Thank you for publishing former Gov. Thomas Salmon’s accurate assessment of Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant, specifically that during 42 years of operation it has been “environmentally benign” and “never hurt a soul.” I worked with the employees at Vermont Yankee for many years and I would like to comment on why it was such a safe workplace and neighbor. For starters, long before the first nuclear power plant went online, a commitment to safety was hardwired into the cultural and organizational circuitry of the International Brother of Electrical Workers (IBEW), whose Local 300 I was honored to serve as President and Business Manager for many years.
In the early days of America’s electrification, the IBEW fought hard to reduce the high incidence of line worker electrocution by improving safety design, equipment and training. At nuclear plants such as Vermont Yankee, labor’s zeal for the safety of its brothers and sisters was joined by the industry’s prudent commitment to zero tolerance for safety error and aggressive, skilled oversight by the federal government. It’s been this way for decades, and gets more so every year. And of course the good work will continue as the plant is decommissioned. I am sure I can speak for the past and present members of Local 300 when I say we are proud to have helped Vermont Yankee meet and exceed the very high standard of safety performance set by the IBEW by adopting our Code of Excellence program, forming superior labor/management team, working with the state Occupational Health and Safety the NRC as well as other institutions who deal with nuclear safety standards. I fully agree with Gov. Salmon: you done good.