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Entergy Admits 2005 Tritium Leak

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the what's-a-few-neutrons-among-friends dept.

Power 385

mdsolar writes "The leaking Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant was hit last week by a whistleblower allegation that a previous tritium leak had occurred. Now the parent company, Entergy, has admitted the occurrence of at least one prior leak to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. This is particularly significant for three reasons: because the leak occurred in pipes that company officials later testified under oath did not exist, because the Vermont Senate will likely soon vote to deny Entergy a needed approval to extend the power plant's license for another 20 years, and because President Obama just put taxpayers on the hook for new nuclear power plants in Georgia."

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Rob malda's hung like a toothpick (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31247202)

Rob Malda's penis is so small that a toddler looks like mandingo in comparison.

WHAT! (1, Interesting)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 3 years ago | (#31247216)

I'm absolutely glowing [wikimedia.org] that this wasn't brought forward earlier. This is something I would never want to happen on my watch [amazon.com]

Re:WHAT! (5, Insightful)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 3 years ago | (#31247338)

The difference being that the Tritium in luminous devices is contained and no one has lied under oath about it. I am a big supporter of nuclear power for environmental and economic reasons and I believe these guys ought to be nailed to the cross over this. Nuclear power is one of the few technologies that are capable of displacing fossil fuels to any extent and the last thing we need is some corporation cutting corners and getting away with it. The public's confidence in nuclear power needs to be strengthened by making damn sure these corporations are doing what they are supposed to do in order to keep these plants safe.

Re:WHAT! (2, Insightful)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 3 years ago | (#31247526)

seconded.
nail em to the wall.

This is a trivial leak but a serious matter.

Re:WHAT! (0, Redundant)

the_hellspawn (908071) | more than 3 years ago | (#31247668)

Concur.

Re:WHAT! (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31247674)

Thirded.

Re:WHAT! (5, Funny)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#31248024)

DEATH BY SNU SNU!

Re:WHAT! (2, Insightful)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 3 years ago | (#31247732)

There are not enough mod points in the world for your comment.

Re:WHAT! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31247934)

The public's confidence in nuclear power needs to be strengthened by making damn sure these corporations are doing what they are supposed to do in order to keep these plants safe.

Amen!

Re:WHAT! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31248056)

Actually, the Public's confidence will only be strengthened if deceptive corporations are punished. So far, I don't have much confidence... And I'm amazingly average.

Re:WHAT! (2, Insightful)

Rei (128717) | more than 3 years ago | (#31247540)

Tritium is pretty safe outside your body. Not so safe inside it.

Re:WHAT! (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 3 years ago | (#31247746)

That defines any alpha or beta emitter ;)

Re:WHAT! (2, Funny)

gibbled (215234) | more than 3 years ago | (#31247956)

Kind of like bullets and knives...

Troll summary. (5, Insightful)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 3 years ago | (#31247224)

I don't want to be all "So what?" but so what? One plant leaks an unspecified amount of a weak beta emitter...It tested at the leak at a whopping 2 million picocuries, which is a bullshit measurement that's clearly chosen because it's more shocking than 2 microcuries. 2 microcuries is about what you'd get for a basic thyroid test at the docs office. Trituim doesn't stay resident in the body, it's half life is 12 years long, and it's a beta emitter: if you drink it you'll get a few rads, but you can take a shower in it without any problem.

The whole thing is clearly being pushed as an example of the horrible dangers of the super scary nuclear power industry, but what I see is the dangers that are inherent in running antiquated plants for years beyond their design life because a bunch of poorly informed hysterics have blocked all attempts to modernize them for the last 40 years.

And what the hell is the point in talking about the plants in Georgia? That's a different type of plant, being built by a different company! Georgia has the largest coal fired power plant in the us: where's that outrage? Where is the outrage over the radiation it emits?

Re:Troll summary. (5, Interesting)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 3 years ago | (#31247266)

It's obviously a troll summary, the OPs username is mdsolar.

Re:Troll summary. (2, Informative)

maxume (22995) | more than 3 years ago | (#31248020)

He's been grinding this axe for the last couple of months.

