Vermont Yankee operating at reduced power as engineers investigate condenser problem

Vermont Yankee on the banks of the Connecticut River

Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant is operating at reduced capacity due to a problem with a key component of the reactor system.

A Yankee official says engineers at the plant are investigating an issue with the condenser.

The condenser is original to the 40-year-old plant and functions something like a radiator — it operates under vacuum pressure and condenses steam from the plant into water and then returns it to the reactor. The condenser is made up of two sections, each the size of a three-story house. Each section has thousands of metal tubes inside it that carry river water, over time the tubing has worn thin.

Last November, during a planned refueling outage, plant workers applied a protective coating — an epoxy or plastic — to the tubing in the condenser in an effort to reduce wear and tear on the metal and extend the life of the condenser.

At the beginning of February, nuclear engineers at the plant discovered that the the thermal heat exchange efficiency of the condenser was greatly reduced. Last week, the plant had to lower its power production by 50 percent because back pressure was building up in the condenser.

Larry Smith, communications director for Vermont Yankee, said the cause of the “reduced performance” of the condenser isn’t clear at this point.

For the time being, the plant cannot operate at full power until the problem is resolved, he said.

“We are evaluating all the associated systems to determine the cause,” Smith said. “It could be any number of things that’s causing the issue.”

Smith said the condenser has been upgraded over time and the tubes were “resleeved” several years ago.

Neil Sheehan, regional spokesman for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, said the plastic coating Entergy used on the condenser tubes has caused the system to run less efficiently. Until the plant can fix the problem, it will have to run at reduced power, he said.

Last week the back pressure level went up to 4.5 pounds per square inch. The maximum level for the plant is 5 psi, according to Sarah Hofmann, deputy commissioner of the Department of Public Service. At that point, the plant has to power down, Hofmann said. At 7 psi, the plant trips on its own and goes into SCRAM mode.

Vermont Yankee officials have told the state that the epoxy could be the cause of the thermal efficiency problem. Hofmann said she hopes the plant is investigating this theory next week. If the epoxy is the source of the issue, the plant will have to run at 50 percent power levels while workers strip epoxy off of the tubing in each of the sections of the condenser.

“It’s one of the lead theories,” Hofmann said. “We’re waiting while they’re investigating going further.”

Arnie Gundersen, a Burlington-based nuclear engineer and frequent national media commentator on the nuclear industry, said the heat transfer problem will worsen in summer when the water temperature of the Connecticut River rises from springtime temperatures of 50 degrees to 70 degrees.

The warmer water could lead to reduced output at the plant. Every time the plant drops 10 megawatts, it costs Entergy Corp., the plant’s owner, $10 million. The plant’s output could be cut in half and lead to a loss of 40 megawatts to 50 megawatts of power per day in the summer, Gundersen said.

Hofmann said the Department of Public Service is concerned about the broader issues with regard to Entergy’s management of the plant. “It brings up how well the plant is running and also the human error factors,” she said.

Bob Stannard, a lobbyist for Vermont Citizens Action Network, an anti-nuclear group, said the condenser problems call into question the reliability of the plant.

“We’ve known for years the condenser needed to be replaced,” Stannard said. “We’ve known Entergy has a history of deferring maintenance. After 40 years they’re still doing trial and error on the repairs to this plant. You’d think we’d be beyond trial and error phase for maintaining a nuclear power plant.”

Since Louisiana-based Entergy Corporation purchased Vermont Yankee from state utility companies CVPS and Green Mountain Power in 2002, the plant has had a string of physical plant problems including a water tower collapse and a transformer fire. In January 2010, the company revealed that underground pipes at the plant were leaking tritium into soil on the compound, which is located on the banks of the Connecticut River.

The plant’s license to operate in Vermont expires on March 21. Pro- and anti-nuclear activists plan protests in the run up to the plant’s 40-year anniversary.

In 2009, the Vermont Senate voted to deny permission for Entergy to obtain a certificate of public good from the Public Service Board for relicensure of the plant, which employs 650 people in the Vernon area where the plant is located. The plant has since become the center of litigation. Entergy sued the state over several statutes, including one that gives Vermont jurisdiction over the continued operation of the plant past the 40-year deadline and a say in the long-term storage of nuclear waste on site.

Entergy won the first round of the suit in U.S. District Court; the Vermont Attorney General has appealed. Scholars and observers say the case could go the U.S. Supreme Court.

Follow Anne on Twitter @GallowayVTD

Anne GallowayAnne Galloway

Comments

  1. Dennis Pearson :

    “The warmer water could lead to reduced output at the plant. Every time the plant drops 10 megawatts, it costs Entergy Corp., the plant’s owner, $10 million. The plant’s output could be cut in half and lead to a loss of 40 megawatts to 50 megawatts of power, Gundersen said.”

    Assuming $45/MWe-hr, the plant if operating at 100% power (625 MWe) would make $675,000/day. Dropping 10 MWe would cost the plant $10 million in about 2.5 years of operation.

    I think something was lost in translation.

  2. Howard Shaffer :

    Perhaps the Engineering team of Fairewinds and Stannard could recommend a solution tailored to the chemistry of the river at Vernon?

    Entergy has already said they will replace the condenser when they know they are going to operate for 20 more years. The resleeving and epoxy are acknowledged to be temporary.

    • Arnie Gunderson is “Chief Engineer” of Fairwinds Associates. Perhaps he might put his entire engineering team to work on the issue? What’s that you say? He’s the ONLY engineer at Fairwinds Associates and simply calls himself “Chief Engineer” arbitrarily? As in “Captain” of a row boat with a crew of one?

      Well maybe Bob Stanndard and his technical crew can help. What’s that you say? Bob Stannard is a musician and a lobbyist with no technical background whatsoever?

      Why are these people being quoted in a technical article if they are just antinuclear activists for hire?

      Oh, never mind.

  3. Bob Stannard :

    Most, if not all other nuclear power plants have replaced the condenser after 30 years. Like they did with their cooling towers, Entergy is deferring maintenance in order to enhance profits.

    I’m no engineer nor have I ever claimed to be one. Frankly they should not be using our river to cool this plant. They should have to use their cooling towers and stop heating our river over 100 degrees. That’s my solution.

  4. Bob Stannard :

    Entergy is doing what it’s noted for; deferring maintenance. They did so on the cooling towers, which resulted in the collapse. They should tell Vermonters what are the ramifications should the condenser fail.

    Shaffer knows I’m no engineer no have I ever claimed to be one, but let me offer a solution; stop using (and heating up) the river and use the cooling towers full-time.

  5. Rob Simoneau :

    I can’t believe this; Homer Simpson back at work. Epoxy! epoxy aka bondo; are you kidding me?! Why not just use duck tape and call it a day. I have posted this donation challenge on a number of these articles just a few days ago and I already won! No wonder advocates of this most dangerous nuclear power plant refuse to take up my challenge. Come on. put your asset where your mouth is!!

    “Entergy has already said they will replace the condenser when they know they are going to operate for 20 more years. The resleeving and epoxy are acknowledged to be temporary.” They will replace the condensers when they damn well feel like it or are forced to and not a moment before. The NRC is no longer relevant or even a credible government agency. We need to decommission the NRC like Japan did to their nuclear agency after Fukushima Daiichii because their agency was not credible.

    Posted previously on other articles related to silly laws that have no relevance:

    It is unfortunate that all this “legal” haggling has nothing to do with Vermont Yankee. Yep, you are all wasting your valuable time. The law has no place here; really, the real issue is when will Vermont Yankee experience its catastrophic fail? It is currently the most unreliable and dangerous nuclear plant in the world. There are many others, many close seconds depending on nature’s mood and farcical design and operating procedures of all nuclear power plants. Others regional nuclear plants that come immediately to mind are The Indian Head Point plant which lies on a fault line as dangerous as those that affected Japan and resulted in the Fukushima Daiichi disaster. I urge all of you to watch NHK the Japanese channel to get real time coverage of the ongoing crisis. http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/ The US corporate media protects their own so the Fukushima Daiichi disaster is pretty much ignored here. Sorry that’s right the media is liberal, my mistake. The Plymouth plant in Massachusetts is one more.

    So let’s put some skin in the game. I am presenting a $1000.00 donation challenge to anyone on this web site, well anywhere. The money will be donated to the Children of Chornobyl Relief and Development Fund. The challenge is that there will be yet another failure at VY within oh let’s say within one year. Unfortunately I only have $1000.00 to spend on this donation. Now the catch is that you must match my donation with your level of confidence in Entergy and its wholly owned subsidiary the NRC as a multiplier. Therefore if you are 100 times more confident and you lose and a failure occurs you will donate $100,000 to the Chornobyl Relief and Development Fund. There is also one more caveat, and that if Entergy lies again and it is discovered that, say, the failure is discovered two or three years hence, it is double or triple indemnity. That will raise the matching donation to $201,000, $301,000 respectively and of course I will want my $1000.00 back. I will deposit the $1000 in any account.

    Oh and as far as betting on a failed and failing nuclear power plant seems tacky, well is it is only fair since Entergy management and the NRC staff are betting our lives and our environment and the future of the entire region. The money spent on this court case which has far reaching consequences for all states. How can I be so sure Vermont Yankee will continue to fail? I read the research literature on aging nuclear power plants.

    The “experts,” which there are none, are pretty much figuring it out as they go along which they readily admit. As far as running a flawed Mark I design, run at 20% over capacity, incompetently maintained and have to be caught lying about something as basic as routine maintenance, your laws have no place in this discussion. The management of VT is pure greed laced with hubris. As for the NRC advocacy for Entergy, well they are like the old quote about GM. We don’t care because we don’t have to; we all know what happened to GM, a meltdown.
    “There is no safety in unlimited technological hubris” (McGeorge Bundy).

    Yo Homer, didn’t we design those cooling towers to collapse? We paid extra for that feature. Yo Homer didn’t we design for the pipes to leak tritium. We also paid extra for that design feature. Homer refresh my memory, didn’t we design Vermont Yankee to operate for only forty year. I don’t know, we had no idea what we were doing at the time but it sounds like a nice round number.

    This just in from NHK (Japan News):
    Former US Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Richard Meserve spoke on Monday at a meeting of Japan’s parliamentary panel investigating the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident. Meserve said it’s important for a nuclear regulatory organization to be free from political intervention and independent of a power company. He also said the regulatory body must listen to the public and maintain a high level of openness and transparency.

  6. FRANK DAVIS :

    This is a 40 year old machine. Very few of us, probably none of the Entergy executives are driving 1972 model cars on a daily basis. Why not? They have broken down, system by system. ’72 cars are classics, collector pieces, retired, decommissioned, etc., etc.

    • Frank, if you can show me a car capable of driving at full speed, nonstop, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for 2 years straight before stopping for gas, without emitting a single molecule of CO2 then I’ll entertain your car analogy. Otherwise, you’re just comparing apples to the Large Hadron Collider.

  7. Mike Kerin :

    Another band aid for this old plant, just to increase the profits. The same thing is going to happen to other “worn thin” pipes and parts.

    Sense Entergy has owned the plant they have allowed the preventive maintenance to lapse, instead putting band aids on the plant. All the while they have increased power output and discharged higher temperature water into the river. All for increased profits!

    Entergy has done nothing but mislead and out and out lie to the State. It is time the State deny the needed CPG on the grounds of dishonesty on the part of Entergy.

  8. James Leas :

    While we are at it, lets calculate Entergy’s gross earnings from the Vermont Yankee reactor if it is running at full power, 625 megawatts, and if electricity price averaged over a year is 4.5 cents per kilowatt-hour (equivalent to $45 per megawatt-hour):

    625 megawatts x 24 hours/day x 365 days/year x $45/megawatt-hr = $246,375,000 per year

    (For 20 years that adds up to $4.9 billion.)

    Enviable potential revenues. But if Entergy is losing more than half its expected revenues because it both has to run at half power and has lower conversion efficiency, then Entergy may not be making much profit from operating the reactor even if permitted to do so by the Public Service Board and/or the court while the cases are pending.

    Entergy is unlikely to replace the condenser until the Public Service Board and/or the appeals courts make final decisions in its favor.

