A federal court ruling and NRC decisions in favor of relicensing the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant near Brattleboro have only increased the determination of many in the region to get the 40-year-old plant closed down. That determination, which draws momentum from lack of confidence in the plant’s owner, Louisiana-based Entergy, is receiving extra impetus from events at another Entergy property, the Pilgrim nuclear plant in Plymouth, where Entergy brought in replacement workers after locking out 240 unionized employees because of contract disputes.
A press release from Utility Workers Union of America Local 369 quotes an unidentified replacement worker who said the competence of the Entergy management team at Pilgrim is “pretty low,” and added this disturbing comment: “They’ve been asking us to do jobs we aren’t trained for. There’s nobody in there to do it so we didn’t have a choice. I’m a good tech and good at my job, but I live my life by what’s right—and what they’re doing isn’t right.” The company denies that replacement workers are less qualified than its regular employees.
Meanwhile, in the Valley an “Independence Day” (“Declare your independence from Entergy”) event is in the works for Sunday, July 1. After a rally on the Brattleboro Common at 10 a.m., participants will proceed by bus and bicycle (a flat ride of eight miles) to the gates of the plant in nearby Vernon. Some will enter the property and present the corporation with a “gift” the nature of which is yet undisclosed. Anyone willing to risk arrest by trespassing at the plant must be trained in nonviolent response by an affinity group of the participating organizations, which include the Sage Alliance, the Vermont Yankee Decommissioning Alliance and several others; a training session will be held in Brattleboro on Sunday, June 24th (contact Bob Bady firstname.lastname@example.org). For Upper Valley residents, training will be offered “as needed”; contact Nina Swaim email@example.com. For information and updates on these events, check http://www.safeandgreencampaign.org/ai1ec_event/independence-from-entergy-action?instance_id or http://sagealliance.net/actions/vermont-yankee-action-7-1-12.