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Gundersens Step Into the Nuclear Crosshairs


Published February 17, 2010 at 1:51 p.m.

It was bound to happen. Now that industry-insiders-turned-nuclear-watchdogs Arnie and Maggie Gundersen have taken center stage in the legislative showdown over whether Vermont Yankee gets relicensed for another 20 years, the nuclear industry and its supporters have begun their campaign to smear their credibility — just as they did 20 years ago when the Gundersens became whistleblowers about other corner-cutting measures in an industry that once employed them.

On Feb. 11, Rod Adams — "Rod Atoms?" GREAT aptronym! — who writes for the pro-nuclear blog Atomic Insights, wrote a post titled  "Is Arnie Gundersen Devious or Dumb? (Or Is He Just a Professional Fear-Monger?)" . In it, Adams, who describes himself as an Annapolis, Md., "father, husband, brother, nuke...and pro-nuclear activist," accuses Arnie Gundersen of making statements to the Vermont Legislature that were "evasive, without context or factually incorrect."

Among the pieces of damning evidence Adams offers for Gundersen's "lack of context" is the fact that in his testimony on tritiated water, Gundersen "pronounces the word [picocuries] with a hard I" and then drops his units of measure in subsequent references to the radioactive isotope found in test wells near the nuke plant. What a slacker!