Regarding Vermont Yankee - January, 2007
By Hattie Nestel
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  Rod Adams challenged my information about Vermont Yankee's radioactive emissions in the article I wrote for Vermont Guardian on January 12, 2007. Hoping to clarify the issue for Rod and any others that may be unclear about the extremely dangerous side-effects that are created in the fission process of Vermont Yankee I offer the following information.

  Vermont Yankee was made by General Electric Company and is a Mark 1 boiling-water reactor, BWR. BWR's, are prone to release radioactive gases under normal operating conditions more so than pressurized-water reactors, originally designed by Westinghouse for use in submarines. BWR's use a "single-loop" design; steam produced by uranium fuel goes directly to electric generator turbines. Pressurized water reactors, PWR, on the other hand, have two loops, one for hot water circulating through hot fuel elements and another for steam going to turbines. The second loop helps prevent radioactivity from reaching the turbines, where it can leak into the environment. Only pressurized-water reactors are used in submarines, and are less prone (though not completely immune) to radioactive leaks than Vermont Yankee.

  Fenceline readings are taken around the perimeter of Vermont Yankee to measure these emissions. Health commissioner Dr. Paul Jarris said in the Vermont newspapers on January 27, 2006 that the proposed 20 percent power boost of Vermont Yankee could increase radiation releases by up to 26 percent.

  Bill Irwin, the Vermont's chief of radiological health, recently revealed that Vermont Yankee exceeded the state's 20-millirem radioactive emissions limit in 1998, 2000 and 2004 and is expected to do so for 2006.

  The United States National Academy of Science acknowledged in its 2005 BEIR V11 report that there is no safe level of exposure to radiation. Furthermore every radioactive emission from Vermont Yankee raises the background radiation on the planet.

  Once radioactive radioisotopes are released into our air and water from Vermont Yankee they can enter our foodchain. Our immune systems are compromised and conditions like leukemia, cancer, thyroid diseases, birth defects, infertility, heart disease, and spontaneous abortions occur.

  Rachel Carson, Linus Pauling, and Andrei Sakharov warned us about low-level radiation decades ago. John F. Kennedy stated in 1963 when he announced the atmospheric test ban treaty, which goes to the issue of voluntary vs. involuntary radiation exposure, among other things, "…the number of children and grandchildren with cancer in their bones, with leukemia in their blood, or with poison in their lungs (due to radioactive fallout from atmospheric nuclear testing) might seem statistically small to some, in comparison with natural health hazards. But this is not a natural heath hazard…and it is not a statistical issue. The loss of even one human life, or the malformation of even one baby…who may be born long after we are gone…should be of concern to us all. Our children and grandchildren are not merely statistics toward which we can be indifferent."

  We must heed President Kennedy's prophetic words and come to grips with the reality that Vermont Yankee is NOT emission free! The ongoing radioactive emissions coming out of Vermont Yankee compromise our health and the health of those yet unborn. There is no excuse for ignorance on this subject.

  The only responsible action for state health and legislative officials is to help the public become aware of these dangers, allocate money for massive education on this issue, fund safe sustainable energy and conservation and shut down Vermont Yankee.


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