    If condenser replacement turns out to be needed so Entergy can resume operation at full power, the Board might well inadvertently be doing Entergy a big favor if its review of the purchase agreement, the memorandum of understanding and the certificate of public good lead the Board to ordering Entergy to stop operation of the reactor on March 21 and proceed with decommissioning.

    The Board would thereby put Entergy out of its dire quintuple miseries: repeated management decision making failure regarding maintenance, a fire and repeated leaks and a condenser fix that failed as well as design problems identical to those at Fukushima, lack of profit because running at half power, management lack of truthfulness, and growing massive public opposition.

  9. Coleman Dunnar :

    Howard:
    Let me see if I understand this correctly – Entergy was deferring a multi- million dollar capital investment until the uncertainty over Vermont granting a CPG was resolved. Who was responsible for creating the uncertainty? Answer – the legislature and their band of “pseudo experts “. Quoting Nancy Sinatra someone’s been “messing where they shouldn’t be messing.”

  10. Emily Purdy :

    I know it is a charged issue whether or not Vermont Yankee stays operating or if it shuts down as scheduled next week. In my opinion creating small scale energy situations we can all work together in to maintain and support is what we should focus on. I believe Vermont Yankee should shut down as scheduled next week so we can look ahead to an energy future we can all get involved in on some level. Don’t we all live hoping we have made good decisions about the health of our families, our communities, and the Earth? Vermont Yankee is just an accident waiting to happen, let’s not push it. An end to this is the beginning of something else. Let’s hold Entergy accountable for the thorough and safe shut down and cleanup of Vermont Yankee as they continue to provide jobs in the cleanup to their employees.
    Thank you.

  11. David klein :

    I believe that the engineers working at VTYankee are conscientious and able and have the safety of the plant as their goal. I believe that they are community minded and are an asset to Vermont and its economy. As safe as they think it to be, as remote as any possibility of meltdown or radiological release is in their calculations, nuclear power, without any way to dispose of the waste, needs to be phased out as quickly as possible.

  12. Alex Barnham :

    Wow…I never realized the cooling problems were so great…that makes me realize something…the vents they have placed in case the reactor overheats just vent the raw steam full of strontium right into the air…unmonitored!!! Now where is the American Lung Association when you need them?

  13. Alex Barnham :

    True journalism is going to the silent areas to find the truth.

  14. Alex Barnham :

    I am sorry to be a nag but why are the vents not being monitored when there is a definite problem with overheating issues?

  15. Howard Shaffer :

    The Containment “Hardened Vent” goes to the stack, which is monitored.

    It was installed on Mark I plants as a last ditch measure to prevent the Containment from developing a split. The split could eventually occur if the Containment was overpressured. At Fukushima 1,2,3 pressure was high when venting was done.

    The venting would be done under favorable weather conditions. Evacuation of the down wind sectors would have been ordered on the first day, as was done in Japan.

  16. Dennis Pearson :

    Watch the video at the following link that compares the radiological consequences of the Fukushima Daiichi event with Chernobyl:

    http://www.world-nuclear.org/fukushima/

    The WNA is an excellent site to learn more. Keep a questioning attitude, but don’t let fear of nuclear power and radiation control your life!

  17. Great article. Dr. Richard Watts has just written a book on the entire Vermont Yankee story. It comes out next week and he’s doing book signings all over. Check out http://www.publicmeltdown.org for more info!

  18. Alex Barnham :

    So in other words, Howard, the Mark I is a bomb.

    • Alex, making progressively more uninformed and inaccurate statements does not help your position.

  19. Bob Stannard :

    Gundersen testified before the PSB in 2003 about the condenser unit becoming a problem. The “we” would be anyone with an open mind who listened to him. Of course, as is usually the case, Gundersen was right in his predictions. Don’t take my word for it. Go read the docket.

  20. Rob Simoneau :

    vic hudson wrote: “I’m no engineer nor have I ever claimed to be one.” Correct. nor are you a lawyer. You are just a paid mouthpiece for anti-nuclear hysterics. And yet you play engineer and lawyer all the time.

    Dear Mr. Hudson,

    I am not a paid anti-nuclear hysteric.

