NORTHAMPTON, Massachusetts—Applauding continuing actions of the Shut It Down Affinity Group to shut down the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in Vernon, Vermont, Dr. Helen Caldicott of Australia had lunch with Shut It Downers on Sunday, March 24, before exhorting an audience of 200 in First Churches to close all nuclear power plants for good. Convening at the home of Frances Crowe, Shut It Downers, Chiho Kaneko whose parents live in Japan near the Fukushima meltdowns, and Dr. Caldicott discussed the urgency of ending Vermont Yankee’s operation with its radioactive leaks, age-compromised structures, and a 40-year-old Mark I General Electric boiling water nuclear reactor of the same design as those that melted down at Fukushima.
Radioactivity from nuclear power plants causes cancers, Dr. Caldicott said, and no dose of radiation is without potential health consequences.
With associated activists, Dr. Caldicott, a pediatrician who studied at Harvard University halted nuclear weapons tests over and near Australia in the 1970s. Crowe’s husband, Dr. Thomas Crowe, was a lifelong activist with the international antinuclear organization, Physicians for Social Responsibility, and Dr. Caldicott was energetic president of PSR for many years.
The Shut It Down Affinity Group embraces some thirty women who, since 2005, have devoted themselves to creative civil resistance to shut down the Vermont Yankee Nuclear power plant in Vernon, Vermont. Shut It Downers have been arrested some twenty-five times at the power plant or its headquarters, and members of the larger antinuclear community recently paid more than $3,000 in fines levied on six of the women convicted of unlawful trespass at the nuclear plant in August, 2011.