Nov. 10: Vernon Public Hearing on Proposed Gas Plant

We will be attending a public meeting on November 10 in Vernon at 6:30pm at the elementary school. The Vernon Planning Commission will present its proposal for a gas plant to be located in Vernon, which will be connected to the fracked gas pipeline proposed by Kinder Morgan through Massachusetts and New Hampshire. A pipeline would come from Northfield, MA to Vernon. Kinder Morgan has to prove to FERC (the feds) that there is a demand for the gas. A new gas plant in Vernon, creating a new market in Windham County, would help Kinder Morgan make that case.

A VtDigger article about the forum is re-posted on the No Fracked Gas in Mass website, which is also a good source of information about the pipeline, and alternatives.

At the meeting, we have been told that the general public will be allowed to comment after all Vernon residents are done talking. The chair of the Vernon Planning Commission is a familiar face: Patty O’Donnell, a goof friend to VT Yankee and formerly the Vernon selectboard chair, state rep, head of ALEC in Vermont, and lobbyist for Entergy in VT’s statehouse.

 

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LAST Siren Test Nov. 7

UPDATE: Entergy has offered towns first dibbs on the 37 sirens. (Read an article below.) Some towns are interested. The state is not. Here’s an idea: keep them active til all the radioactive fuel is moved from the fuel pool into dry cask storage!

Original post: This coming Saturday, November 7th, Vermont Yankee will perform the last tests of the 37 sirens in the 10-mile evacuation zone. On and off over decades, activists have been doing a die-ins when they hear the siren: lay down on the ground wherever you are when you hear the siren, and stay put until the siren ends — unless of course doing so would endanger yourself or others. The NRC has approved Entergy’s plan to stop emergency planning beyond the site boundaries of the nuclear power site, as of April 2016. So this is most likely the final tests of the evacuation zone sirens.

The sirens will go off at Noon in Brattleboro, Dummerston, Guilford, Vernon, VT;  Chesterfield, Hinsdale, Richmond, Swanzey and Winchester, NH and Gill, Colrain, Leyden, Bernardston and Northfield, MA.

REFORMER 11.05.15 VY: The Sirens of History

BRATTLEBORO >> Once a month for decades, people living and working in the emergency planning zone around Vermont Yankee in Vernon have heard the wail of the emergency sirens that dot the landscape within a 10-mile radius of the nuclear power plant.

On Saturday, at noon, all 37 sirens will fire in unison together for the last time. The full three-minute siren testing is conducted by Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts state public safety agencies in compliance with the regulations of the Federal Emergency Management Agency to ensure the effectiveness of the public notification system.

In Vermont, sirens are located in Brattleboro, Dummerston, Guilford and Vernon. In New Hampshire, sirens are located in Chesterfield, Hinsdale, Richmond, Swanzey and Winchester. And in Massachusetts, they are located in Gill, Colrain, Leyden, Bernardston and Northfield.

But because the nuclear power plant ceased operations in December of 2014 and all the spent fuel has been moved out of the reactor, there is no longer a requirement to conduct the system-wide tests. And Entergy, which owns the plant, is only obligated to maintain the sirens until May 2016. Until then, emergency managers in the EPZ might “burp” the sirens for a few seconds to insure they are still working, but there will be no more three-minute tests.

What happens to the sirens after May 2016 is up to the towns, said Martin Cohn, senior communications specialist for Vermont Yankee decommissioning.

Cohn said Entergy is preparing a letter to deliver to all the towns in the EPZ, letting them know they can keep the sirens if they want them, or Entergy will dismantle and cart them away after May 2016.

Erika Bornemann, the chief of staff for the Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security, said the state has no plan to take ownership of the sirens.

“We have told the towns that the sirens are their property. They need to decide whether to keep them or have them decommissioned.”

“We have five sirens in the town of Brattleboro,” said Mike Buccosi, the town’s fire chief and director of emergency management. “We have talked a number of times over the years about how we could incorporate the sirens into our own emergency warnings and we’ve always come back to the belief that people will associate the sirens with an emergency at Vermont Yankee.”

