Yankee take place; the organization is also doing a public outreach campaign to recruit around New England using the Into Eternity film and educational materials for house gatherings, etc. Paul will also form a D.C. affinity group.

ü     Linda Gunter, : Can make more short satirical videos of the kind she’s been making for Facebook, YouTube, etc., can do other multi-media, and will work on getting national and international media attention on VY. Beyond Nuclear has an ad we can send around, maybe it could work as a poster.

ü     Doug Bogen, Will serve as a conduit to Seabrook-area activists for VY-related updates.

ü     Sharon Tracy, Building on the anti-VY support among W. MA elected officials to extend further (Costello rep. in MA Seacoast for example). Will connect with the progressive Date Collaborative group also at WF for the weekend re mapping potential effect of VY and other nukes; and will work on communications.

ü     George Mokray, : Can do solar workshops where needed and will continue to monitor Harvard and MIT nuclear-related events. Produced a series of solar PSAs on youtube which are available for use and as an open source model:

ü     Rebekah Yonan, Will work on forming an affinity group in No. Berwick, ME, emphasis on farmers.

ü     Tom Wyatt, : Will work on developing a strategic communication network nationally and internationally. Will attend bi-weekly VT/MA/NH planning meetings that are developing action scenarios.

ü     Shel Horowitz, Will help with press releases and work on AP series implications for VY

ü     Renny Cushing, Has blocked out March 21-25 for participation in nonviolent direct action at VY.

ü     Jeff Brummer, Also blocking out March 21-25 on his calendar for participation in nonviolent direct action at VY.  And will form an affinity group.

ü     David Detmold, : Do bicycle outreach (a la Solar Rollers). Will start a system to keep affinity groups in touch (maybe an e-newsletter) also for trainers. Will start affinity group.

ü     Mary Cupp: Will help with training.

ü     Court Dorsey, Will help with search for good ideas re possible nonviolent actions re VY

ü     Nancy Braus, Writing oral history about efforts to shut VY, looking for gallery space.

ü     Randy Kehler, , Bob Bady,, Nancy Braus, carry on the resistance via Safe & Green Campaign,, and building coalition.

7/23/11 morning discussion

Linda Gunter of Beyond Nuclear informs on international nuclear power. On Sept. 11, 2011, the German equivalent to the head of the federal EPA, Yocham Flasbort is coming to speak in VT around the VT Yankee re-licensing issue. Germany’s renewable energy path/gains can inspire the renewables effort. In 1987 Italy had a post-Chernobyl referendum and closed three reactors. Two months ago, Italy had a 95% vote never to restart nuclear power. The Swiss are also phasing out their nuclear power. Japan will live without it. Germany’s Christian Democrats were quick to decide against nuclear power, post Fukushima-Daiichi (F-D). They’ve had significant renewables growth since 2000 of a regional system administered through the Univ. of Kassel, (more at Their goals are 90% achieved/ 370,000 jobs from renewables. Lesser number of jobs from nuclear, coal. Their success links to their proportional representation voting system. Looking to compare VT to Germany: German is cloudy much of the time; VT is further south. “We can map the impact of Germany’s success story on VT.”

Comments: VT is similar to Germany because the sitting governor and legislators were elected for renewables interest and being against VT Yankee’s continuation. Linda makes point that French easily, quickly call anti-nuclear demos and wear bright yellow shirts. George M. says Karlsrud in Germany has 100% base load in renewables – solar, wind, hydro, storage. Mary Cupp questions when wind power leaves an objectionable footprint. Eric Bachman, who has lived in Germany and here, reminds us of density of population in Europe compared to here. “We” is more unified there; all can feel a need.

Paul Gunter of Beyond Nuclear and Doug Bogen of Seacoast Anti-Pollution League: Seabrook update. Licensing renewal process: now it can begin 20 years ahead of time. Groups challenge this: Beyond Nuclear, SAPL, Sierra Club, on the legal front. U. of Maine at Orono is actively engaged in mounting wind turbines in Gulf of Maine, can be equal to 5 Seabrooks for output. This needs to be included in the licensing process: alternatives are available. Seabrook and VT Yankee both need public and politicians to be interested. Petitioners are pushing for 10 year period as more legit than 20 year relicensed period. Timeline: October for a decision overruling themselves and allowing in dissenters. Good meeting with SAPL in June, public gathering at Portsmouth Public Library. We need to move away from our 20th Century mistakes. From Maine to the Carolinas we have potential deepwater base load power. We can ban incandescent bulbs, get maximum efficiency in buildings, get renewables into the base load. New England can collaborate and be a leader. Doug Bogen of SAPL points out that the Achille’s heel is that a nuke’s foundation (back to Seabrook’s crumbling structure) can’t be dug up and fixed.

