Not always states' rights

To the Editor:

I recently read a letter from an anti-Vermont Yankee person asking the Public Service Board to deny Vermont Yankee a new Certificate of Public Good. She says she doesn't trust Vermont Yankee, the NRC and the Federal Courts. She is entitled to her opinion and feelings.

The letter is a good example of the arguments put forth by people who are perhaps too emotionally involved. It mixes facts with opinion and wrong information. For example, the author claims that Entergy is ignoring the costs of decommissioning. It is not possible for any facility to ignore decommissioning costs, because the Decommissioning Fund is required by law, and the amount is dictated by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. When the stock market fell a long way in 2008, the value of the Decommissioning Funds of several nuclear power plants fell below the amount required by the NRC. These plants, including Vermont Yankee, got NRC letters requiring them to immediately contribute more to the fund. NRC oversight of the fund should be well known to VY opponents, who, like me, several years ago heard an NRC fund overseer explain and take questions about it at a public meeting.

The opponents assert that Vermont should stand up for "states' rights." The Constitution also contains federal rights and the peoples' rights. In the Cedar Creek Room at the State House hangs a painting of the Civil War battle of that name. This should be a reminder that the relationship between state and federal rights has been settled. This issue is at the crux of the lawsuit against the state. States' rights is often raised by those who lose politically or legally (see segregation).

Howard Shaffer

Startup Engineer at Vermont Yankee

Enfield, N.H.

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