    Let me introduce myself. I am trained as a materials science engineer. I worked as a guest scientist for 13 years for the Army Research Laboratory in Watertown Massachusetts. The ol Watertown arsenal. It was a “hot” base, we worked with many radioactive materials, especially depleted uranium. There was a reactor on site which was decommissioned and dismantled in 1993. I was also a Program Director at the National Science Foundation for two years. I have consulted for Ford Motor Company, Timken Aerospace, Smiths Medical, Polaroid and Gables Engineering and many other companies.

    While at the Watertown arsenal during it decommission circa 1992, I asked one of the decommission workers what he considered the most dangerous plants in New England, without hesitation he said Plymouth and Vermont Yankee. He indicated that some doors are welded shut at Plymouth and all I thought at the time that Vermont Yankee was a pretty cool name. I also learned about “cobalt fleas”, yes they do exit. These are created when uranium bundles are not properly dried and moisture is trapped. You have no idea how many way a nuclear power plant, actually nobody does. Using a K-12 grade scale I would put us at about 4 maybe fifth grade. We could be promoted to 6th if the nuclear industry worldwide did not lie so much.

    While at the arsenal I worked on the latest materials research in all areas and worked along side math wizards who used advanced mathematical modeling and finite element analysis. I also had the honor of working with some of the best engineers from around the world from all engineering disciplines from MIT, University of Wales, Northeaster, UMASS, Lowell etc. I met, worked with and learned much from these experiences.

    I read every aging report I can get my hands on. I have read the report on the request to run VY at 20% beyond it design capacity which was largely a computer aided computational fluid dynamics assessment. I have read puerperal articles on related aspects of aging plants such as leaking plants, deteriorating storage sites, and incidences of cancer. The most chilling report is the one produced about the death toll around Chernobyl, placing the death toll at around 900,000. It is a report published by the New York Academy of Science entitled: Chernobyl Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment. It must be purchased since they no longer provide direct access. Oh and at one point they took the report down from their website, the cover-up never ends. This Chernobyl report is a masterpiece of research and reporting not only on humans but on the environment.

    Basically I know what is stated the published research literature and that is all I am relating here.

    Do ask me sir; am I hysterical? I am not, as a trained engineer I am not given to hysterics; however in regards to VY I am truly terrified. Vermont Yankee will experience a catastrophic failure and our beloved New England will no longer exit. Again I urge you, please sir, to read, learn and to at least reassess your position. This is not a quarrel to win or lose. There are no winners in this debate. It is not a political debate. It is not even a legal debate. The Vermont Yankee plant does not care it is a machine a broken machine and when it comes time to fail it will fail. It is only a matter of time.

    These are early read articles, with some heavy duty concepts but you can get the basic concepts by just reading a few pages. I have listed only some of the many articles regarding aging nuclear power plants. There are many national and international articles and presentations on the subject:

    Aging Nuclear Power Plants: Managing Plant Life and Decommissioning, Sept 1993, Office of Technology Assessment

    Assessment of Age-Related Degradation of Structures and Passive Components for U.S. Nuclear Power Plants July 2000, Brookhaven National Laboratory.

    Working Draft: Science Based Nuclear Energy Systems Enabled by Advanced Modeling and Simulation at Extreme Scale.

    The NRC and Nuclear Power Plant Safety in 2010 from the Union of Concerned Scientists

    “In 2010, the NRC reported on 14 special inspections it launched in response to troubling events, safety equipment problems, and security shortcomings at nuclear power plants. This report provides an overview of each of these significant events—or near-misses.”

    Oh and you think the France have their act together well start by considering contamination from uranium mining:
    “Areva eclabousse par lest fruites d’uranium”. This article was published in Enquete Flore Thomasset. Homes, gardens, school yards all contaminated and of course the French deny any problems but spent a lot of money to decontaminate areas that had been discover.

    • Rob,

      Since you’re clearly a well read guy, check out the disclaimer on page 2 of that report you just cited. The part where NYAS says they were PAID BY GREENPEACE to publish that report. It says that NYAS did not perform the study and that they do not beleive the data collected supports the conclusions drawn by the autors. They go on to say that given the nature of the report and the organization behind it, that the work appeared to be politically motivated and does not stand up to scientific scrutiny.

