The Vermont Yankee Follies Continue

May 15, 2012, 6:00AMANS Nuclear CafeHoward Shaffer

Since March 22 of this year, the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant has been operating via a 20-year license extension granted by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The State of Vermont has been barred from attempting to shut down the plant by federal court injunctions. Nonetheless, the follies surrounding the plant continue, with all stakeholders participating: the legal system, the legislature, plant supporters, and plant opponents.

Tape review of Vermont Yankee power struggle debate

May 2, 2012, 6:00AMANS Nuclear CafeRod Adams

One of my college roommates served for a while as the manager of our football team; we would talk about the "tape review" sessions that were used by the team to evaluate past performance and to prepare for future opponents. Nuclear organizations, for their part, often have highly developed "lessons learned" programs and they practice the use of technical methods that have been successfully employed by other organizations.

Be Here Now and The Debate

May 1, 2012, 6:00AMANS Nuclear CafeMeredith Angwin

For many years, I practiced yoga and Aikido, both of which included considerations of full-attention and the ancient Buddhist practice of mindfulness. A spiritually enlightened person is mindful. She pays attention to what she is actually doing and to the reality of her life and actions. Such a person does not live in a world of daydreams or overly-complex thought processes. She does not live in the past or in the future. The enlightened person is "here now."

The Nuclear Debate On the Road

April 10, 2012, 6:00AMANS Nuclear CafeHoward Shaffer

Plymouth, Massachusetts, "America's Home Town," is the place where the pilgrims landed, and is also the home of the Pilgrim nuclear power plant. On March 29, a forum was held in Plymouth to discuss a non-binding ballot question for the town election in May. The question is whether or not to freeze the plant's relicensing process until all the Fukushima fixes are completed.

Celebrating at Vermont Yankee: A successful rally on St Patrick's Day

March 27, 2012, 6:00AMANS Nuclear CafeMeredith Angwin

The Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant's original Nuclear Regulatory Commission license expired on March 21, 2012 . The NRC, however, has renewed the license for another 20 years, and a recent court ruling will almost certainly allow the plant to operate for many more years. The American Nuclear Society's Vermont Pilot Project (headed by Howard Shaffer) and the Energy Education Project of the Ethan Allen Institute (headed by me) thought it was time to celebrate! So, we held a rally on St. Patrick's Day, Saturday, March 17, to celebrate the court ruling and 20 more years of Green Power.

The Mountains of Vermont Yankee

February 28, 2012, 7:00AMANS Nuclear CafeMeredith Angwin

When I am reading an article or a blog post, I always appreciate when the writer places the immediate events into a bigger context. I always try to do this myself. Putting Vermont Yankee issues in context, however, is like facing a huge mountain range. There is always another set of hills beyond this one. Which mountain? Which context? Where to start?

Reflections on the Cedar Creek Room

February 13, 2012, 7:00AMANS Nuclear CafeHoward Shaffer

On January 19, the Federal District Court in Brattleboro, Vt., issued a court decision in favor of Entergy Corporation, regarding the continued operation of its Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant. Entergy had sued the State of Vermont on several issues, but mainly on Act 160, a Vermont law that was crafted to block the continued operation of the plant. The plant needs a Certificate of Public Good (CPG) from the state in order to keep operating, but Act 160 says that the state's Public Service Board needs legislative approval before it could release its findings on the application for the CPG. Without the new CPG, the plant would have had to shut down when the original one expires, on March 21, 2012. The federal court's decision "permanently enjoined" the state from using Act 160 to deny a CPG to Entergy; the basis for that decision is the supremacy of federal law over state law.

Let’s find another word for safety – Entergy v. Vermont in plain English

February 10, 2012, 7:00AMANS Nuclear CafeTamar Cerafici

Entergy's Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant's operating license would have expired on March 21, 2012, but the Nuclear Regulatory Commission extended the license to 2032. Vermont's legislature and a vocal part of the state's population don't like the idea of Vermont Yankee's continued operation. So, when confronted with an unpopular federal agency's decision, what's a concerned state legislature to do?

Vermont Outreach Continues as Opponents Reorganize

January 10, 2012, 7:00AMANS Nuclear CafeHoward Shaffer

On March 21, 2011, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission issued a renewal of the operating license for the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant for an additional 20 years. Vermont Yankee's original license would have expired on March 21, 2012, and its state-issued Certificate of Public Good does expire on that date. Most commentators agree that March 21 will not be the last day the plant operates, but the date does give opponents a focal point, and they are planning some kind of civil disobedience on that day. The question remains: Who are "they"?

Gas and Nuclear: A Comparison of Two Local Plants

November 23, 2011, 7:00AMANS Nuclear CafeMeredith Angwin

Many recent speeches (and blog posts) have compared nuclear and gas as sources of electricity generation for our future.  In this post, I will bring the comparisons closer to home, describing some of the similarities and differences between the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in Vernon, Vt., and the Granite Ridge Combined Cycle power plant near Manchester, N.H. Which technology is the future: gas or nuclear? Or are they both the future?

The Rally for Vermont Yankee: At the Plant Gates During the Refueling Outage

October 26, 2011, 6:00AMANS Nuclear CafeMeredith Angwin

The Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant is undergoing a refueling outage. For most plants, the situation would be business as usual.  The state of Vermont, however, believes it has the power to shut down Vermont Yankee in March 2012, even though the plant has a 20-year license extension from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. In order to continue operations at Vermont Yankee, Entergy (the plant's owner and operator) has sued the state.

A Nuclear Opponent from Half a World Away

October 10, 2011, 6:00AMANS Nuclear CafeHoward Shaffer

Vermont Law School (a private institution) is known as a leader in environmental law.  Students at the school have an Environmental Law Society and an International Law Society, and on September 30 these societies hosted a public meeting that featured Vaishali Patil, a woman from India who is an "environmental activist" and nuclear power opponent.

Rally for nuclear power and Vermont Yankee

September 27, 2011, 6:00AMANS Nuclear CafeMeredith Angwin

At 9 a.m. on September 12, the Entergy v. State of Vermont lawsuit began hearings, regarding the continued operation of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant, at the federal courthouse in Brattleboro, Vt.  In June,  Howard Shaffer and I had gone to Brattleboro to stand outside the courthouse on the morning of the injunction hearing.  At that time, the two of us provided a small pro-nuclear presence at an anti-nuclear rally organized by the Safe and Green Campaign.