Vermont Yankee Entergy: wading in the shallow end of safety

This may be a sign of just how responsibly and seriously Entergy intends to take safety concerns while the plant prepares for what the NRC calls SAFSTOR (SAFe STORage)for up to 60 years.

From The Intex “Easy Set” swimming pool retails for anywhere from $35 to $500 depending on its dimensions and it’s billed as one of “the easiest family and friend-sized pools to set up in the world.”

But in Vernon, the Easy Set is serving a much different purpose than the one advertised on the manufacturer’s colorful website: It’s being used to help manage a complex groundwater-intrusion problem at Vermont Yankee.

That news about Vermont Yankee will likely not surprise anyone who remembers how Entergy let the operating boiling water reactor’s wooden cooling tower deteriorate so badly that that by 2007 it collapsed into a pile of timber leaking water.vermontcoolingtower

Well give them credit; rushing out to Home Depot to buy a bunch of cheap plastic swimming pools for this is better than just mops and buckets.  However they might want to use the term SOTASAFSTOR (SOrT Aa SAFe STORage) to be more accurate about Vermont Yankee’s condition.

The NRC reports the kiddie pools are located in the lower level of the turbine building and are “[…] placed such that any leakage would drain into the plant’s radioactive waste treatment system,” And no need to worry: the low level radioactive kiddie pools are only temporary  until the technicians come up with a better plan.

No worriesEntergy Vermont Yankee spokesman Marty Cohn echoed that, saying “there is no health or safety impact to the public or employees from this issue.” The swimming pools are a temporary measure, he added.

“The integrity of the pools was found to be adequate and the water found to be acceptable for those types of pools,” Cohn said. “Drains near these pools lead to sump pumps, which in turn lead to a waste-processing system.”VYkidpool

And while they mop up the contaminated water, Entergy and the plant’s surrounding town are “condensing” their emergency plan capacity. Beginning in April the emergency zone shrinks to the nuclear power plant site’s boundary, and one person on site is trained to extinguish basic fires and act as liaison to local agencies

Only a “catastrophic” event — like if all the water is released from the cooling pools and the fuel then reheats — would require a response from outside towns. And even then, according to plant owner Entergy, an emergency would unfold slowly.

“We’d have anywhere from 10 hours to 10 days to react,” said Brattleboro Fire Chief Mike Bucossi, “and reverse the process of those fuel rods.”

Yes VY, fill up the pools! Even in a catastrophe — according to Entergy — there is “anywhere from 10 hours to 10 days to react” — time enough to wade in the shallow end.

5 thoughts on “Vermont Yankee Entergy: wading in the shallow end of safety

  1. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the pictures of these kiddie pools – really? Geez, they aren’t kidding? This isn’t an early April Fools joke?

    Meanwhile, I read it will take 40 years+ to clean up Fukushima and confirmed evidence of nuclear waste water flowing into the ocean. The number of crumbling nuke plants in the US is pretty scary too.

    Time to shut them all down and be done with it all – clean energy, sure sure.

  2. So much contaminated water and now “talk” of possible discharges into the Connecticut River-will that sound a few local alarm bells ?

    “Entergy has requested NRC approval to ship about 200,000 gallons of radioactive water to Idaho for disposal. There also has been preliminary talk of possible discharges into the Connecticut River, though any such plan would come under intense scrutiny by state regulators.” from

    1. In an era when clean water is becoming a scarcer commodity, can we really afford to be contaminating hundreds of thousands of gallons of the stuff with radioactivity?

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