Groups That Challenged Vermont Yankee To Be Reimbursed
06/07/10 5:51PM By John Dillon
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(Host) State regulators have concluded that Vermont Yankee misled them about whether there were underground pipes carrying radioactive material at the plant.
The Public Service Board says Entergy Vermont Yankee now has to cover the legal fees of environmental groups that have challenged the company's request to extend its license.
VPR's John Dillon has more:
(Dillon) Entergy officials testified several times under oath that Vermont Yankee did not have underground pipes that could leak radioactive material.
But that information was proven false when radioactive tritium was discovered leaking into the groundwater in January. And now the Public Service Board says Entergy has to pay to cover the legal costs that were incurred as a result of the misleading information.
(Moore) "The board is saying, ‘Look, you can't come in here and provide false information about the condition of this aging reactor and get away with it.'"
(Dillon) James Moore is with the Vermont Public Interest Research Group. He says he doesn't know yet how much money VPIRG will need to cover its legal fees.
(Moore) "For VPIRG, it's not as much about the money, it's about the recognition that our Vermont Public Service Board is protecting Vermonters here."
(Dillon) Entergy spokesman Larry Smith said company officials were reviewing the order and had no immediate comment.
Ray Shadis is with the New England Coalition, an environmental group that has challenged Entergy on a number of fronts.
Shadis says his organization based much of its research into decommissioning costs on the assumption that the plant did not have underground pipes. He says coalition lawyers will now go back and look at how the underground pipes affect decommissioning and the plant's reliability.
(Shadis) "The assigning of fees is really a way of making emphatic the board's decision that Entergy had misled the board and the parties.
(Dillon) Shadis says the PSB ruling settles the question of whether Entergy misled the state. The only question remaining is whether the misrepresentation was deliberate.
For VPR News, I'm John Dillon in Montpelier.