FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Vermont Yankee Joins the Tsunami of US Reactor Shutdowns

In a huge victory for the grass-roots movement for a green-powered earth, Entergy has announced it will shut its Vermont Yankee reactor by the end of next year.

“It’s fantastic,” says longtime safe-energy activist Deb Katz. “This is such a win for the people, for the state of Vermont and for democracy.”

The Green Mountain State’s only commercial reactor was recently relicensed to operate another two decades. Entergy spent millions in legal fees to establish a right to resist Vermont’s attempt to shut Yankee on safety grounds. Announcing this shutdown just two weeks after an apparent victory in federal court indicates the legal battle was really a holding action to protect its other reactors.

But the decision also opened Entergy to other challenges, especially in front of Vermont’s Public Service Board. “Hidden in the federal ruling Entergy ostensibly won was a confirmation that the state, through the PSB, had the right to reject Vermont Yankee’s continued operation on reliability, economics and more.”

And, says Katz, “The Nuclear Regulatory Commission accepted our petition to pry open Entergy’s finances.”

This is the fifth shutdown announcement since 2013 began with 104 licensed U.S. reactors. Barring other closures—which now seem more likely—Yankee’s demise will bring us to 99.  Nebraska’s Ft. Calhoun is still down after being flooded. As many as seven more proposed U.S. reactors have been canceled since January, turning the much-hyped “nuclear renaissance” into a rapidly rising rout. Upgrades at five other reactors have also been canceled.

Entergy’s double-reactor complex at Indian Point, north of New York City, is now under intense political fire. Water and other permits there and at the upstate Fitzpatrick reactor are being bitterly contested in Albany.

Entergy’s embattled Pilgrim reactor at Plymouth, south of Boston, recently had to reduce power due to global-warmed Cape Cod cooling water. Its Palisades reactor on Lake Michigan has been linked to heightened local cancer rates.

Entergy says Yankee’s closure will add more than $100 million to its cash flow over the next few years. Wisconsin’s Kewaunee has been shut for financial reasons by Dominion Power. Nuclear experts like Arnie Gundersen warn that funds set aside to decommission these dying reactors may be inadequate and that the process could take far longer than we are being told.

With gas relatively cheap and renewables dropping in price while rising in efficiency, the financial vise is tightening around the world’s remaining reactors.

As Amory Lovins has shown, Germany’s decision to shut its nukes and transition to renewables looms large over a technology whose credibility has been decimated by the ongoing catastrophe at Fukushima.

Any talk of nuclear power being a solution for global warming has exploded with thatdisaster and the rapid deterioration of the U.S. industry.

As Jon Wellinghoff, chair of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, puts it, solar power is about to “overtake everything.”

The regional nonviolent movement to shut Vermont Yankee stretches back four decades. This victory was preceded by the 1990s closure of the nearby Yankee Rowe reactor, the cancellations of construction downwind at Seabrook Unit Two, of two proposed units at downriver Montague, and much, much more.

Thoroughly linked with national and international activism, the Yankee shutdown derived from the tireless work of seasoned campaigners who have never stopped. Like the recent victories at San Onofre and elsewhere, this New England campaign has been built around countless individual actions, organizing meetings, public hearings, marches, concerts, rallies, picket lines, nonviolent civil disobedience and a savvy, in-it-for-the-long-haul dedication from people for whom ridding the world of nuclear power is the only end point.

It stands a model for peaceful democratic social change that has cleared a visible path to a sustainable, socially just and ecologically sound planet on which to live.

Harvey Wasserman edits www.nukefree.org and is author of SOLARTOPIA!  Our Green-Powered Earth.  His SOLARTOPIA GREEN POWER & WELLNESS SHOW is at www.prn.fm.  This article was first published at Truthdig.com.

More articles by:

Harvey Wasserman wrote SOLARTOPIA! Our Green-Powered Earth. His Green Power & Wellness Show is at www.prn.fm

April 23, 2018
Patrick Cockburn
In Middle East Wars It Pays to be Skeptical
Thomas Knapp
Just When You Thought “Russiagate” Couldn’t Get Any Sillier …
Gregory Barrett
The Moral Mask
Robert Hunziker
Chemical Madness!
David Swanson
Senator Tim Kaine’s Brief Run-In With the Law
Dave Lindorff
Starbucks Has a Racism Problem
Uri Avnery
The Great Day
Nyla Ali Khan
Girls Reduced to Being Repositories of Communal and Religious Identities in Kashmir
Ted Rall
Stop Letting Trump Distract You From Your Wants and Needs
Steve Klinger
The Cautionary Tale of Donald J. Trump
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
Conflict Over the Future of the Planet
Cesar Chelala
Gideon Levy: A Voice of Sanity from Israel
Weekend Edition
April 20, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Ruling Class Operatives Say the Darndest Things: On Devils Known and Not
Conn Hallinan
The Great Game Comes to Syria
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Mother of War
Andrew Levine
“How Come?” Questions
Doug Noble
A Tale of Two Atrocities: Douma and Gaza
Kenneth Surin
The Blight of Ukania
Howard Lisnoff
How James Comey Became the Strange New Hero of the Liberals
William Blum
Anti-Empire Report: Unseen Persons
Lawrence Davidson
Missiles Over Damascus
Patrick Cockburn
The Plight of the Yazidi of Afrin
Pete Dolack
Fooled Again? Trump Trade Policy Elevates Corporate Power
Stan Cox
For Climate Mobilization, Look to 1960s Vietnam Before Turning to 1940s America
William Hawes
Global Weirding
Dan Glazebrook
World War is Still in the Cards
Nick Pemberton
In Defense of Cardi B: Beyond Bourgeois PC Culture
Ishmael Reed
Hollywood’s Last Days?
Peter Certo
There Was Nothing Humanitarian About Our Strikes on Syria
Dean Baker
China’s “Currency Devaluation Game”
Ann Garrison
Why Don’t We All Vote to Commit International Crimes?
LEJ Rachell
The Baddest Black Power Artist You Never Heard Of
Lawrence Ware
All Hell Broke Out in Oklahoma
Franklin Lamb
Tehran’s Syria: Lebanon Colonization Project is Collapsing
Donny Swanson
Janus v. AFSCME: What’s It All About?
Will Podmore
Brexit and the Windrush Britons
Brian Saady
Boehner’s Marijuana Lobbying is Symptomatic of Special-Interest Problem
Julian Vigo
Google’s Delisting and Censorship of Information
Patrick Walker
Political Dynamite: Poor People’s Campaign and the Movement for a People’s Party
Fred Gardner
Medical Board to MDs: Emphasize Dangers of Marijuana
Rob Seimetz
We Must Stand In Solidarity With Eric Reid
Missy Comley Beattie
Remembering Barbara Bush
Wim Laven
Teaching Peace in a Time of Hate
Thomas Knapp
Freedom is Winning in the Encryption Arms Race
Mir Alikhan
There Won’t be Peace in Afghanistan Until There’s Peace in Kashmir
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail