Friday, January 8, 2010

UPDATED: Vermont Yankee tritium leak threatens ground water


Maggie Gunderson wrote yesterday on GMD about the news of a tritium leak at VY. What's particularly troubling is this:
... the quote from VY's report to NRC detailing the tritium wedge moving toward the Connecticut River, especially
"The presence of tritium in station air compressor condensate and manholes (Storm Drain System) has been identified since 1995... leakage of tritium to ground water beneath the site will be transported by natural ground water gradient to the Connecticut River." (Page 51)
The problem with tritium is that it is chemically identical to water. This means that the tritium cannot be filtered out of the water like the other radioactive isotopes may be filtered from reactor water or other contaminated water.


The Rutland Herald today quotes concerns by nuclear engineer Arnie Gunderson (Maggie's husband)
who served on the special Oversight Panel that examined Vermont Yankee's reliability last year, said there likely was a plume of contamination under the reactor, and that concentrations of the tritium were likely higher in locations other than the well.

Gundersen noted that Entergy officials told his committee there was no underground tanks of piping that would have contained radioactivity, calling into question the accuracy of their reports.

"The Oversight Panel specifically asked about underground pipes and tanks, but we were stonewalled by Entergy. Tritium is a sign of a leaking pipe or tank. Entergy told the panel that they had no buried tanks or pipes containing radioactivity. This is an indication that a radioactive plume is moving under the VY site," Gundersen wrote in an e-mail.

Gundersen said the committee was very concerned about underground radioactive contamination at the site.

1 comment:

  1. Arnie Gunderson has been invited by the North End NPAs (Jan 19, 7 pm) to update us on VY safety and rate contract issues. Rep. Kurt Wright, from our district, serves on the lehislative committee that is reviewing re-licensure of VY. Rep. Wright has reported at the last 3 NPA meetings that althought he is inclined to re-license based on business pressure, he is alert to the safety and contract issues and will make up his mind based on the information he has. Arnie is a consultant to the state on VY safety issues, and he lives in Rep. Wright's district. Unfortunately, VY safety and rate impacts are very local issues, and thus a topic of concern at our NPA. A Google search for VY evacuation plan has a lot of information. Many VT residents are willing to adopt stringent energy conservation measures instead of taking the risk of extending the plant operation.


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