Vermont Yankee hopes to increase electric output by 20%

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(Host) State utility regulators will soon review a plan to boost the power output from Vermont’s only nuclear power plant. The Entergy Corporation wants the reactor to produce 20% more electricity, but it needs permission from the state Public Service Board.

The Department of Public Service represents consumers in utility cases before the board. Public Service Commissioner David O’Brien says the state is still reviewing the issues in the Yankee case.

(O’Brien) “But we certainly have not reached a point now where we have a position or an argument for or against at this point in time. And until that’s done by the various people in the department and we are ready to present that to the board in the form of testimony, I’m just not going to characterize where we’re at.”

(Host) The Public Service Board hearings on Vermont Yankee start on April 29. The board this week allowed a group that’s concerned about water quality in the Connecticut River to intervene in the case. David Deen is a state representative from Westminster and also works for the Connecticut River Watershed Council. He says the plant relies on the river for cooling water.

(Deen) “And when they increase that capacity, will that increase the amount and temperature of their discharge to the Connecticut River. And it’s not a question of a discharge over the full year. It’s a question of the discharge at very low water flows, very high water temperatures when the Vernon dam is now operating. So there’s virtually no flow through the pool where they discharge the water.”

(Host) Deen says high water temperature can harm fish and other aquatic life.

The Public Service Department and Vermont Yankee opposed the intervention by Deen’s group. They said the water quality issues are better addressed by the Agency of Natural Resources.

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