Letters 4 – 26 – 2011

Don’t “Tsunami” Vermont Yankee  

By all accounts, the Japanese nuclear power plan held up fairly well after sustaining an unprecedented 9.0 level earthquake notable since it was more intense than design capacity of the plant. What precipitated the ongoing problems was a direct hit from the monumental tsunami which completely overcame the backup diesel generators. Up until that point all automatic backup shutdown procedures were working according to plant.

It is now apparent that those who wish to shutter Vermont Yankee will use the damage caused by the tsunami to their advantage. They want you to forget that nuclear power has a remarkable safety record. Nuclear has fewer fatalities per kilowatt hour produced than coal, oil, natural gas, biofuel, wind or solar. They also want you to think the recent tritium leaks pose a significant health risk. They won’t tell you get more radiation from drinking a glass of milk than drinking a glass of tritium groundwater from Vermont Yankee

Clearly, there will be lessons learned from the accident in Japan. The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) will identify recommended modifications to existing nuclear plants in the US and require plant operators to institute those modifications. The NRC has sent many people to Japan, and the review is beginning.

We are fortunate to have a low cost, reliable, safe, CO2 free source of power in Vermont Yankee. It is an ideal baseload component to complement our ever growing renewable portfolio of solar, wind, and others. Renewables do not have a stable, consistent power output pattern, and they need the support of baseload power. Just a few weeks ago the NRC renewed Vermont Yankee’s operating license. This shows that nuclear experts support ongoing operations at Vermont Yankee. We should follow their lead and not permit a political tsunami to be directed at the plant.

Milo Schaefer



What we need is a place to store spent fuel rods

The biggest safety problem with VT Yankee and all of the nuclear power plants in America is the stupidity and inefficiency of our government to continue to postpone and demanding a safe place to store all the spent rods.




High cost of housing caused by high real estate taxes

Affordable rent, home ownership in Vermont? Has anyone wondered if the high cost of renting and home ownership has anything to do with ridiculously high real estate taxes? Has any one considered equating the inability to afford housing with the inability to find meaningful high paying jobs in Vermont? The folks in Montpelier moan about the unintended consequences of their actions rather than approach the issues causing the problems with an open mind and NOT preconceived solution to the problems. If they continue to rubber stamp the desires of the UFT and the NEA for example, the problems will get bigger. Just for one, how about the costs attendant to the unionization of home care givers and all the grief that is going to create?

Jim Bulmer


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