Letters 3 – 1 – 2011

Getting rid of Vermont Yankee is like throwing the baby out with the bath water

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You don’t need to be a brain surgeon to see that we have an existing power plant (VY) that has efficiently provided power for all these years (economically as well) and like everything else, it ages, needs repairs and won’t last forever. It seems more viable to repair and replace equipment as needed to keep it running safely and efficiently. Some of our “energy experts” don’t want us to drill for oil in Alaska, off shore or the lower 48 for that matter. Don’t want us burning coal in the Mid-west because it’s sending out acid rain to the East. Don’t want us to burn wood because that’s sending smoke into the atmosphere. What does that leave us? As much as we try to cut back on consumption, many modern energy saving technologies and conveniences depend on low-carbon electricity. So while we are working like fools to come up with a better solution we are in reality getting rid of the form of energy we should be keeping!

While it is true we should be good stewards of the planet and its “natural” resources I think some have gone way over the edge and taken stewardship to mean “policing” and there is a difference. If these are deemed “natural” resources by the experts why are they being touted as anything but “natural” for use on the planet! They were put here by the “natural” process that happened eons ago in the creation process, they were unearthed by men who also used the brains God gave them to fulfill a purpose in their lifetime and to come up with the technology over the centuries that we have now come to rely on. Just seems like the “natural” progression of things to me. With new technology comes responsibility and with empowering humans comes accountability, but at the end of the day there has to be a balance of both. We need to consider this to arrive at a sound conclusion to our energy demands.

To get rid of Vermont Yankee is like throwing the baby out with the bathwater. We built it, knowing its strengths and weaknesses, its pros and cons, the potential for less expensive power and oh yes, its potential for creating spent fuel. The trouble is the good solutions to waste storage were blocked, the problem was put off for “later on down the road,” and later is now. The solution isn’t to shut the plant down, it’s to use the existing plan to dispose of the waste in a safe and efficient way and keep running the plant efficiently and safely. Besides, if we get this one out of our back yard…remember there are many other “back yards” all over this country. We aren’t the first state to have to figure this out! How many other plants such as VY have been closed? What conclusions have other states come to?

As a little sidebar, what about all of the people who will become unemployed from this closing? It’s way more than the 650 who stand to lose their jobs in the Vernon area. This will have a far reaching impact on the entire state. There aren’t enough jobs to go around as it is, much less the 650+ that will need new jobs. They can’t all relocate to wherever. What about all the support services they required – restaurants, stores, housing, etc. The solution isn’t to close VY, it’s to make it feasible to stay open and run safely.

Heidi Littlefield


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