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The Nuclear Retreat

We coined the term, "Nuclear Retreat" here at Beyond Nuclear to counter the nuclear industry's preposterous "nuclear renaissance" propaganda campaign. You've probably seen "Nuclear Retreat" picked up elsewhere and no wonder - the alleged nuclear revival so far looks more like a lot of running away. On this page we will keep tabs on every latest nuclear retreat as more and more proposed new nuclear programs are canceled.

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Thursday
Sep052013

Grassroots activism laid the groundwork for Vermont Yankee's announced demise

This infamous photo of Vermont Yankee's 2007 cooling tower collapse was sent to media reporters by whistleblowersBob Bady, a founding member of the Safe and Green Campaign, has penned an op-ed at the Vermont Digger entitled "What Killed the Beast?"

The beast to which he refers is Vermont Yankee, a GE Mark I boiling water reactor, identical in design to the wrecked, leaking Fukushima Daiichi Units 1 to 4 in northeastern Japan.

He writes: "...The ultimate goal of a large corporation such as Entergy is to make money. Its growth or demise is about profit. The backstory is actually what prevented Vermont Yankee from making enough profit to continue to operate for decades to come.

Certainly cheaper natural gas was a signficant factor, as was an old plant that would require significant maintenance in the coming years. Pending costly federally mandated safety improvements, precipitated by the Fukushima disaster, also loomed.

The tipping point, however, the thing that might have really sealed Vermont Yankee's fate, was grassroots activism...".

He concludes that "because the anti nuke environmental community in Vermont, southwestern New Hampshire and western Massachusetts worked hard, long and intelligently to rally public opinion, and educate the Vermont Legislature," state laws signed by Vermont's former, pro-nuclear Republican governor became a "big expensive problem" for Entergy.

Bady adds "Entergy's income was first impacted when, by late 2010 and early 2011, its reputation had become so damaged by its own misdeeds, brought to the spotlight by activists, that Vermont electric utilities played hardball in contract negotiations. As a result, no deal emerged between Vermont Yankee and Vermont utilities, and Entergy was left to sell its product on the "spot" market, where prices had dropped because of cheaper natural gas."

Author Richard Watts asked the same question: how could Vermont Yankee go from being seen as a good neighbor and mainstay of the Green Mountain State's economy by some, to being almost universally disdained, even by former supporters, as a pariah, with top elected officials referring to Entergy publicly as a "rogue corporation"? Watts' book, Public Meltdown: The Story of Vermont Yankee, shows that Entergy's cover ups and lies under oath to state officials -- such as the 2007 cooling tower collapse brought to light by whistleblowers (photo, above left), and Entergy executives' perjury regarding radioactivity leaks into groundwater -- combined with widespread grassroots activism, turned the tide.

Wednesday
Aug282013

Vermont Yankee Decommissioning Alliance to hold Montpelier rally Sept. 3rd

This from VYDA's Debra Stoleroff:
You must have heard the news by now.  Entergy is closing VT Yankee by the end of 2014!!!! Woohoo!  Yes!!!
BUT… we are not yet out of the woods.  It is critical that we continue our work.  We need to ensure that Entergy safely decommissions  Vermont Yankee with a greenfield AND, that they do not hold Vermont taxpayers with a multi-million (billion?) dollar bill.
  
Join VYDA

to celebrate and to voice our continued concerns 

Tuesday, Sept 3rd
4 –5 pm 
In front of the Vermont Statehouse
State St., Montpelier


We will sing, make speeches, hand out postcards and information sheets!
Sample Messages for signs:
Woohoo! Yes! VT Yankee is closing!
  Entergy safely decommissions  Vermont Yankee with a greenfield 

PSB:  Make sure Entergy does not hold Vermont taxpayers with a multi-million (billion?) dollar bill.

