Tension at the NRC Meeting
The day after the NRC meeting about Vermont Yankee, I wrote a post Mellow Meeting of the NRC in Brattleboro. Actually, the meeting was only mellow in comparison with last year's meeting: The Politics of Intimidation. This year, women with Jaczko masks once tried to disrupt the meeting by standing behind the NRC people, chanting and making speeches (photo at left). Once again, the NRC members left the room and then came back into the room. Once again, the women stood behind the NRC after the NRC came back.
However, the women didn't succeed this year. Eventually the women sat down and the meeting proceeded.
Eventually, I took action
Um, did I say "eventually?" I should have said something stronger. The problem is that I don't like to toot my own horn. But I did take action that helped get the meeting back on track, and it is worth sharing that action with my readers.
At the meeting, the women were chanting, the NRC was trying to talk over them, a man from the audience shouted "It's about Democracy!" and I had personally had enough. I went up to an open mike that was standing in the middle of the room, and I interrupted the whole thing. I said, quite loudly:
“No, it’s about diversity! It’s about whether people with different opinions and different views and different backgrounds will be allowed to talk at this meeting! Apparently not!”
Then I left the microphone. The meeting had grown quiet while I spoke (it was so unexpected) and the police soon persuaded the women to sit down.
I blogged about this incident at ANS Nuclear Cafe: Speaking Out of Turn at the NRC Meeting. On that post, I treasure a comment from a man who was at the meeting and wanted to thank me after the meeting. Unfortunately, I was feeling sort of shaky from the strain of doing something like that, and I left the meeting a bit early.
OMG, It Isn't There
A few days later, I found that community TV had recorded the meeting. I thought: "Oh dear. What did it look like when I went up to that microphone?" I was scared to look at the video, but I needn't have worried. The incident wasn't there at all.
The TV people apparently felt that the women chanting, the NRC leaving the room and coming back, the NRC trying to talk above the chanting, me making my statement, the police approaching the women..none of that was worth recording. I don't know how they concluded this: in retrospect, it was all rather dramatic theater. But none of it is on the video.
If you look at the video below, a man from the NRC refers to the incident with some statement like: "if there is more disruption, we will have to take a break." The video cameras follow the women walking peaceably around the "science fair" part of the meeting and then you see them sitting peaceably in the chairs during the question period. In the video, you see me and my friend Guy Page (frequent guest blogger) speak to the NRC once the meeting was underway. Our remarks start at about the 11 minute mark on the video.
The TV video makes the situation look darn mellow. That is not how it happened, my friends. That is not how it happened.