While the sirens could be used for any type of emergency, said Buccosi, what they are really telling people is to turn on your weather radios to get information, not that Yankee is experiencing an emergency. To sign up to receive alerts to your phone or email, visit www.vtalert.gov.

“We really have no use for them,” said Buccosi. “The only thing they could give a pre-warning about is a tornado, and, as you know, they are far and few between here.”

Patrick Moreland, Brattleboro’s assistant town manager, said there really is no good reason for the town to take ownership of the sirens.

“We have been offered them, but the idea of taking them on at additional cost just doesn’t make sense.”

But not everyone feels that way.

Zeke Goodband, the chairman of the Dummerston Selectboard, said that while there has been no official discussion about the future of the tow’s sirens, he believes the town will need to weigh the benefit of having the sirens against the costs of maintaining them.

And Mike Darcy, chairman of the Board of Selectmen for Hinsdale, N.H., said he and his other board members need more information from Entergy before they make a decision on whether to keep the sirens or not.

“We need to determine what the necessity is to having an emergency siren and how much it will cost to maintain one,” said Darcy.

Cohn said it can cost anywhere between $125 and $1,000 every year to maintain the sirens, depending on what kind of work needs to be done.

Jon McKeon, the chairman of the Chesterfield, N.H., Board of Selectmen, said town administrators are working with Chesterfield’s two fire departments to determine if they would like to take possession of the sirens.

“The sirens would be a good addition to the town’s early warning system,” said McKeon.

To sign up for emergency notifications to your phone or email in New Hampshire, visit www.readynh.gov.

Bob Audette can be contacted at 802-254-2311, ext. 160.

 

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NDCAP Meeting 11.12.15

November 12, 2015 – 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Vernon Elementary School Cafeteria, 381 Governor Hunt Road, Vernon, VT

Most of the citizen members of the Citizen Advisory Panel have met as a subcommittee and drafted Advisory Opinions to present to the State. The following DRAFT Advisory Opinions will be discussed at this meeting:

  1. Engaging Host Communities (First Draft)The NRC is writing rules for decommissioning, since there essentially are none. The NRC listens to the Nuclear Energy Institute and the industry that pays 80% of its budget through fees. The NRC doesn’t listen to communities or state governments that host reactors. This opinions suggests three ways to “effectively and substantively” engage with the NRC to make our voices heard.

    Bravo … and perhaps a definition of “host communities” should be included in the Opinion so that it is clearly a regional or EPZ approach.

  2.   Continued Funding for Radiological Emergency Response Plan (First Draft)

There are three periods of decommissioning: preparing for Safstor and moving the radioactive fuel from the fuel pool into dry cask storage; dormancy; decontamination. This Draft Opinion wants Emergency Response funds appropriate to each period based on the risks of that phase, not abandoning all of us in the Emergency Planning Zone, and ending rapid response. Moving fuel, and decontaminating the reactor building, are high risk times.

We agree … and this Draft should be edited; at four pages, it is simply too long. This Draft Advisory Opinion refers to “the owner” of Yankee’s license — Entergy is not named, which is interesting. This could be prudent caution by the writer; if Entergy bails and Yankee changes hands, this Opinion would still apply. 

3.  Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation Plan (First Draft)

Highly radioactive fuel will be moved into dry casks which will sit on two storage pads. One pad is built and in use; Entergy has a plan, and has applied for permission from the Public Service Board to build the second pad. The Opinion argues that the pad needs to be located further away from the reactor building.

Entergy’s plan is based on the belief that the US Dept. of Energy will remove all the dry casks by 2052. This Draft Advisory Opinion recommends locating the pad further from the reactor building. If the casks are still there after 2052, having the pads so close to the reactor will make it difficult or impossible to decommission the reactor building. (We don’t understand why this opinion suggests a 3rd pad as an option; seems to muddy the waters).

