Radioactive Water Leaks at Vermont Yankee Nuclear Plant Raise Safety Concerns

VERNON, Vt., Jan. 31 (UPI) — Radioactive water leaks at the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant and other such facilities are raising doubts about nuclear safety, The Boston Globe reported Sunday.

The newspaper said such incidents at more than 20 U.S. nuclear plants in recent years have created doubts about the viability of nuclear power at a time when President Barack Obama has called for “a new generation of safe, clean nuclear power plants in this country” along with alternative energy sources.

The Globe said a controversy over the Vermont Yankee leak in Vernon, Vt., could scotch plans to extend its operating license for 20 years. It said such leaks could stand in the way of resurgence for nuclear energy as memories of accidents at Chernobyl and Three Mile Island recede.

Critics cite the integrity of underground pipes that carry the contaminated water, the report said. Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., this month called for the U.S. Government Accountability Office to probe the state of buried pipes at nuclear plants.

But nuclear proponents say that while leaks of water containing tritium are serious, those that have contaminated groundwater have not exceeded regulatory limits or harmed any plant’s structural integrity, the Globe reported.

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