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Public Meltdown: The Story of the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant Paperback – March 21, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: White River Press (March 21, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1935052608
  • ISBN-13: 978-1935052609
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,536,326 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A terrific and well-written look at what really happened in the Vermont Yankee debacle..."
--Howard Dean
, Governor of Vermont 1991-2003

"This book should be read by all who care about their communities and the health of the planet."
--Jim Riccio, Nuclear Policy Analyst, Greenpeace

"Billions of dollars, a third of Vermont's power, and high stakes legal fights; it's a heady mix as Watts tells a compelling tale of how Entergy Nuclear Vermont went from "white knight" to "unwanted guest."
-- Michael Dworkin, Professor of Law and Director, Institute for Energy and the Environment at Vermont Law School


"Through extensive research and interviews with many of the key players, Richard Watts not only explains explains what happened, but provides solid insights into why it happened. Public Meltdown is a well-written narrative of a drama-filled decade."
--David Lochbaum, Director, Nuclear Safety Project, Union of Concerned Scientists


"We make electricity in America atop some of our deepest social and political fault lines: the federal/state divide, and competition vs. regulation. This nuclear plant's recent history has made for a dramatic cautionary tale. Dr. Watts tells it fluidly and in compelling detail."
--John Kassel, President, Conservation Law Foundation

About the Author

Richard A. Watts, Ph.D. is an Assistant Research Professor at the University of Vermont in the Department of Community Development & Applied Economics and at the Transportation Research Center. Dr. Watts teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in public communications, sustainable transportation and energy planning and conducts research in media studies and communications theory.

Customer Reviews

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I found it fascinating, a quick read filled with information presented in a logical and engaging fashion.
Woody
The activists just seemed to be focused on getting Vermont Yankee shutdown, without any thought about where the electricity will come from.
Hill Country Bob
Public Meltdown is a story told through more than a thousand news articles over Entergy's ownership of Vermont Yankee.
Vermonter

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mark on March 13, 2012
Format: Paperback
Although Richard Watts is an academic, this book is important for anyone interested in how important public policy debates are currently conducted in America. Watts identifies the ways in which one side (nuclear power plant operators) and the other (nuclear opponents) frame issues ("safe, clean and reliable" versus "dirty, dangerous and old") then counts the number of times each frame appears in the media over the course of a years-long debate. As the frame counts shift back and forth over time, he shows the reflection of public opinion - and government policy - move in similar fashion. Not only does he let the reader see how the sausage is made, he points toward ways people can be involved to make better sausage.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ben on March 18, 2012
Format: Paperback
This book chronicles a fascinating and unique story, but one that is relevant to the aging powerplants across the nation. It provides the reader with the necessary background to see the surprising turn of events that caused Vermont Yankee nuclear owner, Entergy Corp, to lose public support in Vermont. The story will be a great read for anyone interested in energy, activism, media, government, and/or history as it draws together all of these. It is backed up with numerous interviews and data from media research which illuminate the history and current state of this issue.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Hill Country Bob on April 30, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The nuclear power plant is located in southern Vermont. It is 40 years old and its original 40 year license was expiring. It went through the processes to get a 20 year extension. It required approval of the feds for safety, and the state of Vermont for usefulness and whatever else.

This is the story of what happened as the anti nuclear crowd seemed to be able to form up a coalition to oppose the license at the state level. The plant had been originally owned by local new England companies. It was bought by a company called Entergy located in LA. The company owns 10 reactors in the US, and was not very sensitive to the people of Vermont and what they wanted and believed. Vermont has a culture of people being very involved in their electric companies. Entergy bought Vermont Yankee, the power generation plant only. It originally had some agreements with local utilities on providing power at fixed, and economical prices, and kicking back some of the profits it made from selling power at higher prices to other utilities.

The company screwed up and lost the faith and confidence of the people of Vermont, and left itself open to attacks by its enemies. Two failures in particular were really issues:
a. A failure of the cooling towers resulted in a large water leak and a spectacular picture that showed up as picture in a paper two days later, when the company had not told the locals about the failure, which was not safety related, but was terrible public relations.
b. The real confidence failure was in definition of underground piping as opposed to piping in concrete trenches. Some leaked tritium, which is low level radioactive hydrogen, and had gotten into the water. This after a denial that they had any radionuclides in underground piping.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A. H. Westing on July 8, 2012
Format: Paperback
"Public Meltdown" has beautifully captured and explained "The Story of the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant" --- that is, of the downfall over a period of eight years of the new out-of-state owner (Entergy of Louisiana), largely through arrogant mismanagement. One also really learns from the book's careful analysis by the author (a Professor of Journalism) the power of astute political action (by Governor Peter Shumlin), as well as the power of what carefully orchestrated and relentless lobbying can accomplish (especially by several statewide anti-nuclear and "green" groups). This monograph should be required reading for college students of political science, of journalism, and perhaps also of sociology.

I must add that I was sorry to learn how little interest was shown in the public debate that the shutting down of Vermont Yankee would at least for many years into the future shift much of the electricity used in the State to being produced from fossil fuels (which year in and year out routinely and inevitably account for more fatalities, medical horrors, and environmental destruction than would a possible nuclear accident). And as further irony, some of the replacement electricity would be coming from NIMBY nuclear power plants in New Hampshire and Quebec. --- Arthur H. Westing, Putney, Vermont
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More About the Author

Richard A. Watts, Ph.D. is an Assistant Research Professor at the University of Vermont in the Department of Community Development & Applied Economics and at the Transportation Research Center.

Dr. Watts teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in public communications, sustainable transportation and energy planning and conducts research in media studies and communications theory.

Contact Richard:
www.publicmeltdown.org


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