Locals Blast Entergy, Vermont Governor's Appointees

The Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant is three miles from Massachusetts and a stone’s throw from New Hampshire. It’s owned by Entergy Corp. of Louisiana. Vermont governor Jim “Douglas has been Entergy’s best friend,” said Paul Burns, director of the Vermont Public Interest Research Group (VPIRG), the state’s biggest environmental organization. “He has consistently put Entergy’s interests ahead of the interests of Vermonters.”

The Vermont Public Service Board, whose three members were appointed by Douglas, held a public hearing in Vernon, Vermont on July 13. Vermont Yankee is in Vernon.

The hearing was about a plan by Entergy to move the fences around the reactor further from the reactor. The company wants to do this so it can comply with laws about how much radiation is allowed at the “fence line.” Radiation causes cancer, Steven Wing told The Valley Post. Wing is a professor of public health at the University of North Carolina and one of the nation's leading experts on the health effects of nuclear power.

About 40 people were at the hearing. About 20 of them spoke. All but one of the speakers opposed the plan, according to the Rutland Herald newspaper.

Vermont Yankee’s nuclear waste is the deadliest material on earth and will need to be guarded 24/7 for the next 1 million years, according to a report by the National Academies of Science.

An accident or act of sabotage at Vermont Yankee would kill at least 7,000 people within one year, and leave a large part of New England permanently uninhabitable, according to a report by the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

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.

In other words, if New Englanders took the money we now give to Entergy for electricity from Vermont Yankee and instead spent it on programs like Efficiency Vermont, the Yankee reactor could be closed, our electricity bills would go down, and there would be a net increase in jobs.

(Detailed citations are at http://valleypost.org/2007/11/09/what-can-history-nuclear-power-teach-us... )

Yankee opened in 1972 and is a 1960s design. The Vermont legislature is likely to vote some time between January and May 2010 on whether the reactor will close in 2012 or 2032.

The Vermont Department of Health, run by another Douglas appointee, has yet to release Vermont Yankee's radiation data for 2008 or the first six months of 2009, said Ed Anthes of Dummerston, Vermont.

"The fence line dose data for 2008 is still being kept secret from the public and the Public Service Board," he told the board at the hearing.

Bill Irwin, the Vermont Department of Health’s only full-time expert on Vermont Yankee, didn't bother to show up at the hearing to answer questions. He lives more than 100 miles from the reactor.

The chair of the state legislature's “administrative rules” committee last year blasted the Vermont health department for changing its radiation regulations without allowing public comment. This change was done to help Entergy.

Kathleen Krevetski of Rutland, a nurse, traveled to Vernon for the hearing and told the board: "Our Vermont lawmakers ruled that the Vermont Department of Health broke the law when the department rewrote radiation laws using expired, withdrawn standards. Moving the fence line further away from the radioactivity being emitted so that Vermont Yankee's numbers look better does not change the fact that Entergy again has proven itself not to be trustworthy.”

Claire Chang of Gill, Mass., near Greenfield and Vermont Yankee, told the board it had failed to post Entergy’s plan on the board’s web site. Board chairman James Volz said he would do that.

No new nuclear power plants have been ordered 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. There are now 65 nuclear power plants in the U.S.

Bob Mulholland ran the 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 "Closing Rancho Seco was the best thing our community ever did."

On July 13, numerous speakers blasted the Vermont board for failing to effectively advertise the hearing.

The board failed to bring a single copy of Entergy’s plan to the meeting for the public to look at.

Governor Douglas, a Republican, is up for re-election next year. At least two Democrats have already said they will run against him. One is Vermont Secretary of State Deb Markowitz.

The board will accept written comments on Entergy’s radiation plan until July 24. Contact info is at www.state.vt.us/psb

People may want to send copies of their comments to VPIRG www.vpirg.org and to their state and federal legislators. Legislators' contact info is at:

www.leg.state.vt.us

www.mass.gov/legis

www.gencourt.state.nh.us

www.house.gov

www.senate.gov

Comments

I loved this article - the

I loved this article - the simplicity put a huge smile on my face - WILL THEY GET IT NOW?

Susan Wood
Rowe, Mass.

Down with Douglas! And all

Down with Douglas! And all the other Entergy puppets!

Elizabeth

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