Power Struggle: the future of clean sustainable energy

Join Us! Sunday October 29 - 3:30pm 
Power Struggle - Film House - Burlington, VT
By Maggie Gundersen & Ben Shulman-Reed


It is everywhere, and it will spread further if citizens and politicians don’t step up to the plate.

This week’s newsletter is all about energy: its production, the sources used, and the future of clean sustainable energy.

  • The first issue we want to share with you today is about the now shuttered Vermont Yankee atomic power reactor
  • Energy Production and the sources used to produce electricity is the second topic confronting all of us today.
  • Lastly, clean energy, sustainability, and economic vitality offer us a hopeful future – get briefed on November 1st by NIRS and noted energy economist Amory Lovins! 


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The first issue we want to share with you today is about the now shuttered Vermont Yankee atomic power reactor:

The Vermont International Film Festival (VTIFF) has chosen the film Power Struggle about the shutdown of Vermont Yankee as the closing film in its line-up for 2017.

Power Struggle, by Massachusetts documentary filmmaker Robbie Leppzer of Turning Tide Productions, highlights the struggle by communities to choose how, when, and where their energy is produced, its environmental impact, and who actually controls how stakeholder voices are heard.

The film Power Struggle, which makes us proud to be Vermonters, will air Sunday, October 29 at 3:30 pm at Main Street Landing, Burlington, VT at the Vermont International Film Festival.  

Buy your tickets here & view the VTIFF line-up of other films.

Noted journalist David Goodman will host the panel discussion following the film, which will include former State Legislator Tony Klein, Chris Williams director of Vermont Citizens Action Network, Clay Turnbull with New England Coalition, Maggie and Arnie Gundersen with Fairewinds Energy Education, and filmmaker Robbie Leppzer. Read all bios here.

The spirit of Power Struggle focuses on Democracy in Action, and you will see Vermonters from all walks of life and all backgrounds making their voices heard.  People have asked us why this film matters now that Vermont Yankee is closed. We can tell you for a fact that the plant may be closed, but its toxic legacy is not over. If the proposed sale of Vermont Yankee by Entergy to NorthStar goes through as proposed utilizing rubblization, Vermonters will be left with a radioactive legacy lasting hundreds of years, and essentially making the VY site unusable, possibly forever.

Watch Nuclear Free Future host Margaret Harrington talk with Robbie Leppzer and the Gundersens about the film here.

Preview Power Struggle the film here

Energy Production and the sources used to produce electricity is the second topic confronting all of us today:

When we consider the long-term impacts of energy production, it is important to identify how the energy is produced and the sources used to generate that power. When atomic power is used to generate electricity, the energy source used is uranium. In other parts of the U.S. [not near the Northeast], but in the western U.S., in Canada, and in countries, like Niger in Africa, uranium is mined for nuclear power plants.

AREVA, the French company responsible for providing technology and services to many atomic power reactors, has contaminated vast areas of Niger’s Arlit with its uranium mines located around the city. The French State owns more than 80% of AREVA and is the main company responsible for this environmental crime scene. AREVA is also the corporation proposed to help NorthStar in its bid to buy, decommission, and dismantle Entergy’s VY (Vermont Yankee) atomic reactor.

At a closed-door meeting in Brussels, the European Commission learned that AREVA has misinformed and lied to the local population in Niger that is now waking up to the devastating consequences of this ecocide.

“Polluting Niger is a lot cheaper for AREVA than polluting France. Niger’s deaths are also easier to deal with for AREVA than deaths from radiation on the French home turf”, said, journalist Nick Meynen.

A recent study of the AREVA-contaminated area conducted by AREVA’s own scientists showed that of the mere 120 houses tested, 16% of them were polluted with radioactive radiation far above the health norms.

Arlit is now home to more than 200,000 people, and those people living in the area are exposed to radioactivity and death rates twice as much as in the rest of the country. This is where about one third of all of the uranium for France’s reactors is mined. And, tens of thousands of people in Niger’s city of Arlit are exposed daily to this often-deadly radiation emanating from the mines, leachate, and tailings.

With a record like this, how will a firm like AREVA help NorthStar, [the proposed owner of Entergy VY in the Vermont Public Utilities Commission sale case] effectively clean-up the Vermont Yankee site? Quite simply, the VY site is radiologically contaminated and the proposed rubblization will spread radioactivity further and compromise the health of Vermonters as well as contaminate the Connecticut River and nearby aquifer. And where will AREVA be to help out? Likely solving their own major problems in France and Niger.

