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    :: Wednesday, October 15, 2008 ::

    NRC reports on cooling tower probe - By BOB AUDETTE, Brattleboro Reformer, VT
    This summer, a leak in a supply pipe was found to be due to a faulty design performed to address the 2007 collapse. Another leak was attributed to loose packing materials used to seal joints of the pipe.

    'The safety function of the cooling towers has never been impacted by any of the three events,' said John Dreyfuss, Yankee's director of nuclear safety assurance. 'Our safety record is among the best in the industry.'

    'We own this problem,' said site vice president Ted Sullivan. 'We are responsible and accountable. We are working very hard to bring the towers into a reliable status consistent with the rest of the operations at Vermont Yankee.'

    Many of the more than 50 people in attendance at the Latchis Theatre were not reassured by the NRC's report or its conclusions.

    After the collapse in 2007, said Gary Sachs of Brattleboro, Entergy promised to do a 'robust job' fixing the towers.

    'It has now broken down twice,' he said. 'This is a carpentry issue.'

    Potential problems with the towers were predicted in 2004, said Arnie Gundersen, the chairman of an oversight panel tasked with reviewing an audit of plant operations that is currently being conducted after it was requested by the Vermont Legislature.

    He said the towers were a 'wounded knee design' that had failed at other power plants around the nation.
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