Wednesday, April 13, 2011

“Many Stood Up and Yelled” for Millstone

Millstone The New York Times has put up a very well implemented – and interactive – map that provides a lot of data about the Japan earthquake and about Fukushima Daiichi. Worth bookmarking.


The Economist has posted a debate – done in classical style, a treat for us old college arguers – that proposes the following: This house  believes that the world would be better off without nuclear energy.

Read through the arguments – very well researched on both sides, so even those in favor of the statement are worth attending to by nuclear advocates – and cast your vote. Currently, 32 percent favor the statement and 68 percent disfavor it. Technically, you can’t vote your conscience, but only for the better argument. Assuming the voters are doing this, what can we say? Go, nuclear energy!


Up in Connecticut, a bill in the legislature proposes taxing nuclear energy. If the bill passes, Dominion Energy, which runs the Millstone plant, will shut it down – it cannot pass the cost to customers due to contractual arrangements and it cannot afford the additional $332 million tariff per year the tax would cost. Dominion said it would try to renegotiate the contracts, but failing that, closure. (Of note: Millstone is the state’s only nuclear plant, so this is a very targeted tax – just on principle, it’s pretty atrocious.)(Oh, and Millstone produces 53 percent of the electricity in Connecticut. Hope they get those windmills up fast.)

Anyway, who knows? Still early days on this one and of course, we’ll track it. But the interesting thing is the behavior of the audience at a Waterford (where Millstone is sited) town hall:

During the question and answer period after Dominion’s presentation, Nancy Burton, president of the Connecticut Coalition Against Millstone, began a speech on the dangers of nuclear energy. She showed several posters of Japan’s destroyed nuclear power plants, and made allegations that Millstone was casting radiation into Mystic [River] and causing cancer.

Before she could finish her speech, the public began to grow restless. Many stood up and yelled at Burton, demanding she ask one question and let everybody else talk.

Later in the question and answer period, Burton stood up again to speak. Again she made allegations that Dominion was cutting corners and misinforming the public, and that the media was backing the power company.

This time, before she could finish her speech, boos rained down. She tried to talk over the jeers, but the public just booed louder until she eventually returned to her seat.

Pretty rude, I admit, but if you’ve been to one of these, you know anti-nuclear advocates sometimes try to soak up the time to make their arguments seem dominant even when that is not true. If Ms. Burton tried that, didn’t work. If she was making a simple statement, back to rude.

But it’s striking that in the town where the plant is located, the townspeople wouldn’t have it.


Tiki said...

I live in New London County. Ms. Burton and her group lost a lot of credibility in the county a year or two ago when she published a report crediting all deaths of young children in the area of Millstone to Millstone. The article was published in The New London Day, and names of children were named. The parents sued. She had even included the name of a child who was run over by its father as being due to Millstone.
Here's the link to the local paper. Local politicians say: "State Sen. Andrea Stillman, D-Waterford, said at Wednesday’s news conference that the proposed tax sends an anti-business message about Connecticut and would discourage future investment in the state.

The bill “would send our entire state in absolutely the wrong direction in regards to economic development,” Stillman said.

Waterford First Selectman Dan Steward said Dominion represents about 30 percent of the town’s tax base, or $20 million a year of property tax. He said the uncertainty surrounding the tax and a potential plant shutdown may already be costing the town money as it proceeds to issue bonds for school projects."

Joffan said...

I'm glad that Burton's rudeness in trying appropriate the Q&A time for her own use was met with a suitably rude response in turn. Well done Connecticuters.

Anonymous said...

Burton claimed playwright August Wilson's fatal cancer was due to Millstone radiation because he once spent a summer in the area.

Tiki said...

And Burton has been disbarred, twice. As Green Party candidate for Attorney General, she garnered 17,000 votes. Her association with the Green Party has done nothing for its image in Connecticut.

The above from the ABA Journal, "Ex-AG Candidate Loses Free Speech Appeal over Corruption Claim."