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Public Meltdown: The Story of Vermont Yankee

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Dr. Richard Watts, an Assistant Research Professor at the University of Vermont, recently authored a book titled Public Meltdown: The Story of the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant. The book chronicles the plant’s ups and downs since it was purchased by Entergy in 2001. Dr. Watt’s extensive research including interviews with many of the key players provides sound commentary on what happened and why it happened.

Having monitored events at Vermont Yankee and even having served for a short while on the Public Oversight Panel for the reliability assessment commissioned by the Vermont state legislature, I knew about the majority of the issues covered in the book. Nevertheless, Dr. Watt’s research greatly supplemented my awareness by providing the background for many of the twists and turns. Those revelations made reading the book a wise use of my time. And the book is very well written, making acquisition of this information both easy and interesting.

I recommend the book to anyone interested in the Vermont Yankee story. The book also contains invaluable insights to anyone interested in the roles of the federal government, state government, corporations, and the public on nuclear power issues.

Nuclear power is a very controversial topic, and Dr. Watts does a fine job of explaining the perspectives, strategies, and tactics of all sides involved in the debate.

For information on Vermont Yankee and other plants, see UCS’s interactive map, the Nuclear Power Tracker.

Posted in: Nuclear Power Safety Tags: ,

About the author: Mr. Lochbaum received a BS in Nuclear Engineering from the University of Tennessee in 1979 and worked as a nuclear engineer in nuclear power plants for 17 years. In 1992, he and a colleague identified a safety problem in a plant where they were working. When their concerns were ignored by the plant manager, the utility, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), they took the issue to Congress. The problem was eventually corrected at the original plant and at plants across the country. Lochbaum joined UCS in 1996 to work on nuclear power safety. He spent a year in 2009-10 working at the NRC Training Center in Tennessee. Areas of expertise: Nuclear power safety, nuclear technology and plant design, regulatory oversight, plant license renewal and decommissioning

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