Vermont Yankee: An economic powerhouse
Vermont Yankee has remained an economic powerhouse, pumping out benefits to this region while Windham County’s overall business economy has been heading downhill for years. Businesses like C&S Wholesalers and the Steak Out Restaurant have left town or been forced to close, and I can’t remember when a new business last opened on Main Street. Closing Vermont Yankee purely on political grounds would be a catastrophe to the economic health to Windham County and the surrounding area.
A 2008 Northern Economic Consulting, Inc. study, “The impact of the VY station on Windham County and Vermont” determined that there would be more than 1,500 additional high-paying jobs in Vermont if VY continues to operate between 2012 and 2031. Vermont Yankee is one of the largest employers in southern Vermont, and we can’t afford to lose these 1500 jobs.
Vermont Yankee attracts young professionals to the area, me included. I moved to the area specifically for a job at Vermont Yankee. Like me, many of my coworkers have spouses who have brought their own skills to area businesses, have children in local schools, and participate in community activities and service organizations. And we all pay Vermont income taxes.
For me, Vermont Yankee means a steady job that supports me and my family, within a company that takes pride in the development of its employees. Vermont Yankee benefits our community by providing access to reliable and cost effective electricity available 24/7, maintaining a workforce of more than 600 local residents, attracting more people to the area, and paying more than $6 million in annual state and local taxes.
The loss of these jobs, taxes, community donations, and low-cost electricity will be a further setback for Windham County and I am concerned that at some point, our communities will be unable to recover.
Storage of Spent Fuel – NIMBY
Earlier this month, the Federal Court of Appeals instructed the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to more fully analyze the environmental impacts of storing highly radioactive spent nuclear fuel at 104 nuclear reactors around the US, including Vermont Yankee. Nuclear opponents immediately concluded this decision can be used by the Vermont Public Service Board to deny the 20-year renewal of VY’s operating license.
This sort of tunnel-vision is indicative of the “win-at-any-cost” agenda of the anti-nuclear lobby. The safe storage, disposal or recycling of spent nuclear fuel should be of paramount importance to us all. Concerns about nuclear safety should supersede all other concerns. Simply shutting down a single nuclear generating plant like VY will do absolutely nothing to solve the problem of safely handling spent fuel.
The reason spent nuclear fuel is being stored at sites like VY is that the US Department of Energy and the US Congress have totally failed in their responsibility under the Nuclear Waste Policy Act, passed in 1982 to construct a national US spent fuel disposal facility and begin removing spent fuel from plants like VY. The Act set a deadline for the DOE to begin removing spent fuel from nuclear sites by 1998… Fourteen years ago. This Act mandated that the first shipment of spent fuel was supposed to have left VY in 1999.
The feds spent more than 20 years and $5 billion developing a waste site in the nuclear weapons testing range at Yucca Mountain in Nevada. The Yucca Mountain project was killed two years ago by Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nevada, after he became president of the US Senate. And who loudly and joyfully supported Sen. Reid in his NIMBY-driven quest? It’s the very same anti-nuke lobbyists who are now clamoring for closing down VY because there’s no centralized federal disposal site for spent nuclear fuel.
21 Ridge Road
Tuesday July 31: The Milton Friedman Centennial Program: Going Independent in Vermont Burlington Sheraton Conference Center University Amphitheatre 7:00 PM. Click here for more details.