NRC Finds Some Problems With Vt. Yankee Flood Prevention

Feb 20, 2014

A federal inspection of flood prevention measures at the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant has found several deficiencies but none requiring enforcement action.

A team from Nuclear Regulatory Commission arrived at the reactor last July to conduct the on-site audit. The NRC required the inspections after an earthquake and tsunami crippled several reactors in Japan in 2011.

NRC spokesman Neil Sheehan said the team did identify some problems with Yankee's record-keeping and flood-assessment calculations. He said the observations were similar to what NRC teams found at other 

"We did identify some weaknesses," he said. "In the case of Vermont Yankee, for instance, we found that some of the records did not include the proper information, specifically with respect to numerical values for available physical margins. In other words: put a number to what height of flooding the plant would be able to resist."

Vermont Yankee won a new 20-year federal license in 2011, but its owner, the Entergy Corporation, plans to close the plant at the end of this year.

Sheehan said Yankee will still have to address the issues identified in the July audit.

“We understand the plant is scheduled to be shutdown at the end of this year,” he said. “But in the interim, we still want the plant to be as fortified against severe flooding as possible, because as we’ve all seen this winter, you never know when a severe storm is going to crop up.”

A Yankee spokesman could not be reached for comment. Sheehan said the observations from the audit will not lead to sanctions against Vermont Yankee.