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Public Meltdown: The Story of the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant Paperback – Mar 21 2012

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 7 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Public Policy in the (Post) Nuclear Age March 13 2012
By Mark - Published on
Format: Paperback
Although Richard Watts is an academic, this book is important for anyone interested in how important public policy debates are currently conducted in America. Watts identifies the ways in which one side (nuclear power plant operators) and the other (nuclear opponents) frame issues ("safe, clean and reliable" versus "dirty, dangerous and old") then counts the number of times each frame appears in the media over the course of a years-long debate. As the frame counts shift back and forth over time, he shows the reflection of public opinion - and government policy - move in similar fashion. Not only does he let the reader see how the sausage is made, he points toward ways people can be involved to make better sausage.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A great story of energy, activism, and government March 18 2012
By Ben - Published on
Format: Paperback
This book chronicles a fascinating and unique story, but one that is relevant to the aging powerplants across the nation. It provides the reader with the necessary background to see the surprising turn of events that caused Vermont Yankee nuclear owner, Entergy Corp, to lose public support in Vermont. The story will be a great read for anyone interested in energy, activism, media, government, and/or history as it draws together all of these. It is backed up with numerous interviews and data from media research which illuminate the history and current state of this issue.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Well-written, engaging May 5 2012
By Woody - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a well-written, extensively documented account of how Entergy frittered away all the good will they once had in Vermont. I found it fascinating, a quick read filled with information presented in a logical and engaging fashion. It's a must-read for anyone even vaguely interested in the controversy surrounding extension of Vermont Yankee's license.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Great book! June 6 2014
By Aaron Z Witham - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A compelling read. A very revealing look at the power of public relations in helping or hindering environmental movements. I definitely recommend it.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Sad tale of Vermont Yankee with no winners April 30 2013
By Hill Country Bob - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The nuclear power plant is located in southern Vermont. It is 40 years old and its original 40 year license was expiring. It went through the processes to get a 20 year extension. It required approval of the feds for safety, and the state of Vermont for usefulness and whatever else.

This is the story of what happened as the anti nuclear crowd seemed to be able to form up a coalition to oppose the license at the state level. The plant had been originally owned by local new England companies. It was bought by a company called Entergy located in LA. The company owns 10 reactors in the US, and was not very sensitive to the people of Vermont and what they wanted and believed. Vermont has a culture of people being very involved in their electric companies. Entergy bought Vermont Yankee, the power generation plant only. It originally had some agreements with local utilities on providing power at fixed, and economical prices, and kicking back some of the profits it made from selling power at higher prices to other utilities.

The company screwed up and lost the faith and confidence of the people of Vermont, and left itself open to attacks by its enemies. Two failures in particular were really issues:
a. A failure of the cooling towers resulted in a large water leak and a spectacular picture that showed up as picture in a paper two days later, when the company had not told the locals about the failure, which was not safety related, but was terrible public relations.
b. The real confidence failure was in definition of underground piping as opposed to piping in concrete trenches. Some leaked tritium, which is low level radioactive hydrogen, and had gotten into the water. This after a denial that they had any radionuclides in underground piping. The leak was found with monitoring wells installed for this purpose, so the safety system worked. However, it took many weeks to find the source of the leak and stop the leak. This indicates some problem with periodic maintenance or inspection.

The activists just seemed to be focused on getting Vermont Yankee shutdown, without any thought about where the electricity will come from. So the local companies are going out of state for power, in part to Canadian Hydo, and part to Seabrook nuclear plant for power. This is ongoing, as a judge is now involved due to a lawsuit, and he threw out part of the Vermont laws on the topic. It would be nice to see them work it out for everyones sake, and saving of resources. Perhaps a local Vermont company can buy the plant, and then it would be run as they would like locally to meet their needs.

This whole scenario just does not seem like the old time New England mentality, of conserve and extend and use up. This sounds more like "cash for clunkers" where the nations wealth is thrown away before the end of useful life. Hopefully it will be worked out so that Vermont Yankee can be licensed by the state of Vermont for another 20 years. This will allow the 650 people working at the plant to stay employed in good jobs. Nuclear power is the future if we want to get away from air pollution and live in an advance industrial society.