Valley Nuke Fight is On

A risky procedure is planned for this spring at a nuclear waste dump in Vermont that's three miles from Massachusetts and a stone's throw from New Hampshire. If the operation goes wrong, thousands of people could be killed. A group based in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts, near Greenfield, will probably organize a march to call for children at the elementary school directly across the street from the dump to be taken further away during the procedure, which involves moving hundreds of tons of nuclear waste from a water-filled pool seven stories above ground into so-called “dry casks” at ground level. Another goal of the march would be to get the government to come up with a realistic plan to notify people in case of an accident, and to evacuate school children, people at nursing homes, and others who don't have a car. The group is called Citizens Awareness Network (CAN). It has a web site at

The nuclear waste dump was formerly known as the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant. The reactor was closed in 2014, thanks to thousands of people who attended marches and rallies, and hundreds who were arrested for non-violent civil disobedience.

CAN helped organize a protest against Vermont Yankee in Brattleboro in 2012 that drew 1,500 people, 137 of whom were arrested for non-violent civil disobedience. A CAN worker recently contacted the newly elected Vermont Attorney General, and the relevant employees of the newly elected Vermont governor, about these issues.

Nuclear waste is the most deadly 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 prevailing wind is from the west, which would blow radioactivity toward Keene.

A serious accident at the Indian Point nuclear power plant near New York City would kill 50,000 people and result in 100,000 “radiation injuries” and $300 billion in property damage. That’s according to “Calculation of Reactor Accident Consequences (CRAC 2),” a study prepared by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for Congress. It was cited by Elizabeth Kolbert in her article “Indian Point Blank,” which was published in The New Yorker magazine on March 3, 2003. The same study says a major accident at Vermont Yankee would cause 7,000 "prompt fatalities." There is at least 10 times more nuclear waste at the Vermont Yankee site now than when the study was released.

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.

Protests preceded the permanent shutdown of Shoreham, Yankee Atomic, Millstone I, Rancho Seco, Maine Yankee and at least a dozen other nuclear power plants.

When he was president, Richard Nixon said the nation’s goal was to have 1,000 nuclear power plants by the year 2000. There were about 100 in the year 2000. There are now 99 nuclear power reactors operating in the USA, down from 104 a decade ago.

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."

There are four nuclear power reactors now under construction in the USA, Paul Gunter of the group Beyond Nuclear told the Valley Post last month. Two are in South Carolina and two are in Georgia. Gunter said they may never open due to financial challenges. The most recently opened nuclear power plant in the USA took 43 years to build.

Bob Mulholland ran a successful campaign to close the Rancho Seco nuclear power plant near Sacramento, California. Rancho Seco was closed in 1989 because the people of Sacramento voted to close it. Mulholland told the Valley Post that the nuclear industry dramatically outspent the anti-nuclear 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."


Photos from the movement that closed Vermont Yankee, and sources for the facts in this article, are at:


Debt, Unemployment, and wind farms

Vermont isn't in debt? I think you should check your facts. Unemployment rate is determined by those unemployed and looking for work. Those that are not looking for work are not included in the unemployment rate as they aren't apart of the labor force any longer according to the US Dept of Labor. So, a low unemployment rate is not a check mark in the win column in all cases.

Wind farms take up land, a lot of land. Most of which is flat and easy to access when something breaks. The major wind farms around the US are in agriculture rich areas. The loss of the ag land has long term effects that can't be caluculated in kilotons. Besides the issue with wattage production being so little in comparison to a nuclear or fossil plant.

Energy efficiency programs are great and do help the bottom line of usage, but it will never have the net effect needed to solve our energy issues.

Long story short there is no PERFECT solution to our energy problem. There is an argument for everything, we have to work on what is best for the economy and the environment together. With every source of power that is available there is a "group" in line to protest it. Protesting the shutdown of the very plants they wanted to shutdown to begin with. We will never get anywhere this way. I want to see the VY plant site returned to a state of use quickly and safely so that my town can see the economic development it so desperately needs. I believe the folks that are slated to do that work are ready and able to do just that.

Vermont has always had a

Vermont has always had a balanced budget. It is not in debt. You can verify this by asking your state legislators and/or the governor's office. This article says the same thing:

Valley Nuke Fight is On

VY protestors had nothing to do with the closing of VY. The fact that Entergy was taxed out of business by the Shumlin administration is what caused them to look at their bottom line and determine doing business in Vermont wasn't profitable any longer. This was a trend throughout the Shumlin administration for all sectors of business. That's why the state of Vermont is so far in debt with no hope of getting out through economic development. The burden will fall on the aging tax payers of Vermont.
The environmental effects of losing VY has been rearing it's ugly head as well. In 2015 the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by the regional power sector increased 2.5 percent, from 39,317 to 40,312 kilotons, according to ISO New England. This is due to heavier reliance on fossil fuel plants.
I could go on and on, but this is where I will end as the future of Vermont has been put in an envelope, but not sealed yet. I for one will work to see that this type of ignorance will not seal the fate of our struggling state.

Joshua Unruh
Vernon Vermont

The state of Vermont is not in debt; nukes cause climate change

The state of Vermont is not in debt. Vermont has the seventh lowest unemployment rate among the 50 states. The minimum wage in Vermont is $10 an hour, versus $7.25 in most states, including New Hampshire.

Spending one dollar on energy efficiency programs like Efficiency Vermont saves approximately three times as much energy as spending one dollar on nuclear power generates. The dollar spent on energy efficiency also creates more jobs than the dollar spent on nuclear. (Sources are at

In other words, if New Englanders took the money we now give to nuclear power companies for their electricity and instead spent it on programs like Efficiency Vermont, all the nuclear power plants in New England could be closed, our electricity bills would go down, and there would be a net increase in jobs. Wind power is cheaper than nuclear power.

Wind power and energy efficiency programs are at least twice as cost effective as nuclear power at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. That’s because of the fossil fuel emissions caused by construction and deconstruction of nuclear power plants, mining and transporting nuclear fuel, and guarding and storing nuclear waste. Nuclear power causes global warming.

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