NRC needs to hear message that Vermont Yankee’s time is up

March 27, 2011

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FOR CITIZENS working to close Vermont Yankee, the Japanese earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear power failures are an overwhelming call to find another way to power our world. We must change the system that allows corporations to sell power that carries a huge potential cost should there be an unforeseen, yet inevitable, crisis.

It is clear to me that nearby Vermont Yankee is just too dangerous. Nuclear plants, whether built on fault lines or in flood plains, are vulnerable. The failing plants in Japan are General Electric Mark 1 reactors, the same design as Vermont Yankee and the Pilgrim plant in Plymouth.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission last week granted Vermont Yankee an operating license for 20 more years. The NRC apparently is at least as concerned with the continued existence of the nuclear industry as it is with the safety of the reactors and the surrounding environment.

Vermonters have brought repeated and credible arguments before the NRC as to why Vermont Yankee is too risky, old, and poorly maintained to continue operations. These have delayed the process, but the NRC has never denied a renewal.

Vermonters have the right to tell Entergy, the plant’s owner, that 40 years is enough, that we can and will do better, and that power can come from sources that do not produce carcinogens, require evacuation drills, and produce the most toxic waste on earth.

Nancy Braus
Putney, Vt.

The writer is active with Safe and Green, a citizens’ organization of residents living within 20 miles of Vermont Yankee.