Yankee Admits Underground Pipes Could Be Source Of Leak

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(Host) Entergy Vermont Yankee has told the state that the nuclear plant does have underground pipes that could be the source of radioactive tritium recently found in a well near the Connecticut River.

The news has irritated state regulators. That’s because Yankee had earlier assured the Douglas administration and the Legislature that the plant had no underground pipes that could leak radioactive material.

David O’Brien is commissioner of Public Service, the state office that oversees utilities.

(O’Brien) "I can’t say right now out and out if this was a willful act to deceive us as regulators, or the Public Service Board or the oversight panel. But we certainly believe this was a material oversight by Entergy that is very serious indeed."

(Host) O’Brien’s department wrote a strongly worded letter on Thursday to the Public Service Board, which is reviewing Yankee’s request to operate for another 20 years.

(O’Brien) As the governor would put it, it is a matter of trust, that we need to be able to trust that what Entergy tells us with respect to the plant is accurate.

(Host) The Department letter says the state may consider seeking financial sanctions against Entergy for failing to disclose the existence of the pipes.

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