Mistake at Vernon Reactor — VT State Nuclear Engineer Challenges Entergy

Mistake at Vernon Reactor — VT State Nuclear Engineer Challenges Entergy

On Wednesday, December 7, 2005 at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) headquarters in Rockville, Maryland, Bill Sherman, Nuclear Engineer for the State of Vermontchallenged Entergy Nuclear engineers calculations that project safety during uprate conditions proposed at the New England’s 33-year old reactor in
Vernon, Vermont. Sherman’s opening remarks included the comment that, “There is not a full positive indication of containment integrity.”

As one example, Sherman pointed out that within the past week, his office discovered that a 3/4-inch valve had been left mis-positioned at the Vernon reactor for the last nine to ten years. The proper positioning of the valve was presumed in calculations made by Entergy Nuclear engineers. “It shows that in the real world, things happen …” said Sherman.

The 2-hour+ meeting was recorded by Traprock Peace Center, by conference call. Thanks to Ed Russell, Vermont’s objections, expressed by Bill Sherman
can be heard on line at http://www.traprockpeace.org/edrussell/acrs_7dec05.mp3

One Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards member asked repeatedly whether the NRC staff’s calculations were realistic.

Raymond Shadis of the New England Coalition traveled from Maine to challenge assumptions made at the meeting, and to emphasize the difference
between inspections of paper provided by the reactor operators, and real inspection of reactor systems. The Committee continued deliberations that week. By telephone at 11pm, December 7th (Wednesday night) Ray Shadis reported, “The committee deliberated further this evening. They’ve caved in on every point.” Shadis says the Committee would confer with the NRC at 1 pm Thursday, Dec. 8. The meeting was expected to be viewable by video streaming at the NRC website, < www.nrc.gov >. Press releases about NRC meetings are sent out by Neil Sheehan, < nas@nrc.gov >.

Town, state and federal representatives in Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts have expressed their support for physical and thorough inspection of the entire facility before proposed power increases are allowed. Two members of the Vermont Public Service Board are accepting comment, David Coen, and John Burke, Vermont Public Service Board, 112 State St. Drawer 20, Montpelier, VT. 05620-2701.

Residents in the tri-state area confered on Saturday at Greenfield Community College on Saturday, Dec. 10, Human Rights Day. This conference brought together scientists, educators, students, cancer survivors, healthcare practitioners and musicians, from 12:30 to 6:30 Saturday for “Surviving the Vernon Reactor.” The conference was organized by Traprock Peace Center, which played a crucial role more than a decade ago in alerting the public to hazards at the embrittled Rowe Reactor, now closed. (Please see the traprock home page for links to audio – http://www.traprockpeace.org

Co-sponsors promoting public discourse to regarding community response to the risks of the nuclear age include the G.C.C. Response Initiative, All Souls Church Religious Education Committee, and the New England Coalition based in Brattleboro, VT.