(Taking them to task for the leak and the lying is okay, but the trying to tie in the loan guarantees and the nucular scare tactics are silly)

Re:Troll summary. (4, Insightful)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 3 years ago | (#31247294)

I believe the point is the fact that they lied about the leak in the first place. Sure, this time it might be something like tritium, but whose to say at some later date it's not something worse? Why should anyone believe anything they say about the safety of their plant(s) if they're willing to lie under oath about something this minor?

Re:Troll summary. (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 3 years ago | (#31247386)

Granted, but as accidents go this is trivial by power company standards. I mean, compare it with the Kingston Coal Ash spill [google.com] , or Love Canal [wikipedia.org] .

And both of those were done by companies that specialize in hydroelectric power.

Re:Troll summary. (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 3 years ago | (#31247586)

Yeah, but the anti-nuclear crowd is full of hysterics like the "THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!!" crowd. They won't bother to see that this is only a minor leak or that the plant is like 30 years old. They will just hear about how there was a leak at a nuclear plant and that the company lied about it.

Re:Troll summary. (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 3 years ago | (#31247398)

Exactly. The leak its self was nothing to worry about, it was the fact that they felt it neccessary to lie about the leak that is troubling. Now as far as nuclear power goes, the technology is very safe as long as these corporations are held accountable.

Re:Troll summary. (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 3 years ago | (#31247500)

Now as far as nuclear power goes, the technology is very safe as long as these corporations are held accountable.

Unfortunately like with that whole anti-Usenet campaign by that braindead NY Attorney General and his "THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!!!" reaction, the anti-nuclear nuts are going to eat this up and overly extrapolate it to do so. Whenever these corporations do stupid shit like this, it does nothing but further and further erode any confidence in the public over nuclear power and so we end up with more and more dirtier power plants instead.

Re:Troll summary. (1)

ChefInnocent (667809) | more than 3 years ago | (#31247602)

I'm not condoning their cover-up, but with some of the anti-nuke people out their, perhaps they thought it was just a white lie that would have been better for the industry if they kept it hush-hush. I don't really know as I don't work for VY, Entergy, or the NRC, but that would seem plausible. Nuclear energy is trying to get a rebirth as a safe, clean technology and regardless of how small this is, the NIMBYs and BANANAs will point and shout, "See! See! I told you this nukular stuff is evil!".

Re:Troll summary. (1)

ChefInnocent (667809) | more than 3 years ago | (#31247654)

Crap! Sorry for the wrong "there"; I should have double checked my words. I hate homonyms.

Re:Troll summary. (1)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 3 years ago | (#31247712)

I'm guessing they just didn't want to do the expensive paperwork.

As a supporter of nuclear energy I say nail em to the wall.
Prosecute so hard that no other exec will dream of fucking with nuclear safety regulations.

Re:Troll summary. (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 3 years ago | (#31247846)

The problem with that is that eventually they'll be found out. It may not be soon but it will most likely occur at some point and when it does it just sends the message that the nutters of the world may have a small point. They don't, but it appears that way to people who do not know any better.

Re:Troll summary. (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 3 years ago | (#31247904)

Yes, but lying about the situation and being found out feeds the nonsense even more than just coming clean in the first place.

Yes but (5, Insightful)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 3 years ago | (#31247302)

Yes this leak isn't a big deal as a leak. Nor for that matter is the recent leak. The problem is they lied under oath. And once people are lying about the state of things you don't know what else they are or will lie about. These might not matter, but they might very well lie about the next leak when it is a serious problem. As with many issues, the initial incident isn't nearly as much of a problem as the coverup.

Re:Troll summary. (1)

loafula (1080631) | more than 3 years ago | (#31247328)

It's less about the damage the leak caused and more about the dishonesty and cover-up. I live in Massachuestts, on the Connecticuit River, about 80 miles downstream from Vermont Yankee. I, for one, will be happy to see this place's license not extended. If they covered up something this (as you claim) trivial, I would hate to see what else they are capable of covering up, or would cover up.

