Tuesday, July 13, 2010

NRC Chairman in Brattleboro Tomorrow

Tomorrow morning, Chairman Jaczko of the NRC will be in Brattleboro. Jaczko will be at the Ramada Inn in Brattleboro from 9:30 to 11 a.m. He will be taking questions from the seven groups that have concerns about Vermont Yankee. I don't have a complete list of groups, but VPIRG, NEC, the Safe and Green Campaign, and the Conservation Law Foundation are sure to be included.

The rest of us are allowed to watch these groups question Jaczko. Since nobody else can ask questions, this blog post is more of a call-to-inaction than a call-to-action. For most people, there's no real reason to go. I'll be there. I blog about VY, so I can't skip this event. Also, I am covering the meeting for a trade journal (press badge hat instead of blogger's hat).

At 11 a.m., after Jaczko's discussion with the intervenors, he will give a press conference. As I understand it, he will then spend the afternoon at VY.


Two days ago, I spent three hours at a Public Service Board meeting, mostly listening to interveners express their fears. Therefore, I'm not filled with enthusiasm about attending this meeting.

Still, I like to make things interesting for myself. Gambling always spices things up. Who will take my wagers? No money will change hands. However, I hope to settle the bets in the traditional surroundings. Salt hill pub in Lebanon probably. Or a similar venue.

Take up these wagers by adding a comment to this post.

  1. I bet that the intervenors will grandstand and ask long, loaded questions, and hardly let Jaczko get a word in. My wager: more than three-fourths of the air time will be taken by the intervenor "questions." Who will wager against me here?
  2. One intervenor is famous for shouting while other people are talking. He shouts things like "It's a lie" or "Junk Science." My wager: One intervenor will interrupt Jaczko by shouting. Who will wager against me here?
  3. Another intervenor throws things. I don't think she will do so, though Da Commissioner is a very tempting target. My wager: The slinger does not sling anything tomorrow morning. Who will wager against me here?
  4. Colorful costumes are the order of the day at these meetings. My wager: Somebody in the audience will dress as a fish. Who will wager against me here?
  5. Someone will get confused, and instead of talking about tritium and accusing VY management of lying, they will accuse tritium of lying. My wager: Tritium will be accused of lying. Who will wager against me here?
I'll probably lose the last bet (number 5) now that I have warned everyone of the possibilities.

Bet against me on any of these! It will be like taking candy from a baby. Really. Easy. Place your bet in the comment section.

Late News: Business Leaders NOT happy with Jaczko's choice

Business leaders are not happy with the fact that Jaczko will listen to intervenors, and will go to the plant, but is not willing to listen to plant supporters. He acts as if there are only two groups:
  • people against the plant
  • people who work at the plant.
No. There's another group. There are also plant supporters. As the Vermont Energy Partnership states in a press release this evening:
In our view, having a one-sided stakeholder meeting with anti-nuclear activists to discuss the future of Vermont Yankee during your visit to the state sends a negative message to supporters about the NRC’s position on this issue......Though we have repeatedly sought an audience with you during your visit, we are formally requesting that you grant us time to meet with you and senior members of your staff to speak with us and other business and labor leaders in Vermont.
A Business Perspective

This morning, Rod Adams of Atomic Insights posted about excluding business leaders from the NRC meeting. Many of us know Rod as a blogger, Navy Officer, and proponent of small reactors. In his post today, Rod has the perspective of a businessman, drawing on his years as manager of a small factory. As Rod writes:

That business happened to be one of the more energy intensive operations in town; our electric bill could run as high as $8,000 per month for a little plastic product manufacturing enterprise with an annual revenue of less than $1 million.

As he says in the post, he would have been furious at being excluded from an important meeting about electricity with a distinguished visitor who had come to town.


Meredith Angwin said...

I just got a comment from Anonymous. However, when I tried to post it, I got an error message. Luckily, it is also in my mail in-box (I get notified of comments) so I post it below.

You seem to not like the people who you serve.

"I'm not filled with enthusiasm about attending this meeting."

This explains the pro VY stance, I think: " Gambling always spices things up."

Too bad you'll have to listen to people actually talk at a hearing. "intervenors will grandstand and ask long, loaded questions..."

Sad that pro VY folks are starting to sound just like the people they are criticizing. I think the battle has been lost. Neither side is worth paying attention to. It can all go away now.

Meredith Angwin said...

Well, apparently, Blogger gave me an error message AND posted the comment at the same time! Sorry for the repetition.

There are a group of intevenors who come to all meetings. Several have started not-for-profits and pay their expenses and salaries that way. No law against that. As a matter of fact, it's a clever idea I have thought of copying. But at any rate, I see the same faces, saying the same things, at every meeting.

I do not see myself as "serving" these constant intervenors. I see myself as serving the people who support the plant. I see myself as serving the people who support jobs and low-carbon-impact power for Vermont. I serve those who realize that if VY is shut down, we'll just be buying expensive fossil from the grid.

I like the people I am serving.

claire said...

The TIME is NOW to make the changes we need in the amount of greenhouse gases we emit.

We need extensive conservation and energy efficiency measures at all levels of business and government to reduce our energy use and thereby reduce our carbon emissions.

Read Carbon Free and Nuclear Free: A Roadmap for US energy policy. online for free!!


We need 80% reduction ASAP.

Each of us needs to take personal responsibility for our carbon load.

check your carbon load here http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/emissions/ind_calculator.html

Change ALL your light bulbs to CFL's or LED's!
Turn lights off that are not being used!
Plug appliances into power strips and REALLY shut them OFF. TV, DVD, Stereo, Computer...
Turn up the AC. Use a fan. It's the humidity that feels warm.
Turn down the heat. and Insulate, Insulate, Insulate and air seal too.
Replace with Energy Star appliances-washer, fridge, dishwasher.
Hang clothes out to dry. They smell better and last longer.
Install solar thermal hot water collectors. Feel the sun's rays.
Take 5 min showers. no baths unless you share.
Reduce electrical demand then Install solar PV.
Setup a water collection system with rain gutters. use to water the garden and lawn.
Grow vegetables for food. organically, in the lawn.
Share seeds and plants and veggies with your family and friends
Join a CSA or shop at farmer's markets.
Reduce first, reuse second and recycle everything.
Stop buying anything in plastic packaging.
Reuse plastic bags again and again and again and again.
Buy used always, share always, lend and borrow.
Insulate, insulate, air seal and insulate again.
Don't buy from overseas.
Use cloth bags and carry with you every day and reuse again.
Start a cloth bag exchange.
Start a ride share, car pool.
Drive like gas is $5 or $8/ gal. What would you do different? Do it now.
Eat locally grown, locally processed. locally sold.
Reduce Meat consumption, once a day, once a week.
Eat only grass fed beef, truly free range chickens, no rbgh.
Drive 55mph. Gentle on the gas pedal.
Walk, ride a bike to shop, work, play.
Don't fly.really, don't.
Take the train. or walk, or bike, or don't go.
and Insulate, insulate, air seal and insulate again, really
Then smell the flowers, walk the dog and talk with your neighbors.

We are down to 3 kwhr per day. The national average is 29kwhr/day. Where are you?


Check your electric bill. Do a few of these things and check your next months bill. It really doesn't take much to reduce!!

Try the Low Carbon Diet!


New nuclear takes 10 yrs to build and then another 17 yrs to recoup the embodied energy from construction. We CAN"T wait 27 yrs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

We MUST START NOW to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

We can be 100% Renewable Energy by 2050. GET started NOW.

Steve Aplin said...

Anonymous: I've watched my fair share of anti-nuclear buffoonery at regultory meetings, and totally sympathize with Meredith's lack of enthusiasm for sitting through yet another one of these performances. Only Freud would find this stuff interesting or useful. Of course, the NRC should open the meeting to pro-VY citizens and groups, if not for fairness/transparency, then at least to bring it back to the adult level.

Claire, I have no problem with your list of suggestions. Not everybody can follow them, however, and especially people who live in high rises. High rises are (1) absolutely the cleanest way for humans to live en masse, and (2) literally uninhabitable without electricity, which brings you to and from your floor, pumps your water, ventilates your unit, and lights it. We need lots of GHG-free electricity, and sorry but renewables are not capable of providing it.

Meredith, I'll take you up on bet 3. Somebody WILL throw something -- a strontium-laced fish (i.e., a sardine out of a can).

David said...


I have some questions for you in case you come back to the blog.

Why do you think we need to be free from Nuclear power? Are you willing to comment or just assume that being Nuclear free is somehow good?

Is being low in energy use intrinsically good? If you think it is can you tell me if you also think that long life spans, education and generally health are good or evil?

I live in a second world country. I have great respect for how much energy it takes to supply a growing population. I know many people who live on less than a kwh a day. It is not pleasant and they struggle greatly. Some schools here only have light bulbs turned on if the parents in the community pay for the extra electricity. Then there is often a single light bulb in a classroom of 50 students.

This population that already uses less energy per capita than any of its still poor neighbors will not be helped by "green" energy. You cannot build an economy, (schools, jobs, roads, business, manufacturing) on sources of power that come and go randomly.

Most in this population cannot conserve more. They cannot "live with nature" more closely. Sure, pollution could be minimized, but not waste, there is NO waste, everything is used.

So the options here are,
1. Rolling blackouts.
2. Very expensive diesel generation.
3. Import coal or dig it locally destroying the land around.
4. Burn the remaining trees (few that are left).
5. Import methane in huge tankers and burn it for electricity.

6. Begin to build Nuclear power plants that will supply large amount of electricity for a growing population.

I have personally priced out Solar PV. It is very expensive. Even with the 22 cents / KWH we have here it takes 22 years to recover the investment. Where will people get that up front investment? How long do solar panels actually last?

Thanks for your responses to my questions :)

Meredith Angwin said...

Thank you, David. My son-in-law is from India, and I have visited that country. He comes from a relatively well-to-do family, but the poverty all around, and staying in a family's house, and people who work for the family completely unable to afford medical care and all the backup diesel generators and...

It makes me want to see the entire world with MORE electricity (okay, maybe America doesn't need more) and happier and healthier and NUCLEAR!

Thank you again for your perspective on this.


David said...

Hi Meredith,

Even the USA could use more Electricity. Especially inexpensive, large volume power. Process heat would be great. This inexpensive electricity could be use to chemically produce DME for fuel. This would directly help us with our transportation fuels.

www dot aboutdme dot org

By keeping electricity fairly expensive it cannot be used as a transportation substitute. It is amazing to me that people who love the environment are so opposed to using large amounts of Nuclear energy.

KitP said...

A controversial candidate for president came to the Rancho Seco to show support for the workers by closing the plant to protect us. I did not attend but heard that he was heckled off his soap box in less than five minutes.

The workers who later lost their jobs lost an opportunity to win an important ally that day. Rather that react to an attack, use it as an opportunity to tell your story.

Just for the record, I was not smart enough to see it at the time.