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Lastly, clean energy, sustainability, and economic vitality offer us a hopeful future – get briefed on November 1st by NIRS and noted energy economist Amory Lovins:

NIRS [Nuclear Information Resource Services] in Washington, DC is hosting a national telebriefing, entitled Trump’s Nuclear and Coal Revival Plan: What It Means for our Energy Future, featuring world-renowned energy expert Amory Lovins, on Wednesday November 1st at 8:00pm - 9:30pm Eastern (7pm Central / 6pmMountain / 5pm Pacific).


You must register, so enough lines are reserved. Please do so now.

In September, the Trump administration unveiled a radical plan promoting atomic power and coal with a massive national bailout. The plan has far-reaching implications for energy and the environment. And it will cost the public more than $100 billion in higher energy bills!

Energy expert Amory Lovins has been outspoken in challenging the bailout plan and will share his views on what it means for clean energy in the United States. He will discuss the nuclear-coal bailout and why it is bad for jobs and energy production. Mr. Lovins will also take your questions. 

Amory Lovins is co-founder of Rocky Mountain Institute and a long-time proponent of a sustainable and economically viable energy future. He is also a leader in helping industry, government, and society transition to a profitable carbon-free future that saves money for consumers and creates more jobs than Coal, Oil, Nuclear, and Gas (CONG) combined.

Please join NIRS for this vital session on Wednesday Nov 1 at 8:00pm - 9:30pm Eastern (7pm Central / 6pm Mountain / 5pmPacific). 

The briefing will occur on the eve of the COP23 global climate conference in Bonn, Germany. The Trump administration is not only setting a bad example for the world by pushing for dirty energy here at home, but they are also trying to undermine climate action globally by threatening to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Agreement. 

See Fairewinds energy economics analysis on new nukes in a 3-minute video! 


More on Power Struggle the film:

Filmed during the 5-year timespan the action was occurring, this feature-length documentary by filmmaker Robbie Leppzer highlights the heated politics involved in the state-wide community effort to close the aged Vermont Yankee (VY) atomic power reactor. The film chronicles the unfolding drama as citizen activists and elected officials – alarmed at ever increasing safety violations at VY – take on the federal government and one of the biggest nuclear power corporations in America demanding the closure of the reactor at the expiration of its original 40-year license.

Capturing the personal journey of nuclear engineer Arnie Gundersen and his wife former nuclear industry spokesperson Maggie Gundersen through the backdrop of the nuclear industry, the film intertwines different perspectives on all sides of the nationwide controversy about the use of atomic power. Power Struggle features many different protagonists including local residents both for and against atomic power, elected officials, a Vermont Yankee spokesperson, federal nuclear regulators, and leaders for the environmental protection of Vermont’s pristine and limited resources.

This film is a timely and inspirational story of democracy in action! Should citizens’ voices be heard against moneyed corporate interests? What are people in Vermont doing right now to make a difference for a sustainable energy future?

Please join everyone following the film for a panel discussion moderated by journalist David Goodman and including:

  • Film director Robbie Leppzer founder of Turning Tide Productions,
  • Fairewinds Energy Education chief engineer Arnie Gundersen and Fairewinds founder Maggie Gundersen;
  • Former Vermont State Representative Tony Klein had a lengthy career in the Vermont Legislature protecting Vermont’s environment. Former Representative Klein served as Chair of the House Committee on Natural Resources during increasing mismanagement and environmental concerns at Vermont Yankee;
  • Chris Williams, of the Vermont Citizens Action Network, has spent more than 40-years standing up against atomic power reactors and their corporate owners in Indiana, Michigan, and Vermont as he has fought for the rights of citizens to have a say in how their energy is produced, paid for, and how nuclear waste is disposed.
  • Clay Turnbull is a member of the New England Coalition on Nuclear Pollution (NEC) Board of Trustees. NEC is intervening at the Vermont Public Utilities Commission on the proposed sale of Vermont Yankee by Entergy to NorthStar for VY’s decommissioning.  NEC is against NorthStar’s proposal to use rubblization and burial of 1 million plus cubic feet of contaminated concrete on the shores of the Connecticut River.
  • The event will be followed by a Reception in the lobby at 6:15pm. 


Tickets must be purchased and are available online at:


More info at:




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