Vermont Yankee: It Should Have Expired Today
In January a federal judge blocked Vermont from forcing the Vermont Yankee nuclear reactor owned by Entergy Corp. to shut down when its license expires today: March 21, 2012. Vermont was concerned for the safety of its residents. In 2007, a cooling tower at Vermont Yankee collapsed. Later, after several plants around the country suffered leaks of radioactive water, the state asked Vermont Yankee in 2009 whether their plant might be susceptible to that problem.
Vermont Yankee stated they had no underground pipes carrying radioactive material. But they do, and they then leaked tritium laced water.
In his decision, the federal judge said that Vermont is trying to regulate nuclear safety, which only the federal government can do. Yet this power was granted to the state as a condition for the original license for Vermont Yankee.
Referendums to force the closing of nuclear plants have been held in several states, including Maine, but none have passed. Now it looks like Vermont Yankee will not close either.
PDF grantee, Promoting Active Nonviolence (PAN) in nearby Colrain, Mass. has been working on the Safe & Green Campaign, an urgent, grassroots-people-powered effort to close Vermont Yankee, arguing that the nuclear facility should be replaced through conservation, efficiency and renewable solutions, moving us towards a truly “safe and green” energy future. On March 11, hundreds of people spent the afternoon and evening reflecting on the one year anniversary of the disasters in Fukushima. Practicing for an evacuation, people talked about how they chose what to carry with them, and what they would have to leave behind. The evacuation walk from Vermont Yankee nuclear reactor stretched for almost a mile along Route 142.
Noted PAN’s Director, Randy Kehler, who is the Massachusetts coordinator of the Safe & Green Campaign, “Vermont Yankee, along with 22 other U.S. reactors, is of virtually identical age, design and make as the now destroyed reactors in Fukushima.” Safe & Green plans a series of nonviolent direct actions beginning March 21, including an Occupy Entergy HQ on Thursday, March 22.
So despite the disaster in Fukushima, state’s rights vs. corporate rights is really what will be put to the test, as the courts and the U.S. Regulatory Commission (which approved the license extension for another 20 years) confront lawmakers in the Vermont Senate who believe Vermont Yankee should shut down….today.