[3.12.15: CANCELLED due to weather:On Saturday, March 14, Safe and Green will walk from the gates of VT Yankee at noon, to honor the ghost towns of Fukushima. We have a new reason to remember the 140,000 people evacuated on March 11, 2011. Today’s press reports that the NRC Commissioners unanimously approved Entergy’s request to no longer support the 10-mile emergency planning zone around Vermont Yankee after April 2016. [Bennington Banner 03.05.15 and VtDigger 03.04.15]
Since 2000, the NRC says it has been working on rules for decommissioning reactors that would include a four-phase approach to the EPZ. One commissioner suggested Entergy take this approach in Vermont. The others said since no progress has actually been made on the rules, we are left us with nothing. Zip. Nada.
Japan announced this week they are expanding EPZs to 18 miles. Over 80,000 people still cannot return home to their towns in Fukushima, four years after the beginning of the disasters at the Dai’ichi nuclear reactors there.
Vermont Yankee is a twin to three of those reactors – a Mark 1 BWR plant built in 1972. In the event of a catastrophic fuel pool fire, we too could become nuclear refugees. Our towns could become ghost towns without the protections the EPZ once provided.
What can we do? Citizen action may be our only option at this point. Please join us for FUKUSHIMA: 4 YEARS & COUNTING. [Download a JPEG poster here]. WALK from the gate of Vermont Yankee to Brattleboro on March 14 to honor the victims of Dai’ichi and to spread the word on the NRC and Entergy absolving themselves of responsibility for our region. We suggest you make and wear a sign with the name of one of the towns in the evacuation zone. There is a list below. After the Walk, we will VIGIL at Pliny Park in Brattleboro at 2:30. [Details are here]. At 4pm, we are hosting a program, NUCLEAR POWER: CRADLE TO GRAVE, at Centre Congregational Church on Main Street, Brattleboro.
WALK: 11:30 am Folks from north of Vernon will meet at the parking lot of Marlboro Graduate Center in Brattleboro (just past the Brattleboro Museum on Vernon Street). We will car pool from there. Folks coming from south of Vernon should park in the Vernon Town Hall lot on Governor Hunt Road. Noon: Meet at VT Yankee Gate.
12:15pm – 2:30pm (estimate): We will hold a commemoration circle before walking, then walk 6 miles from VT Yankee to Pliny Park, Brattleboro for the Vigil. It is a fairly easy walk with a few gentle hills. There are some beautiful river views. Please dress for the weather. Please wear a sign representing an evacuation town. We will have snacks at Pliny Park (no hot beverages, please patronize our wonderful local coffee shops and bakeries].
2:00-4:00 pm The Parlor in the Centre Congregational Church will be open in case walkers need to warm up or dry out, and in case of rain/snow/sleet for the Vigil.
2:30-3:45 pm: VIGIL at Pliny Park, Main & High Street, Brattleboro. We will honor the evacuees and ghost towns of Fukushima, with a focus on Namie, a town similar in distance and size to Brattleboro. [Read more on our 2013 Namie sister city action here.]
4:00pm: LEARN: Nuclear Power: Cradle to Grave. Parlor, Centre Congregation Church, 123 Main St., Brattleboro. Kevin Kamps of Beyond Nuclear will give us an update on Fukushima and a presentation on nuclear waste and dry cask storage (the grave). Jennifer Thurston of INFORM in Colorado will give a presentation on uranium mining (the cradle). Most of the program will be filled with Q&A and audience discussion. Details & bios are here.