Delegation Wants NRC To Get Tough On Yankee

01/27/10 7:34AM By John Dillon

AP Photo/Vermont Yankee Corporation,File

(Host) Vermont's congressional delegation wants the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to get tough on Entergy Vermont Yankee for allegedly misleading state officials.

Senators Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders, along with Congressman Peter Welch, met with NRC chairman Gregory Jazcko on Tuesday to voice their concerns about recent events at Vermont Yankee.

The plant is leaking radioactive material in the groundwater. And plant officials have acknowledged that Vermont Yankee does have pipes that could leak - even though they at first said there were no underground pipes containing radioactivity.

Leahy says the NRC has to help re-establish public confidence.

(Leahy) "The burden is on the NRC to convince everybody that whatever they come back with is credible and accurate. And I think that's a significant burden that anybody who is answering about the power plant should have to meet."

(Host) Sanders says Jaczko told them he was confident the source of the radioactive material would be found within the next several weeks, because the NRC has extra personnel on the site helping in the search.

Meanwhile, the Vermont Public Service Board is scheduled to meet Wednesday to decide how to proceed with Yankee's request to operate for another 20 years. The board called the hearing in light of the disclosures about underground pipes.

And an environmental group questions whether Vermont Yankee should be allowed to continue operating now that the radioactive leaks have been discovered.

Sandra Levine of the Conservation Law Foundation says Yankee owes the Public Service Board an explanation.

(Levine) "We're asking the board to open an investigation and require Entergy to show cause why immediate shutdown is not required until those pipes are repaired."

(Host) Other parties in the case have said the PSB needs to re-open a host of other issues. These include whether the plant's estimates of decommissioning costs are still accurate, now that the company will have to clean up contaminated soil and groundwater.

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