Administration to ask tough questions on Vermont Yankee mishaps

08/31/07 12:32PM By Ross Sneyd
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Governor Jim Douglas says his administration will ask tough questions about why the Vermont Yankee plant suffered two mishaps in the past week-and-a-half.

He says he's especially concerned about inspections at the plant.

VPR's Ross Sneyd has more.

(Sneyd) The governor says the nuclear power plant in Vernon should be generating power again this weekend.

Douglas says it was discovered that steam valves had not been properly greased, leading the plant to automatically shut down when one of the valves was being tested.

At the time, the plant was operating at only a little more than half its power output because a portion of a cooling tower collapsed last week.

Douglas says state agencies will demand to know what went wrong.

(Douglas) "This certainly doesn't instill confidence in the public in terms of the operation of the facility. These are fairly basic maintenance issues: maintaining the valves, having a cooling tower that's structurally sound. I think there's a lot of legitimate concern on the part of Vermonters that maintenance isn't what it needed to be."

(Sneyd) Douglas emphasizes that the plant can operate safely because none of the problems have involved Yankee's nuclear components.

But he does question why problems with the cooling tower weren't detected before the collapse.

(Douglas) "It was troubling to me that the inspection was done by a consulting firm very soon before the tower collapsed. So I think we need to get some answers as to what kind of inspection program they have and what happened."

(Sneyd) Douglas says the Public Service Department and the Vermont State Nuclear Advisory Panel will investigate, and so will the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

For VPR News, I'm Ross Sneyd.

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