Critic calls Yankee inspections insufficient

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(Host) The Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant needs a more rigorous inspection, according to a leading critic of the proposal to increase power at the facility.

Speaking Thursday night on VPR’S Switchboard program, Peter Alexander of the New England Coalition said unless there is a thorough independent inspection of Yankee, the plant’s safety can’t be assured. Alexander said the plan by the Entergy Corporation to increase the power output of the plant is like putting an addition on an unsound building.

(Alexander) We don’t really know and Entergy doesn’t really know which regulations and guidelines it is in compliance with and which ones it is not in compliance with. On this, what I’ll call a foundation of sand, they want to build another two stories onto this ten story apartment building.

(Host) Alexander said even if the plant were to pass an independent review, there would be other reasons to oppose the increase in power.

Brian Cosgrove of Vermont Yankee said an independent inspection is unnecessary. Cosgrove says to win approval of the power increase, the plant will undergo an exhaustive review beginning with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

(Cosgrove) They look at about 20 different areas of the plant. It’s a 5,500 hour process, it takes up to a year. If they go through it and find that it’s a good proposal and they approve it, then there’s a second step, a second independent assessment of our proposal. They do a fully independent assessment of the NRC’s work. So there’s a real double and triple check and balance in that system.

(Host) The state is scheduled to rule soon on Vermont Yankee’s application to increase power by 20 percent. The request must also win the approval of the federal government.

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