We agree. Entergy is either trying to pull a fast one, or is dreaming, if it thinks a federal solution for nuclear waste will be decided and passed into law, that a location will be found and approved, that regulations will be written & approved, and that a facility/facilities will be built and licensed, and then all of Yankees dry casks removed by 2052.

4. Vermont Department of Health Groundwater Monitoring through License

Termination (First Draft)

Groundwater monitoring should be a “joint and collaborative effort between the licensee, Entergy Vermont Yankee, LLC, and the Vermont Department of Health (VDH) as opposed to the redundant, resource intensive and inconsistent programs currently in effect.”

Sounds good and your faithful scribe does not have the scientific or technical chops to wade through and comment on the rest of this Opinion. Hopefully activists who are comfortable with this arena will comment.

Please read the above opinions and ask questions, critique and/or show your support for the Opinions at this meeting. Also on the Agenda: an update from Entergy on the announced closures of Fitzpatrick and Pilgrim.

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Nina Swaim Memorial

For four decades, Nina Swaim, from Seabrook to Wall Street to the gates of Vermont Yankee, Nina Swaim wrote, testified, and was arrested battling nuclear power and nuclear weapons, with wit, intelligence and passion. A gathering to commemorate her life will be held 1:00pm on Sunday, November 1st at the Seven Stars Center in Sharon, Vermont. (I89, Exit 3).

From the Valley News

NinaSharon, Vt. — Eleanor (Nina) Hathaway Swaim, 77, died Thursday, Oct. 15, 2015, at her residence in Sharon. Nina was born into a conservative family in Sherborn, Mass. She graduated from Saint Mary’s in Littleton, N.H. and earned a B.A. at Boston University, an M.Ed. at Columbia University, and a Certificate in Conflict Resolution at Woodbury College.

As an administrator in the Foreign Students Office at Columbia in 1968, Nina was originally negative about the disruption of campus life during protests against secret war research at the university. After learning more about the links between the university and the war in Vietnam she came to understand the corruption of the military/industrial/educational complex and the racism inherent in Columbia’s expansion plans into Harlem. She joined the protesters and her life was transformed to a fighter for peace and social justice.

Nina worked in a GI bookstore near a military base to assist soldiers protesting the war in Vietnam; she crewed for her brother’s bike racing in Canada; she learned the printing trade and co-founded the feminist New Victoria Press in Lebanon; she became active in the anti-nuclear movement and was a founding member of the Upper Valley Energy Coalition with close ties to Clamshell Alliance; she was arrested on numerous occasions at Seabrook, N.H., Vernon, Vt., Wall Street, N.Y., and First National Bank, Boston, to expose the dangers of the nuclear industry. She was frequently joined by her mother at anti-nuclear protests. In 1980, she wrote A Handbook for Women on the Nuclear Mentality with Susan Koen. She was a passionate foe of war and blocked the gates at the General Electric plant in Burlington, Vt., when it was manufacturing gatling guns for use against indigenous people in Central America, and she was a tireless organizer of vigils in the Upper Valley as war after war scarred our national fabric. Critics who decried her efforts as ineffectual have come to appreciate the long-term impact of her tireless, steadfast commitment to building a better world. Nina always saw her work as international and went to Nicaragua with a Vermont cotton brigade to learn about the revolution first hand. She worked as a cooperator in Mozambique with the revolutionary women’s organization to study and report on the problems of water from the perspective of Mozambican women. She toured Gandhian ashrams in India to learn the power of Gandhian nonviolence – a philosophy to which she was totally committed.

As recently as Sept. 21 Nina was arrested in Williston as part of the Williston Six who chained themselves to the gate of the Vermont Gas Systems pipe yard to protest the import of fracked gas into Vermont and the continued expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure. She looked forward to a jury trial to defend the necessity of acting to prevent further climate disruption.

