The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Shut It Down Affinity Group Brings ousted NRC Chair to NRC Hearing


Impersonating ousted federal Nuclear Regulatory Commissioner Gregory Jaczko Tuesday evening, April 30, at a hearing in Brattleboro Union High School, women of the Shut It Down Affinity Group cited Jaczko's call for replacing all 104 US nuclear power plants because they are unsafe.

The women stood behind an NRC panel addressing a hearing called to report on the agency's 2012 safety findings for Entergy Corporation's Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant in Vernon. About 60 people attended the hearing, including some 15 supporters. A series of audience questioners addressed lingering safety concerns that the NRC panel mostly evaded, according to Shut It Downer Hattie Nestel.

Shut It Downers took the floor behind the NRC panel immediately after it seated itself and read a litany of Jaczko observations that included criticism of the political nature of the NRC and its close ties with the nuclear industry it is supposed to regulate as well as Jaczko's assessment that US nuclear plants are not safe. At the conclusion of their presentation of Jaczko's comments, Shut It Downers indicted the NRC for criminal negligence for its failure to protect the safety of living things in New England.

After the Shut It Down presentation, the NRC proceeded with its report and hearing. Audience speakers expressed concerns about the closely-packed Vermont Yankee radioactive spent fuel pool, potentially malfunctioning safety cables because of water damage, the advanced age of the Vermont Yankee General Electric Mark I boiling water reactor, and deficiencies in evaculation preparations in the event of a nuclear accident at the power plant.

Several audience members pointed out that, in the event of a nuclear event, radioactive fallout will cause an area with a radius of at least fifty miles to be uninhabitable for hundreds and even thousands of years. Evacuation, they said, would cause people to abandon their homes, businesses, and institutions within the contaminated radius essentially forever.

Shut It Downers participating in the NRC presentation include, from Brattleboro, Linda Pon Owens and, all from Massachusetts, Priscilla Lynch of Colrain, Ellen Graves of West Springfield, Anneke Corbett of Florence; Frances Crowe, Nancy First, Connie Harvard, and Susan Lantz of Northampton; Hattie Nestel and Marcia Gagliardi of Athol.

Before the hearing, Shut It Downers wearing Jaczko masks paraded silently for fifteen minutes through a "meet and greet" sponsored by the NRC.