Wednesday
Aug282013

Safe and Green Campaign’s statement to the press (re: VY shutdown announcement)

Safe and Green Campaign’s statement to the press (Entergy HQ press conference, 1pm 08/27/13):

It is indeed good news that Entergy is closing Vermont Yankee. If the reactor and the company are in such a dire financial position, we have many concerns. Safe and Green supports immediate shut down and prompt decommissioning of the reactor.

Does yesterday’s report of yet another radioactive spike mean there is something gravely wrong at the reactor that Entergy cannot fix?  Will the reactor be operated safely until the end of 2014, or will Entergy cut corners to save money? SafeStor is a frightening proposition for a corporation that is on such shaky ground financially. Will Entergy be around in 60 years to oversee final decommissioning? Can Entergy meet their financial obligations for decommissioning? Or will Vermont’s taxpayers be burdened with safeguarding tons of radioactive waste on the shore of the Connecticut River?

Yankee has been operating for 17 months without a state Certificate of Public Good, and the Federal court just ruled that our legislators acted deceitfully and do not have the freedom of speech within the Statehouse walls. What happens to these important legal issues? Does Entergy hope these questions will simply go away in light of their announcement?

The Safe and Green Campaign will continue to be vigilant in speaking out and demanding answers to the challenges that lie ahead for those of us who live in the shadow of Vermont Yankee.

Wednesday
Aug282013

Markey Statement on Closing of Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Eben Burnham-Snyder, Senator Ed Markey, 202-224-2742

Markey Statement on Closing of Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station

WASHINGTON (August 27, 2013) -- Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) issued the following statement in response to the announcement that the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station will permanently close in 2014:

“Closing Vermont Yankee reflects the growing realization in New England and around the nation that it is time to move towards a safer, more affordable clean energy future of wind, solar, geothermal, along with well-regulated, domestic natural gas. While nuclear energy was once advertised as being too cheap to meter, it is increasingly clear that it is actually too expensive to matter.

“While the nuclear industry is blaming today’s closure on competitive electricity markets, they should be looking into the mirror with the rest of the energy industry. Had the Senate passed the Waxman-Markey bill in 2009 that would have put a price on carbon, nuclear power today would be better able to compete.”

The announcement today marks the planned closure of the fifth nuclear reactor in the past year:

--In October 2012, Dominion Resources announced the closure of the Kewaunee Power Station in Wisconsin, citing economic factors related to the price of affordable natural gas.

--In February 2013, Duke Energy announced that it would permanently close Florida’s Crystal River plant rather than pay for costly repairs.

--In June 2013, Southern California Edison announced that it would close the San Onofre Nuclear Generation Station’s two reactors rather than pay for costly repairs that resulted from the licensee’s apparent effort to avoid regulatory scrutiny.

--Additionally, Exelon announced in 2010 that the Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station is expected to close permanently in 2019, ten years earlier than previously planned, in part to avoid the installation of costly cooling towers.

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Wednesday
Aug282013

Statement of Deb Katz, VCAN on Entergy’s Decision to Close Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant

For Immediate Release – August 27, 2013

Contact Persons:

Deb Katz, Vermont Citizens Action Network – 413-339-5781

Chris Williams, Vermont Citizens Action Network - 802-767-9131

Amy Shollenberger – 802-793-1114

Statement of Deb Katz, VCAN on Entergy’s Decision to Close Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant

“We applaud Entergy’s decision to shut down an aging nuclear power plant, rather than to push it past its limits. We appreciate their commitment for planning for a safe and orderly shutdown. We will remain vigilant to ensure that the decommissioning is done responsibly and in the safest way possible. Today, we celebrate this milestone in our work to end nuclear power generation in the Northeast and to foster a renewable energy future. This is a win for the people. Their relentless work has made the closure of Vermont Yankee possible. We thank all who have worked to make this day happen, especially the state of Vermont for its perseverance on this issue.”

VCAN is a 501c4 organization dedicated to building a renewable energy future for Vermont and the Northeast. More information can be found at http://www.vtcitizen.org/index.shtml.

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