Dear CRWC Member:

Tomorrow the Vermont Senate will take up an historic vote on whether to extend the operating license of Entergy’s Vermont Yankee nuclear plant beyond 2012, the expiration of its original 40-year license. There’s no better time than right now to remind your Legislator about CRWC’s issues with Vermont Yankee – their pollution of the Connecticut with both tritium and hot water discharges and their lack of forthrightness in answering our tough questions.

The news related to Vermont Yankee has been deeply disturbing since a radioactive tritium leak was discovered in early January. This discovery has ballooned into an expanding field of groundwater contamination and Entergy Nuclear, Vermont Yankee’s owner, admits that even without conclusive testing tritium is undoubtedly leaching into the Connecticut River. At least one monitoring well has registered tritium levels at 2.2 million picocuries per liter of water, which is the second highest level ever reported nationally, close to levels that occur within the reactor itself, and 100 times the national drinking water standard. Yet, seven weeks later, the root source of the expanding tritium leach field flowing to the river has yet to be identified.

Entergy has repeatedly been shown to have obscured or withheld information from the public on the sources and extent of the leaking tritium. Their denial that underground piping at the plant even existed has now been shown to be patently false. Perhaps most disturbing of all is the recent revelations that there was a 2005 radioactive tritium leak in the vicinity of the current leak that was kept from the public. This cannot go on.

CRWC has been on the forefront of holding Entergy responsible for their impact on our water resources. Three years back, we took Entergy to court in an attempt to halt an expansion of the dumping of their thermal effluent into the river—a flushing of hot water directly into the Connecticut that endangers upstream migration of American shad, and impacts a host of native aquatic species in the river, as well as the development of juvenile shad. Entergy refuses to use its cooling towers–specifically designed to limit the plant’s heating impact on the river, because it lowers profit margins.

Here at CRWC we have called upon the NRC and federal regulators to take the prudent and overdue step of closing down the plant until the source and extent of the leaking tritium is located, and permanent remediation is achieved. Anything less puts communities and water resources at continual risk. Further, we have requested full public disclosure of all leaks and environmental impacts arising from operations at Vermont Yankee, past, present, and projected. As guardians of ground and surface water resources in the Connecticut River watershed, anything less is unacceptable.

At the root of this disturbing state of affairs is everyone’s right to know what is being released in the water we depend on for drinking, bathing, fishing, and swimming. Clean water is everyone’s right.

What you can do:

1. Stay informed. Keep abreast of the current situation at Vermont Yankee, both on-site, and at the legislative level. If you are a Vermonter, consider contacting your state senator and representative and making your wishes known. Visit us at www.ctriver.org to learn more.
2. Contribute to CRWC. We rely on member support to be able to respond quickly when pollution threaten our community resources. Without your support, we simply don’t have the resources we need to respond effectively. Please donate now.

Thank you for your ongoing support.

Chelsea Reiff Gwyther
Executive Director