VY’s lasting legacy
Editor of the Reformer:
Your lead headline of Oct. 29, "Lawmakers discuss future without VY," has moved me to write to you once again. The fact is, we will not be without Vermont Yankee for a very, very long time. Just because within a year that reactor is going to stop producing electricity -- and highly radioactive waste -- doesn’t mean we will be without VY.
We are going to have to deal with the decontamination process, which will be almost exclusively controlled by Entergy and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and it will take decades. We are going to have to deal with that radioactive waste sitting on the banks of the Connecticut River. If we’re lucky, Entergy will take it out of the spent fuel pool sometime in the near future and put it into dry casks. In Fukushima, the spent fuel pools are what caught fire and are still leaking, while the dry casks withstood the earthquake and tsunami. But make no mistake -- we, the citizens of this community -- really do not have any say about what Entergy does. And even if they agree out of the goodness of their hearts to go the dry cask route, well -- they’ve lied before.
Many people have said to me, "Aren’t you glad it’s over. Aren’t you glad we don’t have to worry about it anymore." They do not understand, or perhaps they do not want to understand, that nuclear waste is, for all intents and purposes, forever. It might get shipped to some other community, and it might not. It’s not something I would wish on us or on anyone. But there it is and will be for a long, long time, in all of its unimaginably dangerous glory.
Brattleboro, Oct. 30
What a waste!
Editor of the Reformer:
I have lived in Maine and the Saratoga area of New York for over 50 years and I worked at Vermont Yankee in 2010 helping to remediate the tritium leak. I have worked in the nuclear industry for many years and I have something to say to the people of Vermont having heard their complaints about Vermont Yankee for what seems to be forever.
Now that you all have your wish come true and that evil and diabolical nuclear plant is about to be shut down, what are the alternatives? You have all been living in the 1960s with your fear of nuclear power. Yes, there have been accidents around the world and some with serious consequences. Nothing like the chemical industry which like all Americans, you totally ignore. But, you had a very well-run plant that could have served your state for many more years. And you have done everything possible to throw it away.
Many of you speak of wind power as the future. You have no idea what you are asking for. You should know a few things about your so called "green" energy. The "carbon footprint" for wind power is huge. Take a look at the manufacture of these huge machines and you will know what I am talking about. Wind power is also the most expensive power option in the industry. Wind turbines are very high maintenance machines and are constantly being repaired. For every hundred needed, an extra 20-plus need to be installed to keep up with the power demand. On top of that, almost every dollar that is spent manufacturing them, installing them and maintaining them is paid for by your tax dollars. Every single company associated with wind power that has lost its tax subsidy, has gone out of business.
And, since you are so adamant about having wind power, I personally think it should go right in your state. To replace Vermont Yankee, you will need well over 400 wind turbines. Because of the vortexes produced by them, this will mean that over 100 square miles of your beautiful Green Mountains will be lost forever. As long as you have the turbines there, no one can live there or close to them. No businesses can be placed there. No livestock can be left there. Nothing, except your wind turbines. And, oh by the way, say good-bye to your eagles, ospreys and numerous other bird species that will be all but wiped out by your wind turbines. If you think this is fictional, guess again. There are areas in the western part of the country where wind turbines have pretty much eliminated the golden eagle and other birds.
So, you in Vermont are welcome to your wind turbines. What you have lost will come back to haunt you. By the way: Canada is not the answer. Most of the power that comes from there is nuclear and they aren’t going to build any more. You will soon start seeing the Canadian connection going the way of your Vermont Yankee.
Winslow, Ariz., Oct. 30