Vermont To Create Oversight Committee For Entergy Nuclear Plant

From the Wall Street Journal:

Concerns over the 650-megawatt Vermont Yankee plant and its operator have heightened over the past year after groundwater tests showed increased levels of tritium, which regulators say can increase the risk of cancer. Entergy has been accused of misleading the public by stating in prior years that no radioactive material was transported through underground pipes, where leaks were eventually found.

Last November, Entergy said it was considering selling the plant located near the state's southern border amid state resistance--led by Shumlin, who at the time was president of the Vermont Senate--to extending the aging reactor's operations for 20 years. The operating license expires in 2012. The announcement came days before the company reported another leak caused by a crack in a pipe that was part of a system feeding water into the reactor, causing the power plant to go offline for a few days.

"I am deeply concerned with Vermont Yankee's lack of transparency about serious problems that continue to be discovered around the plant," Shumlin said in a statement. He expressed concern over a weeks-long delay in testing samples, which showed new tritium hits.

Vermont Yankee spokesman Larry Smith said the plant is "working quickly to determine the source of the newly detected tritium," but noted the cases pose no threat to public health or safety. No traces have been found in drinking water, and the cause is being investigated.

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