The push for books
By Meredith Angwin
The Ethan Allen Energy Education Project has been running for about two months now. The Project will address current issues, such as relicensing the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant. For me, the Project’s official start was the kickoff meeting on September 30.
We held the meeting at a local site, the Montshire Museum of Science, in Norwich, Vt. About 20 people attended, and a video of the meeting is available here (at bottom of linked page). Information is also available at my own blog site, Yes Vermont Yankee.
There are many proponents of the Vermont Yankee plant. In October, at Castleton College in Vermont, VY supporter Howard Shaffer (who also writes columns for these View from Vermont posts) debated a man from Public Citizen, the Nader organization headquartered in Washington, DC. Three hundred students attended the event. There also were many smaller events last month, as I noted in my last blog post, the View OF Vermont.
As the holidays approach, I am working on coordinating our pro Vermont Yankee efforts with others, and expanding our scope in new ways.
Coordination. Patty O’Donnell is a former state representative for the town of Vernon, where the Vermont Yankee plant is located. She didn’t run for office this time around, and instead has devoted herself to Vermont Yankee advocacy. O’Donnell recruited some Vermont Yankee employees to accompany her (on their own time) to attend community meetings to give talks about Vermont Yankee. I knew that O’Donnell (R., Vt.) was doing this, and she knew that I was giving presentations, but only recently did we get together to set up some coordination.
About a week ago, Howard and I sat with Patty in her living room, planning future events. I looked around and thought, “Howard is the ANS Vermont Pilot Project coordinator. I am head of the Ethan Allen Institute Energy Education Project. Patty is a former legislator who knows the ropes around Vermont.”
(Click here to see Patty O Donnell’s pre-election Op-Ed piece about Vermont Yankee.)
It felt good to have people to meet with, have brownies, and coordinate plans. Just having the meeting was a goal achieved for me!
Expansion. The Energy Education Project is expanding its scope. A man who is a member of the Project e-mailed me, saying, “I would love to buy every member of the Vermont legislature a copy of Gwyneth Craven’s book, Power to Save the World.”
I took him up on his offer. Actually, I asked him instead to sponsor the expenses for Cravens to visit Vermont, and I said that I would be the one to raise additional funds to buy the books for the legislators. Gwyneth Cravens will visit Montpelier this January, and all the legislators will be given a copy of her book. We have checked, and legislators can receive books and printed matter in Vermont, without declaring them as “gifts.”
Helen Caldicott has done a similar thing, visiting the legislature and doing a booksigning, sponsored by Vermont Yankee opponents. This year, we will have our own celebrity booksigning, featuring Cravens. It feels good to plan something like this for the Vermont Yankee advocates. Something positive, not just reacting to mud that is thrown at us.
By the way, ’tis the season for giving, and we plan to give away quite a few books. Please consider going to the Energy Education Project Web site and supporting nuclear energy. Your gifts are completely tax-deductible, and there is a “Donate” button through PayPal. Help to buy books!
The success of putting this together has led me to having more ideas. Opponents of the plant are not a homogeneous bunch, all with the same views of nuclear. For example, I have met with one group in Brattleboro that wants to build a new, extra-safe accelerator-driven thorium reactor on the Vermont Yankee site.
Now, these accelerator-driven reactors are only in the design stage, but at least the Brattleboro people are pro-nuclear at some level.
I hope that I will be able hold a public meeting in Brattleboro about the different types of advanced nuclear plants, including the one that the opponents favor. The meeting would feature a guest speaker that the opponents would provide, talking about the accelerator-reactor, and a guest speaker that we would provide, talking about Gen IV reactors. This could lead to increased acceptance of all sorts of nuclear energy (although not necessarily Vermont Yankee). Every little bit of goodwill helps. I’ll keep you informed of my progress on this.
Meredith Angwin is the founder of Carnot Communications, which helps firms to communicate technical matters. She specialized in mineral chemistry as a graduate student at the University of Chicago. Later, she led geothermal research projects and was a project manager in the geothermal group at the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI). She is an inventor on several patents. Angwin serves as a commissioner in the Hartford Energy Commission, Hartford, Vt.
Angwin is a long-time member of the American Nuclear Society and coordinator of the Energy Education Project. She is a frequent contributor to the ANS Nuclear Cafe.