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The Commons
Voices / Letters from readers

Trusting industry to police industry standards leads to lasting harm

Originally published in The Commons issue #443 (Wednesday, January 24, 2018). This story appeared on page D3.


I have been following the coverage of the proposed plans for the clean-up of the Vermont Yankee site with great interest.

As someone who is looking to move from the suburbs of Boston to a more rural environment, I see southern Vermont as very appealing. But I am stopped by the thought of living near a nuclear waste dump, and even more so by the idea that they would be hiding radioactive material underground, where it could migrate into the water.

I have long thought of moving to the Connecticut River Valley, but knowing what I do about Vermont Yankee, I am concerned with the years-long leaking of the radioactive materials into the river and the ensuing coverup of that.

I garden and I drink water, and there are no assurances from Entergy or NorthStar regarding the safety of the water supply as they rubblize and bury what is there and then store wastes in casks (leaking casks?) along the banks of the river.

Water is increasingly our single-most-valuable resource. Trusting corrupt corporations to certify its safety seems unacceptable.

We need only look as far as Bennington to see what happens when improperly-disposed-of wastes get into the water supply. Entergy faces the same issues at the Pilgrim Nuclear plant on Cape Cod, where the population has been voicing opposition to the storage of far more spent-fuel rods than were originally licensed.

Even if the Vermont Yankee site were to be turned into an industrial park, I would not want to report to work there eight hours a day or drink the water from the ground under the current plan, as I understand it.

These sites have to be cleaned up thoroughly and certified by a third party. The third party will be hard to find, but the Natural Resources Defense Council might be a good one. Trusting industry to police industry leads to lasting harm.

Vermont can to lead the way for the decommissioning of all the nuclear plants that are nearing or past their scheduled closings.

Maggie Taylor


Weston, Mass.

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