Greenfield, MA. March 10, 2010.

Today, Attorney Jon Groveman of the Vermont Natural Resources Council submitted briefs supporting the Connecticut River Watershed Council’s request for intervener status in the Vermont Public Service Board’s Vermont Yankee nuclear plant relicensing proceedings. In February, the Council publicly called for Entergy’s Vermont Yankee nuclear plant to cease operations until the causes of ongoing releases of radioactive tritium and other radionuclides into groundwater and the Connecticut River are fully verified, halted, and remediated.

Attorney Groveman is the Water Program and Legal Council for the Vermont Natural Resources Council, which filed for its own intervener status with the Vermont PSB in the Vermont Yankee case on February 9, 2010. In arguments submitted today, he documented the Watershed Council’s role as “a leader in advocating for the protection of the Connecticut River since 1952.” Groveman’s brief stated that CRWC “has a substantial interest intervening in these Dockets to address the potential contamination of the Connecticut River from the leak of radionuclides, radioactive materials, and potentially, other non-radioactive materials into the environment from Vermont Yankee.”

“Our members and the public have an absolute right to feel safe when it comes to groundwater, drinking water, and what’s flowing into the Connecticut River,” says CRWC Executive Director Chelsea Gwyther, adding “Entergy has not proven a very friendly neighbor to the river.” Three years back the Council went before the Vermont Environmental Court to challenge Entergy’s request for a variance to increase the temperature of heated effluent the plant discharges directly into the Connecticut at the Vernon, VT site, arguing that the hot water negatively impacts migratory American shad and aquatic habitats.

In 2009, Entergy spokespeople testified that pipes now shown to be involved in the current tritium contamination did not exist. “It’s the job of the Watershed Council to protect the river. We expect the same of Entergy. But, after two months Entergy has still not been able to definitively pinpoint all the sources, or the full extent of the expanding field of tritium moving in the groundwater,” says Gwyther, “Its time to halt operations until the public can be sure we have all the facts. We need to be certain that this plant can operate without threatening our groundwater and the Connecticut River.”

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For press information contact:

David L. Deen River Steward CT River Watershed Council 802-828-2266; ddeen@ctriver.org

Jon Groveman VT Natural Resources Council Water Program Co-director water programs 802-223-2328; jgroveman@vnrc.org