Federal review panel opens hearing on Vermont Yankee

07/22/08 6:06AM

A federal panel is weighing an anti-nuclear group's challenge to the re-licensing of Vermont Yankee nuclear plant.

The Atomic Safety and Licensing Board panel is promising an independent review of three technical issues the group contends are serious enough to warrant rejection of the 20-year extension.

In a trial-style proceeding, the three-member panel will spend several days taking testimony and questioning expert witnesses from plant owner Entergy Nuclear and the New England Coalition, a citizen's group.

The judges will then report back on those issues to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which will decide whether the plant can operate beyond the expiration of its current license in 2012. Entergy also needs permission from the state in order to stay open.

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