Civil Disobedience at Valley Nuke Set For July 1

Anti-nuclear activists are planning to risk arrest for non-violent civil disobedience at the entrance to the Vermont Yankee nuclear power reactor on July 1. They are asking the public to join them. Vermont Yankee is three miles from Massachusetts and a stone's throw from New Hampshire. It is owned by Entergy corporation of Louisiana.

The July action will happen in the late morning, or early afternoon. It was announced by Deb Katz of www.NukeBusters.org. At a similar action organized by Katz's group and other groups in March, 137 people were arrested at the Entergy office in Brattleboro, as more than 1,000 supporters cheered.

Meanwhile, at the Entergy-owned Pilgrim nuclear power reactor near Boston, workers were likely to have gone on strike on May 16 if Entergy hadn't banned them from work.

“You can’t have workers here that could strike at any time day or night,” an Entergy public relations official told the Boston Globe. “So, the company felt it was prudent to give them a paid day off.”

Entergy, which paid its CEO $18 million last year, is demanding that workers pay much more for health care. The workers may go on strike soon. The workers' web site is www.uwua369.org

At Vermont Yankee, a major accident or act of sabotage would kill thousands of people and leave an area the size of the Valley uninhabitable. Such a disaster is so likely that no insurance company will insure the facility; taxpayers would pay the costs of a meltdown. The hundreds of tons of nuclear waste at Vermont Yankee is the most toxic material on earth. The waste is so dangerous that it must be guarded 24 hours a day for the next 1 million years, according to the federal government. The electricity from Vermont Yankee is not needed, according to the state of Vermont.

On May 2, 1977, police arrested 1,414 protesters at the Seabrook nuclear power plant in New Hampshire. In June 1978, some 12,000 people attended a protest at Seabrook. In August 1978, almost 500 people were arrested for protesting at the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant in California. In May 1979, in Washington, D.C., about 70,000 people, including the governor of California, attended a march and rally against nuclear power. On June 2, 1979, about 500 people were arrested for protesting construction of the Black Fox nuclear power plant in Oklahoma. The next day, 15,000 people attended a rally at the Shoreham nuclear power plant on Long Island; about 600 were arrested. On June 30, 1979, about 38,000 people attended a protest rally at Diablo Canyon. On Aug. 23, 1979, in New York City, about 200,000 people attended a rally against nuclear power. On Sept. 23, 1979, about 167 protesters were arrested at Vermont Yankee. On June 22, 1980, about 15,000 people attended a protest near the San Onofre nuclear power plant in California.

No new nuclear power plants have been ordered and built in the U.S. since 1978.

Protests preceded the shutdown of the Shoreham, Yankee Atomic, Millstone I, Rancho Seco, Maine Yankee and at least a dozen other nuclear power plants. An article in the June 2007 issue of the Journal of American History did not hesitate to give protesters credit for the decline of the nuclear power industry:

"The protesters lost their battle [when Diablo Canyon opened in 1984], but in a sense they won the larger war, for nuclear plant construction ended across the country in 1986."

Bob Mulholland ran a successful campaign to close the Rancho Seco nuclear power plant near Sacramento, Calif. Rancho Seco was closed in 1989 because the people of Sacramento voted to close it.

Mulholland, who now works for the California Democratic Party, told the Valley Post that the nuclear industry dramatically outspent the antinuclear groups in advertising before the referendum vote.

"David can beat Goliath," he said. "We had a New England Town Meeting-style community debate and people saw that the industry was lying. Closing Rancho Seco was the best thing our community ever did."

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More information about Vermont Yankee, and the mass movement to close it, is at:

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

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(An earlier version of this article had a different date for the upcoming protest. Organizers changed the date.)

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