TO: Those With Authority Over the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station in Vernon, including the Entergy Nuclear Corporation, the Vermont Legislature and Public Service Board, and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
FROM: Selectboards and Town/City Councils of Vermont, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts Towns and Cities Within 20 Miles of Vermont Yankee
CONCERNING: Effects of the Scheduled Closure of Vermont Yankee on Workers, Residents, and the Environment of our Towns and Cities
As of February 24, 2010, when the Vermont Senate voted 26-4 in opposition to the extended operation of Vermont Yankee’s original 40-year license on March 21, 2012, the plant is now scheduled to cease operation on or before that date. This scheduled closure is likely to affect nearby towns and cities in the tri-state area in a number of ways. Because it is the responsibility of local selectboards and town/city councils to protect and enhance the safety and well-being of our towns and cities, we are writing this letter to urge all the appropriate authorities to take whatever steps may be necessary in order to minimize any negative impacts that Vermont Yankee’s closure may have on its workers, local residents, and the environment.
Our concerns include the following:
- that Vermont Yankee workers, many of whom live in our towns and cities, be given first preference when workers are hired for the multi-year decommissioning and site clean-up process.
- that during this post-shutdown period, when the reactor’s radioactive components will be dismantled and removed or stored on site, workers remaining on the site receive the maximum protection from radiation exposure.
- that those workers whose jobs are discontinued or who choose not to accept employment during this post-shutdown period be guaranteed a generous severance package of pay and benefits as well as opportunities for re-training for available jobs at decent wages, including jobs in the rapidly expanding “green energy” sector.
- that during this final period as the reactor continues to age and minor accidents and radioactive leakages continue to occur (if they do), residents and officials of nearby towns and cities be assured that there will be extra attention to maintenance and repair of all systems associated with the reactor, coupled with heightened inspections, monitoring, and testing to minimize the possibility of a major accident and ensure that people, animals, and the environment are not exposed to any additional risks of breathing, drinking, or otherwise ingesting radioactivity.
- that any tendency to delay or cancel needed maintenance and repairs during the reactor’s final months of operation be strenuously resisted, and that if circumstances warrant, Vermont Yankee be shut down permanently before its scheduled retirement date.
- that during the decommissioning and site clean-up process, when toxic radioactive components are likely to be shipped from the reactor site to nuclear waste repositories in other states via roads and railways passing through our towns and cities, local residents as well as local selectboards, city councils, and relevant town and city departments (police, fire, and emergency medical, etc.) be notified in advance so as to provide maximum protection for people, wildlife, and the local environment in the event of a transportation accident.
Finally, we respectfully request that all local selectboards and town/city councils be kept informed in a timely way (as happens now regarding “significant events”) of all relevant plans, decisions, and other developments related to Vermont Yankee that might affect our towns and cities during the reactor’s final phase of operation and during the subsequent period of decommissioning and site clean-up.
We also propose that a citizens advisory board be formed, with its members appointed by local selectboards and town/city councils, so as to facilitate on-going, two-way communication regarding all of these matters.
Thank you in advance for your consideration of our concerns.
(name of selectboard or town/city council)
cc: Town Boards of Health within close proximity to Vermont Yankee; Windham County Regional Commission (VT); Franklin Regional Council of Governments (MA); Southwest Regional Planning Commission (NH); Elected local, state, and federal officials representing VT, MA, and NH towns within 20 miles of Vermont Yankee