Above Shut it Down activists approach gate of Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant from left Ulrike Von Moltke of Sharon, Vermont; Paki Wieland and Nancy First of Northampton, Massachusetts; Hattie Nestel of Athol, Massachusetts; Linda Pon Owens of Brattleboro; Ellen Graves of West Springfield, Massachusetts; Anneke Corbett of Florence, Massachusetts; Frances Crowe of Northampton, Massachusetts
Shut It Downers Chain Themselves to Vermont Yankee Gate
VERNON, Vermont—Making good on their promise to continue demonstrating at Entergy’s Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant until an uncontaminated green field stands in place of the still-operating nuclear reactor, nine members of the Shut It Down Affinity Group chained themselves to the gate and spray painted the words “Shut It Down Today” on Entergy’s driveway.
Entergy announced in August that the power plant will close in December 2014. Unknown is whether Entergy will employ a technique called SAFSTOR to delay cleanup of radioactive power plant components for generations. Alternatively, a decommissioning process that would dismantle the plant would employ many more workers and decontaminate the site in an estimated eight years.
Where to dispose of spent fuel rods challenges Entergy and government officials, because the federal government has never honored its obligation to find a place to store them.
“Deciding to operate Vermont Yankee for even one more day is deplorable,” the women read in a prepared statement. “To operate it for more than another year is downright hubristic.”
Sergeant Bruce Gauld of the Vernon Police Department with Officer Matthew Stains arrested the women when they refused to leave the property after Entergy security personnel informed them they were trespassing. They were booked and released. No court date was set.
Arrested were, from Vermont, Linda Pon Owens of Brattleboro and Ulrike Von Moltke of Sharon; from Massachusetts, Hattie Nestel and Marcia Gagliardi of Athol; Anneke Corbett of Florence; Frances Crowe, Nancy First, and Paki Wieland of Northampton; Ellen Graves of West Springfield. The women range in age from 65 to 94.
Wednesday’s arrest marked the thirty-first Shut It Down action aimed at closing Vermont Yankee. The affinity group has been demonstrating periodically at the power plant since 2005.