In response to Steve Chase’s editorial, I would like to offer another perspective on the Public Service Board hearing and the continued operation of Vermont Yankee.
I, too, attended the hearing, but spoke out in favor of the facility. I appreciated the civil tone of the meeting, which allowed everyone’s testimony to be heard. I was honored to sit among the many supporters in the crowd, and it would be accurate to say that the Vermont Yankee supporters outnumbered by far the opponents.
It also must be noted that although many who spoke in favor of Vermont Yankee were employees, there were many others who were not.
Some of the supporters traveled up to three hours so their voices could be heard. Some of these voices belonged to a woman who works in the tourism industry, a professor emeritus from Norwich University, engineers, business people, the director of the Energy Education Project, a former Vermont governor, the chairwoman of the Vernon, Vt., selectboard, and a family tree farmer.
Many well-informed people came to speak out in support of keeping Vermont Yankee open.
The author mentioned a high school sophomore who spoke “eloquently” in support. This is my son, and yes, I am the proud mother mentioned. While my son spoke of our family’s personal story in the midst of this endless battle, he could just as well have addressed the benefits of continued operation in terms of the environment, safety or reliability.
He has been researching the subject for years, being sure to investigate all sides of the sometimes controversial topic. I would say he possesses a more thorough understanding of nuclear energy than many of the opponents who spoke out.
I would agree with the author that many of us are fighting to keep the good jobs that Vermont Yankee provides. That is certainly not the only reason we believe so strongly that the facility should operate for 20 more years.
It would have been impossible to give all of our reasons in a two-minute sound bite.
I would like to address some of Steve’s concerns, starting with the age of the plant. It is true that Vermont Yankee is 40 years old, but many of its components are not. These are regularly maintained, and in many cases replaced during outages every 18 months. Vermont Yankee is not a “frequently malfunctioning” power facility. In fact it is considered to be one of the most reliable and efficient baseload power producers out there. The same can’t be said about wind and the sun.
The biggest problem, according to the author, is that Entergy hasn’t been a good corporate neighbor. I would choose it as a neighbor any day of the week. It has been extremely generous with local nonprofit organizations. In 2011, contributions totaled about $435,000. In addition to monetary support, employees volunteer their time with numerous nonprofit groups.
I am not just a proud mother, but I am a proud part of the Vermont Yankee family. I speak up not just for a paycheck, but for the many environmental, community, and far-reaching economic benefits that Vermont Yankee has to offer.
112 Ridgewood Ave.