Saturday January 19, 2013

An argument of support for VY

Editor of the Reformer:

I am amazed and confused by the misguided efforts to close Vermont Yankee. The only reason that I can see that has a thread of credibility is that of the continued storage of spent fuel rods at the plant site. The federal government has not dealt with this issue in an effective and timely manner, but the industry has and continues to do its best to minimize the potential hazard effectively with viable dry cask solutions. And, the results are clear when you look at the real statistics for nuclear power generation. Yes, the fuel could be reprocessed and probably will some day but the political ramifications of this subject are a full comment page in themselves.

Do we want to shut this plant down because of safety, because of radiation danger, because of the danger posed by earthquakes or by falling aircraft or because of an irrational connection between nuclear power and nuclear weapons?

Zero people have died from or as a result of commercial nuclear power generation in the U.S. Is nuclear power safe? The industry hit a low of 0.13 significant accidents per 200,000 worker-hours in 2008 verses a rate of 1.3 accidents in overall private industry, making nuclear power 10 times safer than most other industries. The great safety record of the nuclear industry and Vermont Yankee is due to a very closely regulated and managed effort by the government and plant’s operators to insure that the plant runs effectively without endangering their employees or the public at large.


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Is it because nuclear power is seen differently from other technologies because it was conceived in secrecy, born of war and first revealed to the world in horror? I understand the connection but I do not understand the refusal of many to acknowledge the safety and success that is nuclear power in our back yard.

What about someone flying a plane into a plant? Containment structures of nuclear plants are among the strongest ever built by mankind; independent studies have shown that existing plants would easily survive the impact of a large commercial jetliner without loss of structural integrity.

Maybe some of the bury Yankee-at-all-costs citizens should devote time to dangerous or deadly issues that effect everyone such as coal power plants, 400 of which are by far the biggest pollution sources dumping 386,000 tons of air pollution/year.

Consider these other causes of death: candles cause and average of 126 deaths per year in the U.S. today; bicycles cause over 800 deaths per year; and car/cell phones cause over 2,500 deaths per year.

Vermont Yankee is well managed, well maintained, performs to exact specifications and answers to the highest level of scrutiny of any source of power that Vermonters have available. Keeping Yankee with its highly trained work force is good for the environment, the economy, the surrounding states and is the safest method available for providing cost effective power for the next 20 years.

Gerald Sears,

Brattleboro, Jan. 14

Our fearful society

Editor of the Reformer:

Dan DeWalt beautifully asked in his Thursday column ("Fear and loathing," Jan. 17) that our fearful society be toned down to the point where we "can live our own lives, engaging fully in our own communities and the world beyond. We can figure out for ourselves what we should fear and what we need not."

On the very next page, the AP reports from London that Fitch Ratings says the U.S. could lose its top federal credit rating if there’s a delay in raising the country’s debt rating. Now just who is Fitch Ratings? It turns out it’s a new 50/50 Hearst and a French holding corporation, with offices in London and New York. Credit ratings are a piece of the action for them. Making money is more evident.

The AP author offers no explanation, seemingly writing another scare-sheet because Standard & Poors did it the last time (and may or may not be still holding on to it).

Is this another AP overkill or just something that slipped in to fill space?

Alan O. Dann,

Marlboro, Jan. 18

God’s plan

Editor of the Reformer:

I think that, under their circumstances, the staff at the Reformer do a quite creditable job. Therefore, I am reluctant to call attention to any such minor failings as typos.

There was one, though, that is just too cute to pass up: In an article on the Brattleboro Selectboard rejecting the proposed Town Plan (Jan. 15, Page 1), it is reported that David Gartenstein "did not think it was a god idea to adopt a fluvial erosion regulation ...."

On the contrary, the regulation of fluvial erosion is most definitely a "god idea."

John S. Warren,

East Dummerston, Jan. 16