|Peter Roth, Chemical Engineer
My name is Peter H. Roth and I am a resident of the Town of Hartford Vermont. I am here this evening to petition this board to support and issue a Certificate of Public Good for the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power plant.
I have thought long and hard about this issue, and as an experienced chemical engineer and scientist, with a strong interest in safe, reliable and inexpensive electric energy, I have concluded that the Yankee plant should remain open for another 20 years. My arguments are short and reasonable to support my position and I want to share them with this board.
There is no rational argument to shut a facility that continues to produce safe, reliable and low cost electricity for Vermont and the New England grid and has demonstrated so for a long time. Electricity is not a luxury, but a vital necessity as we know, when a storm like Hurricane Sandy shuts down power for millions.
Loss of power creates a high level “ Misery Index” for people, but creating a condition that raises electricity costs for marginal income folks, also creates a “Misery Index”. We are dealing with a commodity that is essential to our lives and an option that cannot be deferred. Food,clothing, shelter and power cannot be deferred. If electric rates go up, the only option is to cut another expense. This impacts people at the lower end of the economic scale and increases their “Misery Index”
Those that fear “Nuclear Power” may suffer from the same anxiety and condition that causes fear of flying, or fear of heights, or fear of enclosed space and no rational argument can dissuade them from their phobias. However their fear should not be an argument that impacts the lives of more rational people.
Many say: substitute nuclear power with wind, solar, Quebec Hydro, or ISO New England grid. However Quebec Hydro and ISO-NE grid also depend on nuclear power as part of their grid contribution. Since the electrons we buy from the grid don’t know where they came from, whether Seabrook or Pilgrim or Gentilly 1 & 2. Since we buy most of our electricity in Vermont from Quebec Hydro and ISO-New England grid, we are “ De Facto” supporting nuclear power that someone else has produced. The only honest course, if you don’t like nuclear power, don’t buy from the grid and become self supporting and see how long you can support such an energy cost.
The final argument for maintaining Vermont Yankee, is jobs and the economy. The Vernon plant supports hundreds of good paying jobs and contributes a large tax revenue into the Vt. economy. Try to look someone in the face, that support family and children, and tell them, I was responsible for your loss of job and income. Then try to justify what you did that weakened the local and state economy, upon which so many depend.
In summary, the issuance of a Certificate of Public Good is a very logical and reasonable action that this board is empowered to do. The Vt. legislature created this board to act as a non-political but expert entity to oversee important public energy issues. Please act in support of your neighbors and citizens.
Peter Roth has a BS and MS in Chemical Engineering, and wide industrial experience ranging from missile systems to imaging. Roth holds 22 U S patents, with more patents pending. He is a founding member of the Coalition for Energy Solutions, and you can read more about his background here. Roth leads classes at Dartmouth's ILEAD. In the fall quarter, he led a course: Save the F E W (Food, Energy, Water).
This is the fifth in a series of posts which share statements made in favor of Vermont Yankee at the Public Service Board hearing on November 7, 2012.