Safe & Green Campaign History

The Safe & Green Campaign was founded in 2006 in an urgent, grassroots, people powered effort to shut down Entergy’s Vermont Yankee nuclear reactor in Vernon, Vermont, on the Connecticut River a few miles from Massachusetts and New Hampshire. We connected citizens in the 50 towns within 20 miles of Vermont Yankee in an outreach campaign that included public education and organizing for direct action. As the people most at risk from being harmed by the aged, leaky nuclear reactor, we had a right to determine our energy future and had the unique responsibility to make our voices be heard by our neighbors, the media, and our elected officials. 

In 2011, Safe & Green Campaign became a founding member of the SAGE Alliance, a coalition to work together to close Vermont Yankee. The Alliance included citizens and groups that had been opposing Yankee and nuclear power since Yankee’s construction in 1972. Together, we ramped up our public education, citizen organizing, and actions.

By 2014, we were successful. Entergy shut down Vermont Yankee. The State of Vermont created the Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel, which continues to operate today.

Mission accomplished, members of the Safe & Green Campaign have since moved on. We are board members of CAN (an anti-nuclear citizens group serving the greater Northeast region), and are active in local and regional groups working on climate change and other challenges stemming from the election of Trump and rise of the radical right.

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Saturday Earth Week Event

2013 VT Yankee Flotilla Action

2021 Earth Week event
Great River Survival Walk highlights eco-plight of Connecticut River, Saturday, April 24, 10:30am – 12:30pm

Environmental justice for the Connecticut River will be the focus of a community walk through the beautiful French King Gorge to the intake tunnels of the Northfield Mountain Pumped Storage Project up river. The walk will start at 10:30 on Dorsey Road in Erving, in the shadow of the French King Bridge, and proceed 1.5 miles along the Franklin County Bikeway to the pump storage intake tunnels. It then returns to the bridge starting point, around 12:30 pm.

Anna Gyorgy’s OpEd in the Montague Reporter connects our local nukes to the Northfield pumping station:

“Northfield originally was expected to consume excess energy produced by a number of planned nuclear units during evening hours and generate electricity during peak hours when power was needed most. During the 1970s, construction of some of those nuclear units did not come to fruition.” 

So what a good idea that seemed! As these grid-feeding colossi (twin 1,500 MW nuclear reactors were proposed for the Montague Plains in late 1973) must be located near rivers, to supply the massive amounts of cooling water for the reactors – killing more fish and heating the rivers – why not use that “extra” nighttime power to pump river water up to a holding pond, to release through turbines later?

The fact that “construction of some of those nuclear units did not come to fruition” is of course thanks to a dedicated grassroots movement supported by a few scientists revealing the immense dangers involved. After years of government lies, these were hard for the general public to believe – until the 1979 nuclear meltdown at one of the Three Mile Island nukes near Harrisburg, PA. What you can’t see can harm you.

The nuclear plant in Rowe was closed and nuclear plans in Montague canceled. Finally, in 2014, the dangerous Vermont Yankee plant succumbed to sustained citizen pressure – and its own history of leaks and accidents.

But one quite tragic “appendix” to the nuclear story is the related pumped storage, now using other energy sources to provide its rationale for using more energy than it produces, at tremendous cost to fish and friends.

Back before fracked gas pipe-lines threatened, local residents in Western Mass learned about and fought to stop the nukes. Me too. But I admit that I was not aware of the related aspect and dangers of the pumped storage project.

Along the walk’s route, energy experts and community leaders will discuss problems caused by the Northfield Mountain Pumped Storage Station, which daily forces masses of Connecticut River water up to a reservoir for later release for electrical generation. Tens of millions of fish and aquatic animals are killed annually, reports journalist and relicensing stakeholder Karl Meyer, who will be one of the speakers along the route. See his article: License to continue killing a river (VtDigger).

The Traprock Center for Peace & Justice and co-sponsors thus far: Citizens Awareness Network; Safe & Green Campaign VT; and the Enviro Radio Show, invite all interested to walk or bike along this beautiful section of the river, while learning about the ecological dangers that make it so treacherous for fish and aquatic life.Rain or shine. Children most welcome. Bring masks, water and snacks, please no pets.

