Civil Disobedience at Valley Nuke Set for Sept. 23

Activists are planning non-violent civil disobedience at the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant on September 23. The reactor is three miles from Massachusetts and a stone’s throw from New Hampshire. The event is being organized by a religious group, the Quakers “Anyone is welcome to join us as long as they accept that this event will have a spiritual focus,” Elinor Yahm told the Valley Post. She is one of the organizers of the event. “We want people to contact us in advance if they want to participate,” Yahm said.

The action will probably start at 1 p.m., she said. Yahm asked people to e-mail Jane Van Landingham for more information: If that doesn’t work, more information is available from Debra Stoleroff via

Quakers played a key role in making slavery illegal, according to "Bury the Chains," a book by University of California professor Adam Hochschild. The book was praised by the New Yorker magazine.

Non-violent civil disobedience at Vermont Yankee without a stated spiritual focus has been organized in the past by

Vermont Yankee is owned by Entergy corporation of Louisiana. 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.

On March 22, 2012 in Brattleboro, 137 people were arrested for non-violent civil disobedience to close Vermont Yankee. About 1,500 people marched about three miles from downtown Brattleboro to Entergy's office, where they cheered in support of the people who were arrested.

Protests preceded the permanent shutdown of 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 told the Valley Post. "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 (including information about a legal protest on September 8 [rain date September 15]) is at:


Thank you

Thank you Valley Post and Eesha for this excellent reporting.

William Gibson, Rochester VT

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