Comments/Questions: What about the current news of Seabrook’s deteriorating concrete? Cheap sand was used, corners cut. An underway evaluation was put off to the end of 2012. The re-licensing process should have started in 2010. Portsmouth Herald had two editorials pushing a delay. Randy Kehler asks if there will be any post re-licensing scrutiny possible to address problems post re-licensing? Paul says, “No; it’s all a scam.” Martha Yates asks about the 5 NRC commissioners. Shel pointed out that the standards are dropped to accommodate continued operation. David Detmold points to an NRC split after F-D. Some commissioners don’t want a blind-eye process. Paul Gunter and others discuss if the industry will sacrifice the 24 F-D look-alikes (including VY, Pilgrim, Indian Pt. in NY) in order to keep on line the other 72, for gaining public confidence.

Randy Kehler, Nancy Braus, Bob Bady of Safe and Green update on VT Yankee. Nancy: in 2002 Entergy bought VT Yankee at bargain basement prices. In 2005 the spent fuel pool overload needed legislative permission. In the deal, Entergy agreed the legislature could vote to cease operation post-2012. In 2007 the cooling tower collapsed. Photo went around the world. 2010 had news of tritium leaks. Feb. 24, 2010, VT Senate voted against continued plant operation.

Randy informs us about Entergy’s suit in federal court against the Gov. Peter Shumlin, Att. Gen. William Sorrell, VT Public Service Board. Judge Murtha in 18-page decision ruled against Entergy’s temporary injunction bid. July 23 fuel rods need reordering. [July 25 news, post our weekend meeting, is that Entergy is spending $60 million on new fuel rods purchase.] Groups fighting against VT Yankee re-licensing: Safe and Green, NECNP, Safe Power Vermont, Citizens’ Awareness Network, Nuclear Free VT, Vermont Yankee Decommissioning Alliance, VT PIRG. There’ve been 3 years of festivals, rallies, public forums. David Detmold said the Solar Rollers have reached 1% of VT’s population in personal leafleting. Bob informs us that a key success element has been people power, knowing the governor and legislators personally. The legislative process has been a “win.” Plumbers and carpenters in-the-know say VT-Yankee will close. We’ll need a one-decision group, non-guerilla tactics, Ghandian non-violence if we get a “yes” decision on re-licensing. The state has not been our enemy in this.

Comments/Questions:  Jean Sherlock asks what’s next, if VT-Yankee closes? Seabrook? Pilgrim? Many answer – “A party!” Need to involve campuses, students. On 9/17 in Newfane, VT, will be a music festival to pull in anti-nukes. Look into VT’s “transition towns,” back-to-the-landers who are young. What’s noted is lack of non-violence training / awareness. Tom Wyatt asks about action planning being at the reactor or not at the reactor? Bob says the actions should prevent the reactor from operating. VT’s Congressional delegation opposes the re-licensing. Matthew Wald, NYTimes reporter, writes about the “checkerboard” method of placement/spent fuel rods (new among old). Paul Gunter raises the fact of Yucca Mt.’s cancellation and its effect: Indian reservations will be looked at for spent fuel storage. Not okay. [July 25 news is about German spent fuel being sent to the U.S., to Dept. of Energy handling in our South.]

Brainstorming actions, pressure points, public outreach, public education, finding friends and allies:

+ State of VT is an ally; don’t alienate with arrests; + VT public and legislative officials are won; we show the US/world our people power; + action may need childcare arrangements, for days; + leverage around the AP report – be prepared for victory; + establish “friendlies” in the surrounding area, as they are needed for staging; + pull in faith communities, get Buddhists in photo ops; + get VT Senators, reps & D.C. delegation to join us in our action (and the MA elected officials—entire W. MA state & fed. Delegation on our side); + action at refueling time? At March decision deadline-time? + Set up non-violent affinity groups, giving trainings; + who are “we” in relation to the VT groups existing now?; + never assume enough people are on our side; + organize around uncontained fuel rods (as at F.-D.); + Ghandian civil disobedience is “cherry on top” of continued, daily activity; + pitch for renewable energy, demonstrate renewables and efficiency; + 6000 farmers’ markets meet every week around the U.S. / direct action can help your neighbors constructively; + reach out to VT Attorney General and State Police – “we are not seeking mass arrests; we don’t need to be removed.”; + promote green jobs (transition away from VT-Yankee); + Germans will be here on 9/11 – we want massive outpouring / audience some place; + theater around leaky fuel; + affinity groups – around economic security – link with Institute for Policy Studies, “safe living,” “transition towns,” “common security clubs”; + catalyst meetings around New England – show Into Eternity film, route the film from Boston to VT-Yankee; + Young people need nukes-awareness, Nukes 101; + work against corporate subversion of democracy = need for direct action; + monitor F-D fallout; + create / provide historical analysis that reminds what happened there; + show images of children eating radioactive ice cream cones; + social networking can get to young people; also still poster well; + communications using decentralization can work well, web/mapping for our New England allies; + be in touch with environmental groups – get into their newsletters; + walkers converge on Boston NRC headquarters; +40 years ago, VT was on the short list for the national nuclear repository, and NH had 3 proposed sites. Let’s look at how people were so energized back then. It brought out the Green Mtn Boys (conservatives) as well as progressives). Back then, Lahey put his own house on the line. + Think about UNusual suspects: vigils that involving people you wouldn’t expect to see,not being what they expect. In France, Germans came, and it was happy, upbeat, musical. That helps with media. Street theater.

Break for lunch. Reconvened into  afternoon discussion groups from the brainstorm topics: NVD/CD scenarios (Bob Bady convene); Internal infrastructure: decision-making, friendlies, coordinating groups, communication (Randy Kehler convene); Public education including “green alternatives,” media, publicity, theater, corporate power addressed, fuel rods (Shel Howitz convene); Strategic outreach/action recruitment broad and narrow, networking (Paul Gunter convene); Training for NV action / CD (Arnie Alpert convene).

Reports from small group discussions, 7/23/11 afternoon

Internal infrastructure: decision-making, friendlies, coordinating groups, communication: Randy reporting: Decision process has to be transparent and accountable, and respect the special status of those closest to the reactor, but not so much that they get to override. Need for initial guidelines, statement of intent and guidelines so when affinity groups are recruited (even without action dates and descriptions) people can decide if they want to be part of it. Those of us starting out as some kind of steering committee can write a paragraph and send around for feedback, ask if people want to be kept informed, would they participate? Do they have resources, experience, time, etc. to give? Judith: Assume the coordinating committee would see info as a two-way activity? Eric: Discussion of what is a local. With n-power, local takes on more miles. I lived 900 miles from Chernobyl and was strongly affected by it. David: if you’re in the evacuation zone or in the state of VT.

Public education, “green alternatives,” media, publicity, theater, corporate power addressed, fuel rods: Shel reporting: See VY as a national pilot for shutting down, involving the workers in retraining and job help. George’s posters. Linda: can VT go 100% renewable?—VPIRG has this info, we want an easy pamphlet. Bob: It exists. Martha: positive organizing on green power, may or may not even mention nukes. Ipswich model of municipal power. George: showing the solar toys, educating at preexisting local venues, over time, consistently. George is willing to offer trainings on solar and the alternatives. Leftist computer geeks: connecting with them, but don’t leave paper totally behind. Posters can draw people in and show their commitment. But cyberspace will make a lot of difference.

Linda: Beyond Nuclear has a contract to offer showings of Into Eternity, a powerful movie about the high level waste storage facility being built in Finland. People can gather a group and show it in their homes for about $30 and Beyond Nuclear will provide educational materials specific to the showing’s location. We need to link it up with positive messages because it is a very dark movie, it needs something positive.

