Evacuation Plan Letter to Governor Shumlin 2013

  • Action Center

  • January 29, 2013

    Governor Peter Shumlin

    109 State Street, Pavilion Building
    Montpelier, Vermont 05609

    Dear Governor Shumlin,

    Thank you for your efforts to protect Vermonters from the hazards created by the operation of Vermont Yankee and the unscrupulous business practices of Entergy Corporation.

    In 2010, we delivered into your hands a petition signed by 1,656 residents living within 20 miles of Vermont Yankee. Our petition said, in part, “We are tired of being asked to believe that evacuation plans will actually work. We ask that you imagine hearing the evacuation sirens go off and knowing that you will be separated from your children, that roads will be clogged, that there will be panic. “

    It has been brought to our attention that, as Governor, you are required to sign a letter approving the state evacuation plan for Vermont Yankee by January 31st. We write to ask you not to sign off on the current Radiological Emergency Response Plan.

    1. The American Red Cross studied the plan and in testimony to the Vermont State Nuclear Advisory Panel in September “concluded that, at present, there is a significant gap between what the Plan calls for and what the Red Cross can reasonably provide in the way of material equipment and shelter staffing.” The Red Cross is also concerned that it cannot handle the number of evacuees anticipated at shelters.

    2. As the Fukushima disaster has proven, shelter for long-term displaced populations must be taken into account. The plan does not address the impacts on outlying areas for housing refugees.

    3.  Plans for evacuating our most vulnerable populations, including after school, family day care, and elder day care programs, are non-existent.

    4.  Hurricane Irene has shown us that our roads, bridges, and power lines can be completely incapacitated by a disaster. If Vermont Yankee were to suffer a loss of power or damage to its spent fuel pool during a natural disaster – a not unlikely scenario — getting to the reactor, as well as driving out of the evacuation zone, could prove to be impossible. This is true even when there is no disaster and simple routine bridge maintenance is being done, as has been the case in Windham County during the past two years; traffic is often dramatically slowed miles south of Brattleboro.

    5.  Fukushima has also shown us the danger of the spent fuel pool. According to the Rutland Herald (January 4, 2013), “Currently, there are 2,507 fuel assemblies stored on site at the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant in Vernon in its five-story spent fuel pool, with another 884 fuel assemblies in 13 concrete and steel casks outside the reactor building.” Please advocate for the immediate removal of fuel rods in the spent fuel pool into dry casks.

    Prior to 1987, if a Governor refused to sign off on an evacuation plan, then the nuclear reactor’s license would be jeopardized. In 1983, Governor Mario Cuomo refused to sign an evacuation plan for Shoreham Nuclear Power Plant, another GE boiling water reactor like Vermont Yankee; it was later decommissioned. In 1987, Governor Dukakis refused to sign off on Seabrook’s evacuation plan, and Ohio Gov. Richard F. Celeste withdrew approval for evacuation plans for the Perry and Davis-Besse nuclear power facilities. Then the NRC changed the rules: reactor owners now draft evacuation plans, which the NRC approves. In an attempt to save Seabrook and Shoreham, President Ronald Reagan signed an executive order that “authorizes federal officials to prepare, coordinate and contribute federal resources to evacuation plans for nuclear plants where local and state governments have refused to cooperate with utility efforts.”

    U.S. Congressman Edward Markey has studied the role of the federal government in a nuclear accident. None of the federal agencies wants responsibility for oversight. According to Rep. Markey’s website: “DHS is responsible for coordinating Federal operations within the United States to prepare for, respond to, and recover from terrorist attacks, major disasters, and other emergencies.’ Yet the plan also indicates that, depending on the type of nuclear or radiological incident, the coordinating agency may instead be the Department of Energy, Department of Defense, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), or the U.S. Coast Guard.”

    We cannot depend on the federal government to know what to do. As Governor Madeline Kunin said a year ago, “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.” The safety of Windham County is in your hands, Governor Shumlin. We call on you to refuse to sign a letter approving a plan that is doomed to fail.

