Monday, December 17, 2012

Acid and Air, the Environmental Effects of Non-Nuclear Electricity: Guest Post by Stuart Endsley

Stuart Endsley

My name is Stuart Endsley and I am in favor of granting a permit to Vermont Yankee. Over the past 32 years, I have worked in many types of power generation facilities -- both nuclear and non-nuclear.

I don’t need to speak of the economic benefit of Vermont Yankee since many business leaders have already done so. Nor do I need to speak about the great benefit local charities receive, you’ve heard from them as well. You, as board members, are smart individuals, and I’m certain you recognize the public good Vermont Yankee provides in regard to those issues.

Instead, I would like to speak of my personal experiences working at different types of power generation facilities -- the facilities that would most likely replace much of the energy generated by Vermont Yankee should it close.

I would like to tell you about a fossil plant I worked in last February where after just six weeks the paint on my car was damaged by the acid rain coming from the stack. The pollution that damaged my car does not know state borders and simply goes wherever the wind blows, including Vermont.  This is certainly NOT in the public’s good.

I would also like to mention a Biomass plant, a so-called “Green Plant,” that I worked in a few years back.  After just two shifts, the caustic chemicals used in the scrubbers ate up the threads in the soles of my shoes causing the soles to fall off. These chemicals were found on the walkways and catwalks and when it rained they simply went down the street and ultimately into the ground water which also doesn’t recognize state borders.  This is certainly NOT in the public’s good.

I’ve worked at wind turbine projects in Iowa, Minnesota, Oklahoma, California, and Texas. At each of these sites I found dead birds that had been killed by the turbines. These birds did not know state borders either and some of them may have come from Vermont. Again, this hidden side effect of wind energy is certainly NOT in the public’s good.

And what about the coal plant in southern Nevada with tens of acres of fly ash containing arsenic and God knows what other carcinogens?  All in public view where the winds were free to carry it where they pleased. Most certainly NOT in the public’s good.

So I close my testimony by asking each of you to consider the true environmental impact of these alternative sources of energy.  I encourage you to personally visit some of these plants to see first-hand, as I have, the impact of these plants in regards to the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the wildlife we enjoy.


Stuart Endsley works at Vermont Yankee.  He gave this statement at the Public Service Board's November 19 interactive TV hearing on Vermont Yankee's Certificate of Public Good.  He was kind enough to send me a copy of his testimony.


jim said...

Seasons Greetings;

Great statement, Mr. Endsley! I hope the anti-nukers in your realm bone up the dare to take up your suggestion to actually visit the plants and see the virtues which they're so passionate to destroy.

James Greenidge
Queens NY

Anonymous said...

The elephant in the living room that nobody in the "green energy" business wants to acknowledge is that reliance on intermittant energy sources like wind and solar builds in a structural requirement to burn more natural gas. If you have a significant portion of your capacity dependent on an energy source that can disappear entirely in the space of maybe a half hour (like clouds passing overhead), you need quick-start backup capacity, and that means natural gas. Natural gas is mostly methane, which is a terrible greenhouse gas. Fugitive emissions from natural gas extraction and transport cause tremendous environmental damage through atmospheric degradation. Anyone who advocates an energy system which leads to more natural gas use is no friend of the environment, and is certainly not acting for the public good.

Mike Mulligan said...

How come VY doesn't submit accurate and complete federally required documents?

How come they can't accurately, immediately or within a short time investigate safety component failure?

Meredith Angwin said...


Vermont Yankee is highly ranked by the NRC, and is not in trouble with any other federal agency that I know of, and I follow the news quite carefully.

I think your allegations are seriously overblown. Opponents often take any issue as the-end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it. The NRC is in the business of evaluating problems and the responses to problems. From the NRC perspective, VY continues to be a top-ranked plant.

No plant will ever be rated well by the opponents. You were at the same meeting I attended, the summer NRC meeting. At that meeting, one of the opponents told the NRC: "You want nuclear plants to be safe, and I don't think they ever CAN be safe" (or words to that general effect).

Her attitude is not an attitude that I share.


Mike Mulligan said...

Mine Neither. I have faith our intelligence, science and creativity can will overcome everything.

I think it is an insufficient ideology...extreme government hating... that drives the nuclear industry's obsolescence and destruction...the selfish ideology.

I just think you don't read enough industry's documents with adequate comprehension.

The day of reckoning is fast approaching and Vermont Yankee is but a symptom of the systemic dishonesty in the whole system. I get it, everyone is following the rules!