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Shut It Downers on Fourth Day of Vermont Yankee Protest
WASHINGTON - April 19 - "All 104 US nuclear power plants must be replaced," proclaimed the signs carried by Ellen Graves, Hattie Nestel, and Frances Crowe, all of the Shut It Down Affinity Group, when they were arrested Thursday for blocking the driveway at Entergy's Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant. It was the fourth day in a row that Shut-It-Downers were evicted from the power plant driveway.
The women quoted ex-chair of the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission Gregory Jaczko, who said recently, "All 104 nuclear power reactors now in operation in the United States have a safety problem that cannot be fixed and they should be replaced with newer technology . . . . Continuing to put Band-Aid on Band-Aid is not going to fix the problem."
"There is no logical reason for the power plant to continue operating," Nestel said. "It is dangerous, and the Entergy Corporation keeps it going only to reap financial profit at the expense of people's health and safety. When someone like the NRC chairman tells us that the power plant is not safe, we should listen."
Dr. Jaczko made his remarks at the Carnegie International Nuclear Policy Conference in Washington in an April 10 session about the Fukushima, Japan, reactor meltdowns in 2011.
Chief Mary-Beth Hebert of the Vernon Police Department arrested and booked the Shut-It-Downers before releasing them.
The women issued the following statement:
We are here today to shut down the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in keeping with the words of Gregory Jaczko, recent former chairman of the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Chairman Jaczko says, All 104 nuclear power reactors now in operation in the United States have a safety problem that cannot be fixed and they should be replaced with newer technology . . . . Continuing to put Band-Aid on Band-Aid is not going to fix the problem.
Inspired by Chairman Jaczko, we are here during the week commemorating the 50th anniversary of the letter from Birmingham jail, the statement of Martin Luther King, Jr. invoking the necessity of repeated resistance to the evils surrounding him.
We are surrounded by the evils of Vermont Yankee: the invisible evils of radiation, stored spent fuel rods, leaks of radioactive isotopes into groundwater and arable soil of the beautiful countryside, leaks of radioactivity into the air we breathe.
We are here because EVEN a recent chairman of the NRC cites safety problems in reactors, including Vermont Yankee’s, that CAN NOT BE FIXED.
Entergy, Vermont Yankee’s corporate owner, perpetrates daily, constant, and dangerous injustice here at this nuclear power plant.
We are here in the spirit of nonviolence and imminent warning to Shut Down Vermont Yankee because of Entergy’s corporate greed at the expense of all living things.
As Dr. King said in his letter from Birmingham jail to colleagues in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, “I am here because injustice is here.”
We are here because injustice is here: the government protects corporations. Individuals are expendable. People who get sick or die of cancer from invisible radiation are the collateral damage of dangerous nuclear power.
We do not want our friends, neighbors, families, nor ourselves to be collateral damage.
Shut Down Vermont Yankee now!