From the good Bob Audette of the Brattleboro Reformer:
Monday March 15, 2010
BRATTLEBORO — The possible remediation costs of contaminated groundwater at Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in Vernon due to a leak of tritiated water is dependent on a number of conditions, said a spokesman for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
The tritium decay rate is just one of those factors, said Neil Sheehan. Tritium has a half-life of 12.3 years, which means it will have lost half of its radioactivity during that period of time.
Other factors include groundwater flows, whether pumping contaminated water out of the ground could actually spread the plume and calculations used to determine the maximum amount of radioactive exposure that members of the public could experience as a result of the contamination.
“Entergy is still developing that information,” said Sheehan, adding the NRC will review any and all remediation plans once they are completed.
Entergy, which owns and operates the power plant, has indicated it plans to place Yankee into SAFSTOR for several decades following shutdown, whenever that occurs, he said.
SAFSTOR is an NRC-approved method of mothballing a plant until much of the radioactive contamination at a plant has decayed and to allow a decommissioning fund to grow to the level sufficient to pay for cleanup.
Entergy has applied to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to extend the operating license of Yankee for another 20 years, from 2012 to 2032.
In 2008, Entergy told the NRC
that it has estimated there is 135,000 cubic feet of contaminated soil that would have to be removed at Vermont Yankee during decommissioning, with an estimated cost of $76 per cubic foot.
The total cost for that remediation would be $10,260,000, in 2008 dollars.
The 2008 report did not specify where the contamination came from, said Sheehan.
“The cost reported for soil remediation is based upon a preliminary assessment of the potential for contamination in the soil around the plant, based upon historical evidence,” stated the report. “A detailed site characterization was not performed. This allowance will be confirmed and/or modified based upon more detailed analyses to be performed in conjunction with the formulation of a license termination plan.”
How the tritium leak might affect cleanup costs is not known at this point, said Sheehan.
Read the entire article: http://www.reformer.com/localnews/ci_14677980