Re:Troll summary. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31248060)

It's less about the damage the leak caused and more about the dishonesty and cover-up. I live in Massachuestts, on the Connecticuit River, about 80 miles downstream from Vermont Yankee. I, for one, will be happy to see this place's license not extended. If they covered up something this (as you claim) trivial, I would hate to see what else they are capable of covering up, or would cover up.

YEah right, you work for the solar or wind energy industry no doubt.

Nuclear energy is SAFE, and anyone who claims otherwise has a SECRET AGENDA they are not telling you about.

Re:Troll summary. (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#31247350)

The leak itself is not a big deal. That company execs perjured themselves about it is a big deal.

Also, just because something is a beta emitter doesn't mean it's harmless. [32]P emits high energy beta particles that can be dangerous without shielding.

Tritium is an isotope of hydrogen... (1)

OmniGeek (72743) | more than 3 years ago | (#31247888)

While you are correct in noting that a beta emitter isn't necessarily harmless (and emphatically correct that the perjury is by far the bigger issue), I'd like to note that tritium, being an isotope of hydrogen, tends to escape straight up, very fast. Molecules of "normal" hydrogen are VERY light, and rise so fast when released that they can reach escape velocity, plus hydrogen is good at diffusing through containers. Thus, it's safe to conclude that the tritium in question bolted for the stratosphere at its first opportunity, and didn't hang around to endanger anyone. Alas, the same cannot be said of the plant management...

Re:Tritium is an isotope of hydrogen... (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 3 years ago | (#31247974)

Well, it leaked underground, and probably was in the form of tritiated water (HTO) which would tend to stick around a little longer.

Re:Tritium is an isotope of hydrogen... (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#31248032)

Sure, if it's diatomic tritium. The article isn't exactly clear what form it is, but if they're finding it in water around the plant, we're probably talking about tritiated water. That is, water where at least one of the hydrogens is tritium. I'm not sure why they'd have gaseous tritium anyway.

In any case, the radiation levels they're finding are well within the normal ranges of background radiation. Nothing to worry about. What is worrying is the cover up. I really hope it doesn't damage the prospects for greater use of nuclear energy in the US.

Re:Tritium is an isotope of hydrogen... (1)

TheClam (209230) | more than 3 years ago | (#31248062)

Sure, it escapes straight up if it's diatomic tritium, like the usual hydrogen molecule.

Not so much if the tritium atom takes the place of a hydrogen atom in water.

Re:Troll summary. (2, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#31247364)

The problem isn't the tritium leak. As you say, tritium isn't wildly dangerous to begin with, and there isn't that much of it floating around.

The problem is that the plant management is now known to be lying about safety and operations goings on at the plant. Further, their grasp of what the hell is going on seems to be shaky where it is not actively dishonest.

This particular tritium leak(or, for that matter, was the last one, the one that officially never happened) is not particularly dangerous. There are a number of conditions that could be, though, and this story suggests that A)There is no reason to believe that plant management would act competently to avert them. B)There is no reason to believe that plant management would be honest about admitting to them if they were to occur. and C) It does not appear that the NRC is up to the task of forcing plant management to undertake A and B.

Re:Troll summary. (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#31247936)

A)There is no reason to believe that plant management would act competently to avert them. B)There is no reason to believe that plant management would be honest about admitting to them if they were to occur. and C) It does not appear that the NRC is up to the task of forcing plant management to undertake A and B.

Throwing soda cans in the trash instead of recycling is naughty, although its effect on the public is mostly harmless. About as bad as dumping 2 microcuries of 3H.

I admit, I threw a soda can in the trash. Intentionally, even. (That's because I have personal, generally secret knowledge that the janitorial staff simply empties both the trash bucket and the recyclable bucket into the same trash cart, but that's beside the point)

My CEO has no idea I failed to recycle.

I'm sure my CEO would testify that we have a recycling policy, and we are here to Save The Earth (tm), and we don't throw cans in the trash.

The question should not be what else is my CEO covering up, or can he be trusted. The real question should be why anyone cares about something harmless.

