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

December 12, 2018
Arshad Khan
War, Anniversaries and Lessons Never Learned
Paul Street
Blacking Out the Yellow Vests on Cable News: Corporate Media Doing its Job
David Schultz
Stacking the Deck Against Democracy in Wisconsin
Steve Early
The Housing Affordability Crisis and What Millennials Can do About It
George Ochenski
Collaboration Failure: Trump Trashes Sage Grouse Protections
Rob Seimetz
Bringing a Life Into a Dying World: A Letter From a Father to His Unborn Son
Michael Howard
PETA and the ‘S’-Word
John Kendall Hawkins
Good Panopt, Bad Panopt: Does It Make A Difference?
Kim C. Domenico
Redeeming Utopia: a Meditation On An Essay by Ursula LeGuin
Binoy Kampmark
Exhuming Franco: Spain’s Immemorial Divisions
ADRIAN KUZMINSKI
Democratizing Money
Laura Finley
Congress Must Reauthorize VAWA
December 11, 2018
Eric Draitser
AFRICOM: A Neocolonial Occupation Force?
Sheldon Richman
War Over Ukraine?
Louis Proyect
Why World War II, Not the New Deal, Ended the Great Depression
Howard Lisnoff
Police Violence and Mass Policing in the U.S.
Mark Ashwill
A “Patriotic” Education Study Abroad Program in Viet Nam: God Bless America, Right or Wrong!
Laura Flanders
HUD Official to Move into Public Housing?
Nino Pagliccia
Resistance is Not Terrorism
Matthew Johnson
See No Evil, See No Good: The Truth Is Not Black and White
Maria Paez Victor
How Reuters Slandered Venezuela’s Social Benefits Card
December 10, 2018
Jacques R. Pauwels
Foreign Interventions in Revolutionary Russia
Richard Klin
The Disasters of War
Katie Fite
Rebranding Bundy
Gary Olson
A Few Thoughts on Politics and Personal Identity
Patrick Cockburn
Brexit Britain’s Crisis of Self-Confidence Will Only End in Tears and Rising Nationalism
Andrew Moss
Undocumented Citizen
Dean Baker
Trump and China: Going With Patent Holders Against Workers
Lawrence Wittner
Reviving the Nuclear Disarmament Movement: a Practical Proposal
Dan Siegel
Thoughts on the 2018 Elections and Beyond
Thomas Knapp
Election 2020: I Can Smell the Dumpster Fires Already
Weekend Edition
December 07, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Steve Hendricks
What If We Just Buy Off Big Fossil Fuel? A Novel Plan to Mitigate the Climate Calamity
Jeffrey St. Clair
Cancer as Weapon: Poppy Bush’s Radioactive War on Iraq
Paul Street
The McCain and Bush Death Tours: Establishment Rituals in How to be a Proper Ruler
Jason Hirthler
Laws of the Jungle: The Free Market and the Continuity of Change
Ajamu Baraka
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 70: Time to De-Colonize Human Rights!
Andrew Levine
Thoughts on Strategy for a Left Opposition
Jennifer Matsui
Dead of Night Redux: A Zombie Rises, A Spook Falls
Rob Urie
Degrowth: Toward a Green Revolution
Binoy Kampmark
The Bomb that Did Not Detonate: Julian Assange, Manafort and The Guardian
Robert Hunziker
The Deathly Insect Dilemma
Robert Fisk
Spare Me the American Tears for the Murder of Jamal Khashoggi
Joseph Natoli
Tribal Justice
Ron Jacobs
Getting Pushed Off the Capitalist Cliff
Macdonald Stainsby
Unist’ot’en Camp is Under Threat in Northern Canada
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail