Valley Nuke Battle Is On

On December 12 in Brattleboro, protesters occupied a nuclear corporation’s board room. Meanwhile, activists seeking to close the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant are gearing up for a vote next month in the Vermont senate on whether the state’s top nuclear regulator – who many say has been too friendly to the industry – will get to keep his job.

Vermont Yankee is three miles from Massachusetts and a stone’s throw from New Hampshire.

A federal judge is expected to rule any day on whether Vermont Yankee can run after March 21, 2012. The state has ordered the reactor permanently closed on that date. Vermont Yankee’s owner, the Louisiana based Entergy Corporation, wants the judge to force the state to let the reactor run until at least 2032.

Entergy CEO Wayne Leonard said last month that the judge, Garvan Murtha, is likely to postpone making a decision by asking the Vermont Public Service Board to decide if Yankee will close in March 2012 or in 2032. The Board’s decision could then be appealed to Murtha.

The head of the Public Service Board, James Volz, was appointed to a six year term by former governor Jim Douglas, who accepted campaign contributions from Entergy, and who was widely seen as the company’s tool. Douglas vetoed several legislative attempts to regulate Entergy.

The Board under Volz has been friendly to Entergy, giving the thumbs up to construction of a nuclear waste dump, and to boosting the 40 year old, accident prone reactor’s power output to 120 percent of the limit its designers intended.

Governor Peter Shumlin wants to re-appoint Volz to another six year term. Anti-nuclear activists aren’t happy about that. “The Public Service Board with chairman Volz at its helm has systematically granted this rogue corporation [Entergy] just about everything it requested: the uprate, dry cask storage, and movement of Vermont Yankee's fence line closer to the Vernon Elementary School,” Deb Katz told the Valley Post. She’s director of the Shelburne Falls based Citizens Awareness Network www.NukeBusters.org “We question whether Volz and the Board can uphold the will of the people.”

Vermonters who want to contact their state senators and ask them to veto Volz can find their senators’ names and contact information at:

www.leg.state.vt.us/legdir/findmember3.cfm

Thirteen women occupied the Entergy office in Brattleboro on December 12. Police ordered 11 of the protesters to go to court to face trespassing charges. Police told the other two women not to do it again. Outside the building, the protesters painted the words “No More Radiation.”

The protesters saw PR man Larry Smith at the office and chanted, “Shame.” In a statement, the women accused Entergy officials of “fostering a dangerous environment full of leaks and lies.” In recent years, Vermont Yankee has leaked nuclear waste into the Connecticut River. Entergy officials lied to state officials about leaky pipes at the reactor.

The protesters who police are charging with trespassing are: Paki Wieland, Frances Crowe and Susan B. Lantz of Northampton; Hattie Nestel and Marcia Gagliardi of Athol, Massachusetts; Nina Swaim of Sharon, Vermont; Anneke Corbett of Florence, Massachusetts; Jean Grossholtz of South Hadley, Massachusetts; Ellen Graves of West Springfield, Massachusetts; Cate Woolner of Northfield, Massachusetts; and Sandra Boston of Greenfield.

The other two protesters are MaryAnn Palmieri, of Salem, Massachusetts, and Ruth Hooke, of Athol, Massachusetts. The protesters can be contacted via Katz.

More information about Vermont Yankee is at:

www.ValleyPost.org/2011/03/14/japan-quake-puts-valley-nuke-local-spotlight

Comments

Just 82 days before the

Just 82 days before the scheduled closure of the nearby Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant, the newly-formed Nuke Free Monadnock citizen’s group is going to throw a one-hour, afternoon, New Year’s Eve bash at the gates of Vermont Yankee. The party will take place from 1:30 to 2:30 pm on December 31st and is part of the SAGE Alliance‘s daily Countdown to Closure vigils at the plant.

The schedule of the New Hampshire affinity group’s party includes music, sing-alongs, kazoos and funny hats, a sparkling cider and dixie cup toast to the State of Vermont for standing up to the Entergy Corporation on behalf of the people of this region, and a New Year’s style ball drop to ring in a nuke free new year with hope for more green collar jobs and renewable energy to come. There will also be time for participants to share New Year’s Resolutions about what each will do to create a safe and green energy future in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Vermont in the coming year.

According to Nuke Free Monadnock organizer, Kendra Ulrich, “We would love to have many other people from Keene and the Monadnock region join us for this party. So, please bring your friends and neighbors to Vernon, VT, next Saturday afternoon at 1:30 pm as we celebrate the scheduled March 21, 2012 shut down of this aging and unreliable nuclear plant, which has the same design as the leaking reactors in Japan and whose corporate executives who have repeatedly lied to the public and public officials.” Ulrich adds, “Yes, we need to find alternatives to fossil fuels as fast as possible, but that should not mean employing dangerous, accident-prone forms of energy production that still have not figured out how to permanently store waste produces that will remain toxic for hundreds of thousands of years.”

Parking for this holiday bash for safe and green energy is available at the municipal building just down the road from VY by the Vernon town offices and library. Nuke Free Monadnock is also encouraging people from New Hampshire to carpool and use Monadnock RideShare to coordinate their rides together. As Nuke Free Monadnock organizer Steve Chase says, “Remember we want a low-carbon, as well as a nuke-free, future!”

The event is also being filmed by Robbie Leppzer, an HBO filmmaker as part of their documentary on the citizens movement to close Vermont Yankee and move toward a safe and green energy future in the region. Leppzer is the director of the documentary Seabrook ’77, a feature-length film on the nonviolent civil disobedience campaign against the construction of the Seabrook nuclear reactor in the late-1970s.

For more information, please contact Steve Chase at 603-357-2626.

# # #

Steve Chase
Director of the ES Master's Program Concentration in
Advocacy for Social Justice and Sustainability
Department of Environmental Studies
Antioch University New England
40 Avon Street, Keene, NH 03431
schase@antioch.edu; 603-283-2336 (office); 603-357-0718 (fax)

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