Friday, April 20, 2007

Straight Talk on Vermont Yankee

We have a lot of our New York politicians speaking with forked tongues, Governor Spitzer and Hillary Clinton being right at the top of the list. Spitzer claims nuclear energy should hold no place in New York's energy portfolio, but more than hedges his bets on the subject of Indian Point. Even John Hall walks and talks with a John Wayne swagger, but when it comes to keeping his campaign promises to do whatever it takes to shut down the plant, he's a little light in the panties.

This evening, my cast limiting my mobility I started cleaning out my file of emails sent from people with story ideas...try as I might, just cannot get everything up onto the blog, and after awhile some of the stuff sent my ways becomes, doing garbage detail I came across an interesting article that shares some straight talk from a Vermont about refreshing! Hope you enjoy the read as much as I did.

Subject: Shumlin on VY

Shumlin: Well, here’s my position on Vermont Yankee, it’s so simple. I was raised in the county where they built the only nuclear power plant in Vermont. When we accepted that plant, against our better judgment, it was on one simple premise: that it would be closed down in 2012, and that the Federal Government was going to take away the waste.

Today the deal is that we send more juice through an aging plant, number one. Number two, that we run it for 20 or 30 years longer than it was designed to be run. And number three, that the high-level nuclear waste is stored on the banks of the Connecticut River, for which there could not be a worse location, geologically speaking, because of lots of issues.

And with climate change, and rising water levels, it’s going to be even less appropriate.

So my position is simple: if you can get every single ounce of waste off the banks of the Connecticut River, and take it somewhere else, and get a truly independent assessment of that plant to see whether it’s viable to run for another five years, I would favor it. Short of that, you must close it down. And there is no middle ground for me.

Now, people say, “Well, taking the waste away isn’t possible, because Harry Reid won’t take it in Nevada.” I don’t blame Harry Reid. But what they don’t understand is that sitting in this office right now [Waves hand to indicate Pro Tem Office] is someone who feels as strongly about not having the waste on the banks of the Connecticut River as Harry Reid feels about not having it sited out at Yucca Mountain. Period.

Just one more thing about Yankee: there’s one other compromise that I would go for, in terms of the waste. And it’s very simple, and I told IBM this yesterday.
The Speaker and I went up to talk to them, because it’s the state’s largest employer, and we want to keep it strong and healthy. And they said basically, “You know, we’ve gotta have that juice [from VY],” and I said, “You know, we’ve got to get the waste off the banks of the Connecticut River,” and they said, “Well, that might be impossible.”

And so I said, “Well, I’ll give you a second position. If we can’t hook the trucks up and haul it down to some other state, I would be willing to go along with a proposal where we would move that high-level nuclear waste for storage in different regions of Vermont, starting with the most populous county and moving to the least populous. That’s the other position I would accept.”

VDB: [Laughing] You mean, as a way of increasing the pressure —

Shumlin: No. I mean, if we’re going to have it, if the Federal Government’s not going to take it, it’s now Vermont’s waste, then Vermont should share it. It shouldn’t be the burden of just one county, anymore than siting wind turbines should be the burden of just the Northeast Kingdom.

VDB: I’m just talking about politically. Do you think that sort of proposal would bring to critical mass —

Shumlin: [Face still straight] Well, I’d sure like to see Chittenden County site a high-level nuclear waste storage facility. They’re having trouble right now siting a land-fill, for their own garbage, and it has no nuclear waste in it whatsoever.

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