Sunday, November 11, 2012

Air Pollution and Vermont Yankee

Meredith Angwin speaking at the PSB hearing
My name is Meredith Joan Angwin and I live in Wilder Vermont.  I am here to speak in favor of granting Vermont Yankee Certificate of Public Good for continued operation.  I am the Director of the Energy Education Project of the Ethan Allen Institute, I blog at Yes Vermont Yankee.

I am a physical chemist by training. I worked at improving pollution control methods and corrosion resistance of nuclear, gas, geothermal and coal plants. I was a project manager at the Electric Power Research Institute. I also consulted with many utilities, in the U. S. and abroad.

I am here today as a citizen of Vermont who wants Vermont to remain the clean, green and attractive state that it is today. Nuclear power has the least environmental impact of all baseload types of electricity.  Specifically, it creates no air pollution. Nuclear power creates no nitrogen oxides.

Intermittent renewables like solar and wind must have be backed up by baseload power and dispatchable power.  What kind of backup power will Vermont choose? Hydro, nuclear or fossil?

New hydro plants and new nuclear plants are unlikely to come on-line in this region. Our practical choices are Vermont Yankee, new fossil plants, or buying power from outside Vermont. I will discuss the environmental issues of natural gas versus Vermont Yankee, because I have technical expertise in this area.

Fossil power means air pollution. Natural gas plants are the best in terms of emissions, but they emit acid gases to the air: carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxides.  I will talk about nitrogen oxides, an acid gas that contributes to acid rain and smog.  I have patents in the control of nitrogen oxides.

Controlling nitrogen oxides is difficult. At the high temperatures in gas turbines, the air actually burns itself. That is, the nitrogen in the air combines with oxygen in the air and makes nitrogen oxides (NOX). NOX is only partially controlled by ammonia addition at the end of the process. Sometimes the ammonia itself becomes a pollutant.

NOX is a very acid gas, contributing to acid rain. NOX is also the main cause of smog, which can happen on any sunny day. You don't have to be in Los Angeles to get smog.  All you  need is NOX and sunshine.

Nuclear plants do not release NOX. They keep our air clean. For clean Vermont air, we need to make our baseload power with Vermont Yankee, not fossil fuels.

This is the fourth in a series of posts which share statements made in favor of Vermont Yankee at the Public Service Board hearing on November 7, 2012.

I almost labelled it a  "guest post" but then I remembered that I wrote it!


jim said...

How do we get a full transcsript??

James Greenidge
Queens NY

Meredith Angwin said...


I don't know how to get a transcript. I also don't know if it is available yet. I have been contacting people who spoke (when I can get contact information) and asking for a copy of what they said, and then getting pix from various people who were taking pictures. That is how I have been putting up these posts.

The transcript by the court reporter is being made for the Public Service Board. It may be posted soon on their website for this docket
Or you may have to call the clerk of the board and ask about it.
I will let you know when I find out more. Meanwhile, I will keep posting the testimony, but maybe not as fast. When I switch posts too fast, they don't get traction. It's always a tradeoff...


jim said...

Thanks for that! Always Good Work!

James Greenidge
Queens NY

Joffan said...

I meant to comment on posting rate several times in the past. You are quite right - posting too quickly can mean that some interesting article never gets read, or not read by as many as it deserves. Once a day seems to be a good top rate for me as a regular reader, although no doubt there are a range of opinions on that as on anything :-)

Meredith Angwin said...

I am posting two and three times a day for a few days. Complete craziness except it has a purpose. I want to inspire others to speak by showing what others actually have said at meetings.

In general, three or four posts a week is my choice for fresh content as well as traction. This week is different.