Statement by The Vermont Yankee Decommissioning Alliance regarding the PSB's decision to grant a Certificate of Public Good to Vermont Yankee

Vermont Yankee is a GE BWR Mark I, identical in design to Fukushima Daiichi Units 1-4.


Statement by The Vermont Yankee Decommissioning Alliance regarding the PSB's decision to grant a Certificate of Public Good to Vermont Yankee

April 1, 2014

The Vermont Yankee Decommissioning Alliance has been working to close the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant for over 40 years.   The decision on Friday, March 28, 2014 by the Vermont Public Service Board (PSB) moves us a significant step closer to the closure of Vermont Yankee and the beginning of its decommissioning. 


We commend the PSB for addressing Entergy’s history of untrustworthiness.   Additionally, the PSB addressed some of our concerns regarding Entergy by over-ruling a number of Entergy’s remaining objections.  The PSB rejected Entergy’s claims for full federal preemption citing a US Supreme Court precedent and asserted dual jurisdiction over areas not involving radiological safety.


We appreciate that by granting the Certificate Public Good (CPG) conditioned on the Memorandum of Understanding negotiated by the state and Entergy the PSB expects Entergy to live up to the commitments signed in the settlement with the state of Vermont.  Our concerns remain the expedited transfer of the dangerous, irradiated spent fuel rods from the pool into dry cask storage; protection of the workers and the community throughout the decommissioning process; continued thermal discharge into the Connecticut River; the creation of a citizen’s advisory board and finally, the shortfall of decommissioning funds.


We are thankful to all the intervening parties and citizen activists who persevered through decades of struggle to close the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant. We continue to be wary of Entergy Nuclear.  Though we are in new stage of endeavor, there remains a critical need for continued public vigilance for a safe, thorough and responsible decommissioning process leading to the final restoration of the site.


Jonathan Schell dies at 70; author of The Fate of the Earth

It is with great sadness that we learned of the death of author, Jonathan Schell, on March 25th. Most noted for authoring “The Fate of the Earth,” a study of the devastation that the use of nuclear weapons would cause, Schell was also a critic of U.S. involvement in the Vietnam war. While forceful in print he was a soft-spoken man in person, with quiet compassion and reasoned dignity. His voice will be greatly missed.

(Link to New York Times obituary)


Karl Grossman -- “Give Light and the People Will Find Their Own Way” 

Karl GrossmanThe March 25, 2014 issue of The Independent, Antioch College's alumni publication, features Beyond Nuclear board member Karl Grossman (Antioch class of 1964). The interview gives a good overview of Karl's distinguished career of investigative journalism, authorship, and teaching.

Karl first entered the field of journalism as a copyboy, during an Antioch College co-op placement at the Cleveland Press. The Press was the first newspaper started by E.W. Scripps, "quite the crusading publisher, highly active during the Muckraking Era," accoring to Karl. At age 18, Karl was inspired by the inscription above the entrance: “Give Light and the People Will Find Their Own Way.”

Karl has gone on to shed much light around the world, with a focus on the issues of nuclear power and weapons, not only on Earth, but in space. His books include Cover Up: What You Are Not Supposed to Know About Nuclear Power, The Wrong Stuff: The Space Program's Nuclear Threat to Our Planet and Weapons in Space.

Karl's 1993 EnviroVideo documentary Three Mile Island Revisited serves as an important milestone by which to remember the disaster, now 35 years on, especially considering the still-unfolding health consequences. Karl's investigation of nuclear catastrophes continues to the present day with his work in the aftermath of the triple meltdowns at Fukushima Daiichi.

Asked what he's most proud of accomplishing, Karl pointed to "my journalism that helped in stopping the Shoreham nuclear power plant—the first of seven to 11 nuclear plants planned for Long Island—from going into commercial operation. I wrote hundreds of articles, did TV programs, broadcast on radio and wrote a book on this, Power Crazy. And Shoreham, although it was finished and ready to start operating, was stopped. The additional nuclear plants were never built, and Long Island is now nuclear-free."

For that and other investigative journalism, Karl has been named to the Long Island Journalism Hall of Fame. Karl says this "is quite a kick particularly because among the other 22 persons named is Walt Whitman who founded the Long Islander newspaper in Huntington." Karl's wife of 53 years, Janet, is originally from Huntington.


NRC rejects environmental coalition emergency enforcement petition calling for shutdown of GE BWR Mark Is and IIs

On March 27, 2014 -- the eve of the 35-year mark on TMI's meltdown -- NRC issued "G20130229 - 2206 Petition Closure Letter Re Revoke Operating License for General Electric Mark I and Mark II Boiling Water Reactors." The closure letter is stored on NRC's ADAMS system under ADAMS Accession No.: ML13338A612.

The NRC closure letter rejects an environmental coalition's -- led by Beyond Nuclear's Reactor Oversight Project Director, Paul Gunter -- emergency enforcement petition from March 2013 seeking the immediate shutdown of GE BWR Mark Is and IIs, of which the US has 23 and 8, respectively, still operating. Fukushima Daiichi Units 1 to 4 were Mark Is, but Mark IIs are also very similarly designed.


Gundersen: Forever deadly radioactive waste, versus renewables

Arnie Gundersen, Chief Engineer, Fairewinds Associates, Inc.As Fairewinds Associates, Inc.'s Chief Engineer, Arnie Gundersen (photo, left), concluded his keynote presentation at the Beyond Nuclear/FOE/NEIS "Mountain of Radioactive Waste 70 Years High" conference in Chicago in Dec. 2012:

"What we're seeing is that the cost of solar is plummeting while nuclear is rising," Gundersen said, adding that he often hears the rebuttal that the sun doesn't shine day and night. "But if you believe that man can build a repository to store nuclear waste for a quarter of a million years, surely those same people can find a way to store electricity overnight.", November 16, 2012

Gundersen serves as the expert witness for an environnental coalition (Beyond Nuclear, Citizens Environment Alliance of Southwestern Ontario, Don't Waste Michigan, and Sierra Club, Ohio Chapter) that has challenged the risky, experimental steam generator replacements at Davis-Besse.

An overlapping coalition (including the Green Party of Ohio) has raised the radioactive waste dilemma and the renewables alternative as major arguments against the 20-year license extension at Davis-Besse.