Sunday, January 31, 2010

Radiation Levels Cloud Vermont Reactor's Fate

Matthew L. Wald's Radiation Levels Cloud Vermont Reactor's Fate, in January 28, 2010's New York Times talks about the concerns that the citizens of Vermont have over the sole nuclear power plant in the state. The Vermont Yankee happens to be the largest producer of electricity in the state, yet recently people have been voicing their concerns about the safety and operating quality of the ageing power plant. A recent increase of radioactive tritium was discovered in the surrounding groundwater of the Vermont Yankee which has caused the main concern. While the operating license of the power plant does not expire until the year 2012, many are wondering if the plant should be pushed even that far. At the same time, The Federal Nuclear Commission is attempting to obtain a common 20 year license renewal to keep the plant up and running and they said they would file a court challenge if the state tried to block this renewal.

The idea of renewing the operating license of a nuclear power plant that is ageing so fast is absolutely absurd. The Vermont Yankee may be the largest producer of electricity in the state, but right now all of New England has a surplus of electricity. The Federal Nuclear Commission could take advantage of this surplus by shutting down the current sickly plant to prevent any hazardous problems and to gain the support of the citizens of the state of Vermont. Meanwhile, as the demand for electricity stays low in New England, a new nuclear power plant could be constructed and used in the future when the demand for electricity inevitably goes back up.

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