Monday, December 13, 2010

The Debate Goes On

This morning, Howard Shaffer wrote an excellent post at the ANS Nuclear Cafe blog: Vermont's nuclear debate, continued. In Howard's blog post, he mentioned the real-time debate/discussion that we had on the Walking Through Life local access television show about a week ago. This show, hosted by Linda Carbino, often deals with issues of healing and recovery. She is a gracious moderator, and frequently interviews local politicians.

On Carbino's program, Howard Shaffer and I debated Senator Dick McCormack and Mr. James Moore. Moore is Clean Energy Program Director for VPIRG. McCormack has been on the VPIRG board. They are both foes of Vermont Yankee.

I decided to post the video here. It is a full hour long, so I doubt many people will watch the whole thing. If you want to skip ahead to the 25 minute mark, you can see Senator McCormack say something like: "the idea that people are entitled to all the electricity they want, when they want it, is maybe an outdated concept." A little later in the show, I point out that many places in India have this situation: people cannot have all the power they want whenever they want it. McCormack may like the idea of poor people doing without electricity, and rich people having diesels in the backyard. I don't like it.

Well, here it is. Our debate in all its glory.

By the way, local commentators seem surprised that some people think Vermont Yankee might continue to operate. This morning's article by Terri Hallenbeck of the Burlington Free Press is titled Some Hold Out Hope Yankee Can Stay Open. The article has already had 88 comments.


Anonymous said...

It's interesting to contemplate different reactions to different statements. This comes in the light of my own reaction to particular statements from nuclear opponents that strongly irritate me, like the "boil water" nonsense. I was trying to think what statements I make that irritate anti-nukes, and why. And actually I'm very rarely advancing new statements; more often I'm correcting their mis-statements or challenging their sources. Which, perhaps is a missed opportunity.


Meredith Angwin said...

We are all fighting defensively. Outrageous anti-nuke statement, followed by our rebuttal, which sounds like a denial. It sounds weak, but I don't know what to do.

I have thought about the fact they are quite sanguine about "yes our carbon footprint will go up" in Vermont if Vermont Yankee closes. But it should still close, by golly! Maybe I should call people who say that "climate change deniers"? And let them scramble to explain themselves?

Martin Burkle said...

Mr Legislator I agree with half of what you say about the 40 year license. The part I disagree with is that the 40 year license is a scheduled closure. Really the 40 year license is a judgement that the plant can run for 40 years safely with the proper maintenance. The part I agree with is that to remain open the plant should prove its worthiness to continue. The real question is WHO should say that the proof is sufficient? The Nuclear Regulatory Commission or you the elected politician trained as a lawyer. The Nuclear regulatory Commission has a staff of highly trained people who review relicensing plans. I think the NRC is better qualified than you are.

martin Burkle said...

Where is your proof that the river has been contaminated? You are a smooth professional lobbyist that is trying to scare people with carefully worded statements. The river has not been contaminated!

martin Burkle said...

A nuclear plant license is much like a drivers license. The end of the license does not mean that I should expect to quit driving at the end of the license. If I were in a line of 30 people waiting to get my license renewed and the first 30 got their license renewed, I would expect my license to be renewed. There have been many nuclear plant license renewals. It is only in Vermont were the legislature knows more about nuclear relicensing than the NRC, that the license may not be extended. I am glad that my drivers license does not have to be renewed by the legislature!

Anonymous said...

It's too bad Mr. Moore from VPIRG uses as many scare tactics as he does while presenting his case. The lousy part about it is that the citizens of VT are more likely to believe we he says, vice the real experts from the NRC and the industry. It sounds like a losing battle for the pro-nukes. It's so frustrating listening to these two men, VPIRG and Senator, I just want to yell at the screen. They really have no idea what they are talking about. The industry and NRC can spit out fact after fact after fact, and these nitwits will make a play on words to spin it all around. It really is a losing battle. I feel bad for the employees, so much for trying to make a decent living providing CLEAN energy. Great job Meredith and Howard.

Anonymous said...

"the idea that people are entitled to all the electricity they want, when they want it, is maybe an outdated concept."

Yes, it is. Too many believe that people are entitled to everything they want. However...they should be able to buy as much as they want.

Somehow, I don't think this is what this state senator meant.