For more information contact: traprockinfo@crocker.com

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Vigil March 11: 10 Years Since Fukushima Disaster Began

March 11 marks ten years since Japan was hit by an earthquake and tsunami, destroying 85,000 homes and businesses. By 2021 the country could have rebuilt but for a disaster that continues today: the meltdown of three nuclear reactors in Fukushima, on the shore of the Pacific Ocean. The reactors were Mark 1 boiling water reactors, the same type and age as Vermont Yankee. On Wednesday March 11, 2021 a vigil will be held at Pliny Park in Brattleboro from 4:30pm-5:30pm.

We will honor the 130,000 nuclear refugees, and the land, air and water contaminated by radiation which to this day cannot be cleaned up. Please join us.

This will be a Covid safe event; wear a mask, stay socially distant, and bring a poster if you wish. Sponsored by the Safe and Green Campaign.

For information on the current status of Fukushima, read our Voices essay in the Commons: The Catastrophe is Far From Over   and Refugees Escaping the Wind . An essay on how residents are surviving today is in the March 10th issue.

Past Fukushima actions: Solidarity with Fukushima, Japan

Current Fukushima News (selected)

Greenpeace Report on Fukushima 2011-2021 ‘The decontamination myth and a decade of human rights violations.’

nuclear-news.net/category/fukushima-2021 Nuclear-News.net posts translated official documents and news articles as they become public.

10 Years After Fukushima, Safety is Still Nuclear Power’s Greatest Challenge (The Conversation 03.05.2021) Two scholars reviewed reports since 2011, and conclude “Fukushima was a man-made accident, triggered by natural hazards, that could and should have been avoided. Experts widely agreed that the root causes were lax regulatory oversight in Japan and an ineffective safety culture at the utility that operated the plant. These problems are far from unique to Japan.”

Radiation criteria sows confusion for refugees (Japan Times 02.26.2021)

Poll: 74% in Fukushima say nuclear disaster work not promising (Asahi Shinbum, 02.24.2021)

10 Years On, 3/11 Linked Suicides Continue (Japan times, 02.24.2021)

New highly radioactive mineral particles found in Fukushima (Forbes, 02.22.2021)

New found radiation at 2 units delays work  (Mainichi Daily, 01.27.2012)

Overview of fishing by an industry newsletter (Seafood Source 02.2021)

Radiation levels far worse than thought (Asahi Shimbun 12.30.2020)

Reconstruction Agency will pay people and businesses to move back  (Asahi Shimbun 12.18.2020)

 

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March 15 NDCAP Full Panel Meeting

MEETING OF THE FULL PANEL

Monday, March 15, 2021 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Microsoft Teams Webcast/Teleconference

The Full Panel will hold its first meeting of 2021 on Monday evening, March 15, 2021 from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM. In accordance with changes to Vermont Open Meeting Law in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, this meeting will be conducted as a Microsoft Teams webcast and teleconference.  Connection information and further details (meeting agenda, etc.) for this meeting will be announced at a future date.  

The following short tutorial videos are suggested for those who are unfamiliar with using the Microsoft Teams meeting interface:

Join a Teams meeting from a web-browser: 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ga64MuSlAxY

Join a Teams meeting from the Microsoft Teams app (shows two additional options for joining a Teams meeting):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BH6bSIwR0-4

Additional instructions for joining a Teams meeting and using the User Interface are available here:

To cut down on background noise, all meeting attendees are encouraged to self-mute when not speaking.  (Click on the microphone icon on the video interface or press “*6” on your phone.)

Meeting materials will be added to the Meeting Materials section as they become available.  All presentations will be available for electronic viewing prior to the start of the meeting.  (Downloading the presentations prior to the meeting start is suggested for those with for those with poor internet connectivity.) Meeting materials and video recordings for all recent Panel meetings are also available here.

Questions or comments on the meeting presentations may be sent to the Panel before, during or after the meeting by emailing PSD.NDCAP@vermont.gov.  Members of the public who anticipate speaking during the meeting’s public comment periods are encouraged to register in advanced by emailing this address. 

Questions regarding this meeting may be directed to State Nuclear Engineer Tony Leshinskie at anthony.leshinskie@vermont.gov or 802-272-1714.

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Nuclear Weapons and Nuclear Power

Thank you to Safe and Green Campaign’s Ann Darling writing this OpEd for My Turn in the Hampshire Gazette.

