Hall Talk - Nov 1

November 1, 2011, 1:53PMANS Nuclear CafeDan Yurman

Our intrepid reporter files another update from the ANS Winter Meeting.

Vermont - Do you know where your electricity comes from?

Power for electric cars comes from where?

At the ANS Green Bag lunch on Monday, Howard Shaffer, PE, of the ANS Vermont Pilot Project, recounted a story of how advocates for the electric car brought one to an anti-nuclear rally in Vermont. Painted on the side in bright letters was the slogan "no nukes."

Asked if the owner had any sense of the irony that the electricity that charged the car probably came from a carbon emission-free source-namely Vermont Yankee-Shaffer said no.

Granola power!

Shaffer added that anti-nuclear sentiment in Vermont runs much deeper than other places because it is linked to a unique blend of lifestyle politics. Some people in Vermont hold post-industrial Utopian visions of a future society that is decidedly low tech, powered by windmills and solar energy.

Granola is not a usable fuel for fossil or nuclear power plants

People who have a strong hold on these views are aligned with more mainstream green groups. These groups have a broad political base augmented with funding from national organizations.

This is a potent mix that has opposed the relicensing of the Vermont Yankee reactor and which now forms a visible chunk of Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin's political base. Shumlin has been a leader of the anti-nuclear movement in Vermont, making closure of the plant a central plank of his successful campaign for the governor's chair.

Green groups are particular rankled by the decision of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to renew the operating license for Vermont Yankee.

A participant in the ANS Green Bag lunch said in response, "The granola culture is very influential, but they have a lack of reality about where their electricity comes from."

It would seem so.

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Dan Yurman publishes Idaho Samizdat, a blog about nuclear energy and is a frequent contributor to ANS Nuclear Cafe.

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