As the pipes of the aging Vermont Yankee badly corrode, the arguments for its soundness are disintegrating just as fast. A recent New York Times article highlights the poor oversight by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission of America’s outdated nuclear facilities. Without the NRC doing its job, this leaves Entergy, Vermont Yankee’s owner, on its own. Despite every claim Entergy makes to the public, the records show a deteriorating plant and sloppy maintenance and inspection.
In January, an Entergy letter shows elevated levels of tritium in the groundwater at a new and unexpected location. Entergy was ordered to submit bi-weekly reports until the source was found and corrected. Four months later, we are still waiting. The reports describe ways to find the location of the leak, yet action has been limited.
Bottom line – Yankee’s pipes are corroded beyond the point where they can be regulated. Elevated levels of tritium were found near groundwater wells GZ-24 and GZ-6 around January 15.
Entergy released a sworn affidavit in February vaguely describing how they had “established an investigation team to systematically and methodically identify the source of the elevated levels of tritium in groundwater monitoring well GZ-24.” Although this report clearly downplayed the issue, Entergy insisted it was taking the leak seriously. However, in the subsequent biweekly reports, it becomes clear Entergy did not follow up on its word. The next report released claimed they had “implemented the action plan,” but all that was described was that sampling had indicated “fluctuating levels of tritium” at elevated levels.
Throughout the rest of the reports no action has been taken. Shockingly, even in Entergy’s most recent update, on May 6, there is no mention of a source being found, only that they have “identified six lines as potential sources” and that pressure testing will be conducted, something that was mentioned in the first affidavit.
It is clear that Entergy is not serious about cleaning up Vermont Yankee. Governor Shumlin and Vermonters have demanded that the plant be shut down. Time after time, Entergy shows it is not taking the action needed to responsibly run a nuclear power facility.