—–

I am very heartened by the signing of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons by 50 countries and thank the Recorder for giving it the editorial attention this news is due.

I am writing today about the link between nuclear weapons and nuclear power. Uranium is the radioactive fuel used in nuclear power reactors. When it comes out of the ground, it needs to be “enriched” to increase the amount of fissionable U-235 in it. Power reactors need about 5% U-235 to work. But it can be enriched more. When it reaches about 80% U-235, that’s an atomic bomb. This is what we are so riled up about with Iran; they are enriching their uranium to higher and higher levels.

Many bombs use plutonium, either alone or with uranium. Plutonium is not a naturally occurring element. It is a by-product of the nuclear fuel cycle. Reactor-grade plutonium can be used to make very powerful nuclear explosions. In the hands of the wrong people, it could be combined with conventional explosives to contaminate an area with radioactivity – a so-called “dirty bomb.”

All this is simply one reason in a long list of reasons to stop using nuclear power. Proponents tout it as “carbon-free” and an answer to climate change. In fact, when you consider the entire fuel cycle of nuclear power, from mining to production, it is a net producer of greenhouse gases. The radioactive emissions of operating nuclear power plants routinely pollute the areas around them with enough radioactivity to create mutations and disease. The waste from nuclear facilities is toxic to all life for hundreds of thousands of years. And then there’s the risk of accidents – think Fukushima.

Humans had the hubris to create nuclear weapons and nuclear power facilities without knowing how to deal with the waste safely. It’s been over 70 years, and we still don’t have a solution. The least we can do is just stop using nuclear power and get rid of our nuclear weapons. We need a carbon-free, nuclear-free future.

Ann Darling

Easthampton, Mass.

Citizens Awareness Network

Printed in the Greenfield Recorder 01-30-2021

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What’s Next for VY Property? Report

Olga Peters of The Commons of Windham County updates us with her cover story on a new land inventory of the nuclear waste site. January 20, 2021 issue of  Commons News 0596.pdf

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Jan. 20 NDCAP Federal Nuclear Waste Policy Committee

PRESS RELEASE from NDCAP

January 20th Special Meeting of the Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel Federal Nuclear Waste Policy Committee Announced; this inaugural meeting will identify the Committee’s initial steps regarding Federal policies. 

 

Montpelier, VT – The newly-formed Federal Nuclear Waste Policy Committee of the Vermont Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel (VT NDCAP) will hold a Special Meeting on Wednesday evening, January 20, 2021 from 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM.  In accordance with changes to Vermont Open Meeting Law in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, this meeting will be conducted as a Microsoft Teams webcast and teleconference.  Members of the public may join the webcast via the following link: 

 

Join VT-NDCAP Federal Nuclear Waste Policy Committee Meeting

 

While this weblink will broadcast both the video and audio portions of the webcast, the meeting audio will also be available from the following phone connections:

 

(802) 552-8456  – OR –  (802) 828-7228

Conference ID: 557 345 274#

 

Additional instructions for joining a Microsoft Teams meeting are available in the “Upcoming NDCAP Meetings” section of the NDCAP website (https://publicservice.vermont.gov/electric/ndcap).

 

The Committee will gather information on current federal nuclear waste policies and proposed Congressional nuclear waste legislation.  Potential initial actions regarding these policies and legislative proposals will be identified. 

 

The Committee meeting will run for no more than one hour.  Opportunities for members of the public to speak during this meeting will be limited due to this time constraint.  Members of the public are encouraged to provide written comments and suggested nuclear waste policy reading materials to the Committee via VT NDCAP’s email address at PSD.NDCAP@vermont.gov.  All emails sent to the Committee become public record.  Submitted nuclear waste policy reading materials will be posted to the VT NDCAP website at (https://publicservice.vermont.gov/electric/ndcap).

Questions regarding this Special Meeting may be directed to State Nuclear Engineer Tony Leshinskie via the contact information noted above. 

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NDCAP Rethinking Interim Nuclear Waste

11.16.2020 Reformer: Decomm panel to reconsider interim waste storage

Headline: Decommissioning panel set to review earlier stand on interim waste storage

VERNON — Should Vermont take a stand on a national proposal to create an interim nuclear waste storage facility in either Texas or New Mexico, in hopes of moving the tons of high-level radioactive waste currently being stored on the grounds of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant?

