Monday, May 14, 2012

May 23 NRC Meeting. Show Up for Vermont Yankee

"Ninety percent of life is just showing up."  Woody Allen

On May 23 the NRC will hold its annual "Report to the Public" meeting at Brattleboro Union High School.  The NRC will discuss the plant's 2011 performance.

As described in the NRC meeting notice, there will be an Open House from 5:30-6:30 p.m. This will give meeting attendees an opportunity to talk one on one with Region I staff members.

From 7-8:30 there will be a Public Q &A session.  No formal presentation is planned.

What You Can Do
  1. Attend for whatever portion of the time you can.
  2. Wear pro Vermont Yankee and pro nuclear power buttons.
  3. Ask leading questions.  The NRC tends to answer what is asked and does not try to resolve the underlying issues.  Ask them questions they can answer in a positive manner.
  4. Dialogue with plant opponents.  Remain calm.  If and when they get emotional, don't join them in getting emotional.
  5. Introduce yourself to elected officials.  Elected officials and their representatives attend this meeting.  Introduce yourself.  Let them know your feelings and beliefs. Show them that nuclear energy has supporters.
Some history: For many years, one particular opponent has continually interrupted these meetings with outbursts.  Last year I had enough.  I sent in the feedback form, complaining that my right to speak was taken away by the outbursts chewing up time.  I also sent the form and a letter to Senator Shaheen of New Hampshire, my senator.  The Senator is on the Committee that oversees the NRC and I worked on her election campaign.  I got a response from her office.  We'll see what effect this may have on the meeting.

Possible Questions

  1. Isn't the NRC's legal mandate from Congress to have nuclear power safely, but to have nuclear power?  Safety could be assured by not having nuclear power at all, but then the benefits Congress wants would not be received.  With planes, we could be safe by just never flying.  Then there would be no accidents, but also no benefits.
  2. Some opponents of nuclear power say the NRC does not listen to them.  Isn't it true that the NRC listens to opponents, and understands what the opponents want, but the NRC's answer is "No.  We disagree.  If you want to change national policy on nuclear power, you have to get Congress to do it."
  3. Opponents of nuclear power charge that the NRC has never turned down a license renewal.  Isn't true that filing a formal renewal application is expensive, and plants can talk to the NRC staff informally?  Isn't it true that if a plant thinks they won't get a renewal, or it will be too expensive, then they don't bother applying?  Isn't it true that this has happened?
  4. Does the NRC regulate on the basis that"any amount of radiation is harmful?"
  5. Does the NRC regulate on the expectation of perfection in hardware and human performance?
  6. Isn't it true that used fuel in Dry Casks can't melt down in air, so that if terrorists blew them open the fuel pellets would just lie there, cooled by air as they are now?

Your own questions will probably be better.

Hope to see you there, if I make it.  We are traveling for a family wedding and may not be back in time. I will try to be there.

A Note from Meredith

This post was written by Howard Shaffer.  Your usual blogger, Meredith Angwin, expects to be at the NRC meeting.

She also suggests two links:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The shouting issue at the Q&A sessions suggests that one might fight fire with fire:

When someone gets up and starts spouting their baseless fears as fact, a crew could start yelling "PARANOIA PARANOIA PARANOIA" until they stop.

Another possibility is to have a second meeting room with an AV feed from the first, and any disruptors are immediately removed to the remote room where they can view but cannot interrupt.