Town of Leverett, MA Votes to Abolish NRC and Extend VT Yankee Evacuation Zone

Posted: April 28, 2013 in Uncategorized

On Saturday, April 27, 2013 the Town of Leverett, Massachusetts voted in their annual spring Town Meeting to abolish the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and to demand that Entergy expand the emergency evacuation zone from 10 to 50 miles from the troubled Vermont Yankee nuclear plant.  The warrant article addressing the NRC stated in part, “The citizens of Leverett, Massachusetts feel an urgent need to protect our beloved land and culture from the clear and present danger of nuclear annihilation. Given the past callous disregard for public safety we hereby express our lack of faith in the existing Nuclear Regulatory Commission to protect us from nuclear accident.”   A friendly amendment to the warrant article addressed the issue of VT Yankee’s 10-mile evacuation zone in the event of a nuclear accident or terrorist attack upon the plant. It read, “Given our immediate proximity to Vermont Yankee, a facsimile reactor to Fukushima, whose radiation plume spread much more than 50 miles to Tokyo [in the wake of the Fukushima, Japan multiple meltdown], we require for our citizen and school safety a more effective plan. Therefore we demand that the Entergy corporation expand from 10 to 50 miles the minimum radiation hazard zone.”

Both the warrant article and its amendment called for action. “We direct the Town Clerk to send this official act of our Town Meeting to the NRC, Entergy, Federal judges, our governor,  our representatives in Congress and the media….We urge our Congressional representatives to represent our interests by introducing a bill into Congress to eliminate the NRC and assign its regulatory role to a different agency”. With limited debate the warrant article passed overwhelmingly.

The Town Meeting article and its attending amendment was put forward by members of The Daniel Shays Non-violent Bioregional Liberation Front, a local affinity group working with others like the SAGE Alliance and the Safe & Green Campaign to shut down Entergy’s  dangerous VT Yankee nuclear power plant just over the Massachusetts border in Vermont. The Town of Leverett, MA is downwind and downstream from the nuke and falls just outside the dubious 10-mile evacuation zone.

[This reported by d.o.  Full text of Warrant Article & Amendment below]

 

Warrant Article for Leverett, MA. Town Meeting, April, 2013

 

To Abolish the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and to Create a new Regulatory Agency

 

The Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant, owned by the Entergy Corporation of Louisiana, is located about 20 miles as the crow flies from Leverett.  It is a Mark I reactor built by General Electric, and is one of  its first generation of reactors. It has been  recognized from its beginnings in the early 1970s as poorly designed for safety.  Vermont’s reactor is exactly the same as the ones that melted down at Fukushima, Japan.  It has been plagued by so called “minor” accidents for years.  The company has repeatedly lied to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the public, and to officials from the State of Vermont on matters concerning its design, operation, and condition.  The plant is vulnerable in several ways:

 

  • Its diesel pumps, which are located right on the edge of the Connecticut River, are vulnerable to flooding, the cause of the meltdown in Japan.

 

  • The cooling pool for spent uranium fuel rods is located seven stories above ground, and is vulnerable to a seismic event or terrorist act. The potential for radioactive poisoning from this source dwarfs the Hiroshima bomb, could endanger Boston’s water supply, and would create a vast sacrifice zone around the plant, including Leverett. In the worst case scenario, we would all have to permanently evacuate our homes. The company could reduce the risk by moving the older spent fuel rods to dry cask storage, but fails to do so because of the expense involved.

 

  • The containment vessel as designed is vulnerable to high pressures, and this plant is now 41 years old, beyond the age for which it was designed.

 

With strong support from surrounding states and local jurisdictions, including Leverett acting through its Select Board,  the legislature and the governor of the State of Vermont have sought to close the plant. Vermont demanded the right to rule on re-licensure of the plant at the end of its 40 year operating license, and the company agreed to that demand when the State approved the purchase of the plant by Entergy. Federal courts, favoring corporations over the states and the people,  have ruled that the contract Entergy signed with the State of Vermont need not be honored, and that the sole authority to regulate the safety of nuclear power plants lies with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.  In 2011 The NRC renewed Vermont Yankee’s operating license for another 20 years starting in March 2012.  The NRC has never turned down a nuclear  industry request to re-license a ,plant.  Thus, people all over the US, including the people of this region have been denied our democratic right to protect our safety.

 

The citizens of Leverett, Massachusetts feel an urgent need to protect our beloved land and culture from the clear and present danger of nuclear annihilation. Given its past callous disregard for public safety we hereby express our lack of faith in the existing Nuclear Regulatory Commission to protect us from nuclear accident.  The Nuclear Regulatory Commission receives much of its funding from the industry itself and has consistently served as its protector and promoter.  We appeal to the President  and to the Congress to abolish the NRC, and to assign the regulatory role to a new or different agency, such as the Environmental Protection Agency.  We appeal to the Federal Court to honor the contract signed by Entergy with the State of Vermont, and to enforce Vermont’s order that Vermont Yankee cease to operate.

 

   We direct the Town Clerk to send this official act of our Town Meeting to the Federal judges, our representatives in Congress—McGovern, Warren and our interim senator—and  urge them to represent our interests by introducing a bill into Congress to eliminate the NRC and assign its regulatory role to a different agency.

******** Amendment to replace last paragraph of original warrant article**********

Given our immediate proximity to Vermont Yankee, a facsimile reactor to Fukushima, whose radiation plume spread much more than 50 miles to Tokyo, we require for our citizen and school safety a more effective evacuation plan.

 

Therefore we demand that the Entergy corporation  expand from 10 to 50 miles the minimum radiation hazard evacuation zone. After the Fukushima disaster the Nuclear Regulatory Commission advised US Nationals in Japan to evacuate if they were within a radius of 50 miles

 

Further, we demand that Governor Patrick and our Congressional delegation press Entergy and relevant governmental regulatory agencies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Consumer Protection Board, to create such a 50 mile evacuation zone and also demand that Entergy  make funds available to construct and practice evacuation plans in conjunction with local first responders, school officials, related governmental and department heads. We urge our Congressional representatives to represent our interests by introducing a bill into Congress to eliminate the NRC and assign its regulatory role to a different agency.
We direct the Town Clerk to send this official act of our town meeting to the NRC, Entergy, Federal judges, our governor, and our representatives in Congress—McGovern, Warren and our interim senator.

 

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Comments
  1. Laura Lynch says:

    great action! … every town in the country downwind of a nuclear power plant could do this! (p.s. there is a typo in this article in the opening sentence … should read “On Saturday, April 27” not May 27)

  2. Libbe says:

    You need to proof your copy; you wrote “Saturday, May 27, 2013” which hasn’t happened yet. I believe you mean April? I’ll be mentioning this on this week’s Nuclear Hotseat, the weekly news magazine on all things anti-nuclear: http://www.NuclearHotseat.com/blog (It will be #98, uploaded Tuesday night, new program every week.)

  3. d.o. could you check the date on this article, because May 27, 2013 has not happen yet. Did you mean April 27th?

  4. […] Town of Leverett, MA Votes to Abolish NRC and Extend VT Yankee Evacuation Zone […]

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