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Boston radio station covers VY closure impact on Vernon

By Bob Spencer

Boston’s WBUR, an NPR station, broadcast a 4-part series about the impending closure of the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station, with segment 2 covering how Vernon has addressed the closure of Vermont Yankee during the past 5 years. Reporter Bruce Gellerman spent several days over a period of weeks visiting Vernon, and interviewing Vernon residents and town officials.

At the end of May, the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth, MA will permanently shut down. Pilgrim went into service just one day after Vermont Yankee. Both reactors were the same make and model: a GE Mark I reactor. Since 2002, they have been operated by the same company: Entergy.

The first segment of WBUR’s “Earthwhile” feature discussed the impact on Cape Cod Bay from discharge of the Pilgrim power plant’s cooling water; the 2nd segment was about Vernon; a 3rd segment was about the impact on the Town of Plymouth; and the 4th discussed monitoring of radioactivity in the vicinity of the Pilgrim plant. The link to the Vernon portion can be found at: https://www.wbur.org/earthwhile/2019/04/23/vermont-yankee-vernon-lessons.

Gellerman’s Vernon story has interviews with Michelle Pong, Town Administrator; Josh Unruh, Chair of the Vernon Selectboard; Jeff Dunklee, 6th generation dairy farmer and Selectboard member; Peggy Farabaugh, owner of Vermont Woods Studios; Steve Skibniowski, long-time employee at the plant, and former town official; and Bob Spencer, Planning Commission.

All 4 segments can be accessed at the WBUR website, and the podcast listened to, along with a slightly different written version.