Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Inspiring Testimony Sent to the PSB

As I wrote in yesterday's post, there's a meeting tomorrow (Thursday) night at 7 at Brattleboro High School The PSB will meet about Docket 7600, the docket for shutting down Vermont Yankee early. I encourage people to attend this meeting. (There's more information about this docket in my post yesterday's).

However, not everyone can attend such meetings. However, you can submit comments to the PSB by email. File a comment using the PSB general Comment Form. I wrote my comment under "other" ( I could not choose "Docket 7600" from the drop-down list). I put the words "Docket 7600" near the beginning of my comment. It only took a few minutes, and I urge you to do the same.


Since yesterday, I have received copies of some excellent, inspiring comments which were sent to the PSB by plant supporters. I thank them, and I want to share their comments, in the hopes of inspiring your comments!

  • Theresa Derting posted her message on the Facebook Save Vermont Yankee page, and I have copied it here.
  • John Ewell sent me a post by Facebook Message, and gave me permission to post it here.
These two comments are great: well-written and full of ideas. One is short and one is long. Both are effective. My own comment emphasized that shutting down Vermont Yankee would be hard on older or low-income people in Vermont.

Be inspired by these comments, steal ideas from them if you want, and file a comment using the PSB general Comment Form. Start your comment with the words Docket 7600.

(John Ewell sent his same post to Docket 7440 when he was finished. That was a very good idea, and takes almost no time. I urge you to do the same. But posting to Docket 7600 is the first order of business today.)

Late News: Nuclear Townhall, a new and influential blog, chose this post as one of their two "best of the blogs" today.

From Theresa Derting

RE: Docket 7600
I work at Vermont Yankee and I know that it is safe because I do. Entergy has invested enormous amounts of money in updating the facility since it was purchased, and continues to do so now. The tritium leak, even though relatively small by comparable standards, was stopped shortly after it was found, using a careful and methodical process. The company is in the process of implementing further protections to prevent incidents like these. The people who work at VY are committed to the protection of the public AND themselves. I would not work there if there if I was afraid. I would not have my daughter in elementary school directly across the river if I was afraid. Shutting VY down early because of a leak that has already been stopped is a silly notion. Shutting it down early when the effects of the leak are minimal at best is even sillier. Shutting it down early to the detriment of the ratepayers of the state of Vermont would be like the proverbial cutting one's nose off to spite one's face. Please discard this docket as the waste paper it should be.


From John Ewell

My name is John Ewell. I am a Radiation Protection Technician. I have worked in the nuclear industry for about 30 years, almost 9 years at Vermont Yankee. I am a native New Englander, raised about 15 miles from the Pilgrim Nuclear plant. I now live in Western Mass, having lived in about 20 states. I have worked at 24 different nuclear units, operating and decommissioned. I have also been part of the decommissioning of the Rocky Flats weapons facility in Colorado.

So, I have a lot of experience in varied parts of nuclear power. I have worked as the guy mopping the floors, and supervised 25 people in a hazardous waste environment. Vermont Yankee is the place I chose to be my last nuclear plant. I had opportunities within the region at the time I hired on at VY, but I chose VY. I still believe I made the right choice.

Vermont is in a unique position of being able to predict their energy production for the future. As renewable energy production begins to take off, Vermont has a predictable, reliable energy source for up to 20 years, while green renewable energy production gets established. Rather than shutting down Vermont Yankee, use this time to setup clean, reliable green energy production. Setup the zoning regulations. Determine exactly what infrastructure and tax incentives are needed to support renewable, non-carbon energy production. Don’t go with the “quick fix”, but really set it up right. Vermont has the chance to show the rest of the country how to do it right. From the start, without time pressure or political pressure to “hurry up”.

An early shutdown of VY would be the same as scrapping the family minivan, because it is getting old, and we will have electric cars in the future. But those electric cars aren’t here now. And we still need the minivan to get the kids to baseball practice. If we had a true renewable energy infrastructure in place, shutting down VY may be justified. But we don’t. We still need the power. We can use this time to put it in place. VY will still get us to baseball practice. And to work. And won’t put smog into our air.

Recently in CT, a power plant, using natural gas, blew up. Killed 7 workers that spent years building that plant. Natural gas is highly combustible, and that industry is not as highly regulated as nuclear power. Nuclear power in the United States is not prone to these type accidents. The only accident at a nuclear plant (Three Mile Island) didn’t kill or injure anyone. Large scale energy production has it’s risks. But large scale energy production is needed to help our economy recover and grow. A growing economy will be able to pay for renewable energy. But if the energy isn’t there, the economy will not be able to build it.

The recent tritium leak at VY is one of the issues that has happened at several other nuclear plants in the country. VY identified it, notified the public immediately, and met the challenge head on. The leak was found, the piping replaced, the leak stopped, and we are in the process of removing the tritium water from the ground onsite. It did not spread to the public. It did not get into the groundwater, because of VYs quick action The remediation will be done quicker than about any other site. Just about everyone onsite worked on this project. We took it personal. People worked long hours, different groups worked together, and I am proud to have been part of the team. What we accomplished will be an example to the industry. It should be an example to the public. Find the problem - fix the problem. That is what VY does. That is what my coworkers believe in. That is “how we roll”.

Obviously, I would like for VY to continue to operate. I work there. But also, believe that I work there because I know it is safe. I have worked at other plants. I want to work at VY. I want you to believe in VY the way I do. Look at this as an opportunity to plan for Vermont’s future, instead of a chance to make a “statement” that will be more costly in the long run, both to the industry and workers in the state, and it’s environment.

Thank you,

John I Ewell
Radiation Protection / Industrial Safety
Vermont Yankee

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