Yesterday was the first day Vermont Yankee nuclear plant began operating without a license. Over a thousand anti-nuclear activists used the day to stage protests and engage in civil disobedience at the nuclear power plant and at Entergy, the plant owner's, offices.
A march of over a thousand was held from Brattleboro, Vt. to Entergy’s Vermont Yankee offices in Vernon. Over 130 were arrested for unlawful trespass. Meanwhile, more anti-nuclear activists went to the New Orleans headquarters of Entergy to also demand the closure of the plant. 8 arrests were made in that protest. In the third action of the day targeting Vermont Yankee and Entergy, five activists were arrested in White Plains, NY, at Entergy offices there for criminal trespass.
93-year-old anti-nuclear activist Frances Crowe, who was among those arrested, told the Associated Press, "As I was walking down, all I could think of was Fukushima and the suffering of all the people, and I don't want that to happen to New England."
Nancy Braus, who was part of the protest in New Orleans, said, "Our simple trespass is our statement of resistance to Entergy’s corporate trespass with the continued illegal operation of this nuclear waste factory.”
Beyond Nuclear notes that Vermont Yankee is a GE Mark I Boiling Water Reactor, the same design as the reactors at Fukushima Daiichi in Japan.
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NEW ORLEANS, LA - March 23 - Eight activists from New England, seven of whom were arrested and released on March 22 after staging a brief occupation at Entergy’s headquarters, will return to protest outside the nuclear corporation on Saturday, March 24. The protesters will rally on the public sidewalk outside Entergy headquarters at 11am.
The eight, an affinity group calling itself the New England Natural Guard, were protesting the continued operation of the Entergy-owned Vermont Yankee nuclear reactor in Vernon, Vermont. They entered Entergy’s New Orleans headquarters on Thursday, declaring it a corporate crime scene and posting police tape and banners before being arrested.
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Their actions came at the same time as more than 1,000 people marched from Brattleboro, VT to Entergy’s Vermont Yankee offices in Vernon where 130 were arrested. Five more protesters were arrested at Entergy’s White Plains, NY offices in another simultaneous action.
Vermont Yankee, owned by Entergy, is a GE Mark I Boiling Water Reactor, the same design as the reactors that suffered explosions and meltdowns at Fukushima Daiichi in Japan. The State of Vermont, supported by a majority of its citizens, passed legislation to shut down the reactor on March 21, 2012, when its original 40-year license expired. But Entergy was given a license renewal by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and continues to operate the old and dangerous reactor that has experienced radioactive leaks, a fire, and structural collapses.
The protesters view Entergy as a rogue corporation, operating as an outlaw by flouting the wishes, and legislative decisions, of the government and people of Vermont. March 24 marks a national day of action in solidarity with Vermont to “Freeze our Fukushimas,” a campaign to freeze operation at all 23 operating US Mark I reactors.
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"Entergy’s assault against democracy and the people of Vermont makes it a corporate outlaw,” said Renny Cushing, a founding member of the Clamshell Alliance in New England that launched the anti-nuclear movement in the US in July 1976 with The Declaration of Nuclear Resistance. “We have a responsibility to our families and our communities to resist Entergy’s recklessness, arrogance and greed. The corporation’s management and shareholders need to recognize that if Entergy won’t shut down that Yankee Plant, then as citizens we will work together to shut down Entergy," Cushing said.
Entergy has challenged the State of Vermont in federal court over the state’s decision to close the reactor. On January 19, 2012, a federal judge found mainly in Entergy’s favor but the state has appealed. The federal government, represented by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, issued the Vermont Yankee a 20-year license extension on March 21, 2011, just ten days into the Fukushima nuclear disaster, despite the plant’s history of fires, radioactive leaks, structural collapses, and cover-ups. Entergy also owns reactors in Arkansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, and New York.
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