What Is True/Slant?
275+ knowledgeable contributors.
Reporting and insight on news of the moment.
Follow them and join the news conversation.

Feb. 18 2010 - 1:02 pm | 904 views | 1 recommendation | 3 comments

Leak Continues at Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant

Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant

Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant

Vermont Senate Vote on Closing Nuclear Plant Could Come Next Week

[See original story.]

Bad news continues to flow from the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant. Levels of radioactive contamination are growing in several on-site wells at the power plant, according to the Vermont Department of Health (VDH). Yesterday, company officials announced they were forced to scrap their initial plan to track down the source of the leak. A new plan may be implemented as soon as today.

The VDH announced testing results obtained yesterday, with seven wells showing tritium contamination ranging from 2,400 picocuries per liter (pCi/l) to 1.99 million pCi/l. According to federal standards, tritium levels above 20,000 pCi/l are considered unsafe. A well located just 100 feet from the Connecticut River tested at 113,800 pCi/l. No tritium has been found in samples of river water, but a state health official has said it is logical to assume that the radioactive plume had reached the river earlier this week.

The VDH map below shows the locations of the wells, Vermont Yankee buildings and the proximity to the river.

Map of Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant

Map of Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant

(Click on map to download higher resolution PDF image.)

Readings from the wells (in pCi/l):

  • 3 = 32,000
  • 4 = 2,400
  • 7 = 991,000
  • 10 = 1.99 million
  • 12 = 18,800
  • 14 = 113,800
  • 15 = 305,000

The readings were provided by Vermont Nuclear. On it’s Website, the VDH states that:

To date, independent testing by the Vermont Department of Health Laboratory has generally verified test results by Vermont Yankee’s contractor.

VDH officials report that no tritium has been detected in any of its nearby groundwater test sites.

Nuclear Plant’s Fate Up in the Air

Meanwhile, the Vermont state Senate will likely vote next week on a request by parent company, Entergy, to renew the troubled plant’s 37-year-old operating license for another 20 years.

Vermont is the only state the requires approval by its legislature to renew operating licenses. Because both houses must approve any extension, a “No” vote in the state Senate next week could make the closure of Vermont Yankee in 2012 a certainty.

Obama announces $8.3 Biillion in loan guarantees for nuclear power.

Obama announces $8.3 Biillion in loan guarantees for nuclear power.

The emergency at Vermont Yankee comes at an awkward time for the Obama administration. The president announced on Tuesday a $8.3 billion federal loan guarantee to a utility company to build two new nuclear plants in Georgia. They would be the first commercial nuclear power plants  built in the US since the 1970s.

In a phone press conference on Tuesday, DOE Secretary Steven Chu, said that the new generation plants “are designed to be built in a way that’s safer and more economical.” Chu didn’t mention Vermont Yankee by name, and no reporters asked about it.


3 Total Comments
Post your comment »
Log in for notification options
Comments RSS

Post Your Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment

Log in with your True/Slant account.

Previously logged in with Facebook?

Create an account to join True/Slant now.

Facebook users:
Create T/S account with Facebook

My T/S Activity Feed


    About Me

    I'm an investigative reporter and author living in the northern Sonoran Desert (Phoenix). I've been a regular contributor to Rolling Stone, Mother Jones, New York Times, LA Times, Salon, The Nation, and many other national publications.

    In addition to my Solar Plexus, I'm a correspondent for OnEarth (the NRDC's magazine), contributor to several other online sites, and publisher and editor of El Phoenix Sun, a blog covering solar power and environmental news from the American Southwest.

    I'm addicted to #twitter. Please #help me #score by #following @thephoenixsun.

    I've written several screenplays. One of them actually made it to the screen; the IMAX documentary, "Coral Reef Adventure."

    My books reflect either my eclectic interests or a short attention span, depending on whether you believe me or my wife:

    Broken Heartland (Farm crisis and rural issues)

    Under Fire (The NRA and gun control)

    The Best of Enemies (Race, class and redemption in the New South)

    The Enchanted Braid (Coral reefs)

    Fire in the Turtle House (Sea turtles and ocean issues)

    Enchanted by Prairie (The original Midwest ecosystem)

    For more:

    www.oshadavidson.com, www.thephoenixsun.com, and (always) @thephoenixsun

    See my profile »
    Followers: 44
    Contributor Since: August 2009
    Location:Phoenix, AZ

    What I'm Up To

    Editing my photographs of the Arizona Anti-Immigration Law rally. (Below: Srta. Libertad)