Hats Off: Request to Step-Up Oversight for Vermont Yankee

Sandy Levine | @CLFLevine

Hats off to Vermont regulators for requesting the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to put an end to the string of mishaps at the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant.

photo courtesy of shersteve@flickr.com

Vermont Yankee is an aging nuclear plant on the banks of the Connecticut River. It is increasingly showing its age and the time for stepped up oversight is long overdue. The request cites incidents that “continue to pile up”, including:

 “a misaligned valve in the pool where the plant stores highly radioactive spent fuel waste allowed 2,700 gallons of water to drain out of the pool. Another involved epoxy applied to a condenser to keep it from leaking; that interfered with the condenser’s operation and forced the plant to reduce its power output.”

It is time for the NRC to step in and show its willingness to exert more than lackluster oversight of the nation’s nuclear fleet.

With The New York Times reporting from Japan that “the nuclear accident at Fukushima was a preventable disaster rooted in government-industry collusion and the worst conformist conventions of Japanese culture,” it is important that similar problems not occur here in the US.

The NRC is responsible for matters concerning radiological health and safety at nuclear power plants. It is important that they provide real oversight and not have a cozy relationship with industry that lets problems “pile up” or human error and poor management continue.

Thank you Vermont regulators for keeping the pressure on the NRC.

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