I have been boots-on-the-ground for Vermont Yankee since 2002, and before that active in Massachusetts and Maine. From this perspective, Jacczko's visit was CYA for the NRC and himself. You haven't seen this in the press reports so far and probably won't. Meredith and I were there. He stood up to the opponents and stood them down too.
The Chairman told them that the NRC regulates by focusing on safety and what is most critical to safety. He would not let the responders interrupt him, as is their custom. He told them when they were over their time limit. They all spoke beyond their limit, as is their custom.
(Interruption of Howard by Meredith: sometimes they did succeed in interrupting him. After all, there were seven of them and one of him.)
Jaczko also told them that the NRC staff is concerned about all the same issues they are, but has different judgments about them. Finally he said that the NRC does not have unlimited power, and has not seen any issue requiring immediate shutdown, as called for by the Vermont Yankee Decommissioning Alliance. He also said they can act fast if they have to.
No need to worry about this event giving a publicity opportunity to these opponents. They are experts at generating coverage and get plenty due to the plants missteps. The press is mostly on the opponents side (surprised?) and as in any story line, "If it bleeds it leads." The plant has been cutting itself and bleeding regularly.
The major problem for supporters of VY is getting them to do much more. They don't stand up to charges. They don't go face to face with the antis. What is the press supposed to think? True, the plant is stuck with responding to generic global issues too, but there is help available. What former Senator Simpson from Wyoming said recently in Newsweek is true. "A charge unanswered is a charge believed."
Deb Katz of Citizens Awareness Network spoke at a rally last year on the State House steps with the President Pro Tem of the Senate and the Speaker of the House behind her and said that they would shut down VY, then the plants in the US, then the world. These antis will be "coming soon to a plant near you."
That's what its all about.
Howard Shaffer III
Other Coverage of the Jaczko Visit
Dan Yurman of Idaho Samizdat asks the question: "What Was Jaczko Thinking?" in his post on the NRC Road Show.
Rod Adams of Atomic Insights considers who was invited and who wasn't invited to the meeting. There are over 30 comments on this post.
Last but hardly least, someone from Nuclear Townhall attended the meeting in Brattleboro. An excellent post about Jaczko taking the heat at the meeting. This post also notes how the observers in the meeting booed and hooted when Jaczko said nobody was hurt at Three Mile Island.
The Tenth Blog Carnival of Nuclear Energy is up at Next Big Future. This edition features Robert Hargraves discussing the importance of energy for ending poverty.
Howard Shaffer III wrote this guest post. He is a former submarine officer, Congressional Science Fellow in 2001, and currently a registered professional nuclear engineer in Vermont and New Hampshire. He was one of the startup engineers at Vermont Yankee.
Meredith is currently attending the Gordon Conference on High Temperature Chemistry and Materials.