The issues committee of the Vermont Nuclear Decommissioning Citizen Advisory Panel tackled that question Thursday, and agreed to have the full panel discuss the issue at its full meeting next month.

The issue of a consolidated interim waste storage facility is more complex than it appears, since getting rid of the four dozen giant steel and concrete casks in Vernon, filled with the dangerous nuclear fuel, would seem like a no-brainer. The town of Vernon wants to redevelop the Yankee site, once the reactor’s ongoing demolition and cleanup is completed.

But Lissa Weinmann of Brattleboro, vice-chairwoman of the decommissioning panel, wants the group to retract a letter written in 2015 in support of what is now called “interim waste storage.” She wants the group to pass an advisory opinion on the issue of consolidated interim storage.

A business partner, Interim Storage Partners, of NorthStar Group Services, which now owns Vermont Yankee while it is decommissioning and cleaning up the Vernon reactor, wants to build one such facility in west Texas; another company, Holtec International, which makes the nuclear storage casks, has proposed to build one in New Mexico. The two proposals are currently pending before the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

But Weinmann said consolidated interim storage is a complicated subject, and she said moving the waste — thousands of highly radioactive fuel rods — should only be done once, to a permanent facility.

Moving nuclear waste from plants all over the country to either west Texas or New Mexico, and again on to another, yet-to-be-determined site, is asking for trouble, she said.

The then-panel chairwoman Kate O’Connor signed the letter in 2015 supporting interim waste storage without discussing it with the full panel, she said. Weinmann said the letter was part of a regional effort by decommissioned nuclear power plants.

The issues committee agreed to discuss the matter at the panel’s full meeting on Dec. 7. The panel has been holding its meetings electronically since the pandemic.

Josh Unruh, the chairman of the citizen panel, said the full group would vote on whether to pursue an advisory opinion on the subject.

Weinmann said consolidated interim storage is a “major policy change” and is currently being discussed in the U.S. Congress. Vermont’s lone congressman, Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., signed on to a letter supporting interim storage, she said, under the impression the full panel supported the concept.

Tony Leshinskie, the Vermont Department of Public Service’s staff nuclear engineer, said back in 2015 the political landscape was very different, with the Obama Administration opposed to the permanent storage site at Yucca Mountain, Nev.

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Your Input Needed at NDCAP Sept. 21

As far as we know, the only press which covered this event was WAMC (Albany NY radio): https://www.wamc.org/post/decommissioning-panel-holds-meeting-vermont-yankee-and-spent-fuel-policy
 
LET’S GET SOME CITIZEN INPUT INTO THE NUCLEAR DECOMMISSIONING CITIZENS ADVISORY PANEL!!
By Ann Darling, Safe and Green Campaign & Citizens Awareness Network
 
The next (virtual) meeting of the Vermont Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel will be Monday, September 21, 2020 from 6PM to 9:30PM. The panel has two main roles, to advise the Vermont Legislature on decommissioning activities, and to serve as a conduit for public education and participation. 
 
So far there has been almost no public outreach, and very little public participation. We’d like to change the latter side of that equation! Please join us on the 21st! (Instructions below.)
 
At the upcoming meeting, the issue of what will happen with the highly radioactive used fuel and reactor parts from VY will be on the agenda. This issue is relevant to all of us. Right now, there’s no place for it to go, and so it sits in Vernon, with very little protection. There is no long-term/forever place to isolate it from the environment. Now there is a move afoot to move it to two (supposedly) temporary or “interim” sites close to each other in Texas and New Mexico. This part of the country is already a nuclear “sacrifice zone” inhabited by mostly Native and Latino people. This means dumping yet more toxic material in places where the people have already suffered greatly from radioactivity and simply don’t want the stuff. And it means sending deadly radioactive materials over our poorly maintained roads and railroads, and then — someday — moving it again. 
 
PLEASE JOIN US IN SPEAKING FOR ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE
 
We in the Safe and Green Campaign and the Citizens Awareness Network think the high level radioactive waste that was generated at the same time as the electricity we all used should stay in Vernon. Yes, we all want it gone from the banks of the Connecticut River!  But we do not want “our” waste to be sent to another community along with tremendous amounts of radioactive material from all over the country.  By doing this, the nuclear industry and the government are pitting host communities like Vermont against rural, indigenous, and Latino communities that would be forced to accept our waste against their will. (Oh, and by the way, not at all coincidentally, the parent of the company that bought VY, NorthStar, also owns one of those “interim storage” facilities.) 
 
