RELEASE: Speaker Smith and Senator Shumlin Express Concerns Regarding Misinformation from Entergy Louisiana

Alexandra MacLean
Aide to the Senate Pro Tem
Office: 802-828-3806
Fax: 802-828-1040
115 State St
Montpelier, VT 05633
amaclean@leg.state.vt.us
Alexandra Maclean 1/15/2010 12:16 PM >>>
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 15, 2009

 

CONTACT:
Alexandra MacLean, (802) 828-3806
Tom Cheney, (802) 828-2245

Montpelier, Vt – Speaker Shap Smith and Senate President Pro Tem Peter Shumlin, today expressed their concerns regarding the fact that Entergy Nuclear misled Vermont’s Department of Public Service and the Legislature’s Oversight Panel.  

The Vermont Yankee Oversight Panel was formed in 2008 in order to conduct a comprehensive reliability assessment of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant.  The 19 month assessment concluded in March 2009 with a report delivered to the legislature.  The Department of Public Service has now made it clear that the Panel was repeatedly misinformed by several Entergy sources of the existence of underground piping at the plant.  These misrepresentations call the conclusions of the entire reliability assessment into question.  

“We would like to thank the Department of Public Service for their quick and strong action,” said Speaker Smith.  “The fact that the Department and the Legislature’s Public Oversight Panel have been given inaccurate information is disconcerting and frankly threatens the level of trust that Vermonters can have in Entergy Louisiana.”  

Senator Shumlin and Speaker Smith have asked the Oversight Panel to reconvene and reexamine the conclusions of their March 2009 Report due to the fact that the information provided by Entergy Louisiana can no longer be guaranteed.  The Legislative leaders authorized the Senate Finance and House Natural Resources Committees to assist the panel in their examinations.  

“The breach of the truth by Entergy Louisiana is extremely concerning and we will be taking steps to reexamine all of the information that we have been given by Entergy Louisiana.” said Senator Shumlin.  “In addition, we want to assure Vermonters that we will do everything in our power to make sure that the tritium leak is found and cleaned up as quickly as possible.”  

The legislative leaders have also engaged in conversations with Vermont’s federal delegation about the fact that Entergy Louisiana supplied the Department of Public Service and the Legislature’s Oversight Panel with misinformation.  

“We greatly appreciate the federal delegation’s rapid response and look forward to the conclusions of the NRC’s investigation,” said Speaker Shap Smith.”

Speaker Smith and Senator Shumlin’s letter to their appointed members of the Oversight Panel, Peter Bradford and Arnie Gundersen, is pasted below.

###

January 15, 2009

Dear Peter Bradford and Arnie Gundersen,

You both were notified yesterday by the Department of Public Service that the tritium found several weeks ago in a monitoring well on the Vermont Yankee site may also be present in many unreported radioactive underground pipes.  While the actual source of the leak has yet to be discovered, it now seems clear that either a buried pipe or tank containing radioactive material is leaking.  In your role as members of the Vermont Yankee Public Oversight Panel, you were informed in 2008 by several Entergy sources that there were no such pipes on the Vermont Yankee site.  That misrepresentation calls all of the Panel’s conclusions into question.

We are reconstituting the Vermont Yankee Public Oversight Panel to reexamine the conclusions of their March 2009 Report due to the fact that we can no longer guarantee the accuracy of information provided to the Legislature.  

The Legislature has been tasked with evaluating the reliability of Entergy’s Vermont Yankee Nuclear Plant.  As legislators, we cannot make a correct assessment if we have the wrong information.  We request that you examine the root cause of the misleading information provided to the Public Oversight Panel and the Legislature, look at whether other information may also be incorrect and present your findings to the Legislature no later then February 16, 2010.  We also request that the Public Oversight Panel be actively involved in discussions with the Department of Public Service, Nuclear Safety Associates and Vermont Yankee including requesting your own interviews and personal analysis of reports and drawings as you see appropriate.

Your active involvement in this process is appreciated.  Thank you for your work.  

Sincerely,

Senate President Pro Tem Peter Shumlin             Speaker
Shap Smith

Alexandra MacLean
Aide to the Senate Pro Tem
Office: 802-828-3806
Fax: 802-828-1040
115 State St
Montpelier, VT 05633
amaclean@leg.state.vt.us