"Radiation Levels Cloud Vermont Reactor’s Fate"

"Levels of radioactive tritium have risen rapidly in recent weeks in the groundwater surrounding Vermont’s sole nuclear power plant, leading both longtime supporters and foes of the reactor to question whether it will be allowed to keep operating.

Owners of the Vermont Yankee plant, along the Connecticut River just north of the Massachusetts border near Brattleboro, are seeking a 20-year extension of the plant’s operating license, which expires in 2012.

But the rising radiation levels, an indication that reactor water is leaking into the soil, have stirred deep concern about the plant’s safety and the credibility of its operators.

So far no tritium has been found in any drinking water wells, nor have raised concentrations of radioactive material been found in the river, the source of the plant’s cooling water."

Matthew L. Wald reports for the New York Times January 27, 2010.

Thursday, January 28, 2010