VY Future – Biomass & Natural Gas?

If you follow Vermont Yankee news, you know that some days (hopefully after you’ve had your first cup of Joe), you open the paper or check your VY Google Alert and … SURPRISE! Cooling towers collapse. Electrical fires. Radiation leaks. Lying executives. VT Yankee is closing. Pipe bomb.

Compost happens.

This morning’s wake up call is a biomass proposal for the site after closure. With a natural gas component. The town of Vernon is already seeing tax dollar signs and is agog with delight. Read all about it in the Reformer.

Here’s a few first thoughts:

improved access to natural gas resources — either through rail delivery of (liquefied natural gas) supplies or by pipeline through neighboring Massachusetts

— would this be tied into the proposed Tennessee Gas pipeline that would run through hundreds of acres of private, locally owned land, wetlands, and other sensitive ecosystems?

— who’s excited about gas traveling the rails?

According to Patty O’Donnell, “There’s a lot that can’t be used, because it’s considered ‘dirty,’ and the NRC is going to regulate that it all be taken apart and moved away,” she said. “But the stack can be used, the cooling towers can be used. There are three or four different sites on that land right now (that could be used).

— “Dirty” ??? Radioactive waste is “dirty”?

— Happy for new jobs. But would you want to share work space with 900 tons of radioactive waste? Let’s do some research on environmental health and safety, shall we?

“The Shumlin administration is committed to doing everything possible to help Vernon and the region in a post-VY world,” Spaulding wrote. “The economic-development funds flowing from our agreement with Entergy should be helpful in that regard.

— Entergy’s eco-dev funds are dwarfed by this proposal’s “development costs estimated at $350 million for biomass and upwards of $1 billion for a hybrid facility.”

Bye-bye locally grown, truly green energy development. Hello, huge facility owned by some conglomerate of corporate investors, albeit fronted by a Vermonter.

Perhaps I am just being knee-jerk negative and should pour myself a soothing cup of herbal tea. Give it a read yourself. There may be silver linings beneath all that compost.

By Leslie Sullivan Sachs


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