Senator spends night in the pen
Published: Thursday, April 26, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, April 25, 2012 20:04
For some Vermonters, one nuclear power plant has over-stayed its welcome.
Entergy’s Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant’s extended stay stirred up outrage March 22 when more than 1,000 activists marched through Brattleboro protesting Vermont’s only nuclear reactor.
Approximately 130 people were arrested after peacefully trespassing on Entergy’s headquarters.
Sen. Philip Baruth was one of those on the front lines arrested at the protest.
“The state of Vermont does not receive any energy from Vermont Yankee [anymore],” Baruth said. “We bear 100 percent of the safety risks associated with nuclear radiation and decommissioning the plant over the next 80 years.”
Residents of southern Vermont do not want a reactor in their area producing energy with a questionable history of accidents, among those a possible radiation leakage into the Connecticut River Watershed, he said.
Baruth said he wants to make sure residents all over the state are involved in the process of shutting down the nuclear reactor, because it has the potential to detrimentally effect the entire community.
“Citizens in the blast zone are given pills to prevent thyroid cancer in a chance of a meltdown,” he said. “Every year, people within a 30 mile radius of the reactor are updated with evacuation routes.”
Baruth has been involved in Vermont Yankee’s decommissioning since 2006 when he launched his blog, Vermont Daily Briefing. The senator also worked for Vermont Public Radio, where he started to hear about southern Vermont’s concern for their safety and future health complications.
“Concerns of readers become your concerns,” the senator said about his blog.
Deb Katz, another protestor and founder of Citizens Awareness Network, worked to make sure the event went smoothly for all participants in the rally and expressed her feelings about the situation.
“The protests were successful in showing Entergy how the public feels,” Katz said in a phone interview. “Potentially 150,000 people were represented in that action. Then there were people who were arrested, making it clear that they have support for their elected officials.”
Although the number of people protesting Vermont Yankee far outnumbered the supporters, those in favor of keeping the nuclear power plant held up signs that said, “VT-4-VY.”
“Entergy Nuclear is a business unit of Entergy Corporation that employs approximately 6,000 highly skilled and dedicated professionals,” Entergy’s website stated. “As a community partner, we are invested in the economic success of the towns, schools and families we support in eight states.”
Organized protests occurred at Entergy’s other offices around the United States the same day of the Vermont protest, a Huffington Post article stated.