Nina studied mediation at Woodbury College when it was a completely new profession and was instrumental in bringing mediation into the Vermont court and education systems. She was mediation coordinator for the Vermont Supreme Court. For years she worked as a mediator with a commitment to mediation as a nonviolent means to resolve conflict and build sounder personal relationships and communities. She was a strong believer in cooperatives as an alternative economic model and was active in the formation of the Upper Valley Food Coop and the South Royalton Market. She was a devoted and passionate beekeeper and a fighter for the health of honeybees. She spearheaded the organization of a day-long conference on honeybees, pollinators, and pesticides at the Vermont Law School just this past April. Nina was a practicing Buddhist and worked for 18 months as volunteer staff at Insight Meditation Society.

Nina spent hours tending her flower gardens. She loved hiking in many parts of the U.S. and climbed all 4000 footers in Vermont and New Hampshire as well as trekking in Nepal, France, Peru, and the Ruwenzori Mountains of Uganda. Horses were often a part of her life and she worked at dude ranches as a wrangler/cowgirl and with High Horses therapeutic riding program in Wilder.

She is survived by her husband Douglas V. Smith and her brother, Stanley Swaim of East Burke, and by her step-daughter, Kirsten Elin; and grandsons, Ezekiel Elin and Jett Elin of Hanover.

A Gathering to commemorate the life of Nina Swaim will be held Sunday, Nov. 1 at 1 p.m. at the Seven Stars Center in Sharon. All are welcome.

Gifts in memory of Nina may be sent to Rising Tide Vermont, 21 Decatur Street, Burlington, VT 05401, or to Resist, 259 Elm Street, Somerville, MA 02144-9816.

 

 

 

 

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Entergy Announces Pilgrim Closure

Yesterday Entergy announced that it plans to close the Pilgrim reactor in Plymouth, MA by 2019. When that happens, one-half of all the nukes in New England will be shut down!

As we have written previously, even the lax NRC could not ignore the cascading effect of poor maintenance at Pilgrim, and recently it was ranked one of the 3 least safe reactors in the US. (The other two, in Arkansas, are also owned by Entergy).

Pilgrim should close NOW. The list of repairs the NRC has begun keeps getting longer. How can it be safe?

Pilgrim “fails in every Nor’easter since 1978,” has had several unplanned shut downs, hasn’t fixed a fire problem discovered in 1992, has tons of waste on site on Cape Cod Bay, a malfunctioning weather tower, and an evacuation plan that is a joke. It is a twin to Fukushima, like Yankee, so we know those weaknesses.

The day after Entergy announced its plan to close the Pilgrim reactor, Power magazine published this article: Is Entergy Moving Out of Nukes?

While many folks are comparing Entergy’s closure of VT Yankee to Pilgrim, there are big differences.

  • Entergy said, on September 28, that if the cost of fixes required by the NRC was too high, they would shut down Pilgrim. On October 8, NRC’s PR man Neil Sheehan said, “They are one step removed from the column where they would be at risk of being shut down by the NRC.” VT Yankee was not in that situation. We did not get a heads up, and Yankee was not under pressure from the NRC to close.
  • Entergy’s stock has fallen 30% this year. Entergy said it may close Fitzpatrick in NY. Entergy withdrew an application to build a new nuclear reactor in Mississippi.  Entergy just sold its natural gas plant in Rhode Island. Entergy needs cash.
  • While Entergy blamed competition from natural gas in the decisions to close both Yankee & Pilgrim, there were no pipelines proposed in Vermont at the time. On the other hand, Massachusetts is  currently involved in a huge energy battle: natural gas pipelines versus renewables. Pilgrim’s closing is not going to help the fight against the pipelines.

Here is MA Senator Dan Wolf:

But now is not the time to relax: We need to make sure Pilgrim operates safely, closure happens as soon as possible, the cost of decommissioning is not borne by taxpayers or ratepayers, and the people working at Pilgrim transition into good jobs. Let’s use this historic moment to move us toward clean, renewable energy that much faster!

