Thursday, March 25, 2010

Leak Over, Remediation Begins

At a press conference today, Vermont Yankee announced that all sources of the leak have been found, and remediation will begin. Water will be pumped from the ground to be re-used at the plant, and some soil will be disposed of as radioactive waste off-site. Here's the press release. I have updated this post with a link to the video of the press conference which announced the end of the tritium leak.

I knew the leak was over when I read a comment from Peter Alexander yesterday on my David O'Brien and Nuclear post. Mr. Alexander wrote:
I don't think many people were in a panic about the tritium itself. The real issue with Vermont Yankee, in addition to Entergy's really bad record of preventive maintenance, is the company's breakdown in credibility. Finding and fixing a tritium leak "quickly" is small potatoes.

Gee, Mr. Alexander, thanks for telling us! As I pointed out in my answer, the anti-s sure seemed to be in a state of panic:

Where on earth have you been? What about the new docket, "shut the plant down NOW because of the tritium leak," that the PSB opened at the request of the Conservation Law Foundation? It's costing me money, because I live in this state, and opening new dockets isn't free.

(By the way, I predicted in an earlier post that they would have the leak fixed before these docket hearings got underway. Maybe I should hang out my shingle as a fortune-teller.)

Maggie Gundersen (see the video in an earlier post) predicted that the tritium would end sport fishing in the Connecticut River because it bioaccumluates in fish. Senator McDonald rolled his eyes and repeated his question to Bill Irwin (of the Department of Health) over and mean tritium is going to the river? It will be in the river?

Alexander wouldn't have written the equivalent of No-problem if the leak weren't fixed. His remarks are proof positive that the leak is truly a non-issue at this point.

Mark Savoff, V P of Entergy, did an excellent job of explaining the technical issues while respecting people's concerns about radioactivity. He was asked several times about the dangers of tritium. He was very politic. He explained the low-level radioactivity of tritium, while re-iterating that Entergy took it seriously and he was NOT dismissing people's concerns. When people asked about how much contaminated soil was present, he used both dimensions and analogy (two pick-up truck loads) to make the amount clear. A very classy show.

Entergy is to be congratulated both on stopping the leak so quickly, and on the communication clarity of this conference.

Watch live streaming video from bfp_news at

Moving on

Of course, the antis are moving on to new topics. The latest...the new NRC inspector used to work for Entergy! Perhaps it is all a conspiracy? Here's a tweet about it from a few hours ago. The leak is over, and the antis are searching for new ground.

Shocker! New NRC inspector at #VT Yankee is former #Entergy employee (via Rutland Herald): #btv #vty

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