Greenpeace airship flies over risky Entergy nuclear reactor: ‘Shut Down Vermont Yankee’

November 14, 2010

Vernon, VT – Greenpeace today flew an airship with a banner reading “Shut Down Vermont Yankee” over the risky and dangerous nuclear reactor to send a message to Entergy, the plant’s corporate owners and potential buyers. Following Entergy’s recent announcement to sell the 38-year old reactor as well as an unplanned shutdown after another leak of radioactive water, the Greenpeace action drew attention to the problems facing the reactor and warned potential buyers of the risks of purchasing the plant.

“Entergy needs to stop trying to squeeze more profit out of Vermont Yankee or dump the mess they’ve created onto someone else, and instead begin preparations to permanently shut down this old reactor,” said Jim Riccio, Nuclear Policy Analyst for Greenpeace.

Earlier this week, Greenpeace sent a letter to Entergy CEO J. Wayne Leonard requesting that the company stop trying to re-license and sell the reactor, and instead retire Vermont Yankee as scheduled in 2012. Copies of the letter were also sent to the CEOs of companies that have been identified in the press as potential buyers, including Exelon, Constellation, and NextEra Energy.

In February 2010, then-Senator Peter Shumlin led the Vermont Senate to vote 26 – 4 to deny the continued operation of Vermont Yankee.  In the most recent election, Vermonters elected Peter Shumlin governor and the following day Entergy announced that it is considering selling the 38-year-old plant.  On November 7, the reactor was shut down after a new leak of radioactive water was discovered.  The new leak follows earlier discoveries of radioactive releases into the groundwater and soil near the reactor.

“Vermonters no longer trust that Vermont Yankee can operate safely, without accident or radioactive releases to the groundwater,” said Mark Floegel of Greenpeace, “Entergy needs to stop putting their profits ahead of the safety of New Englanders, and shut down Vermont Yankee as scheduled.”


Photos are available at

CONTACT: Joe Smyth, 831-566-5647,

A copy of Greenpeace’s November 10 letter to Entergy CEO J. Wayne Leonard is available at

Greenpeace’s 135-foot long thermal airship, named the “A.E. Bates” in honor of a dedicated volunteer, is the only aircraft of its kind in the United States.  More information is available at

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