VERNON >> An anti-nuclear activist was arrested for trespassing at Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant on March 3.

According to a press release from the Windham County Sheriff's Office, Clay Turnbull, 53, of Townshend, was arrested after deputies were called to the plant by security personnel. Deputies were told a man with a camera was within the perimeter fence and was hiding on the property. Turnbull was arrested, cited with unlawful trespass and ordered to appear in court at a later date.

Turnbull is a member of the New England Coalition, which has opposed Yankee's operation since 1972 and is actively involved in monitoring the progress of placing the now closed plant into SAFSTOR until it is ready for decommissioning.

Ray Shadis, technical consultant for NEC, told the Reformer that Turnbull was taking pictures of Yankee's dry cask storage facility and didn't realize he had violated security at the plant.

"During the technical hearing at the Public Service Board, Entergy VY's landscape/aesthetics expert, Harry Dodson, said under oath that following the decommissioning of the site's buildings, the dry casks would only be visible from New Hampshire and from the river, and not from anywhere along the fenceline," said Shadis. "Clay got some photos at about 200 feet, through the old switchyard, which we assume will be gone with decommissioning, showing plainly that what Dodson said was fiction. I asked Clay to return to see if there were clear views from any other vantage points along the fence. Apparently Yankee now features multiple lines of fence."


Shadis said he plans to present to the PSB the pictures taken as evidence the dry casks will be visible in Vermont.

The Public Service Board is currently reviewing an Entergy application to construct a second pad for dry cask containers. The current pad dimension is 76 feet by 132 feet. The second proposed pad dimension is 93 feet by 76 feet. Storing all the spent fuel produced at Vermont Yankee will require 58 dry casks; 13 are already loaded and are on the original pad at the plant. There are 2,996 spent fuel assemblies in the spent fuel pool and 884 spent fuel assemblies loaded in 13 casks.

New England Coalition is urging Entergy to utilize a new cask system rather than the one already in place. Holtech, the designer of the dry casks, has developed a new system of casks that would be buried, presenting an inconspicuous profile and which would be waterproof.

New England Coalition is pressing the Vermont Public Service Board to condition approval of Entergy's application for expanded nuclear waste fuel storage at the Vermont Yankee site in Vernon on a serious and open consideration of alternatives including state-of-the-art sub-surface storage.

Bob Audette can be contacted at 802-254-2311, ext. 160.