Act today to change tomorrow!
We can choose truly clean energy and replace Vermont Yankee in 2012!
Vermont Yankee's license to operate expires in 2012, and the Vermont Senate voted in 2010 to make sure that happens. We are moving forward to plan our future now! We are replacing this dirty plant with clean, sustainable energy that can bring independence and jobs to our community, while at the same time protecting our environment. Instead of a legacy of toxic nuclear waste on the banks of the Connecticut River, we can replace Vermont Yankee, end our dependence on nuclear power, and choose a clean, sustainable future for our children.
We have a right to make sustainable energy choices. Entergy, the present owner of Vermont Yankee, does not have our best interests in mind. Rather, this foreign corporation is solely focused on its profits and on overturning the courageous stand taken by our elected representatives. We have a right to community control and to choose safe, clean energy that provides jobs, and we mustn't let Entergy usurp that.
The Vermont legislature made an epic choice for our energy future in 2010. Contact your legislators and let them know you are proud that Vermont is abandoning nuclear power and choosing a strong renewable energy portfolio.
The Power of ACT 160
Vermonters' Right to Choose Our Own Energy Future
In February 2010, the Vermont Senate took a historic action for the state's future, voting to shut Vermont Yankee on schedule in April 2012, when the reactor's license to operate is set to expire. The vote fulfilled the promise of a law enacted in May 2006, after intensive citizen advocacy efforts.
Titled Act 160, the legislation determines that the Entergy Nuclear Corporation may not operate the Vermont Yankee nuclear reactor after its license expires in 2012 without "the explicit approval of the General Assembly expressed in law after full, open, and informed public deliberation and discussion with respect to pertinent factors ...."
Even if the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) in Washington, DC has decided to authorize a new 20-year license for the aging, mismanaged reactor, the representatives of Vermont's citizens still have the authority to say "NO!"
Prior to the vote, Act 160 required the state's Department of Public Services (DPS), in consultation with the Senate-House Joint Energy Committee, to arrange for studies that will inform the public and the legislature regarding:
• long-term accountability and financial responsibility issues, including guardianship of the nuclear waste, closure obligations, and emergency management and evacuation plans;
• long-term environmental, economic, and public health issues, including issues relating to nuclear waste storage and decommissioning options; and,
• current economic issues and cost-benefit assumptions.
In addition to the studies, the DPS is required to arrange a "public engagement" process. While VCAN and other groups vehemently opposed the holding of these meetings prior to the release of any studies, the DPS held four public meetings and an online discussion in the Spring of 2008. Results showed a majority of Vermonters want Vermont Yankee to close and be replaced by 2012. Act 160 authorizes the state to bill Entergy for the costs of the studies and engagement.
A copy of the act can be accessed online: http://www.leg.state.vt.us/docs/legdoc.cfm?URL=/docs/2006/acts/ACT160.htm
No other state legislature has ever claimed the right of its citizens, through their elected representatives, to make a decision that could over-ride the powerful interests of a major nuclear corporation and the NRC.
While Vermonters were successful in passing Act 160 , it will take a far greater effort to protect the decisive 2010 vote. Entergy is bent on going back to the legislature and the courts to reverse the people's will.
CAN will be on the front line educating and mobilizing to ensure Vermont moves forward with the orderly replacement and cleanup of Vermont Yankee. In so doing, Vermonters from around the state will continue to work with the visionary legislators who introduced the Act 160 bill and continue to provide leadership in the Senate, House and various committees.
On the other hand, we realize that the Entergy Nuclear Corporation will use the full force of its wealth and power in an effort to convince of legislators that Vermont's economy cannot do without the reactor's electricity and make them believe that the production of that electricity is safe, clean and reliable.
The key to our success will be people power: citizens organized in legislative districts throughout Vermont who speak truth to power. This is especially crucial in those parts of the state furthest from the reactor. The residents of the evacuation zone in Vermont, Massachusetts and New Hampshire, who live in the shadow of the reactor, will need to reach out to our fellow citizens. We will succeed in closing the Vermont Yankee nuclear reactor. And we will make history by providing a model for citizens of other states who are equally endangered by the nuclear reactors near them.
Issues facing Vermont Yankee
Vermont Yankee is an aging reactor with a fuel pool located 70 feet in the air. A National Academy of Sciences report found that reactor fuel pools are terrorist targets and that an attack on a reactor like Vermont Yankee could release plumes of radiation that would travel over 100 miles! Mark 1 reactors like Vermont Yankee are the most vulnerable. Entergy is moving its high level waste into dry cask storage - over 50 million curies, which is also vulnerable.
Pull the Plug on VY
Now that Vermont Yankee is facing imminent closure, Entergy is talking about selling the reactor to another company. This isn't the first time Entergy has tried to escape its responsibility for cleaning up its mess at VY, nor the first time the company has tried to force the state to accept a bad deal to keep VY open. All a sale would distract the legislature from the important job of replacing VY and cleaning up the spills, while shielding Entergy from liability for decommissioning shortfalls, accidents, and costly repairs.
Decommissioning and Cleanup
With the recent discovery of a significant plume of Tritium migrating through the ground water, the issue of cleaning up the mess Entergy has created is front and center. Two issues are paramount: raising Vermont's radiation standards, which are not up to par with neighboring states; and ensuring Entergy does not wriggle out of its obligations for cleanup. With a little over $400 million and an estimated decommissioning cost of over $1 billion, who will be stuck footing the bill? It should not be either ratepayers or taxpayers.
Beyond VY - Our Sustainable Energy Future
Remember: The Cleanest Energy Is the Energy You Never Use. Energy efficiency and conservation are the best and longest-lasting way to bring down your energy bills. A Vermont Department of Public Service 2005 study of efficiency found that 250 MW of power could be saved by 2015 through efficiency alone. Vermont Yankee only supplies the state with 270 MW of power and according to last year's power offer, Entergy wants to sell the state only 170 MW. Through a responsible cleanup and policies to boost efficiency and renewable energy, Vermont can easily replace VY while creating even more jobs.