We know better than anyone, that closure is a mixed bag. No more high level radioactive waste will be created. But Pilgrim activists will face a lengthy list of new challenges. For now, we congratulate our comrades. As NIRS commented on the closure news:

It is probably not a coincidence that for the past 25 years, New England has been home to the most active and aggressive anti-nuclear movement in the U.S. When people band together, work together, and stick to it: good things happen.

We at Safe and Green plan to share our experience of the closure of Vermont Yankee, and the fact that the NRC seems even more lax and captive to industry than ever once the last kilowatt is generated. We have grave concerns about the financial future of Entergy. We will strategize with those working to safely dismantle Pilgrim toward a better outcome than Yankee’s status, as it seems more possible every day that Entergy will not be here to complete the job.

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Bernie Sanders and Nuclear Power

US Senator Bernie Sanders

US Senator Bernie Sanders

On Facebook, the question of where Vermont Senator & presidential candidate falls on nuclear power. He has long been an ally on many fronts. Here are some YouTube videos on his stand. They go back to 2007 but these are good overviews.

June 2011: Nuclear Power Safety, demanding the NRC intervene in Entergy’s law suit against Vermont, on the right of the state of Vermont to determine its own energy future, and on public safety.

March 15, 2012 Fukushima, the Nuclear Industry & Its Flaws

April 12, 2012 “Defend Democracy” rally, on the Brattleboro Common ( above photo)

You can read his speech from the Defend Democracy Rally here

 

 

 

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Keep the Pressure On

On Thursday, Sept. 24th, emergency response — a topic of huge concern to most of us living in the shadow of Vermont Yankee — is on the agenda for the Nuclear Decommissioning Citizen Advisory Panel (NDCAP). The Emergency Planning program will end next April. This will be an introduction into what we will be left with for the next five or six decades. On the agenda at 6:50pm:

Emergency Response During SAFSTOR and Decon with presentations ] Vermont’s Division of Emergency Management/Homeland Security, and by Dr. Bill Irwin of the Vermont Department of Health. There will be time for public comment following the panel’s comments.

A link to the full NDCAP agenda plus other background information is on our webpage here: http://www.safeandgreencampaign.org/action-center. Our comments, a timeline and links to news articles on the EPZ and emergency rapid response are here: http://www.safeandgreencampaign.org/legal/2015/01/emergency-planning-update

In January 2012, former Gov. Madeline Kunin wrote a commentary that goes to the heart of the problem. In 1985, she had “learned that the plant had falsified inspection reports for years and that thousands of unchecked parts may have been installed … Both plant officials and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission had kept me in the dark … How could I assure Vermonters that the plant was safe? That is the same question that is being asked today.”

Governors have the responsibility to protect the safety of their citizens. If the plant accidentally releases radiation, the governor takes immediate action, ordering an evacuation, issuing iodine pills. But the governor had no power to prevent an accident in the first place.

If you read her full post [VtDigger 01.26.2012], you will learn that her actions led to Yankee being shut down for 8 months for repairs. You and I know that the whole situation could have been kept under wraps had it not been for the pressure of informed, organized citizens.

We are in the same situation today. The state battles to keep us “safe,” demanding that the EPZ be kept in place until all the radioactive fuel is moved. The NRC simply states “it is safe.” We need to keep the pressure on.

 

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September E-Newsletter

Dear Friends of Safe & Green,

 No wonder Entergy is holding tight to Yankee’s decommissioning purse strings, raiding the cookie jar, and refusing to report any withdrawals. Today’s Boston Globe said Entergy’s “stock price has plummeted by nearly 30% this year.” The headline reads, “Pilgrim nuclear plant says it may shut down.” Pilgrim & 2 other Entergy reactors (in Arkansas) are at the very bottom of the NRC’s worst-performing reactors in the US — just one step above being shut down. Palisades had a scram a few days ago. Entergy announced it will decide by December whether to shut down Fitzpatrick. Read more with links and commentary on our post here.