Strategic outreach/action recruitment, broad and narrow, networking: Patricia reporting: To encourage youth involvement: cartoons, make alliance with food and solar groups, bike groups, youth groups. Recruitment: people could take a pledge Freeze Our Fukishimas, revoke the license/Linkage to the German visits. What does it take to activate people now? We can be organizers of organizers. Flashmobs. Interactive map with evacuation zone and Chernobyl dead zone imposed on the region. We need a headline: The Nuke in Your Back Yard? Need a public face, Paul: spokesperson. Get Randy on the Colbert Report. But not a cult of personality. Various spokespeople of national recognition could rotate through. We need to know who amongst us can carry a national message. The big Q: how to develop an outreach plan without an action plan and date. We can develop a schematic and start, but in order to build momentum, we need a goal, date, specific action. Patricia: doesn’t have to be just one action.

Action Scenarios: Bob reporting: We need a timeline. We will probably know within the first week whether Entergy will continue to operate. They could order the fuel rods (ed. Note: they did so on 7/25) but not have them delivered, and decide not to refuel. The only way they can stay open past 3/21/12 is to win in the 1st District federal court case. Most lawyer opinion is that if they lose, they will appeal to 2nd district in NY, and that won’t happen right away. If they move forward, Safe & Green will start getting ready for an action. We’ll come to your community and do workshops, we’ll do press work, goal of preventing VY from operating beyond 3/2012 when its certification of public good expires. We’re leaning against starting a sustained we’re-not-going-away action during refueling. Our action will be dictated by the level of support. It might build slowly or be a big splash.

Tom: We talked about a massive legal rally, 40,000 people or so,. Might be CDs with it, or not.

Bob: We’re planing a bunch of things, the rock concert in September, German tour, Japanese tour, some sort of large visible demo relative to the court action (maybe).

George: is doing an action in September (can we piggyback?) And within a week of that, Al Gore’s Current TV will do a week of programming on climate change. Look on They are looking to give space to climate change actions. We could tie in. 9/14 & 9/15: Climate Reality Project (; September 24:  Moving Planet (

???: What happens if VT state doesn’t like the action? We don’t necessarily need their permission.

Paul: we could ask for an endorsement, but also give them a convenient out so they don’t have the question posed them.

Linda: What if we win? Have we thought about a big shindig, a celebratory thing? (consensus: yes).

Nancy: but then, is “Safe Store” [casks on site] really a victory?

Training: Dorie reporting. 1. We recognize that doing CD at a n-plant now is in a different political environment post 9/11. Police are more militarized, punishments draconian. 2. When we instill NV discipline, that increases our strength and weakens the state’s ability to use repression. (The chair of the Albert Einstein Institute is Neilia Sargent, longtime Clam activist.)  3. Organizing NV training is different from being the trainer. We focused on the doing the trainings; the organizing would be local community based. 4. We need to reinvigorate the network of NV trainers in New England, including those who were trained e.g. with Actup or international solidarity movements in Israel/Palestine. And update the resources, publications, agendas, etc. 5. We will offer a training for trainers in Brattleboro area, organized by local people; Arnie: we could do this pretty quickly—we already involved Joanne Sheehan from War Resisters, who coordinated the old network. 6. Bob and Randy willing to handle the logistics? We’re fired up and ready to go.

Also the Shut it Down Affinity group has had its members arrested a total of 11 times and we’d like to be acknowledged in the list of activist organizations working to shut down Vermont Yankee. Our last action with 15 women arrested was June 30th at Vermont Yankee and we all have court dates in groups of 3 starting with arraignments on August 30th at the Brattleboro District Court. I could be listed as the contact person for the group. Hattie Nestel  email: tel:978-249-9400>978-249-9400

Comments Posted:
2 Comments posted on "7-23-11 Clamshell reunion meeting notes"
Hattie Nestel on August 15th, 2011 at 12:11 pm #

Error under Randy’s part- It should read $60 million, NOT $6 million.

Also the Shut it Down Affinity group has had its members arrested a total of 11 times and we’d like to be acknowledged in the list of activist organizations working to shut down Vermont Yankee. Our last action with 15 women arrested was June 30th at Vermont Yankee and we all have court dates in groups of 3 starting with arraignments on August 30th at the Brattleboro District Court. I could be listed as the contact person for the group. Hattie Nestel

Finally, could the formats be full page size-easier to reproduce? thanks, Hattie

michael Levengood on August 15th, 2011 at 5:50 pm #

Fabulous to see all the enthusiasm and brainstorming. I’m psyched to get involved again. See you in Norwhich

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