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The citizens of Vermont show us the benefits of just saying NO to Nuclear

Protest-No!The profound consequences of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear-power accident are still unfolding,…….. Fukushima shows us the intolerable costs of nuclear power. The citizens of Vermont show us the benefits of just saying no.

Flag-USAJust say no to nuclear power – from Fukushima to Vermont , the Guardian , 29 Aug 13 Fukushima showed us the intolerable costs of nuclear power. The citizens of Vermont show us the benefits of shutting it down Welcome to the nuclear renaissance.

Entergy Corp, one of the largest nuclear-power producers in the US, issued a surprise press release Tuesday, saying it plans “to close and decommission its Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station in Vernon, Vermont. The station is expected to cease power production after its current fuel cycle and move to safe shutdown in the fourth quarter of 2014.”

Although the press release came from the corporation, it was years of people’s protests and state legislative action that forced its closure. At the same time that activists celebrate this key defeat of nuclear power, officials in Japan admitted that radioactive leaks from theFukushima Daiichi nuclear catastrophe are far worse than previously acknowledged. 

“It took three years, but it was citizen pressure that got the state Senate to such a position”, nuclear-energy consultant Arnie Gundersen told me of Entergy’s announcement. He has coordinated projects at 70 nuclear plants around the country and now provides independent testimony on nuclear and radiation issues. He explained how the state of Vermont, in the first such action in the country, had banned the plant from operating beyond its original 40-year permit. Entergy was seeking a 20-year extension.

The legislature, in that 26-to-4 vote, said: ‘No, we’re not going to allow you to reapply. It’s over. You know, a deal’s a deal. We had a 40-year deal.’ Well, Entergy went to first the federal court here in Vermont and won, and then went to an appeals court in New York City and won again on the issue, as they framed it, that states have no authority to regulate safety.

Despite prevailing in the courts, Entergy bowed to public pressure.

Back in 2011, Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin, who called Entergy “a company that we found we can’t trust”, said on “Democracy Now!“:

We’re the only state in the country that’s taken power into our own hands and said that, without an affirmative vote from the state legislature, the public service board cannot issue a certificate of public good to legally operate a plant for another 20 years. Now, the Senate has spoken … saying no, it’s not in Vermont’s best interest to run an aging, leaking nuclear-power plant. And we expect that our decision will be respected.

The nuclear-power industry is at a critical crossroads. The much-touted nuclear renaissance is collapsing, most notably in the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster, compounded by the global financial crisis. In a recent paper titled “Renaissance in Reverse”, Mark Cooper, senior fellow for economic analysis at the Vermont Law School, writes, “The problem for old nuclear reactors has become acute.” The costs to operate, and to repair, these plants have prompted operators to shutter five of the 104 operating power generating reactors in the US this year alone, leaving 99. Cooper has identified 30 more that he estimates will be shut down, because “the economics of old reactors are very dicey”.

The profound consequences of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear-power accident are still unfolding,…….. Fukushima shows us the intolerable costs of nuclear power. The citizens of Vermont show us the benefits of just saying no. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/aug/29/nuclear-power-dangers-fukushima-vermont

 

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August 30, 2013 - Posted by | opposition to nuclear, USA

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