Thursday, June 3, 2010

A Gallon of Water and Calls for a Shutdown: Vermont's BP!

As reported in the Seven Days blog (and elsewhere) some water with tritium leaked from a pipe at Vermont Yankee. The leak contaminated a one-foot radius of soil, and was perhaps one gallon of water. Then the leak was found and fixed. The pipe from which it leaked is only used at plant start-up.

Naturally, some lawmakers are calling for an immediate shut-down of the plant. Peter Shumlin is more "moderate" and wants a three- month shut-down while they reroute lots of piping. Now Shumlin is an expert on power production methodologies? He learned that Germany doesn't get "30% of its juice from solar" and he's making rapid progress on the technology front.

Fine. This is exactly what I would expect. "Every trickle is seen as a torrent" as a friend of mine put it.

What I simply cannot stand, and am actually too angry to blog about, is the comparison of this incident with the Gulf Disaster.

Here are some quotes:

Shumlin called the ongoing leakage of tritium, strontium-90, cesium and other radionuclides as the "greatest environmental crisis in Vermont's history."

"This is Vermont's BP," said Shumlin, referencing the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico due to an offshore drilling operation gone awry under the watch of British Petroleum.

Speaker Shap Smith said one lesson from environmental disasters like the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is to prevent them before they happen. Replacing the pipes at Vermont Yankee would stop more leaks from occurring, he said.

"We've already seen the consequences of what happens when you don't take care of the piping," said Shap Smith, referring to earlier leaks at Vermont Yankee.

You can watch Vermont legislators making these kind of outrageous statements in a WPTZ video.

They claim that one gallon of water, and two pick-up trucks of contaminated soil near an earlier leak...they claim that these things are the equivalent of the on-going disaster in the Gulf.

People who say things like that are just beyond reason. I'm sorry. I simply can't express myself strongly enough on this matter. The Gulf is an environmental disaster. A leak within the plant boundaries is pretty much a non-event. That's all there is to it. Only a crazy person would say the two types of things are the same.

I usually don't call the opponents of the plant "crazy." I assume they have their issues and they have their reasons. Once in a while, however, some of the opponents cross the boundary of sanity.

People who compare in-plant leakage of small amounts of radiation with the Gulf disaster are crazy.

And a thank-you to Rod Adams for his post about Vermont legislators, and for describing me as a gentlewoman!


Note: I will be out of town for a week, starting tomorrow. Blog posts will be infrequent, I suspect, but I will do my best to be responsive about comment moderation.


donb said...

I am guessing that the radioactive load of this "disaster" is probably on the order of a banana peal. Perhaps we need someone to show a video of a banana peal sitting on the ground and discuss what a disaster it is from a radiological point of view. And then discuss the much larger danger of simply slipping on it (not to mention the general litter aspect).

uvdiv said...

> Unfortunately, changing the title of the post would break links, so I must let the title stand.

Actually you can safely edit blog titles. The post URL will remain the same, and links will remain valid. (Of course, this implies the URL and the post title will no longer be the same -- not that this matters much.)

Meredith Angwin said...

Hi uvdiv
Thanks for the advice!
I have changed the title. I see the URL remains the same, so the links should remain the same. I appreciate knowing this. I have been very wary of titles in the past.

Meredith Angwin said...

Since I have updated the post completely now, I have taken out distracting verbiage "'I thought it was a quart of water not a gallon when I first wrote the post." The post is now accurate, both in title and content.
At first, I had updated the post, but hadn't updated the title, for fear of breaking links. Uvdiv explained that I could also update the title.