Vt Yankee reports another leak at nuclear plant

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(Host) The cooling system at the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant has sprung another leak – the third in just over a year.

Plant officials say an expansion joint that carries water to the east cooling tower leaked more than 60 gallons of water a minute.

The plant cut its power output in half while the problem was fixed.

The Department of Public Service said the leak does not affect plant safety. But department spokesman Steve Wark said customers have to pay more for electricity when the plant has to cut power.

(Wark)  “The information today regarding Vermont Yankee’s leak in this cooling tower comes as a great disappointment and it’s unacceptable. While we recognize that this failure is not a nuclear component and that public safety was not at risk, the downrate, nonetheless, has a very real impact on customers.”

(Host) Yankee wants to extend its license for another 20 years. But anti-nuclear lobbyist Bob Stannard said the most recent problem does not instill public confidence.

(Stannard)“It would seem to me that if you were under a microscope, the world is looking at what you’re doing, that you would do everything in your power to make sure there are no problems, that everything is running perfectly, what you’re under this close arm inspection here. They apparently are taking this laissez faire attitude while they’re under the closest scrutiny they’ll ever be under.”

(Host) The latest incident follows a leak in the cooling system in July and the collapse of a cooling tower a year ago.

AP Photo/Toby Talbot

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