Speaker Shap Smith Takes Stand In Yankee Trial

09/13/11 5:50PM By Susan Keese
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(Host) House Speaker Shap Smith was among the witnesses today at the trial continued on Vermont Yankee's lawsuit against the state.

VPR's Susan Keese has this report.

(Keese) The key question in this trial is why Vermont lawmakers have refused to give Entergy permission to continue operating Yankee after its original license expires next March.

Entergy claims the state is trying to regulate safety. But the company says that's a responsibility reserved solely for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Speaker Smith took the stand to describe the political climate in 2010, when lawmakers refused to grant Yankee permission to continue operating.

Smith says lawmakers had grave misgivings about decommissioning the plant. And he says Entergy damaged its own credibility when it disclosed that underground pipes were leaking radioactive tritium.

Yankee officials had earlier told the state no underground pipes carried radioactive materials.

Entergy's legal team contends that Vermont officials' concerns about the tritium demonstrate that their real motivation was health and safety.

For VPR News, I'm Susan Keese in Brattleboro

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vermont_yankee politics
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