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NRC Annual Assessment of VT Yankee: Open House and Q&A
April 30, 2013 @ 5:30 pm - 8:00 pm
HIGHLIGHTS OF NRC / VERMONT YANKEE JANUARY – DECEMBER 2012 Events in italics are not directly related to NRC but are provided as background. For a more complete list of 2012 events with federal court, Public Service Board, and other state actions: www.safeandgreencampaign.org/resources/accidents-breakdowns-leaks-lies-and-laws/2012-timeline
- Entergy applies to NRC to change how often it will inspect the steam dryer from every time it shuts down for refueling (about every 18 months) to every 7 refueling outages (about once every 10 years). See July 2010: 65 cracks in steam dryer. (approved by NRC December 19, 2012 to every third re-fueling outage; made public on January 26, 2012).
- · Yankee refuses state’s request to test for tritium in a former drinking water well on the reactor property.(January 27)
- · Vermont Yankee operates at 20% to 43% power due to a valve which stuck due to lack of lubrication. (February 02-04)
- · Connecticut River Watershed Council releases two reports which show that Entergy used flawed scientific modeling to measure thermal pollution. (February) www.ctriver.org/programs/advocacy/thermal_pollution/
- · For the second time in recent months, Vermont Yankee reduced power due to problems with its condenser. (March 6)
- · For the third time, Vermont Yankee operated at reduced power because of continuing problems with the condenser. In the fall, epoxy as applied to leaking condenser tubes which reduced their heat transfer ability. The epoxy was removed and re-applied. (Mid-March to mid-April)
- · ISO New England said transmission upgrades and new generation means that Yankee is no longer needed to maintain grid reliability. (May)
- · Yankee operated at reduced power again, while workers replaced a leaking oil pump on one of the plant’s three feed-water cooling systems, then fixed leaking components in the condensate system. (May 7-10)
- · NRC Annual Safety Assessment on VT Yankee for 2011 Open House and Public Meeting. Headlines include: “Protestors takes over NRC open house, displacing regularly scheduled conversation and sending loud message to regulators.” (May 23) www.vpr.net/news_detail/94608/
- · NRC Reports the day after the Open House & Public Hearing: “a conduit flood seal was missing between an outside manhole and the interior of the switchgear rooms. The missing flood seal compromised the interior flooding design for both East and West Switchgear Rooms. Repairs were made … [NRC reported because] internal flooding of both Switchgear Rooms could possibly affect (a.)safe shutdown, (b.)removal of decay heat, (c.)control of release of radioactive material and (d.)mitigating an accident.” (May 24)
- The US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the NRC failed to adequately evaluate on-site nuclear waste storage prior to granting license extensions. It also ruled that the NRC must take into consideration environmental impacts of waste storage. (June 8). New England Coalition and dozens of other groups petitioned the NRC to halt final decisions on license and extensions until it evaluates the impacts of storing nuclear waste (June 18).
- · The reactor reduced power to 41% to temporarily fix a steam leak associated with its turbine. A permanent repair will take place when the reactor shuts down for refueling next year. (June 12)
- · The reactor reduced power to 35% when a reactor cooling water pump failed. The reactor building filled with smoke. (June 18). On June 23, NRC reported that the motor dates from prior to the plant opening in 1972 and finding parts could be a problem. This is one of two recirculation pump motors; the other broke down in September 2011.
- · Entergy Nuclear agrees to renew testing on the COB well, which supplied employees with drinking water and had been shut down in February 2010 after tests showed it was contaminated with tritium. After two years of request from the state, Entergy agreed to resume testing. (July 13)
- VY reduced power production to 80 percent because of its troubled condenser and low flows in the Connecticut River. River flow is 50% below normal for July. Also, due to record high temperatures, it is using the cooling towers (closed cycle cooling) twice a week to perform chlorination of the condenser and its waterboxes. (July 18)
- Water in the spent fuel pool dropped five inches, sending 2,700 gallons of “mildly” radioactive water into a wastewater system. It was 30 minutes before operators in the control room noticed. An employee had misaligned valves. (July 25)
- · A scientific study commissioned by the Connecticut River Watershed Council found that “from 2006-2010, between the months of May and October, Vermont Yankee’s discharge exceeded the permitted rise in temperature 58 percent of the time. In June, that number rose to 74 percent. The report also noted that temperature increases near the nuclear plant held at least 22.5 miles downstream in Massachusetts.” (Oct. 10)
- · A VT Yankee engineering supervisor arrived at work at 9:30 am intoxicated and was fired. (Oct. 19)
- · Brattleboro Reformer ran a series of nine articles on emergency planning in the evacuation zone. Topics included underfunding of towns and of the Red Cross, reception centers, traffic, and reality versus planning. http://www.reformer.com/ci_21802556 (Oct. 14-25).
- · New Hampshire health officials began testing fish to see if there are elevated levels of radiation following a 2010 tritium leak at the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant. (Oct. 24)
- Entergy Nuclear asks for state and federal approval to bring in a third backup diesel generator to provide electricity to Vermont Yankee in the event of an emergency station blackout, to replace Yankee’s tie-in to the hydroelectric station in Vernon, which will no longer be available for emergency power due to a decision by ISO-New England. (Oct. 27)
Compiled by Leslie Sullivan Sachs for the Safe and Green Campaign from press reports and state and federal websites.