99 Reactors on the Wall – Vermont Yankee Closes
The activists who fought this reactor did an amazing job, ultimately forcing the state of Vermont to vote against it’s continued operations and the Governor to demand it be closed. An act which had no direct effect, because the utility which owned Vermont Yankee hid behind the pro-industry Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which granted the plant a license extension. But the political waters for the continued operation of this lie and error plagued reactor had been set. And ultimately the will of the people prevailed over the power of the nuclear establishment.
Vermont governor, Peter Shumlin, said: “Today, thanks to investments in renewable energy such as solar, Vermont’s energy future is on a different, more sustainable path that is creating jobs, reducing energy costs for Vermonters and slowing climate change.” Shumlin was a strong advocate for the closure of the reactor once its license expired.
The New Orleans based Entergy Corporation bought this reactor in 2002, hoping this trouble plagued reactor would turn out to be a cash cow. They admit they were wrong. “This has been a bad investment for us,” said Barrett Green, an Entergy finance executive who recommended both that Entergy buy the plant and later that it be closed. But bad economics are not enough to close reactors any more. Were it not for the political organizers in Vermont, Entergy would be seeking the same kind of non-market solutions which Exelon is looking for in Illinois.
Literally thousands of activists and hundreds of thousands of people across the small state of Vermont are responsible for this win. But i feel like i need to name some names.
Deb Katz herded the cats that is the Citizen Action Network and ran some of the most fun action camps i have ever been to, and i have been to a lot of action camps.
Jim Riccio kept Greenpeace honest (a very tricky task) and focused on the one we could win.
The whole lovely staff at Beyond Nuclear wrote reports, educated the press, supported activists and helped in innumerable other ways to shut this plant down.
And a special thanks to the guy who got me up to Vermont Yankee in the first place, who was behind the scenes and occasionally quite out in front. My friend and mentor Michael Marriote from NIRS.