Monday, January 8, 2007

Join the campaign

The elections are over, and the candidates now fade into memory or are on their way to their newly won tasks. The stage has been set for change. One campaign now begs your continued involvement. Vermont Yankee is closing. Indian Point is closing first. It doesn't matter which closes before the other. I hear the bell toll...

Why is VT Yankee closing? Because it is a greater risk than it is an economic benefit to the state and region. Vermont Yankee is closing because it is an unsustainable means of supplying electricity. Vermont Yankee is closing because it continues to produce a waste product for which no one has any solution or disposal method. At best Vermont may be offered a temporary fix. Entergy calls this dry cask storage. VT's nuclear waste is kept 60 feet above ground, not like in the ground as the waste is held at IP. This is not sustainable.

The recent defeat of the republicans in the country, but for a few incumbents, signifies a time of change. Vermont has been saddled with a Governor who is not stepping up to the plate quickly enough to lead Vermonters to a healthy, sustainable future. Face it, at best nuclear power offers us abundant power at a steep cost. The cost may not be borne by those of us who benefit from the “cheap” power. Our children and many generations of our future children will be cleaning up our waste. This is selfish, greedy and negligent. This is not sustainable.

The nuclear renaissance referred to by the lame duck in DC is little more than a joke or a pipe dream. It may result in as many as 8 new reactors being built in the US over the next decade but likely no more than that. 8000 megawatts of electricity is not enough to affect the change needed to protect the ozone. Building each new reactor, mining and enriching the uranium, storing and protecting the waste require large ozone depleting outputs. Meanwhile the current generation of reactors continues to degrade as they reach the end of their licensed life even including extensions. Any nuclear renaissance that may happen would be far too slow to stop the coming environmental crisis due to global warming.

The new Senate majority leader in Washington is adamantly opposed to the embattled Yucca Mountain waste repository. The newly elected Governor of New York campaigned that he would close down Indian Point nuclear reactor (also owned by Entergy) when he won that election. Any Governor has the right and ability to call for an Independent Safety Assessment as Governor King did in Maine. The Vermont Public Service Board did not have that right because their mandate is economics not safety related.

After the recent election I take hope that change is possible. I believe that every chink in the nuclear industry’s fa├žade leads us closer to shutting them all down and forcing us to learn sustainability.

By energy sustainability I mean conservation, efficiency and renewable sources. Conservation means to use less energy. This includes using fewer high-demand appliances and machines. Energy efficiency means “ producing the desired result using a minimum of resources, effort or expense. One can use newer better energy star rated equipment (www.energystar.gov). Even using the compact fluorescent bulbs helps. Renewable resources include the sun, wind, hydro and biomass generation of electricity or to heat one’s water or building to offset the use of electricity to do the same task.

The needed change from nuclear to a sustainable energy supply won’t happen without your help. I implore you to not depend on the few who are active in speaking up to stop Entergy 's Indian Point or Nuclear Vermont Yankee. This needs to be a campaign. It is but without the thousands of people needed to make the calls, to mail the cards, to fundraise and donate, to educate the Vermonters who may be more concerned about the Ticonderoga tire burn than about the nuclear reactor in the neighborhood. This has been a brief version of the VT story.

The campaigns are far from over. Now feels more like the eleventh hour crunch. How badly do you want this victory?

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