Re:Troll summary. (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#31248102)

And yet these executives will get nothing. Honestly, if you are a executive and cause a major problem, you get to be beheaded or crucified in public. It's the price you take for getting obscene pay and bonus packages.

I personally think the AIG and bank execs should have been put feet first into wood-chippers alive for what those scumbags did and are still doing.

but then I'm a pacificist... so I tend to err on the side of being nice.

Re:Troll summary. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31247566)

If it was no big deal then why did they lie about it?

Re:Troll summary. (1)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 3 years ago | (#31247760)

expense.
paperwork.
ignorance.
incompetence.

or all of the above,

Re:Troll summary. (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 3 years ago | (#31247872)

I keep thinking about how old the plant is, and wondering if they honestly didn't know. I mean, it's just not a big enough deal to risk the consequences of a lie.

Re:Troll summary. (1)

gillbates (106458) | more than 3 years ago | (#31247730)

Problem is, you might just be drinking it. Tritium combines with oxygen to form water, so any leak has the possibility of making it into the water supply.

And, if the leak wasn't serious, why would they lie about it? How can you be sure it was just 2 microcuries when the company lied about the leak in the first place?

Re:Troll summary. (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 3 years ago | (#31247948)

Because the culture of media sensationalism that has grown up around nuclear power is such that I will bet they made a decision about whether it was better to cover it up (since it really is the equivalent to spilling a gallon of benzene on the floor during a transfer in a chemical plant - not great, but really no big deal as long as it is dealt with effectively) or put it on record.

The very fact that the rad measurement has been given as 2 million picocuries instead of 2 microcuries is a clear indication of the "sensationalism" milage they want out of this - 2 million sounds way more scary than 2! It must have been deadly!

Even if you are drinking it, so what? The level of radiation is so small from this source you will literally be receiving more radiation from background. And while tritium does burn to produce water, it is not a spontaneous process. It is also a gas under atmospheric pressure, so the likelihood of it forming in a large enough fraction to burn in O2 and then condense into a volume of water small enough to be dangerous is... Well, lets just say even the Heart of Gold wouldn't be able to work out the probability of that.

Re:Troll summary. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31247770)

This isn't so much about the leak, as it is more about the people who were running it, like every other industry with lies, deceit, and possibly fraud.

Was anyone so naive to think normal human attributes were immune to the nuclear energy sector?

Re:Troll summary. (1)

lwsimon (724555) | more than 3 years ago | (#31247796)

Bravo, sir, bravo.

The leak itself is nothing to be concerned about. The lying under oath should be dealt with harshly, but nuclear power is hardly the only industry with the potential for mass casualty if you screw up badly enough.

Re:Troll summary. (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 3 years ago | (#31247938)

Yeah but people are still worried about the big bad nuclear boogeyman after so many years of the cold war and all the nuclear missle scares.

Re:Troll summary. (1)

Rei (128717) | more than 3 years ago | (#31247828)

..It tested at the leak at a whopping 2 million picocuries, which is a bullshit measurement that's clearly chosen because it's more shocking than 2 microcuries. 2 microcuries is about what you'd get for a basic thyroid test at the docs office.

1) That's 2 million picocuries *per liter*. The average adult human drinks 2.4 liters of water *per day*.
2) The human body naturally contains about 0.1 microcuries. So yes, combining that with above, this amount would be significant if it were to contaminate drinking water.
3) A curie is a very large unit -- 37 billion Bq.
4) You don't get "curies" of radiation during a test; curies are a measure of emission *rate*. That's like saying that your meter reader recorded that you used 80kW of electricity this month. Radiation doses are properly measured in gray or sievert (formerly rad and rem).

Re:Troll summary. (4, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#31247886)

I don't want to be all "So what?" but so what?

Someone lies under oath abouty the operation of a nuclear power plant and you say "so what?" Are you on crack, or are you on this company's board of directors?

The whole thing is clearly being pushed as an example of the horrible dangers of the super scary nuclear power industry

No, it's an indictment of dishonest corporations in any industry. I'm starting to suspect that all big corporations are run by sociopathic thieves. I don't want any power plant, nuke, coal, or gas, run by sociopaths. And I'm damned glad there's an NRC, OSHA, and EPA, because these bastards don't give a damn about anything but their money.

I'd like to see someone go to prison over this, preferably someone with a seven figure salary. It's the only way this shit will stop. The next time it may be a serious leak of some truly nasty shit, what makes you think they'll react any differently?

Re:Troll summary. (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 3 years ago | (#31248092)

It would be deliciously ironic if no one at the power company even made seven figures (It isn't terribly likely, but on the other hand, power generation is relatively highly regulated, and much of the investment comes from people that want stable returns (because the returns are stable); both of those things mean that the CEO might just be an effective executive, rather than a highly paid executive)

Re:Troll summary. (1)

thomasw_lrd (1203850) | more than 3 years ago | (#31248090)

It's obviously a ploy by the Vermont legislature to plug up some budget holes.

http://sunshinereview.org/index.php/Vermont_state_budget [sunshinereview.org]

Every time states get in the black, they find somebody to sue to get some extra money.

New (5, Informative)

endianx (1006895) | more than 3 years ago | (#31247226)

because President Obama just put taxpayers on the hook for new nuclear power plants in Georgia

The keyword there is "new".

Re:New (2, Informative)

Saishuuheiki (1657565) | more than 3 years ago | (#31247262)

I agree, in that I'd say the only conclusion is that we don't want Entergy building the new plants

Re:New (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 3 years ago | (#31247734)

Oh yea, well the new ones are being built by Southern Company which, like most power companies, is run by baby-raping plutocrats who would kill anyone for a buck if they thought they could get away with it. That's not sarcasm. That's honestly what I think of them.

You're living in a dream world if you think some other company is better, just because they haven't been caught yet.

My point of view is that all methods have a downside, and that nuclear has a more moderate downside than coal or oil. Hell, even hydroelectric has a better record of killing people than nuclear.

Re:New (0, Flamebait)

tthomas48 (180798) | more than 3 years ago | (#31247510)

No you forgot. Obama's a Democraat, so now we no longer want nuclear power. Try to keep up.

If he advocates drilling in Alaska they'll all become environmentalists...

Re:New (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 3 years ago | (#31247596)

Obvious troll is obvious.

And misinformed [bloomberg.com] .

Re:New (-1, Troll)

tthomas48 (180798) | more than 3 years ago | (#31247718)

I was being sarcastic. Nuclear power was all conservatives could talk about with regards to energy independence. Then Obama signed the bill for the new reactors and things have gotten very quiet.

Re:New (1)

Rei (128717) | more than 3 years ago | (#31247884)

That's reminiscent of the furor over Scott Brown voting for the jobs bill. The conservative blogs are ready to burn him at the stake. Lots of people furiously asking when he took his 30 pieces of silver, stuff like that. For what -- for voting for a bill primarily comprised tax cuts for small businesses? Isn't that the sort of stuff that conservatives like to vote for?

It's sad what our political discourse has turned into.

Re:New (1)

oh_my_080980980 (773867) | more than 3 years ago | (#31247926)

The point of the post is that this company lied about its operations. Their inability to operate properly could impact their ability to pay back their loans and then put the tax payer on the hook for millions and millions of dollars.

It's been, what, 30 years? (3, Informative)

zero_out (1705074) | more than 3 years ago | (#31247258)

That plant has to be at least 30 years old. I think that technology has changed a bit in that time. In general, new is usually better than retrofitted old.

Re:It's been, what, 30 years? (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 3 years ago | (#31247484)

Precisely. The vast majority of reactor leaks/accidents occured in 30+ year old nuclear plants and frankly, our ability to construct safe designs has increased drastically since these plants were built. It's like suggesting that cars are inherently dangerous because the 30 year old clunkers had a few problems. The solution is to design better cars/reactors not freak out about the entire technology.

Re:It's been, what, 30 years? (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 3 years ago | (#31247558)

The thing that bothers me most is that crap like this gets massive screaming headlines, but things like PCB dumping (which happen all the time and are about a million times more destructive) are treated as no big deal.