What the industry and the government should be doing is what they’ve promised to do and have never done — find a permanent repository and ship the toxic material ONCE.  Meanwhile, we think the radioactive waste in Vernon should in some way be hardened — in a building, bermed under earth — to protect it from weathering and attack, with truly robust monitoring. 
 
The meeting will be held on Microsoft Teams: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ga64MuSlAxY
 

NDCAP requests (but does not require) that you register ahead of time, especially if you want to speak, by emailing PSD.NDCAP@vermont.gov

 
 
For further information on nuclear waste issues, please go to https://www.nirs.org/campaigns/dont-waste-america/
 
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Nuke Waste Action in Congress

Somehow, a staffer in Rep Welch’s office thought because nobody had spoken up about rad waste, it was okay to vote YES on Yucca Mountain and interim storage bills. Let him know he was wrong. While you’re busy writing to the Welch office, reach out Senators Patrick Leahy & Bernie Sander about pending legislation on Yucca Mountain and the storage of radioactive  waste. Here’s  Congressional delegation contact info.

See details below, with links to which legislation to oppose and legislation supported by our national allies.

From Kevin Kamps, Beyond Nuclear: U.S. Rep. Welch’s staffer, Alex Piper, told me, Dee, and Ian (they are cc’d), at a meeting we had with him a couple days ago in Washington, DC, that he had not heard from any Vermonters opposed to the Yucca dump, nor to the consolidated interim storage facilities targeting New Mexico and Texas. And that is why he advised his boss to vote for H.R. 3053, the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act on May 10, 2018, and to vote for H.R. 2699, the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act, by voice vote, late last year, at the U.S. House Energy & Commerce Committee. And also why he advised his boss to co-sponsor H.R. 3136, the STORE Act, which promotes consolidated interim storage. I told him he was mistaken about Vermonters supporting these environmentally racist policies. That it makes no sense for a Congressional Progressive Caucus member like Welch to not only vote for such bills, but to even co-sponsor them.

Thanks to all Vermonters who can reach out to Piper in Rep Welch’s office: <alex.piper@mail.house.gov>

PLEASE, ALSO CONTACT Senators Leahy and Sanders to oppose following Senate bills:  

S 1234 Senate  S.1234   Nuclear Waste Administration Act of 2019 https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/senate-bill/1234 (sets up a new administrative entity with sole purpose to find dumps, legalizes CIS) S 1234 came out of the Blue Ribbon Commission on Americas Nuclear Future legalizes CIS, removes cap on a permanent repository (now 70,000 MTU for first repository), sets up a new agency or administrative entity with sole purpose to make nuclear waste sites (sponsored by Feinstein (D, CA), Murkowski (R,AK) and Alexander (R, TN)) and could be introduced in the House soon we fear.

S 2917 Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2019  (same as HR 2699 currently in the House and HR 3053 from last year—restarts Yucca licensing and legalizes CIS and weakens some protections re high level waste/irradiated fuel)

 and

Appropriations for CIS in the annual federal budget

Oppose House   H.R.3136  Storage and Transportation Of Residual and Excess Nuclear Fuel Act of 2019       

House   H.R.2699              Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2019 https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/2699

If you want to SUPPORT  bills—those would be

 House   H.R.1544              Nuclear Waste Informed Consent Act    https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/1544              

Senate  S.649     Nuclear Waste Informed Consent Act    https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/senate-bill/649?q=%7B%22search%22%3A%22nuclear%22%7D&s=1&r=1             

Senate  S.1985   STRANDED Act of 2019   https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/senate-bill/1985?q=%7B%22search%22%3A%5B%22nuclear+energy%22%5D%7D&s=1&r=33          

House   H.R.5608              STRANDED Act of 2020   https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/5608              

FYI NIRS has a spreadsheet of nuclear bills with links to sponsors, text, etc.  with our position OPPOSE or SUPPORT listed at this long url:

 https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1NgxxHNGLKWDplZBYxF7fiFqEkpKJySZAL6BFBq4xDAM/edit?folder=0AGb-a19f3q6ZUk9PVA#gid=0

 

 

 

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