What’s it gonna take folks, a meltdown?

ENVY Cooling Tower Failure August 21, 2007 

ENVY Cooling Tower Failure August 21, 2007

ENVY Cooling Tower Failure August 21, 2007

ENVY Cooling Tower Failure August 21, 2007

ENVY Cooling Tower Failure August 21, 2007

Latest News:


Congressional delegation calls investigation into Yankee mishap

MONTPELIER, Vt. —Vermont’s congressional delegation on Thursday requested a thorough investigation into the collapse of a portion of Vermont Yankee’s cooling tower. MORE >


State Official: Closer Inspections Needed at Yankee

Vernon, Vermont – August 24, 2007Vermont’s nuclear engineer says better inspections are needed at the state’s only nuclear power plant. That statement comes after a water cooling tower collapsed at Vermont Yankee in Vernon earlier this week. The state says what happened is unacceptable, and the water cooling tower failure has raised questions about the safety of the aging facility.

Three days after a cooling tower collapsed, Yankee Nuclear is working to figure out what went wrong, causing the wooden beams to give way. MORE >


Nuclear plant damage is worse than reported

Published: Friday, August 24, 2007
By Sam Hemingway
Free Press Staff Writer

A cooling tower structure at the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant that partially collapsed Tuesday underwent a full inspection as recently as this spring and was found to be in good condition, a company spokesman said Thursday. MORE >


State delegates press for thorough probe

By BOB AUDETTE, Reformer Staff

Friday, August 24

BRATTLEBORO — Vermont’s congressional delegation is demanding the Nuclear Regulatory Commission conduct “a thorough and complete investigation into the collapse of a portion of a cooling tower at Vermont Yankee.”  MORE >

Photo frames the worry over VY


Friday, August 24

The photo in Thursday’s Reformer of the collapsed wood structure that is one of 22 cooling cells at Vermont Yankee is unsettling, to say the least.

Entergy, owner of the Vernon nuclear reactor, continues to assert it practices impeccable maintenance protocol. If that is the case, it’s hard to understand why wooden beams and piping to the Connecticut River failed, sending water gushing to the ground.

We can’t fault the anti-nuclear activists, who must be saying, “We told you so.” We’re waiting for the NRC — and Entergy — to outline the cause of the failure and tell the truth plainly.


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2 responses to “What’s it gonna take folks, a meltdown?

  1. While todays Brattleboro Reformer has the best editorial on VY, that I can recall, — I’m afraid you’re right — it’s gonna take a meltdown. It’s not that people don’t care, it’s that they are overwhelmed with what life has become.

    Thanks for posting and sharing the photos.

    I cut and pasted the Reformer Editorial below.

    Who’s minding the plant?

    Editorial, Brattleboro Reformer, September 1, 2007,


    On Wednesday, David O’Brien, the commissioner of the Vermont Department of Public Service, toured the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in Vernon.

    O’Brien, who went on a four-hour tour with the state’s new nuclear engineer, Uldis Vanags, said afterward that last week’s collapse of a cooling tower was just an isolated problem and that Vermont Yankee would be up and running at full power in a matter of days.

    On Thursday, Vermont Yankee went into a emergency shutdown due to a problem with a faulty steam valve.

    “The timing couldn’t be much worse,” O’Brien said Thursday.

    Do you think?

    Entergy and the Department of Public Service certainly look foolish right now, and their claims that all is well at Vermont Yankee ring more hollow with every new mishap at the plant.

    The list of mishaps — lost fuel rods, transformer fires, blown pump seals, electrical problems — is long. And, they seem to be coming more frequently since Entergy got approval to increase Vermont Yankee’s power output by 20 percent.

    While O’Brien insists that what he called the “nuclear side of the plant” remains safe, he also put the onus on Entergy to assure the public that Vermont Yankee is still a safe and reliable source of energy.

    Good luck with that.

    The reality is that while Entergy wants to run an aging nuclear reactor at 120 percent of its generating capacity until at least 2032, Vermont Yankee is slowly but surely falling apart.

    Incidents like last week’s cooling tower collapse do not increase public confidence in Vermont Yankee. Neither do emergency shutdowns. While the public was not in any danger in either mishap, who’s to say that we won’t be as lucky the next time?

    We think it is time for Vermont to stop pretending that Vermont Yankee will continue to function indefinitely. The state needs to get serious about coming up with a replacement source for the one-third of Vermont’s electricity which the nuclear plant now provides.

    Up to now, it hasn’t.

    The Douglas administration, the Department of Public Service and the Legislature have all taken for granted that there will be a nuclear plant in Vernon. They fully expect the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to extend Vermont Yankee’s license past 2012, when its current 40-year license expires. They seem to see no reason to worry.

    It’s time for them to start worrying.

    Even though the NRC functions as a rubber stamp for the nuclear industry, it has a limit to how many mishaps can happen at a nuclear plant before it has to be shut down. The events of the past two weeks certainly aren’t helping Entergy’s case.

    We believe the Douglas administration and the Legislature need to come up with a contingency plan for how Vermont will get the electric power it needs if Vermont Yankee is no longer operating.

    The state needs to get serious about energy conservation programs, and fully fund them. It needs to get serious about wind, hydro, solar and biomass energy, and expedite development of alternative power sources.

    The state needs to think about how Vermont Yankee can be safely shut down, and provide the necessary resources for the town of Vernon and the workers of Vermont Yankee to make the transition once the plant closes.

    O’Brien said Wednesday after his Vermont Yankee tour that he did not “see a reason for pushing the panic button here.”

    He may want to rethink that statement today.

    While we don’t think there is a reason to panic, we do think that the time to start planning for a post-Vermont Yankee energy future is now. It should be the state’s No. 1 priority.

  2. This is utter madness!

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