    Sincerely,

    1. Bob Bady, Brattleboro, for the Safe and Green Campaign
    2. Nancy Braus, Putney, for the Safe and Green Campaign
    3. Peter Cooper, Brattleboro, for the Safe and Green Campaign
    4. Ann Darling, Brattleboro, for the Safe and Green Campaign
    5. Court Dorsey, Wendell, MA, for the Safe and Green Campaign
    6. Rich Garant, Brattleboro, for the Safe and Green Campaign
    7. Laurel Green, Rockingham, for the Safe and Green Campaign
    8. Randy Kehler, Colrain, MA, for the Safe and Green Campaign
    9. Leslie Sullivan Sachs, Brattleboro, for the Safe and Green Campaign
    10. Chad Simmons, Brattleboro, for the Safe and Green Campaign
    11. Leo Schiff, Brattleboro, for the Safe and Green Campaign
    12. Elizabeth Williams, Westminster West , for the Safe and Green Campaign
    13. Chris Williams, Hancock, for Vermont Citizens Awareness Network
    14. Debra Stoleroff, Plainfield, for Vermont Yankee Decommissioning Alliance
    15. Dan DeWalt, Newfane, for ReplaceVY.org
    16. Debra Katz, Rowe, MA, for Citizens Awareness Network
    17. Wendy Slater, Brattleboro
    18. Gary Sullivan Sachs, Brattleboro
    19. Lissa Weinmann, Brattleboro, VT
    20. Scott Ainslee, Brattleboro
    21. Daniel Sicken, Dummerston
    22. Ed Anthes, Dummerston
    23. Mary Ellen Copeland, Dummerston
    24. Carol Levin, Guilford
    25. Patricia R. Cavanaugh, Guilford
    26. Steve Mindel, W. Dummerston
    27. Clay Turnbull, Townshend
    28. Claire Wilson, Putney
    29. Francie Marbury, Principal, Marlboro School
    30. David Leland, Marlboro
    31. Susan Kunhardt, Marlboro
    32. Woody Kunhardt, Marlboro
    33. Josh Engle, Marlboro
    34. Julie Lineberger, Wilmington
    35. Kate Tarlow Morgan, Marlboro
    36. Casey Deane, Marlboro
    37. Joan Carey, Marlboro
    38. Jim Herrick, Marlboro
    39. Bobbi Angell, Marlboro
    40. Bobbi Angell, Marlboro
    41. Craig Hammond, Marlboro
    42. Jonathan Morse, Marlboro
    43. Charlene Morse,  Marlboro
    44. Rose Watson, Marlboro
    45. Sally Andrews, Marlboro
    46. Will Fielding, Marlboro
    47. John Robohm, Jacksonville
    48. Johanna J. Robohm, Jacksonville
    49. Laura Simon, Wilder
    50. Nancy Rice, Randolph Center
    51. Schuyler Gould, Barre
    52. Eleanor Gavin, East Charleston
    53. Sally Shaw, Gill, MA
    54. John Ward, Gill, MA
    55. Rev. Leslie Fraser, Colrain, MA
    56. Betsy Cormer, Colrain, MA
    57. Tom Wyatt, Warwick, MA
    58. Susan McGuin, Amherst, MA
    59. Paki Weiland, Northampton, MA
    60. Donna Riley, Northampton, MA
    61. Jonathan von Ranson, Wendell, MA
    62. Susan von Ranson, Wendell, MA
    63. Ann Ferguson, Leverett, MA
    64. Bobby McCormick, Shutesbury, MA
    65. Gayle Miniter, Greenfield, MA
    66. Garrett Connelly, Greenfield, MA
    67. Susan Worgaftik, Greenfield, MA
    68. Marian Kelner, Greenfield, MA
    69. Kathryn Drake, Leverett, MA
    70. Bob Gardner, Florence, MA
    71. Amy Bookbinder, Leeds, MA
    72. Peter Thews, Easthamton, MA
    73. Andrew Larkin, MD, Northampton, MA
    74. Frank B. Magill, MD, Keene, NH
    75. Elizabeth Zimmerli, Keene, NH
    76. Carol Packwood, Keene, NH
    77. Joseph Staples, Keene, NH
    78. Nancy Brigham, Keene, NH
    79. James G. Smart, Keene, NH
    80. Leonore Alaniz, Leverett, MA

    cc: Windham County Legislative Delegation

    cc:  Emergency Management Directors (Brattleboro, Dummerston, Guilford, Halifax, Marlboro)