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Tritium

Tritium is radioactive hydrogen and is widely used in the manufacture of nuclear weapons. It is also found int the discharge water of nuclear reactors.

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Monday
Feb152010

VNRC cites groundwater protection laws in opposition to Vermont Yankee license extension

The State of Vermont's top health official has admitted that tritium leaking from the Vermont Yankee atomic reactor is almost certainly flowing into the Connecticut River and points downstream. The Vermont Natural Resources Council, which was instrumental in passing a 2008 Vermont state law that recognizes groundwater as a valuable natural resources owned in common by all Vermonters, is now seeking to apply that law to block the Vermont Yankee atomic reactor's 20 year license extension. Entergy Nuclear, which does not own the aquifer beneath its nuclear power plant, is leaking large amounts of hazardous radioactive tritium into the groundwater, which is very likely flowing into the Connecticut River. The leaks are now feared to be endangering drinking water supplies downstream. The Brattleboro Reformer's editorial "A broken trust" covers these developments. Nuclear engineer Arnie Gundersen has called for Vermont Yankee to be shut down at least until the origin of its tritium leaks is found and fixed, in order to prevent any more tritium from being released into site groundwater and the Connecticut River. Vermont Public Radio reports that an area the size of a football field in the groundwater under Vermont Yankee could be contaminated with tritium.

Sunday
Feb142010

Rutland Herald editorial praises Maggie and Arnie Gundersen for "Batting 1,000 on [Vermont] Yankee"

The Rutland Herald has praised the wife-and-husband team Maggie and Arnie Gundersen (pictured, left) of Fairewinds Associates, Inc. for getting it right all along on the aged Vermont Yankee atomic reactor, such as persistently asking questions about buried pipes that Entergy Nuclear denied, under oath, even existed, but now are likely the source of hazardous tritium leaks into groundwater and the Connecticut River. The Burlington Free Press likewise described the Gundersens' tenacity in getting at the truth regarding Vermont Yankee's many troubles. Julie Miller's Feb. 12, 1995 New York Times article, "Paying the Price for Blowing the Whistle," features Arnie Gundersen's nuclear whistleblowing, and describes the physical threats, psychological harrassment, legal battles, career blacklisting, and U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission betrayal he suffered as a consequence.

Thursday
Feb112010

U.S. Rep. Hodes proposes NH officials take part in overseeing leaking Vermont Yankee reactor

U.S. Rep. Paul Hodes, D-N.H., has announced a bill proposing that New Hampshire officials share in overseeing regulation at the Vermont Yankee atomic reactor, source of concentrated hazardous radioactive tritium leaks into groundwater that will eventually flow into the Connecticut River. the Connecticut forms the border between the Green Mountain and Granite States, but actually legally belongs to New Hampshire. "When there is a health and safety issue at a nuclear plant, the lines we draw between states don't mean much," Hodes said.

Thursday
Feb112010

Better late than never: New Hampshire governor speaks out about Vermont Yankee tritium leaks

Republican Governor John Lynch of New Hampshire, who had previously refused to involve the State of New Hampshire as a full participant in the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission's 20 year license extension proceeding concerning the Vermont Yankee atomic reactor, has finally spoken out, more than a month after hazardous radioactive tritium leaks into groundwater were revealed that are flowing toward and into the Connecticut River ("a New Hampshire waterway," the Connecticut River actually belongs to New Hampshire, under applicable laws) that forms the border between the Granite State and the Green Mountain State. In a letter to NRC, Lynch stated "These revelations lead me to question the credibility of Entergy and its ability to safely manage the plant."

Thursday
Feb112010

Brad Sylvester weighs in on Vermont Yankee tritium leaks

Brad Sylvester's article "Vermont Yankee's Radioactive Waste Likely Leaching into Connecticut River," posted at associatedcontent.com, provides a healthy dose of common sense skepticism to counteract the radiation doses flowing out of Entergy Nuclear, as well as the half-truths flowing from the lips its corporate officials as they try to undo the PR damage resulting from tritium leaks from underground pipes that supposedly didn't exist. But as Beyond Nuclear board member Kay Drey points out, Vermont Yankee (as do all atomic reactors) also discharges intentional, planned, and permitted releases of tritium and other radioactive hazards with its waste water into its cooling water supply, in this case the Connecticut River. Such discharges include dissolved and entrained radioactive noble gases, which then radioactively decay into biologically active, hazardous radioactive "daughter" products, some with very long half-lives.



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