BRATTLEBORO -- It has been a few years since Ray Sebold has taken part in an anti-nuclear rally.
Sebold, 59, of Montague, Mass., used to regularly attend rallies against the Seabrook nuclear power plant in the 1970s and 1980s, but it has been a while since he felt motivated to come out to express his opposition to nuclear power.
On Sunday, he met a small group of about a dozen people who were completing their 206-mile walk from the Indian Point Nuclear Power Station in Buchanan, N.Y., in the Hudson Valley, to the Vermont Yankee plant in Vernon.
"It's important to come out and show support for the closure of the Vernon plant," Sebold said Sunday afternoon as he walked his bike along Route 142. "It's important for people to voice their opinions on how they want the world to be."
On April 10, about 24 people started the walk, led by Japanese Buddhist nun Jun San Yasuda.
Yasuda, a member of the Grafton (N.Y.) Peace Pagoda, said in a press release that she organized the walk to support those who were affected by the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant in Japan.
"On this walk, we will pray for those affected in Japan and envision a world without nuclear energy or bombs," she said. "We walk together in love and solidarity."
The group that walked all the way from New York met up with local supporters Sunday morning on Route 9, two miles west of downtown Brattleboro.
They walked downtown and then set out for the
About 70 people joined them for the walk along the Connecticut River and then for a prayer vigil at the gates of Vermont Yankee.
Entergy Nuclear, which owns the plants in Buchanan and Vernon, filed a suit last week against the state of Vermont to keep operating Vermont Yankee after its current license expires in 2012.
The company also has asked a judge to allow the company to operate the plant and to prevent the state from shutting it down while the lawsuit proceeds.
With the company's legal actions last week, and the ongoing nuclear crisis in Japan, the walk Sunday brought out former protesters like Sebold, along with newer activists and veterans who have been fighting nuclear power for more than 30 years.
Ryan Harvey, 29, lives in Dorchester, N.H., but was visiting his family in the area for Easter.
He walked the final six miles from Brattleboro to Vernon to support the action.
"It's fitting that we hold a peaceful and nonviolent action on Easter," he said. "We can affect change in a nonviolent way and make our voices heard being diplomatic and peaceful."
Cate Woolner, 60, of Northfield, Mass., has been fighting nuclear power for more than 35 years, at the Seabrook plant in New Hampshire and in Vernon.
She said after all this time, she is seeing a change that she hopes will translate into a stronger move away from nuclear power.
A focus on green energy and conservation, the effects of the Fukushima disaster, and now Entergy's move to fight its license termination in the courts, have all led more people to question the safety of nuclear power.
"I think there is an urgency now," she said, as the group wound its way down Route 142 and approached the plant. "People who used to have questions are now realizing that we can live without nuclear power. People are no longer comfortable with all the risks. The tide has turned."
Howard Weiss-Tisman can be reached at 802-254-2311 ext. 279 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.