EVENTS COMING UP

9/18 Tomorrow: Climate Rally at the NH Democratic Convention. Veterans Memorial Park, 737 Elm Street, Manchester, NH 03101 8am-1pm.

Sept. 24 Nuclear Decommissioning Citizen Advisory Panel Meeting. On the NDCAP Agenda at 6:50pm “Emergency Response During SAFSTOR and Decon” with presentations & Q&A by staff from VT Division of Emergency Management/Homeland Security and the Dept. of Health. Following that will be a proposed process by which NDCAP will advise the state, and potential advisory topics. (VtDigger covered the meeting of the Advisory Opinion Subcommittee; we attended, and it’s a good summary). The NDCAP meeting is open to the public and there is time for public comment after each of the above items. Thursday 9/24, 6-9pm, Brattleboro Area Middle School, 109 Sunny Acres, Brattleboro (first right before the high school building).

Our friends at the New England Coalition have a big week coming up. Contact Carol Levin, clevin@sover.net for details.

Sept. 23 Brattleboro Community Decomm. meeting, 6:30-8:30pm. Brattleboro Coop

Sept. 25 – Nuclear Film Festival at the Sunnyside Solar Store, 499 Marlboro Road, West Brattleboro – by donation to benefit NEC. Starts at 10am, runs all day, come to any or all of the films.

Sept. 26 – 44th Annual Meeting, Strolling of the Heifers River Garden, Main Street, Brattleboro. No cost, open to all. 4pm social, 5pm business meeting, 6pm Guest Speak Gordon Edwards of Montreal, President of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility.

GLOOM & DOOM FOR WHOM?

Safe & Green’s Bob Bady authored a letter thanking the Commons for their recent article on the real estate market in Windham County. The county saw a rise in sales this year. Brattleboro has taken a dip but realtors say many factors, not just VY’s closure, are in play. Bob noted that a prior gloom-and-doom OpEd by pro-nukers in the Commons “appeared in several different national publications, [was] an effort to say, ‘If a nuke closes in Illinois or Massachusetts, you’ll slide into the economic hell hole that Brattleboro has become.’ ” This week, the Commons and VtDigger carried a story entitled VT Yankee begins the long journey to ‘cold and dark.’

What About the Waste?

Entergy has applied to the Public Service Board of Vermont for a permit to build a second storage pad to hold additional dry casks to store 900+ tons of radioactive waste from the fuel pool. This second pad will be on top of an area that needs to be decontaminated – not covered up! The Windham Regional Commission has asked that an alternative location be found for the pad. You can read Windham Regional’s letter, “The Long View on a Near-Term Solution for Nuclear Waste” which explains their thinking. (A link to their filing to the PSB is at the bottom.) “Entergy assumes that the spent fuel will be picked up by 2052 …” by the Dept. of Energy, before the reactor and other buildings on site will be dismantled. What if no federal or interim waste facility is built or makes it through the regulatory process? We’ve watched the Yucca Mountain circus unfold for decades. If the casks are still there, decommissioning can’t happen.

Meanwhile, as one activist quipped, “The ostrich sticks its head in the sand.” The NRC has cancelled a radiation safety study and the NRC may change its public health radiation standards from the proven no safe dose (LTN) to the favorite theory of the pro-nuclear industry, hormesis: “a little radiation is good for you.”  Congressman Peter Welch gets down hammered the NRC on states’ rights, the decommissioning fund, and SAFSTOR. Read more with links and video on our post here.

SOLIDARITY

 Safe & Green is supporting the fight against the KM pipeline proposed for Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Richie Davis, who covered Yankee issues for decades, is on the beat and a collection of articles in the Greenfield Recorder are here. Here’s what Safe & Green’s Ann Darling wrote after last week’s “Tell the FERC” meeting:

“It was not surprising to me that there are many parallels between the nuclear industry and its captive regulator and pipelines/FERC, but it was spooky and uncanny nonetheless. One person spoke about the parallels — we’ve fought with a big corporation and with the feds over nuclear for decades. We don’t trust them, and why should we trust TGP and Kinder Morgan and FERC? etc.