      You DID actually read the report you just cited, didn’t you?

      Did you read the one that was conducted by the World Health Organization (otherwise known as REAL DOCTORS) that placed the death toll from Chernobyl at 56 people dead?

  21. Alex Barnham :

    I do feel sorry for the people who, in the light of all the evidence, totally disregard the truth. The overwhelming evidence is available to us and the good people of Vermont (as opposed to the bad people) will do everything possible to protect our land, air, and water from being destroyed by nuclear contamination.

  22. Rob Simoneau :

    Thank you Jack,

    The Chernobyl report seems to be at the center of the death toll controversy, low numbers vs. high numbers. Yes, I have read the report some of the molecular biology I struggled with. I believe, but I will check, that either the UN or WHO finally raised its number from 4,000 to 9,000. I agree with the potential conflict of interest assessment in terms of Greenpeace commissioning the report. No I am not aware of any criticism from the New York Academy of Science. It they are so critical why can I still buy the report from their website.
    http://www.nyas.org/publications/annals/Detail.aspx?cid=f3f3bd16-51ba-4d7b-a086-753f44b3bfc1

    This is the only comment I can find:
    “This is a collection of papers translated from the Russian with some revised and updated contributions. Written by leading authorities from Eastern Europe, the volume outlines the history of the health and environmental consequences of the Chernobyl disaster. According to the authors, official discussions from the International Atomic Energy Agency and associated United Nations’ agencies (e.g. the Chernobyl Forum reports) have largely downplayed or ignored many of the findings reported in the Eastern European scientific literature and consequently have erred by not including these assessments.”

    I am currently reviewing some criticisms of the report, please see below.

    Unfortunately some critics state regarding the Chernobyl report:
    “Radiation is a relatively weak carcinogen, and its health effects in the population are identified with great difficulties and only with internationally recognized analytical techniques with individual account not only for the dose but also for other influencing factors. The only exception was the post-Chernobyl radiogenic thyroid cancer in children, because the doses from radioiodine were so high (up to tens of Gray), and the spontaneous incidence rate in children is so low (a few cases per million children per year) that the effect of radiation was detected both within analytical and ecological studies (UNSCEAR 2008).”

    We are not talking about radiation here but nuclear fallout which carries radiation. I disagree with the above statement and can site work conducted in the 50s. There are many techniques which were and can be used to evaluate levels of contamination in humans and in particular children. One study commissioned to determine the effects of nuclear fallout from atomic weapons testing collected children’s teeth from dentists to establish the presence and level of Strontium 90, the “bone seeker” which can be used to correlate with incidences of cancer while adjusting for other effects.
    This is not difficult science but must be utilized carefully.
    Strontium 90 is the “smoking gun” since it is a man made product of nuclear fusion unlike radon. Suggested reading: Biology and “The Bomb” Jennifer Caron, Engineering & Science 2004, #2.

    In addition critics state that peer reviewed information was not included and that data was “cherry picked” to build its case. The critics do not provide a comparative analysis of reports sited in the Chernobyl report vs. their suggested peer reviewed paper on key points. It is easy to cast doubt on this report, or any report, and I will work with my biology folks to critically review its contents based on suggested criticism. If there was not problem why has the Children of Chornobyl Relief and Development Fund been established and been in operation since 1989.

    But the report has to be judged on its own merits since nobody in the government wants to expose the true extent of deaths. This same situation is now being played out in Japan by TEPCO. The Nuclear Watch segment has been pulled off the main page of NHK. The published radiation reports are given in Japanese so are of limited help.

    There are two issues with nuclear radiation and fallout one is immediate deaths and the other is years of life lost based on some mean expected age which takes into account other factor. I hope to travel to Kiev this summer and see what I can find out for myself.

    In terms of immediate deaths possibly within the first day or second day the 56 deaths seems credible. However that is not what we are talking about here. The Chernobyl report was conduced by people with their “feet on the ground”. This has some merit since they explore not only what happens to humans but what also happened to the surrounding habitats at the bio-molecular level.

