The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Shut It Downers Cited for Blocking Driveways and Roads Near Entergy Headquarters


Cited for disorderly conduct after blocking a public roadway and Entergy Corporation driveways Wednesday morning, June 12, eight members of the Shut It Down Affinity Group received court dates of July 23 in Windham County Courthouse.

Sergeant Mark Carrigan and Officer David Cerrito of the Brattleboro Police Department arrested the women after they blocked Glen Orne Drive near Entergy's Vermont Yankee headquarters and while they blocked driveways into Entergy parking lots. The women carried a banner reading "Fuel Rods Equal Catastrophe" and read a statement urging closure of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in Vernon.

Arrested were, from Vermont, Linda Pon Owens of Brattleboro and, from Massachusetts, Marcia Gagliardi of Athol, Priscilla Lynch of Colrain; Anneke Corbett of Florence; Frances Crowe, Susan Lantz, and Paki Wieland of Northampton; Ellen Graves of West Springfield.

"Dry cask storage now," the women chanted, as some handed leaflets to passing drivers who rolled down their windows to accept them. Leaflets outline dangers of stored spent fuel rods and observe that Entergy stores far more radioactive fuel rods in Vernon than melted down at Fukushima in March 2011. Dry cask storage is considered safer than spent fuel pools.

"We must shut down the nuclear power plant before there is a catastrophe," said Hattie Nestel of Athol, Massachusetts, one of the supporters of those arrested. Judy Wolter of Northfield also provided support.

The women read from a prepared statement, which follows:

We are here today because spent fuel rods at Vermont Yankee pose the dire threat of meltdown and grave consequences that could forever alter the quality of life in beautiful central England.

We urge Entergy executives immediately to stop operating Vermont Yankee and to move fuel rods from the spent fuel pool to dry cask storage.

We offer this from the Christian Science Monitor, May 25, 2011:

"A spent-fuel pool fire at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant made headlines after March's earthquake and tsunami - but the threat may be worse in America."Spent nuclear fuel stored in water-filled pools at many nuclear reactor sites in the US far surpasses in volume and radioactivity the threat posed by such material at Fukushima, according to a new study.. The huge hazard could be largely eliminated by moving older materials from the pools into dry cask storage, it said.

"'Unprotected and crowded spent nuclear fuel pools pose an unacceptable threat to the public,' said Robert Alvarez, a senior scholar for nuclear policy at the nonpartisan Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), as well as a former Department of Energy official in the Clinton Administration, in a statement.

"'Dry cask storage is a much safer alternative to pools. Some people say they are too expensive, but considering the extreme risks, the cost of doing nothing is incalculable,' he added.

"A new report from the IPS, "Spent Nuclear Fuel Pools in the US: Reducing the Deadly Risks of Storage", written by Dr. Alvarez, details for the first time how much radioactivity is contained in spent nuclear fuel at all individual reactor sites in the United States - and the threat they pose.

"Today, some 65,000 metric tons of spent fuel is stored at reactor sites around the country, 75 percent of it in US spent-fuel pools, according to data from the Nuclear Energy Institute cited in the report. The other 25 percent is in dry cask storage. Each pool contains spent-fuel rods that give off about 1 million rems of radiation per hour at a distance of one foot - a fatal dose in seconds, the report says. The radiation is kept in check by tons of water continually flowing around the rod assemblages."