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Entergy, the corporation that owns VT Yankee and a large handful of other nuclear power plants, filed suit against the state of Vermont recently with the aim of getting the federal judiciary to nullify our state’s decision to shut down VT Yankee.
Based on our state’s Act 160, passed in 2006, our senate voted 26 to 4, in February of last year, to shut down VT Yankee when its current operating license expires next March.
Here are just a few of the reasons for this decision - from www.safepowervt.org.
“VY has 76 documented cracks in its steam dryer.
“There have been three fires in VY's transformer station. One fire resulted in the loss of a critical reactor-cooling pump.
“Entergy has already been found in violation of the Clean Water Act because it is heating the temperature of the Connecticut River several degrees in winter, threatening native fish and other wildlife.
“VY's storage system for radioactive waste fuel is dangerously overcrowded.
Because there is no viable waste storage solution, Entergy will be indefinitely storing its radioactive waste on the banks of the Connecticut River.”
As recently as last November, leaks of unquestionably harmful, radioactive tritium have been documented.
In addition to these facts, it must be recognized that VT Yankee is the very same type of nuclear plant as the facility in Fukushima, Japan, that is now wrecking that country as well as sending radiation around the globe. Both are General Electric-made but VT Yankee is many years older than the Fukushima plant, has equally short-term and inadequate backup safety features, and has many times the spent fuel rods stored.
While Vernon, VT, is not prone to earthquakes and/or tsunamis, there are a multitude of other things that can cause a nuclear plant disaster as Three Mile Island and Chernobyl have shown us.
March 2012 is barely soon enough to shut this monster down.
And what is now interfering with the will of the people to do this is greed, pure and simple. Entergy’s voracious appetite for $$$ is behind its suing our state. Though there is far more at stake here, this suit will officially hinge on the historically loaded states’ rights issue and bring into focus basic questions about the meaning of democracy.
Since 1998, more than 125 municipalities have passed ordinances that explicitly put their citizens' rights ahead of corporate interests, despite the existence of state and federal laws to the contrary.
I’ve read that in Pennsylvania, people are now organizing on the state level and that similar stirrings have been reported in New Hampshire. Vermont’s Act 160 is another such measure.
We are fortunate to live in this beautiful state and fortunate that the majority of us want VT Yankee shut down. We need to stand united against this challenge to our will, and for a safe and healthy world.
Wood lives in Granville.