Monday, November 8, 2010
60 drops a minute
It doesn't sound like much but when you're talking about radioactive contaminated water it's a different matter. The Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant had to be shut down with a small leaking pipe on Sunday. Technicians had to wait 13 hours for the system to cool before repairs could begin. The company that owns the power plant Entergy wants to extent its' license another 20 years. A few slight problems though. The plant has been cited for leak violations by the state environmental department and the governor is against relicensing the plant. That's not the fundamental and most important issue. The more important issue is that nuclear power plants have a 25 year life span thirty at max. This plant is almost 40 years old! In 2007 one of it's cooling towers collapsed due to corroded bolts and structural components.
And now the 64 thousand dollar question. The Vermont Yankee plant produces 35% of the states' electricity. It takes about 10 years to get a plant certified. There is no way it could remain functional long enough and hold until another plant was built. But this is just an indication of yet a larger problem. Most of the nuclear plants in this country were built over 30 years ago, many in the early 1970s. It's just a matter of time before they start to fail. This couldn't have come at a worse time. With republicans deeming such projects as pork (we saw that with the tunnel between NY and NJ) there'll be no federal funds for replacement or alternatives.