Vermont closes only nuclear power plant

February 26, 2010

For the first time in 20 years,  a state is closing down a nuclear power plant–and Central Coast activists are using the decision to press their case about Diablo Canyon.

The Vermont Senate voted 26 to 4 this week to block operation of the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant after 2012, citing radioactive leaks and other concerns. [New York Times]

The vote comes less than a week after President Obama publicly called for more nuclear reactors to be built in the U.S.  Opponents had sought to shut down the 38-year-old plant over recent leaks of radioactive tritium and the collapse of a cooling tower in 2007.

Mothers for Peace spokesperson Jane Swanson issued a press release Thursday, drawing comparisons between Vermont Yankee and the PG&E Diablo Canyon nuclear plant in Avila. Swanson claims that, like Vermont Yankee, Diablo Canyon is flawed, especially in the areas of seismic vulnerability and the potential for terrorist attacks.

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Your headline, “Vermont closes only nuclear power plant”, is very deceptive. The plant is not closed. The Vermont Senate passed a measure to close the plant two years from now. However, it takes more than a Senate vote to get something done! You also need the State Assembly, and the signature of the governor. So, the plant is certainly far from closed. The headline should read “Vermont Senate Votes To Close Nuclear Power Plant.”

Regarding Jane Swanson and the Mothers For Peace… their reaction is certainly no surprise. Luckily, they are not in charge here in California! Rational people realize that Diablo Canyon is one of the most respected nuclear power plants in the world, and that it is the jewel in California’s electric system… a carbon-free AND very inexpensive source of power. The Mothers For Peace will seize on any opportunity to speak out against Diablo… but not many people are listening since Diablo Canyon has proven itself well over the last 25 years.

The Governor of Vermont told WPTZ that “there was a lot of theater here yesterday, but from a legal standpoint, nothing’s changed.” He also said “I expect there’ll be more chapters in this drama to play out.”

It’s all about the fact that a number of Senators are up for re-election in the Fall. They can vote against the plant now to posture for their base, and then after the election they can bring the thing up for a vote again and go the other way.

This is far from a done deal.

Sorry to disagree I grew up two miles from the entrance to the plant, and went on to work there, it was built by meth heads because of the long hours, 70 a week sometimes six days 12 hour shifts, I was there in the tunnels in 97, it’s falling apart, all the rebar is out of date and what was 1″ and1/8″ IS NOW 1/8 or completely gone, here’s how we try to fix it we tap on the walls of the tunnel with a hammer and find the spots that sound hollow mark it with spray paint and cut out a patch, tie some more steel onto whats left, paint it with zinc, and patch it , similar to body work on a fifty year old car, concrete is not water proof so the salt water goes right threw the concrete to the non plastic coated steel, and walla you have what resembels a fifty year old car parked on the beach or under the sea, that was 97, it’s got to be a whole lot worse now and I sure hope the wind is blowing south when we get that 7.5 quake we all know is coming, do remeber the last one, the tunnels at diablo canyon will not with stand even another small shaker, shut the death trap down before it’s to late, like everything it has a shelf life. But so do we and a right to keep it safe.

Jim Zim stated: ” … a carbon-free AND very inexpensive source of power.” Um, carbon free, only in the production of the actual electricity, but not in mining, refining, transporting, loading, unloading, or guarding the spent fuel FOREVER, and it certainly is not “inexpensive” either. You sir, need to wake up to the real facts about the costs associated with nuclear energy production. As for the Mothers for Peace; it is only because the Mothers have hounded PG &E so doggedly that PG &E strives to operate Diablo as well as it has. Do you honestly believe that PG &E would have been so thorough, that they would train and test their engineers as well as they do if Mothers for Peace hadn’t been looking over their shoulder for so long? Like most corporations, I think they would have cut costs where they could have, given the chance. The real reason that Diablo Canyon is the “jewel” it is (your words) is because PG &E knew that one mistake would have the Mothers for Peace moving to shut it down as quickly as possible. I for one am very glad that the Mothers for Peace have been on top of the operation of Diablo for as long as they have.

I’ll have to agree with ‘cheeseburger’. Back then, when the plant was being built, I was a regular at a gym in SLO where a number of welders used to worked-out. One welder bragged about the ‘quadruple’ pay they were getting and the long hours and the mistakes. He laughingly described how plans for a major element were wrong, that welders had actually been directed to build one of the ‘main’ units ‘backwards’, and that the whole things had to be dissembled and rebuilt.