NRC will take up citizen enforcement petition on Entergy Vermont Yankee leaks

A week ago, I received a most inspiring press release. Ray Shadis, Consultant to New England Coalition sent the following bit of good news:

On April 26, 2010, New England Coalition received notice from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission’ s 10 CFR 2.206 Petition Review Board as follows:

The purpose of this e-mail is to inform you of the action taken by a Petition Review Board (PRB) on the 2.206 petitions from Mr. Mulligan, Mr. Shadis, and Mr. Saporito, for enforcement against Vermont Yankee (VY) due to the tritium leak.  The PRB, with the approval of the NRR Office Director, consolidated these petitions for review in accordance with the guidance in MD 8.11. The PRB met on April 22, 2010, and considered these 2.206 petitions (as consolidated) and made an initial recommendation to accept the petitions for review, in part.

All of you stated that the tritium leak is just one example of many maintenance and management failures at VY.  You each raised a concern regarding what you perceive as the NRC’s failure to look at failures at VY in an integrated manner.  Although the individual petition is written to request enforcement action due to the tritium leak, during the each transcribed phone call, all of you urged the NRC to take a broader approach to assess operational/performance failures at VY collectively, instead of individually.  This concern meets the criteria for review in accordance with MD 8.11.

With regards to the primary concern raised in these petitions (the leak itself), the PRB determined that it meets the criteria for review.

Mr. Shadis and Mr. Saporito now have a 2nd opportunity to address the PRB to provide comment on the initial recommendation in accordance with MD 8.11.

And, at 9:30 tomorrow morning (May 5th), they will call in to do so.

Ray continues, “NEC’s Enforcement petition stressed that NRC oversight had not foreseen nor prevented the series of component, maintenance, and management failures at Entergy Vermont Yankee which began with Entergy’s purchase and takeover of the plant in 2002. NEC pointed to such high visibility failures as the transformer fire, the cooling tower collapse, and the recent pipe leaks, as well as a series of low profile failures including steam dryer cracks, reactor nozzle cladding cracks, steam condenser and torus in-leakage, and the like.  NEC requested that the NRC submit Vermont Yankee to a diagnostic evaluation team inspection in order that it can evaluate both NRC and VY performance since Entergy assumed management of the besieged and troubled facility.”

Best of luck, Mr. Shadis and Mr. Saporito. I hope the logic and truth of your concerns are well heard.

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