    I appreciate healthy skepticism here but the death tool requires our understanding that deaths are distributed over time based on key variable such as amount and type of radiation and fallout, atmospheric and geological conditions, biological mechanism and habitat (human and forests). The Chernobyl report does explore, for example the ability of some trees to better manage radiation contamination than others. The investigators in this report attempts to understand these mechanisms for humans and the environment. Therefore I am unwilling to dismiss the report out of hand. I will re-read the Chernobyl report and ask for assessment from my molecular biologist colleagues, real doctors.

    As a Soviet block country at the time of the incident it was difficult to get data, any data. Some people believe, speculation, that part of the reason of the break up of the Soviet Union was due, in part, to the Chernobyl incident.

    At the Army Research Labs it was routine to fabricate depleted uranium shells. The density of these shell enable penetration of thick armor. Regardless it is generally understood that if solders were not killed outright, immediate deaths, than the the depleted uranium that is inhaled etc. would kill them eventually. Just to be clear here we invented the atomic bomb to kill people from the blast of the immediate explosion and radiation as well as nuclear fallout. Linus Pauling an outspoken critic of above ground nuclear testing due to related health risks won two unshared Nobel Prize prizes, Madam Curie the only other, for his work in chemistry and his peace efforts. The then President Kennedy refused to publicly greet him, as customary, after winning his Nobel Prize. The controversy started a long time ago.

    Again thank you for your comments.

  23. David Davison :

    Wow! Contentious expert to expert, lawyer to lawyer, corporation to individual, Federal court to state legislature arguments abound and confuse a very important issue for me. I’m not a nuclear engineer, a corporate stockholder, nor well read on what is becoming a potential crisis for my Vermont friends and neighbors. But for me, trading Louisiana corporate profits for New England health, safety, and welfare doesn’t make sense. For me, a corporation that buys an aged plant as dangerous as a nuclear one for the purpose of decommissioning it ought to be bound to decommission it. For me, the Department of Energy’s failures with the national spent nuclear fuel repository foretell a future of worrisome local dry cask storage that can fail like cooling towers and condensers. For me, maintenance of Vermont Yankee will, if it hasn’t already, become unsustainable and,therefore, unstable. For me, closing VY is our only choice in averting the highly probable catastrophic event. Do we want to enjoy telling post VY family, friends, and neighbors we did what we had to do to protect the safety, health, and welfare of all or do we want to just say, “Sorry. We miscalculated but our bankers understood how that could happen.”

  24. Stephen Fitzpatrick :

    The 2010 U.S. population within 10 miles (16 km) of Vermont Yankee was 35,284, an increase of 1.4 percent in a decade, according to an analysis of U.S. Census data for msnbc.com. The 2010 U.S. population within 50 miles (80 km) was 1,533,472, an increase of 2.9 percent since 2000. Cities within 50 miles include Brattleboro (6 miles to city center); Keene, N.H., (16 miles to city center); Fitchburg, Mass., (38 miles to city center).[14]

    The democratically elected legislature,(we are spending inconceivable amounts of money and manpower promoting this form of governance around the globe.) elected by the people, hence the voice of the people, has indicated they are agreeable to the original terms of operation.
    Why is this so hard to except?

    Blinded by greed. The corporate entity exists for profit. In this day and age profit at all costs. Yes, you and I are expendable assets.

    We had a great run, forty years, kudos to the operators, engineers, designers etc. Now lets all celebrate together,and turn it off. We are a resourceful group here on earth. We will figure out how to keep the lights on.

    Who amongst us would choose to have this hanging over their heads if the forty year projection is accurate. Electricity is a wonderful gift no doubt. But I wouldn’t throw away all the people, wildlife, and land in harms way of Vermont Yankee for a few hours of electricity or 600 jobs.

    Lawyers love jurisprudence and fees.
    Engineers love numbers.
    Surgeons love to cut.

    The experts will argue till their death, look at Dick Cheney. The guy is dying and still trying control the world.

    Why not honor the voice of the people, the people living in the back yard of a nuclear reactor and spent fuel farm?

  25. Mike Kerin :

    No news about the plant running at top speed or half speed sense this story. Why can’t we keep up with what is happening?

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