The Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant is shutdown, no longer generating power and starting the decommissioning process. And Entergy VY is still struggling with a persistent ground water intrusion problem (think very leaky basement) in and through the nuclear reactor turbine building.
Back when the plant was operating, there was, it seemed, always a steady drip, drip, drip of news coming out of the troubled plant — a high temperature electrical fire here, a decayed cooling tower collapse there, and forty mysterious underground pipes “discovered” as the source of radioactive tritiated water leaks — just to name a few of the ‘highlights.’ So the current radioactive water intrusion is only the latest in a long history of mishaps.
Happily Vtdigger.com reports VY officials think they have gotten a handle on the rising tides: “Vermont Yankee administrators say they’re getting a stubborn groundwater intrusion problem under control and are no longer pursuing a proposal to discharge radioactive water into the Connecticut River.”
Early this spring Entergy bought homeowner-grade kiddie pools (the NRC actually approved their use for this purpose) to hold the overflow. The pools were then abandoned in favor of more durable rubber storage bladders; gallons of contaminated water were shipped out by tanker truck, an expensive task. And now reports suggest the company will no longer pursue state permission to dump its tainted water into the Connecticut River.
The aggressive flow of water, at its height in February, was as much as 3,000 gallons a day. Yet officials maintain: “Simply sealing “a number of cracks” in the turbine building has helped.”
And the Entergy VY spokesflack brags: “We had a plan, we implemented the plan, and the plan worked.”
Aw come on, “We had a plan!” Bah! I think they are winging it –right from the time they rushed out to buy their first kiddie pool to capture overflows of radio-active water.
And now, what VY fails to mention and the reporter at Vtdigger.com definitely should have noted is that Vermont and most of the Northeast are in the midst of record-breaking drought! Vermont has seen record low rainfall, with the drought even more severe in Southern New Hampshire and Western Massachusetts.
Ground water levels are low throughout the region — therefore groundwater intrusion at VY’s turbine building would be record low. No water = no leaks!
But Entergy is decommissioning and headed out VY’s back door, pausing just long enough to patch a few cracks in the ‘basement,’ bless Mother Nature for the lack of rain, and cross their corporate fingers. I wonder if part of their plan includes setting up the kiddie pools again next spring?