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Watershed Council says Vermont Yankee Discharging Too Much Heated Water Into River

Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant
Courtesy NRC and Entergy Corp.
Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant before decommissioning

The Connecticut River Watershed Council has issued a report that says the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant is thermally polluting the Connecticut River.  The group wants the state Agency of Natural Resources to expedite a new discharge permit to lower discharged water temperatures.

TheConnecticut River Watershed Council’s reportevaluated actual water temperatures in the Connecticut River.  Upper Valley River Steward David Deen, who is also a Vermont State Legislator,  says the current permit allows the plant to use a mathematical formula rather than actually measuring water temperatures.

The Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, ANR, is reviewing a proposed new permit for Vermont Yankee's warm water discharge.  The Watershed Council’s David Deen says the new data shows that the ANR must act.

Entergy-Vermont Yankee Spokesman Rob Williams says while the report is urging state action,  they will respond to any questions from the ANR.

The reactor is allowed to discharge water into the Connecticut River that does not exceed 85 degrees. Deen says pools of water have measured 83 degrees, just short of what he says is the lethal temperature limits for some species of fish. Deen asserts that the nuclear plant is not “fully utilizing” cooling towers, something he says would help cool the river waters.
Entergy’s Rob Williams counters that the plant uses the cooling towers in the summer months.

Connecticut River Watershed Council consultants used data that Vermont Yankee is required to file and information from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.