This is definitely the same battle we’ve been fighting but on a different front, with somewhat different content — it’s about democracy and local control and how we create and distribute energy without fouling our nest.

Keep the hydrocarbons in the ground, damn it!”

9/18 Tomorrow: Climate Rally at the NH Democratic Convention. Veterans Memorial Park, 737 Elm Street, Manchester, NH 03101 8am-1pm. A family-friendly march and rally at the New Hampshire Democratic Convention to show Presidential candidates the climate movement wants actions, not words. Rally and join us in fight against local pipeline fights too. It’s happening right here, our home. Stop the Kinder Morgan “Northeast Export Direct” (NED), the Stop Spectra Pipeline and Stop the Constitution Pipeline.

 Two pipeline resources include Climate Action Now, a western Mass group working on the Kinder Morgan pipeline and Northfield compressor station. http://climateactionnowma.org/ and Mass Power Forward, a coalition of groups in eastern Mass., including Pilgrim Coalition and others against Spectra pipeline and compressor station in Weymouth MA (5 miles south of Boston, 25 miles of Pilgrim in Plymouth). http://www.mapowerforward.com/ Both post local actions, hearings, news, petitions and more.

Congratulations to Diane Turco and Cape Downwinders for making progress with MA Gov. Baker! Last Wednesday, Baker told reporters Pilgrim is safe. “Last Thursday, Ms. Turco and other members of Cape Downwinders traveled to the state house in Boston where they delivered a letter to … Gov. Baker [who] reversed his position and said he was concerned about the safety of Pilgrim Nuclear.” He wrote a letter of his own to Entergy. www.capecod.net/ To learn more about Pilgrim, watch “East Meets West,” a panel hosted by CAN with speakers from Pilgrim, CAN and NIRS.  The video is here: http://gctv.org/videos/east-meets-west-forum-nuclear-free-ma

Finally, 25 years after the Clamshell protests at Seabrook closed one of two proposed reactors, city council members want the remaining reactor to shut down. Concrete is crumbling. They are “profoundly disturbed by the NRC’s oversight” of the plant and pointed to what they termed “their track record of making extremely high-risk decisions” rather than taking a precautionary approach to public safety.’ http://www.eagletribune.com/

Safe & Green’s steering committee meets the first Monday of the month at 5:30. We start with a social pot luck and wind up around 8pm. We welcome new members. Email Leslie at safeandgreencampaign@gmail.com if you are interested in attending our October meeting.

Peace and Solidarity,

Leslie Sullivan Sachs

For the Safe & Green Campaign

 

 

 

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Entergy in a Tight Squeeze

No wonder Entergy is fighting to use Vermont’s decommissioning funds for all the expenses it can squeeze out. Entergy’s “stock price has plummeted by nearly 30 percent this year.”  Entergy’s bills are piling up:

*** Entergy owns the 3 worst nukes on the NRC’s performance list. Pilgrim and its two Arkansas reactors are all one step away from shut down. As activist Mary Lampert says “Pilgrim is an antique reactor built when the Beatles sang on Ed Sullivan’s show.” https://www.bostonglobe.com/  It costs Entergy a bundle to get a reactor back in the NRC’s good graces: Patriot Ledger 09.04.15. Update: 9/18: Boston Globe has a headline today. “Pilgrim nuclear plant says it may shut down.”