Re:It's been, what, 30 years? (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 3 years ago | (#31247632)

That's probably because few people know about the chemical's existence or about the dumping. Nuclear plants are far more higher profile.

Re:It's been, what, 30 years? (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 3 years ago | (#31247790)

I'd far rather drink a glass of water right from that pipe than drink an equivalent amount of pcbs. If you live through the HTO, you're fine, but those pcbs will keep killing you for decades.

Re:It's been, what, 30 years? (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 3 years ago | (#31247962)

I wasn't trying to claim that PCBs are safe or that I'd want to drink of. But ask a random person what they know about PCBs and you'll get a blank stare versus how they can go on and on about the dangers of a nuclear plant.

Re:It's been, what, 30 years? (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 3 years ago | (#31247786)

Things that happen all the time like car accidents and heart attacks aren't published that often either. It's the rare occurances that get the attention.

Re:It's been, what, 30 years? (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 3 years ago | (#31247990)

Rare, yes, but so insignificant it is just silly.

This leak is akin to me spilling something hazardous at lab scale and just mopping it up without telling anyone.

Re:It's been, what, 30 years? (1)

Rei (128717) | more than 3 years ago | (#31248030)

Nuclear power plant capital repayment is presaged on very long lifespans.

I just don't see PWRs as the future. Now, I'd be more interested if we were talking about lead-bismuth breeders like BREST [nikiet.ru] . Someone, please go ahead and NIMBY this:

* A "bathtub" design sunk into the ground, so for any radiation to reach people outside the plant, it has to go through an awful lot of ground first.
* A breeder, so the amount of fuel available is huge and the burnup is great
* A type of reprocessing that, combined with the high burnup of the breeder, means that any waste subject to burial has less radiation than the natural uranium mined for the plant's fuel.
* Can burn existing nuclear waste
* Highly proliferation-resistant
* The coolant is a molten lead-bismuth mixture, unlike sodium in normal breeders. I.e., it's not very reactive and has a high boiling point.
* The coolant can circulate passively in a failure scenario, but unlike with PBMRs, there *is* a containment structure, there's no graphite involved, and no failure mode involves oxygen reaching the fuel.
* Worst case scenario? Your core is *already* entombed in lead, by default! You just need to let it solidify.

Re:It's been, what, 30 years? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31247650)

How much energy does it take to mine, refine, enrich, build a plant, move the material, build a storage center for the waste, move the spent rods to storage location, dismantle plant after its productive life is over, move plant materials, build another storage center since the first one is now booked solid before it is even finished, maintain storage location for the rest of human history, clean up eventual leak of materials, create the money it takes to pay all the legal fees and damages that eventual lawsuits from the leakage of the materials?
It seems like that is a significant amount of energy and you would have to run a nuclear for a much longer time to get a surplus energy supply. When you have to run the plant longer you run into problems like Vermont Yankee. All these power plants will get old just like VY and then what will we do? Who pays to take them down? Who really benefits from all of these costs and energy inputs it doesn't seem like its the american tax payer.
     

Re:It's been, what, 30 years? (4, Informative)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 3 years ago | (#31247994)

Nuclear power would be competitive with coal in terms of cost if it were not for the massive amount of red tape. In fact, if you built in the environmental cost that Coal has into the pricing, Nuclear power becomes the cheapest source of energy due to the much much lower CO2 emissions of the technology. France is a perfect example of a country that has cut its CO2 emissions to a third of comparable nations CO2/$ because of the fact that 70+ % of its power needs come from nuclear power.

Re:It's been, what, 30 years? (1)

zero_out (1705074) | more than 3 years ago | (#31247714)

Furthermore, the summary is a bit misleading with regard to the new plants that SoCo is building. To say that the taxpayer is "on the hook" implies that this is money being given away, never to be seen again. In fact, these are loan guarantees. The money is expected to be fully repaid, and considering how well SoCo performs as a business, this is a sure bet.

Then vs. Now (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31247274)

We were so smug about how the Soviets didn't properly inform their people about Chernobyl. One facet of the Evil Empire was that it was a closed system.

Looks like the tables are turned just a bit. Fortunately, it appears to be on a smaller scale. The principal is the same though.

Corporate overlords are no better than Soviet Russia, and I for one don't welcome them.

Hurray! (4, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#31247292)

Corporate malfeasance, a dash of coverup, and a more or less fully captured regulatory agency!

I, for one, am fully confident that the present minor tritium leak is the only thing going wrong, or likely to go wrong in the near future. Everything else is absolutely fine and, if it weren't, those involved would do the responsible thing and fix it....

Re:Hurray! (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 3 years ago | (#31247314)

Yeah exactly. If they are willing to lie about a tritium leak, whose to believe that something worse isn't also happening that they are covering up.

Re:Hurray! (1)

Knara (9377) | more than 3 years ago | (#31247752)

Yeah, they prolly put saccharine into the break rooms, too! And said that it was better than sugar! The bastards.

mdsolar (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31247298)

you're not biased.

Where Is The Outrage Over U.S.A. Nuclear (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31247304)

energy for "peaceful" purposes?

Everyone knows that U.S.A. backs A. Q. Khan [wikipedia.org] . House arrest for a nuclear weapons trader but only allegations for Victor Bout.

Enjoy your Gulag.
.
Yours In Beijing,
Kilgore T.

Politicize this, much? (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 3 years ago | (#31247346)

This is clearly an issue of lack of oversight/integrity of a few operators, who are choosing to have unsavory business practices with regard to disclosure. Sure, if they lied they should be prosecuted, but this is hardly evidence that Nuclear Power is inherently flawed.

But go ahead, politicize it. I have my one-liner ready: "No One Died When Entergy representatives to the Vermont Public Service Board Lied."

Re:Politicize this, much? (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 3 years ago | (#31247430)

Sure, if they lied they should be prosecuted, but this is hardly evidence that Nuclear Power is inherently flawed.

This is very true. The anti-nuclear crowd will eat this up because Entegy has basically fed them easy talking points. But the fact remains that when you have a company like this lying about minor stuff that tends to erode any confidence that they wouldn't be lying about any bigger issues that may have already happened or may happen in the future.

I bet... (1)

srussia (884021) | more than 3 years ago | (#31247366)

Entergy got subsidies for their plants. Their performance was close enough for government work. Predictable.

New Plants have nothing to do with old... (5, Insightful)

Fallen Kell (165468) | more than 3 years ago | (#31247372)

I just love how the anti-nuclear comes out every time. Yes, it is significant that this leak was hidden from the NRC. Yes, it should affect that company from getting an extension. And yes, because they lied to the government about these pipes when they knew they existed (since they obviously covered up the previous leak), they should get heavy fines (to the individuals, not just the corporation), and even jail time. And absolutely should get denied operating license extension, and possibly even have their existing license revoked.

But all of the above is already covered under existing law and policy, and has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with a DIFFERENT COMPANY building a NEW PLANT in a DIFFERENT STATE. It would be like arresting every person in the country who owns a Silver or Gray car because a Silver/Gray car was involved in a hit and run Rhode Island.

Re:New Plants have nothing to do with old... (4, Insightful)

idontgno (624372) | more than 3 years ago | (#31247490)

A better car analogy: "I don't trust any hybrid because of that damn Prius braking problem. And the fact that Toyota denied there was any Prius braking problem for so long."

But let the anti-nuke whackjobs be the anti-nuke whackjobs. It keeps them out of more annoying fringe circles.

Re:New Plants have nothing to do with old... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31247686)

Wait, silver and gray cars are hit and run killers? Holy crap - is anyone doing something about this?!? We should confiscate those cars ASAP! Thanks for the heads-up!

Nuclear companies cannot be trusted (1, Insightful)

rbanzai (596355) | more than 3 years ago | (#31247450)

Just like pretty much every other company on Earth their primary interest is money. All other concerns are secondary including the safety of the public. It's not the technology that is dangerous, it's the terrible people operating it. I believe nuclear energy can be safe in theory but in practice it's the people who inject the danger to the process. This little omission is just one of thousands, if not tens of thousands of cover-ups by the nuclear industry who are their own worst enemy when it comes to the public embracing nuclear power.

