Shut It Downers arrested for chaining themselves across Vermont Yankee driveway

Linda Pon Owen assists Frances Crowe in chaining herself with others across the Vermont Yankee driveway.

from Marcia Gagliardi, Shut it Down affinity group

VERNON, Vermont — Attired in hazmat suits to highlight the danger of radiation emissions from the Entergy Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant, twelve women of the Shut It Down Affinity group chained themselves across the driveway Wednesday afternoon, October 17, before Vernon police arrested them for trespass.

Workers scheduled to leave their day shift at the plant were detained by Entergy officials and Vernon police during the arrest while Vernon Sergeant Bruce Gauld arranged transportation for the arrestees to the police department less than a mile from the power plant.

Shut It Downers carried signs observing that Entergy Equals Fukushima and Vermont Yankee Poisons All. A leaflet, statement, and signs urged saving the Connecticut River and its fish from heat and radiation released by Vermont Yankee.

Six Shut It Downers are scheduled for a jury call on November 26 in Brattleboro Superior Court preceding a jury trial to be scheduled later for trespass charges incurred during an August 30, 2011 action. All from Massachusetts, they are Frances Crowe, 93; Nancy First, 81, and Paki Wieland, 69, all of Northampton; Betsy Corner, 63, of Colrain; Ellen Graves, 72, of West Springfield; and Hattie Nestel, 73, of Athol.

Those arrested Wednesday include Vermonters Linda Pon Owen, 73, of Brattleboro and Martha Hennessy, 57, of Weathersfield. Also arrested, all from Massachusetts, were Crowe, Graves, Nestel, and Wieland as well as Anneke Corbett, 69; Connie Harvard, 64; Susan Lantz, 72; and Clare Overlander, 67, all of Northampton; Priscilla Lynch, 60, of Conway; Marcia Gagliardi, 65 of Athol.

Shut It Downers read the following statement:

We are here today to urge Entergy to shut down the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in Vernon, Vermont. Not only is the nuclear power plant a costly, wasteful, and dangerous way to generate energy. It is also damaging the Connecticut River by exceeding the limits of its permit with increased water temperatures found as far downstream as 22.5 miles from the reactor at the Cabot Station hydro dam in Turners Falls, Massachusetts. Entergy brazenly flaunts the law by refusing to cool its fuel rods internally with its cooling towers and instead unconscionably flushes its dangerously hot exhaust into the Connecticut River.

Vermont State Representative David Deen, who chairs the Vermont House Committee on Fish, Wildlife and Water Resources, views the situation as an environmental hazard, potentially affecting fish populations in the Connecticut River.