Legislative Leaders Say Yankee Hasn't Made Case For Relicensing

07/20/10 5:49PM By John Dillon

(Host) Legislative leaders say Vermont Yankee has so far failed to make the case that it should be allowed to operate for another 20 years.

House Speaker Shap Smith says a new report by a state public oversight panel shows that plant personnel cannot be trusted to tell the truth about key issues.

(Smith) "And without the ability to rely on that entity to be forthright, it is unclear how we could allow it to continue to operate in such a difficult environment. So I think that is the takeaway from this report, that there are cultural problems here that have not been solved and it's unclear if they can be solved."

(Host) The report documents misleading statements by Yankee officials about whether the plant had underground pipes that could leak radioactive material.

After a leak was discovered last January, the state Senate voted not to extend the plant's license. Smith said it's not likely that the legislature will change its mind.

(Smith) "The issue largely has been decided. You need a positive vote from both bodies of the Legislature to have continued operation. The Senate vote was quite clear, it was 26-4. And it doesn't seem to me that there needs to be any further legislative action."

(Host) The report says 11 Yankee employees were disciplined last winter as a result of the misinformation. But the report says the false statements did not appear to result from any deliberate attempt to mislead lawmakers and regulators.

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