Vermont Yankee to Close for economic reasons-Pilgrim next?

How ironic that the state of Vermont has been fighting Entergy Nuclear Corporation to close Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Reactor for years citing safety concerns for the citizens of Vermont, however, the final decision to close VY was made by Entergy for ‘purely economic’ reasons.   Where in our democracy is it acceptable that a corporation can threaten the public health and safety for their profit?  Just like VY, Pilgrim, with the same failed design and similar unresolved safety issues, should close, too.  If that decision is left to the company bottom line, where does safety come into play?  The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has already demonstrated the fact that improvements for safety will not be part of their obligations to the public.  In the Lessons Learned from Fukushima, the NRC technical staff determined that filters on the vents on the containment for 32 GE Mark 1 Boiling Water Reactor like Pilgrim were necessary in order to assure public health and safety in the event of an accident which, in another ironic twist, is the NRC mandate.  The commissioners then voted against the staff recommendation of immediate implementation, with chair Allison MacFarland the supporting vote because she had observed the devastation in Japan.  The other commissioners cited the financial costs to the utilities. How’s that for power of the purse over public safety?

Sources:

NRC staff recommendation:

http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/commission/secys/2012/2012-0157scy.pdf

Beyond Nuclear: NRC votes down staff recommendation

http://www.beyondnuclear.org/home/2013/3/19/nrc-commissioners-vote-down-their-staff-recommendation-for-f.html

 

 

Sen. Warren supports filtered vents:

http://www.epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Majority.PressReleases&ContentRecord_id=fd4b48e5-bc28-f543-e453-079390b0f2dd&Region_id=&Issue_id

From the New York Times:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/20/business/energy-environment/nrc-votes-for-upgrades-to-fukushima-like-reactor-vents.html?_r=0

Commissioner William Magwood

He said that after Fukushima, researchers found that the vents did not work and the operators did not have the authority to take action that might have reduced the effects of the accident.

“If operators were not to take appropriate action in the event of a severe accident, a loss of containment integrity is almost certain even if external scrubbers are present,” he wrote. That would render the filters irrelevant.

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