VERNON – Federal regulators say they have not yet decided whether to allow a second company to accept contaminated water from the shut-down Vermont Yankee nuclear plant.
Plant owner Entergy already is using Utah-based EnergySolutions to dispose of the water, which contains low levels of radioactivity. Additionally, Entergy has requested Nuclear Regulatory Commission approval to use another company – U.S. Ecology in Grand View, Idaho – for the same purpose.
The water in question is “process” water – liquid that had been used in plant operations – as well as groundwater that has intruded into the plant’s dormant turbine building.
The NRC in March asked Entergy for more information about the Idaho proposal. In documents released this week, the company has responded by clarifying radiation-dose calculations for workers who would be handling the water, and also clarifying methods used to estimate tritium concentrations.
NRC spokesman Neil Sheehan said the agency still is working “to understand the radioactivity levels that would be associated with the shipments, including potential impacts on the drivers operating the trucks carrying the loads.”
Entergy and state officials also disclosed last month that they have been discussing the possibility of discharging Vermont Yankee water into the Connecticut River. But state officials said a rigorous environmental review will precede any approval of such a discharge.