Tririum continues move towards Connecticut River

NRC Answers Vermont Yankee Questions

Information Session Held To Discuss Tritium Leak

POSTED: 5:52 pm EDT April 19, 2010

BRATTLEBORO, Vt. — Officials with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission answered questions from the public on Monday about the leak of a radioactive substance from the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant.

NRC Information Session, April 2010Experts on nuclear power fielded questions about tests earlier this year that showed that groundwater near the plant was contaminated with tritium.

At Brattleboro Union High School, poster boards showed a map of the plant where wells were set up to test water for radioactivity. Another explained how much radiation the average person absorbs every year.

Another diagram illustrated what went wrong to trigger the tritium leak.”Well, this is a more general diagram of a nuclear power plant, and it shows the nuclear plant and it shows a damaged pipe and how that would create a tritium plume,” said Diane Screnci of the NRC.

There were many distractions at the from activists abruptly setting up recording equipment, to people in the back that yelled to shut down Vermont Yankee, but nothing could distract from one of the most important statements from regulators.

“There is a presumption — and we all agree to it — that the groundwater from the source of the contamination is now, has been and will continue as a continuation takes place (and) move toward the Connecticut River,” NRC representative John White said.

Regulators said they assume small amounts of the radioactive isotope will probably flow into the state’s largest river. There seemed to be significant fear, at least among the people who spoke, that the radioactive tritium in the water could cause health problems or contaminate farms south of the power plant that depend on the river for irrigation.Nuclear regulators were calm and collected when they told the group that radioactive tritium from Vermont Yankee is probably going to wash into the Connecticut River — even if it’s in small amounts.

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