As Ohioans fight to shut the state's two dying reactors, good news has come from Vermont.  Thanks to decades of dedicated activism, the Vermont Yankee reactor at Vernon was permanently shut down on  Dec. 29, 2014. 

Citizen activists made it happen. The number of licensed U.S. commercial reactors is now under 100 where once it was to be 1,000.

Years of hard grassroots campaigning by dedicated, non-violent nuclear opponents, working for a Solartopian green-powered economy, forced this reactor’s corporate owner to bring it down.  Hopefully, the same can be done--SOON!---to the dangerous, decrepit reactors at Davis-Besse, near Toledo, and Perry east of Cleveland.  

Davis-Besse's owner, FirstEnergy, is now pressuring the Ohio Public Utilities Commission to force the public to hand over a $3 billion subsidy to keep open Davis-Besse and some 50-year-old coal burners.  Neither Davis-Besse nor Perry can compete in open energy markets.  Their owners took billions from the public about a decade ago so there could be "deregulated competition" in energy markets.  But now that the nukes are being priced out by renewables and fracked gas, their owners want to gouge the public for still more millions to keep them running.  


To stop it, call the PUC and demand this bailout be cancelled!


FirstEnergy says it needs Davis-Besse to operate to supply "base load" power.  But the infamous elder nuke, one of the world's most dangerous, only supplies 5% of Ohio's electricity (when it runs).  Under FirstEnergy's intense pressure, Ohio's government is doing all it can to discourage renewable installations that would lessen the need for central-generated power.  Large wind and solar advances have been killed by a state apparatus that's become a wholly-owned subsidiary of the fossil/nuke power companies.  They now want the public to pay to keep their obsolete burners in operation.  Should a major disaster at Davis-Besse or Perry wipe out northern Ohio and the Great Lakes, their owners would have virtually no liability due to federal exemptions dating to 1957.


Vermont Yankee is the fifth American reactor forced shut in the last two years. In New York State, Illinois and elsewhere, elderly reactors are on the brink of being shut because they can't compete.

Entergy says it shut Vermont Yankee because it was losing money. Though fully amortized, it could not withstand the onslaught of renewable energy and fracked-gas. Nukes like Davis-Besse, once sold as generating juice “too cheap to meter,” comprise a global financial disaster. Even with their capital costs long-ago stuck to the public, these radioactive junk heaps have no place in today’s economy—except as illegitimate magnets for massive handouts.

So their owners like FirstEnergy now demand that their bought and rented state legislators and regulators force the public to eat their losses. Arguing for “base load power” or other nonsensical corporate constructs, atomic corporations are gouging the public to keep these radioactive jalopies sputtering along.

Such might have been the fate of Vermont Yankee had it not been for citizen opposition. Opened in the early 1970s, Vermont Yankee was the northern tip of clean energy’s first “golden triangle.” Down the Connecticut River, grassroots opposition successfully prevented two reactors from being built at Montague, Massachusetts, where the term “No Nukes” was coined. A weather tower was toppled, films were made, books were written, demonstrations staged and an upwelling of well-organized grassroots activism helped nurture a rising global movement.

A bit to the southwest, in the early 1990s, it shut the infamous Yankee Rowe reactor, which had been hit by lightening and could not pass a verifiable test of its dangerously embrittled core.

But Vermont Yankee persisted. Entergy, a “McNuke” operator based in New Orleans, bought Yankee from its original owners about a dozen years ago. It signed a complex series of agreements with the state. Then it trashed them to keep Vermont Yankee spiraling ever-downward.

But hard-core organizers like Deb Katz’s Citizen Awareness Network never let up. Working through a network of natonal, state and local campaigns, the safe energy movement has finally forced Entergy to flip the off switch.

Protestors support the closing of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant at the Statehouse in January 2012 in Montpelier, Vermont.

Vermont Yankee is the fifth American reactor forced shut in the last two years. Two at San Onofre, California, were defeated by citizen activism. Wisconsin’s Kewaunee went down for economic reasons. Crystal River in Florida was driven to utter chaos by incompetent ownership.

Five reactors are officially under construction in the U.S. But their fate is also subject to citizen action. Two others targeted for Levy County, Florida, have recently been stopped by ratepayer resistance.

Throughout the U.S. and the world, the demise of atomic energy is accelerating. Some 435 reactors are listed worldwide as allegedly operable. But 48 in Japan remain shut in the wake of Fukushima  despite the fierce efforts of a corrupt, dictatorial regime to force them back on line. Germany’s transition to a totally nuke-free green energy economy is exceeding expectations. The fate of dozens proposed and operating in China and India remains unclear.

But the clock on the inevitable next disaster is ticking. Cancer rates and thyroid problems  around Fukushima continue to accelerate. Massive reactors like California’s Diablo Canyon  and Indian Point, New York, are surrounded by volatile earthquake faults that could reduce them to seething piles of apocalyptic rubble, killing countless thousands downwind, gutting the global economy.

Every reactor shutdown represents an avoided catastrophe of the greatest magnitude.  As the takeoff of cheap, clean, safe and reliable Solartopian technology accelerates, greedy reactor owners struggle to squeeze the last few dimes out of increasingly dangerous old nukes for which they ultimately will take no responsibility. Vermont Yankee alone could require 60 years for basic clean-up. Fierce debate rages over what to do with thousands of tons of intensely radioactive spent fuel rods.

It remains unclear where the money will ultimately come from to try to decontaminate these sites, but clearly they are all destined to be dead zones.

As will the planet as a whole were it not for victories like this one in Vermont.   

We need a similar victory here in Ohio.  Call the Sierra Club and the PUC and demand the shutdown of Davis-Besse and the cancellation of this outrageous handout that would prolong its threat to our health, safety and economy.