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The Nature of Things

A blog about nature and the environment

Vermont nuclear plant design flaw helped cause radioactive water leak


Officials for the company that owns Indian Point say a design flaw that kept engineers from inspecting underground pipes helped cause a leak of radioactive water into the ground at Vermont Yankee, the state’s only nuclear plant.

The issue of what condition underground piping is in and how well it will hold up should a nuclear plant be relicensed has become a big issue with most of the nation’s plants – including Indian Point – trying to extend their operating licenses.

In a report released Tuesday, Entergy Vermont Yankee says a pipe tunnel was blocked with construction material left over from the plant’s construction in 1972 and prevented water contaminated with tritium from passing through the drain line and into a tank.

A separate pipe installed in 1978 created a pathway that allowed the contaminated water to reach the soil on the plant’s grounds.

The leak was reported Jan. 7. Plant officials say there’s no evidence of drinking water contamination.

Last month, plant officials announced that radioactive strontium-90 had been found in soil at the plant. Both those radioactive isotopes have leaked at Indian Point.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010 at 4:30 pm by Greg Clary. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
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The Nature of Things provides a chance to talk about the wild denizens that share the Lower Hudson Valley with us and the natural settings that make this place home for everyone. From Long Island Sound to the Hudson River to the Great Swamp and beyond, almost anything related to the environment is fair game in this blog.


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SBenischekJournal News staff writer Greg Clary writes Earth Watch, reporting on environmental issues in the lower Hudson region. Clary has been a reporter, editor and columnist at the Journal News since 1988 and has covered police and courts, transportation, municipal government, development and the environment in the Lower Hudson Valley, among other topics.
Laura IncalcaterraLaura Incalcaterra covers the environment, open space and zoning and planning issues for The Journal News. A Boston College graduate, Laura grew up in Rockland, attended East Ramapo schools and has worked for The Journal News since 1993. Laura has written features and covered North Rockland, crime, government and a host of other issues.
SBenischekMike Risinit covers Patterson and Kent in Putnam County, as well as environmental topics touching on the Hudson River and the Great Swamp. Risinit has been a reporter at The Journal News since 1998.
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