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June 25, 2009

Vermont Yankee Forum — Hot

About 150 people crammed into a steamy film house Wednesday night to hear a panel of experts talk largely about the cons of relicensing  the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant.

The Vermont legislature is likely to take up the issue next session, noted Rep. Adam Greshin (I-Warren), who was one of the panelists. Greshin explained that at least two or three committees in the House and Senate could have some jurisdiction over any legislation dealing with keeping the state's lone nuke plant open for another 20 years.

Staff writer Ken Picard (who previewed the forum) and myself attended the hearing last night, and I covered it live via Twitter. To read the full Tweet stream, click on my Twitter page here. You may have to click a few pages in to read the full account.

Things got pretty stuffy in the un-air-conditioned theater during the two-hour meeting, making me wonder if Vermont Yankee knew about the event and reduced the flow of electrons to the Mad River Valley. Just kidding.

The first hour was taken up by presentations from the individual panelists on everything from the health impacts of being exposed to radiation to what forms of power could replace VY. The second hour was devoted to audience members asking questions of the panel.

The forum was not a pro/con debate about Vermont Yankee or nuclear power in general, but an "educational" event, said organizers.

Here's a sample of Tweets:

If #VT Yankee stays open, renewable energy in VT will languish. "If your fridge is full, you don't go to the grocery store."

Lawrence Mott explaining #VT energy portfolio. Says if VT Yankee shuts down, lights will stay on. "Electrons will still flow"

Gundersen notes #VT Yankee has poor procedures in place & not written down. Mostly in employees' heads and most are close to retire

Panelists are done at #VT Yankee forum. Now onto audience questions - Ken Picard asks first Q: What are health impacts of VY on VTers?

Nancy Chickering says not sure of exact rad impacts from #VT Yankee but effects can show up 20 years after exposure

Audience: Isn't nuke cheaper? Mott says no. New nuke in TX is $8K per kWH vs $3K per kwh for wind

Audience: Is there a statewide #VT plan for fostering renewable energy? (Me: Um, no)

Panel: Moore sez #VT Gov Douglas is not really planning for energy future. Hope to renew VY and HydroQuebec. Not renewables.

Audience: Who will pay for decommissioning of #VT Yankee?

Greshin: Entergy Co. is responsible for #VT Yankee waste. Moore: Separate Entergy LLC is responsible. Gundersen: Taxpayers will pay

Audience: How will you, Rep. Greshin, vote on #VT Yankee? He won't answer. Audience boos. Shouts. (no compost is thrown tho)

Moderator pleads for calm, asks folks to take up individual conservations (shouting matches?) after #VT Yankee forum

Gundersen closer at #VT Yankee forum: "At some point in a foolproof system, the fools are going to exceed the proofs"

did anyone shoot video?

I believe the local public access station was there taping it. I'll try to find out if/when it may air and if they're going to share the tape with other PEG stations.

Had it confirmed. Mad River Valley TV, the public access channel, will post video of the meeting next week online.

Their site is:

They will also be providing the footage to other public access channels in Vermont.

Thanks Shay!

Shay's reporting of the questions, answers, and comments at this event prove that it was not even close to being an open-minded event, but rather a pre-determined love-in for the hate-Yankee crowd. Obviously, anyone who wasn't already against Yankee was not welcome there, as the disgraceful reaction to Rep. Greshin proves.

Mott's comment about nuke being more expensive than wind isn't even remotely rational. He compares power prices from one single nuke plant, against what appears to be a national (subsidized) wind average? Come on. That's junk economics. Howabout comparing the national average of nuke power? Howabout pointing out how inexpensive power from VY is? Howabout pointing out that wind is never on when you need it? How about pointing out that you can't build wind turbines in Vt. anyway? I'll bet many people in that crowd would scream bloody murder if their neighbor planned to put up a wind turbine.

And the audience actually booing a state rep. who has the courage to say he hasn't made up his mind? That is simply beyond disgraceful. It is mob tactics.


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