"Your Time Is Up:" Activists Plan Non-Violent Direct Action, Demand Immediate Closure of Vermont Yankee Nuclear Plant

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Common Dreams

"Your Time Is Up:" Activists Plan Non-Violent Direct Action, Demand Immediate Closure of Vermont Yankee Nuclear Plant

Sen. Bernie Sanders: "License extensions continue without accounting for lessons learned"

by
Common Dreams staff

(photo: Marcia Gagliardi via the Nuclear Resister)

Outraged at a federal ruling on Monday allowing the continued operation of the 40-year-old Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant, anti-nuclear activists are planning civil disobedience calling for the closure of the plant.

In Monday's ruling, a federal judge blocked Vermont from closing the plant, whose license expires today. The ruling said the state couldn't close the plant over concerns of storage of spent fuel.

Vermont's Public Service Board must still issue Vermont Yankee a new license for it to continue operating.

The SAGE Alliance, a campaign to shut down the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Reactor, has said to Entergy, the company that owns Vermont Yankee, "Your time is up."

At a Senate hearing on nuclear power on Thursday, Sen. Bernie Sanders said, "License extensions continue without accounting for lessons learned" and "without taking time to examine the implications of Fukushima."

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SAGE: Entergy your time is UP!

We come peacefully to Entergy Headquarters today with this message: Your Time is Up. The 40-year compact with the people of Vermont is over. Entergy does not have legitimate consent for continued operation of the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Reactor. We will occupy Entergy today and in the future until Vermont Yankee is shut down. We deliver this message with the spirit of non-violence, and we will do our utmost to ensure that spirit and discipline throughout thiscampaign until the reactor is closed. We will persist until we achieve our goal!

The continued operation of Vermont Yankee today is an insult to democracy, and to the people of Vermont and surrounding regions. Entergy’s actions are those of a rogue corporation, rooted in monetary profit rather than the public good of the people of this tristate region. We will no longer permit Entergy to risk our lives, and those of future generations. Entergy: Your Time Is Up!

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Reuters: Entergy Vermont Yankee wins another round vs. Vermont

Entergy Corp won another victory in its quest to keep the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant operating for another 20 years when a federal judge again blocked the state from shutting the 40-year old reactor - this time over a spent fuel issue. [...]

Pending a decision on the state's Circuit Court appeal, Judge Murtha blocked the state from shutting the plant over the spent fuel issue because he found a shutdown would cause "irreparable harm" to Entergy and the plant's workers.

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VTDigger: As 40th anniversary of Vermont Yankee looms, protesters prepare to rally in Vernon

The plant’s continued operation depends on it getting a new license from the Public Service Board and what happens in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, where both the State of Vermont and Entergy are appealing a decision by Judge Murtha that found state laws requiring legislative approval for the plant to continue operating. [...]

Sandra Levine, senior attorney with the Conservation Law Foundation in Vermont, said the federal judge’s opinion will prevent the board from applying a specific provision in Vermont law regarding spent nuclear fuel, but the board’s order still requires the company to live up to obligations it made to the state.

“The bottom line is Judge Murtha’s order says the state can’t shut them down based on one provision in the statute,” Levine said. “The board’s order still requires Entergy to meet its obligations concerning storage of spent fuel.”

 

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Sen. Bernie Sanders: Vermont Yankee and Fukushima

Sen. Bernie Sanders on Thursday questioned why federal regulators extended the operating license for the aging Vermont Yankee nuclear plant within days of a disastrous meltdown at a similar plant in Fukushima, Japan. Marking the first anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the Senate committee that oversees the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission held a hearing on the slow pace of efforts to strengthen safety at U.S. nuclear plants in the wake of the Fukushima disaster.

"License extensions continue without accounting for lessons learned" and "without taking time to examine the implications of Fukushima," Sanders said at the hearing. [...]

"In my state there is a strong feeling that we want to go forward with energy efficiency and sustainable energy. I believe that we have that right. I believe that every other state in the country has that right," Sanders said. "If we want to move to sustainable energy and not maintain an aging, trouble-plagued nuclear power plant, I think we should be allowed to do that."

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