BRATTLEBORO, Vermont—Carrying facts about the dangers of radiation and nuclear power and attired as medical professionals, women of the Shut It Down Affinity Group appeared at Entergy headquarters Monday to alert officials to the necessity of closing their Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in Vernon.
Brattleboro police commanded by Lieutenant Robert Kirkpatrick arrested eight women when Entergy’s Larry Smith, a public relations officer, contacted police to have the women removed from the premises. When the women refused to leave, Lieutenant Kirkpatrick and his detail booked the women for unlawful trespass. They are scheduled for arraignment July 17.
Shut It Downers compiled eleven health facts outlining radiation dangers from the nuclear power plant based on official scientific studies. They read their list aloud in the vestibule of Entergy headquarters when their attempt to enter the building failed. In case Entergy officials were unaware of their presence in the vestibule, the women blew whistles and shouted to attract the attention of those inside the building.
An Entergy staffer appeared inside the door when the women called “Health emergency” to ask if anyone needed an ambulance. The women assured him that that was not necessary at the moment but that if Vermont Yankee has a nuclear accident, ambulances will be necessary.
Paki Wieland of Northampton, Massachusetts, one of the Shut It Downers, shouted to Entergy officials that the health emergency was exigent and ongoing and it is necessary for the power plant to be closed immediately to avoid another Fukushima-like disaster.
Earlier in the day, the women distributed the health facts in downtown Brattleboro. Each wore a sign with one of the facts.
Those arrested were, all from Massachusetts, Hattie Nestel and Marcia Gagliardi of Athol; Nancy First, Connie Harvard, Susan Lantz, and Wieland of Northampton; Ellen Graves of West Springfield; Priscilla Lynch of Colrain. Supporters, also from Massachusetts, were Judy Wolter of Northfield and Sherrill Hogen of Conway with Julie Levy of Wethersfield.
The health facts they distributed are:
There is no “safe” dose of radiation —Beyond Nuclear
- Women/children 37-50% more vulnerable to radiation —US National Academy of Sciences
- A 27.5% higher death rate from cancer for Nuclear plant workers than general population —Radiation Research 4/2007, ”The 15-Country Collaborative Study of Cancer Risk among Radiation Workers in the Nuclear Industry: Estimates of Radiation-Related Cancer Risks”
- 14,000 people may die every year of radiation-induced cancers. —New York Times, 3/28/10, Gardiner Harris
- 5 near “misses” in 2011 occurred at Entergy nuclear power plants —Union of Concerned Scientists 2/28/12
- Radioactive Tuna arrives in California from Fukushima —Beyond Nuclear
- Fukushima Fuel Pool #4 still threatens Planet Earth.
- Navajos living near uranium mine tailings have higher rates of cancer —Eastern Navajo Diversity Against Uranium Mining, Beyond Nuclear)
- Radioactive Emissions spike during refueling period —International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War in Germany 9/2011
- Childhood leukemia occurs at 117% higher rates in children living within 5 kilometers of a nuclear power plant than the general populace —International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War in Germany and the ‘International Journal of Cancer’ 1/2012)
- 16% rise in death rate due to breast cancer in Windham County, VT between 1989-2001 as versus a 17% drop in rest of VT —Vermont Department of Health
Photos by Marcia Gagliardi