February 2011

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Vermont IBEW to Plant Opponents: Don't Distort the Facts

Leaders from the 1,200-member Montpelier, Vt., Local 300 recently hosted a press conference to demand politicians and environmentalists stick to the facts on Vermont Yankee's safety. The local represents 160 employees of the nuclear plant, as well as approximately 50 electricians working for subcontractors on site.

The event came on the heels of a Vermont Department of Health report that found no significant adverse health effects to the public as a result of Vermont Yankee's operation. Montpelier Local 300 President George Clain, Business Manager Jeffrey Wimette and several workers—both union and nonunion—shared their stories. Vermont Yankee's operating license expires in 2012 and must get a green light from the state legislature to be renewed.

"When deciding the fate of one of Vermont's most vital employers, we cannot rely on inaccurate information and political spin," Wimette said. "Our members are on the ground every day and know what is really going on at Vermont Yankee and that it is indeed a safe place to work."

According to the report, health outcomes in communities surrounding the plant do not differ substantially from other regions. What's more, the cancer rates in Vermont Yankee's emergency preparedness zone are lower than in the county as a whole, the state and the country. Fish, soil, water, milk and sediment samples exhibited no radioactivity outside historical range.

"I've worked at Vermont Yankee for almost nine years—the last three as a reactor operator—and simply wouldn't be there if the place were unsafe," said Vermonter Michelle Joy. "The DOH report is no surprise to those of us on the inside who use our industry-leading training to keep the plant running smoothly and reliably."