The Northampton Gazette recently published my letter:
To the editor,
I’ve met several old men in the valley who remember when the Connecticut River used to freeze over. That has not happened in a long time. Nevertheless, The Oxbow has remained frozen during winters, and there has been ice fishing there. Many people believe that the Connecticut River is open because it is a flowing river. They do not believe me when I say that the river is open, when looking from the Coolidge Bridge, in January, because of the nuclear power plant at Vernon, Vermont.
Last year I wrote a piece for the Gazette about this thermal pollution from the reactor. Since a reactor produces 650 MW electricity, and the steam turbines are one third efficient, I calculated that the terminal output of the reactor is 1300 MW per hour. With this much heat, one could take the contents of an Olympic size swimming pool from room temperature, to boiling, to complete evaporation every 1.4 hours. I have enclosed a photo of the reactor showing melting of the river at Vernon.
This winter at the reactor will be shutting down, and for me it will be an experiment. Unless there is particularly warm winter and there is no ice fishing on the Oxbow at all, I believe there will be ice fishing and snowmobiling on the Connecticut River. We shall see.