*** Entergy will decide in December whether to shut down Fitzpatrick merchant reactor because it can’t compete with cheap natural gas. Sound familiar? “Entergy closed a similar plant, Vermont Yankee, last year. The company’s cash flow has benefited from that decision, [Entergy CEO] Denault said.” But it could be a ploy: Entergy is in contract negotiations with the union, suing over property taxes, and looking for concessions from labor and local politicians scared by the loss of Fitzpatrick jobs. Or it could be that, once again, Entergy must admit it made a mistake when buying old reactors as merchants. www.syracuse.com/sept 09 2015

*** Entergy’s Palisades reactor scrammed (automatic shut down) Sept. 16 “due to a failure in the turbine generator system — a non-nuclear, non-safety related system. ” (Just another old part, nothing to worry about, etc etc. Ignore the fact that the reactor is embrittled and leaks in Lake Michigan). Palisades had 5 unplanned shutdowns in 2011.

“These unplanned shutdowns and sudden “reactor trips” are like slamming the brakes in your jalopy of a car—not good for the integrity of systems, structures, and components going forward,” said Kevin Kamps of Beyond Nuclear.
Read about Beyond Nuclear’s battle with Entergy here.

*** An NRC investigation into a Christmas scram at the Riverbend nuke in Louisiana determined that Entergy’s training simulator was wrong so operators made errors. “the simulator failed to demonstrate expected plant response to operator input and to normal, transient and accident conditions to which the simulator has been designed to respond.”

*** Entergy is suing NY State over the state’s decision to subsidize the conversion of a coal burning plant to natural gas. Entergy claims it is unfair to subsidize competing energy producers. Yup, they believe only nukes should be subsidized. Capitol New York March 2015

*** What about Indian Point, the Entergy-owned albatross 20 miles from New York City? The site has been without a water quality permit from the State of NY since 2007. NY held 3 weeks of hearings in September. The NRC license for Unit 3 expires in December. Entergy is engaged in a massive PR campaign, aimed at NYC’s soccer moms and African Americans, saying asthma will increase without clean nuclear power.  None of the slick mailings say IP has had 5 transformer fires in 8 years; the most recent, in May, caused a spill of thousands of gallons of diesel into the Hudson River. Between the lawyers and public relations, Entergy must be spending a bundle.

On September 17, NIRS published a long but lovely piece on their Safe Energy blog:  The Great Nuclear Bailout List: Who’s a Pawn, Who’s Toast  

The reality is that when a nuclear utility–especially one like Exelon, Entergy or FirstEnergy, all of which have an ideological pro-nuclear fixation–says that it may close one or more of its reactors early, what it really means is that it wants a taxpayer and/or ratepayer bailout to make up for its losses. Only when that approach fails will it actually think about cutting its losses by closing a reactor.

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The NRC Sticks Its Head in the Sand

As one activist quipped, “The ostrich sticks its head in the sand.” The NRC has cancelled a radiation safety study in the US. It says it would cost too much to study health impacts of nuclear sites on host communities. What is the NRC afraid of? Confirmation of European studies which found significant impacts? Who will pay when the NRC protects owners’ profits, not the public? We will – through our health care insurance, and loss of our loved ones. http://www.beyondnuclear.org/home/2015/9/8/vital-cancer-study-canceled-nrc-will-hide-the-truth-about-nu.html by Paul Gunter

As if that was not enough, the NRC may change its public health radiation standards from the proven no safe dose (LTN) to the favorite theory of the pro-nuclear industry, hormesis: “a little radiation is good for you.”  Read this piece by Karl Gros2sman in the Ecologist which sums up reactions from anti-nuclear groups.

Meanwhile, VT Rep. Peter Welch questioned the NRC Commissioners on two issues: public participation in the decommissioning process, and the decommissioning fund. He said, “There is an inherent conflict between … Entergy, which wants to put as many costs on [the fund] as possible, and the community which wants strict limitations…” Welch said Entergy is seeking to have attorney fees and membership dues in NEI, the industry trade group, paid out of the fund. He said we want a “seat at the table” and “strict monitoring of the decomm fund itself.” Finally, regarding SAFSTOR, he said “site restoration is going to be postponed literally for generations, and there is a really big question as to whether or not we should try to proceed with decomm sooner rather than later, in 5 years rather than 50 years.” Read more and watch the video on www.vtdigger.org/

 

 

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