Brattleboro, Fukushima And Albany

April 24, 2011

Other than money, there’s exactly one very horrible reason why we may end up with a nuke power plant on the outskirts of Albany

*UPDATE* A NY Times article confirms that leading nuke corporations like Exelon are following a strict policy of milking profit out of dying nuke plants near meltdown.

Like most members of his party, freshman Congressman Chris Gibson (NY-20) believes in Big Government and massive public spending. The Republican, newly installed in the gerrymandered district that curls around the City of Albany like the letter C, is loudly calling for at least $10 Billion in federal taxpayer subsidies for a project he wants to locate in his new district.

Nuke Spokesman Wannabe Chris Gibson, Re-pub NY-20 Nuke Spokesman Wannabe Chris Gibson, Re-pub NY-20

Or, to be more precise, Gibson wants someone to use his district to collect federal money for themselves. But he’s not like the mayor of Albany, angling for penny-ante stuff like a convention center or a discount garbage dump that takes toxic waste. No, Gibson is a congressman now. He’s going for the radioactive gold.

Gibson wants some big corporations to build a nuclear power plant in the Washington County town of Easton. The elected officials of Easton are supportive of his idea, it usually doesn’t cost much to persuade small town politicians to sign on to cash funneling schemes. Dumps, prisons, garbage burn plants, nuclear waste storage facilities, it doesn’t matter what as long as some of that incoming money falls in their direction.

Here’s the problem. Easton is less than three miles east of Saratoga National Park. Easton is about 12 miles from the City of Saratoga Springs. Easton is about 19 miles from downtown Albany,, which is where I live.

If that Big Government nuke money does indeed get funneled through the Town of Easton, you can be sure that Gibson will be standing very close to the falling rain of cash. Very close. After all, taxpayer dollars is what the nuke industry is all about. But what are the chances that such a deadly radioactive time bomb will actually end up being planted 19 miles from our homes in the South End?

Vermont Yankee Nuke Plant Outside Brattleboro, Vermont Vermont Yankee Nuke Plant Outside Brattleboro, Vermont

In a minute I’ll get back to Chris Gibson and his hoped-for trickle down from the nuke corporations. But first a quiz question. Which currently operating public nuclear power generating plant is located closest to our homes in Albany?

If you said “Indian Point” then you are wrong. If that’s your answer, then you’ve been listening to the corporate media. That particular well-known ominous threat to the Hudson Valley is 97 miles from Albany, outside the tiny village of Buchanan, across the Hudson River from Bear Mountain State Park.

The correct answer, which someday your life may depend on knowing, is the “Vermont Yankee” nuke reactor in Brattleboro, Vermont is the closest public nuke plant to our homes in Albany. That old, overworked, broken down and very leaky pile of contamination is a mere 66 miles from Albany. That’s 31 miles closer than Indian Point. Both are owned by the same holding corporation, which calls itself Entergy.

KAPL In Niskayuna, Operated By Bechtel KAPL In Niskayuna, Operated By Bechtel

(Of course there are a number of private nuclear research facilities located closer to Albany, such as the Knolls site (KAPL) east of Schenectady, and other sites connected to General Electric and Rensellaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy. Some of them, I’m told, generate power. But unlike the corporate owned public power plants, these secretive sites try to maintain their anonymity. Thus their owners are usually careful not to draw attention by dumping waste in the communities where they’ve been planted.)

After Vermont Yankee Nuke in Brattleboro melts down – note I did not say “if” I said “after” – then very soon after the disaster the international nuclear regulatory bodies will demand an 80 kilometer evacuation zone around the plant. That’s standard. For example, that’s the size of the dead zone that the Japanese government at last reports is reluctantly extending around Fukushima. This is in response to international pressure… from many nations but not from the United States.

80 kilometers is about 50 miles. When Brattleboro goes up, Boston will be evacuated along with most of Connecticut and New Hampshire and all of Massachusetts. The Vermont Yankee Dead Zone will extend into New York State right up past the village of Easton, the site of Gibson’s proposed nuke plant. This zone of permanent evacuation will extend almost to the Hudson River. Much of Gibson’s Congressional district will be abandoned.

Fukushima Daiichi Reactor #3 On April 10, 2011 Fukushima Daiichi Reactor #3 On April 10, 2011

Will Vermont Yankee go Fukushima? Former nuke industry executive Arnie Gundersen had this to say on Democracy Now on April 19:

Well, the plants at Fukushima are identical to Vermont Yankee… I was a senior vice president of a company that provided services throughout the industry, including Vermont Yankee, and actually provided the nuclear fuel racks that were used in this design. So, that’s one of the problems at Fukushima, is this Mark I design has its nuclear fuel racks way up in the very top of the building. And it creates an earthquake problem and also a fire and terrorist hazard. And all of those can occur, as well, at Vermont Yankee.