Eight Women Arrested at Valley Nuke Protest

Eight women were arrested for non-violent civil disobedience at the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant. Vermont Yankee is three miles from Massachusetts and a stone’s throw from New Hampshire. The women who were arrested are all from Massachusetts. Their names, and the dates they were arrested, are: April 15, Priscilla Lynch of Conway and Hattie Nestel of Athol; April 16, Judy Wolters of Northfield and Connie Harvard of Northampton; April 17, Marcia Gagliardi of Athol and Anneke Corbett of Northampton; April 18, Frances Crowe of Northampton and Ellen Graves of West Springfield.

"There is no logical reason for the power plant to continue operating," Nestel told the Valley Post. "It is dangerous, and Entergy Corporation keeps it going only to reap financial profit at the expense of people's health and safety."

A group that has helped organize civil disobedience at Vermont Yankee in the past has a web site at www.NukeBusters.org.

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.

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.

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 much more nuclear waste at Yankee now than when the study was released.

If a plane hit the the water-filled nuclear waste storage area at a nuclear power plant, a catastrophic nuclear emergency could ensue, according to a 2004 report by the National Academies of Science.

Karl Grossman is a journalism professor at the State University of New York. In a March 12, 2011 post on his blog www.karlgrossman.blogspot.com Grossman wrote: "The radioactive releases in the Chernobyl nuclear plant accident affected the entire northern hemisphere, as a book published last year by the New York Academy of Sciences documents. And 'Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment,' authored by Dr. Alexey Yablokov, Dr. Vassily Nesterenko, and Dr. Alexey Nesterenko, finds that medical records between 1986, the year of the accident, and 2004 reflect 985,000 deaths as a result of the radioactivity released." Grossman told the Valley Post that a similar number of people will die because of the 2011 Fukushima accident in Japan.

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. There are now 63 nuclear power plants in the United States. 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."


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



The following comment was

The following comment was written by Jules Rabin of Marshfield, Vermont.


Last night in Montpelier’s Christ Church I sat spellbound for 2 hours as Chiho Kaneko, an eloquent Japanese woman who has lived in Vermont for a decade, recounted to us the news and present situation of the Fukushima district in Japan which was unrecoverably contaminated by radiation when the poorly protected and inadequately equipped nuclear power plant located there was struck by the Tsunami of 2011. Kaneko has visited the neighborhood of Fukushima several times since the disaster, with camera, Geiger counter, and her native fluency in Japanese, in order to get details and the "tone" of the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster, and its implications for Vermonters who live within the potential radiation shadow of our state’s own nuclear power plant in Vernon.

I was especially struck by a couple of things in Kaneko’s talk. The first is the inherent incompleteness and consequent falseness of the assurances given to the publics who live downwind from the nuclear power plants of the world, by the technical and corporate masters of those power plants. Everything is Hunky-Dory, we’re told, and under the perfect control of the self-certifying experts, until that one more “Oops-thing” occurs that technical genius didn’t anticipate, or corporate thrift didn’t allow for, and that sets off another unexpungeable nuclear hell-fire and poisoning of man, earth, and beast, lasting into unnumbered decades.

A second impression Kaneko left with me was the tentative and uncertain nature of how life can be lived at all in territories adjacent to the failed nuclear power plants of Fukushima, infected as they have been with small or large amounts of enduring nuclear radiation. There are to begin with the children, who, by the natural process of their growth are more susceptible than adults to the long term effects of radiation. And there are at the other extreme of public concern, let’s mention them, the spinach and wild fiddleheads and beloved persimmons and every thing else that grows in the wider Fukushima region: are they and their kind safe to eat? or – come on, let’s not be fussy! – only a teensy bit unsafe?. And there are the widely popular wild mushrooms of the region: don’t even think of eating them -- they’re the worst for concentrating radioactivity in themselves. And – the mysteries of life under radiation being endless --there is the drip line around one’s house to think about, too. Atmospheric radiation bonds with raindrops, and the radioactive rain that falls on rooftops becomes concentrated in the drip line around the house. In some places around Fukushima, the surface of the earth has been scraped up (how deep to go, and at what unimaginable trouble and cost?)and packed into giant round plastic-covered bales, like the white-wrapped hay-bales we see around Vermont … bales of contaminated soil by the thousands and tens of thousands, piled up and covering acres of land and concentrating their radiation … with no place to go. So they sit in unfenced gathering places by the roadsides, suppurating, radiating, constantly. For years and years, and decades and decades. And longer, yet? And how dangerously? No one knows for sure, is the standard answer when it comes to the disposition and longevity of deeply radioactive waste.

I think that every nuclear power plant still functioning is an example of Technical Man’s hubris. THEY, the experts in charge, say to us, “We know the science and are fully in control of every thing. And we care about you, too, first and foremost. So never fear.”

So it was with Chernobyl: “We’re experts, we’re the responsible ones, and we know what we’re doing.”

And so with Fukushima: “The Russians will make their mistakes, but we Japanese are more clever and more careful.”

And so with our own little Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in the town of Vernon, whose hot breath will reach even the table where I’m tapping out these words now, if Something Bad happens there, and a wrong wind blows in afterwards through the window behind me. The Entergy Corporation of Louisiana, which owns Vermont Yankee from a distance, acknowledges they’ve made mistakes in the past, and have misspoken sometimes when queried by the Vermont legislature; and acknowledges also that there have been some mishaps on a scale not to worry about -- in the distant “up there” which is our Vermont.

Their claim : we, the owners and operators of the plant, are the experts in charge, and we know what we’re doing, never mind the little troubles we’ve had before. Chernobyl was one thing, Fukushima another, but we’re something different. So sit back, rest easy, go on eating your home-grown spinach and collecting your fiddleheads, and just-- trust us -- to put your safety and the wholesomeness of your land at the head of our concerns.

On April 19, three more women

On April 19, three more women were arrested for non-violent civil disobedience at Vermont Yankee: Linda Pon Owens of Brattleboro and Nina Swaim and Ulricke Moltke, both of Sharon, Vermont.

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