I trust nuclear power. I do not trust the people responsible for providing it, or the people responsible for overseeing them. They are all blinded by money.

Re:Nuclear companies cannot be trusted (1)

lwsimon (724555) | more than 3 years ago | (#31247882)

As opposed to government officials, who are either blinded by power or "following protocol" depending upon their lever in the organization.

People are fickle. Nothing is going to change that - and the fact is, monetary incentive happens to be the most reliable, by far.

Re:Nuclear companies cannot be trusted (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 3 years ago | (#31248038)

So they cover up a leak, that to put it into a scale familiar to you, is equivalent to spilling about 10 gallons of gasoline and not telling anyone about it and you think they are running the plant "dangerously"?

Re:Nuclear companies cannot be trusted (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 3 years ago | (#31248050)

I'm sure everything will be fine and dandy when we shut down all these nuclear plants in order to switch to those safe, non-polluting coal plants...

Re:Nuclear companies cannot be trusted (1)

dasunt (249686) | more than 3 years ago | (#31248058)

I trust nuclear power. I do not trust the people responsible for providing it, or the people responsible for overseeing them. They are all blinded by money.

Is this different from any other industry?

I would expect that the Chinese firms that make solar panel have pretty lax guidelines for disposal of the hazardous materials needed to make solar panels. I'd expect the mining companies that come up with the metals needed for wind mills and the additional power lines have some pretty horrendous practices as well. There have been hydroelectric dam failures. And heck, you don't even want to know the estimated number of deaths per year from a properly working coal power plant.

Is there any reason that nuclear power should be any different from the others?

Re:Nuclear companies cannot be trusted (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 3 years ago | (#31248100)

Just like pretty much every other company on Earth their primary interest is money.

Obviously not. Once their license is shut down, the plant is fined by the NRC, and the company is sued into oblivion they won't be making much money. If they were concerned about money, they would have dealt with the problem.

Absurd (5, Insightful)

sackvillian (1476885) | more than 3 years ago | (#31247464)

It's ridiculous that the summary implies that, in the context of this leak, Obama setting aside funds for building new power plants is a negative thing.

If anything, the fact that America's only nuclear power comes from relatively ancient, decaying reactors of obsolete design should be motivation for building new nuclear power plants. This might be the best tangible thing Obama has proposed to date and informed citizens should be applauding it.

Re:Absurd (4, Funny)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 3 years ago | (#31247642)

"...and informed citizens should be applauding it."

They are. Both of them.

Re:Absurd (4, Interesting)

lwsimon (724555) | more than 3 years ago | (#31247924)

Amen.

I'm rabidly anti-Obama, because I disagree with almost every one of his policies on a fundamental level. The simple fact is, however, building more nuclear power plants is a good thing. I'd rather them happen through private industry, and without subsidy, but this is still a step in the right direction.

tubg1rl (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31247630)

FreeBSD 3ent out will not work. And Obsessives and the is the worst off Obligated to care engineering project backwards. To the in posting 4 GNAA from the FreeBSD of OpenBSD versus Due to the troubles from within. off the play area me if you'd like, legitimise doing I'll have offended this post up. name on the jar of NetBSD posts on

what's-a-few-neutrons-among-friends (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 3 years ago | (#31247670)

Tritium does not produce neutrons (few radioactive materials do). It emits only[1] electrons which can only penetrate a few mm of air.

[1] It also emits nearly indetectable electon neutrinos. Billions of neutrinos pass through your body every day

Re:what's-a-few-neutrons-among-friends (1)

lwsimon (724555) | more than 3 years ago | (#31248044)

Yep - in fact, tritium is often used in night sights for handguns, as they glow brightly without outside power.

Trijicon sights are very popular, and their site shows that a set of sights totals about .054 curies. So, this is like a box of 40 sets of night sights. Most decent gun stores are more of a radiation hazard than this leak, based upon that calculation.

Re:what's-a-few-neutrons-among-friends (1)

PieSquared (867490) | more than 3 years ago | (#31248066)

Ah, what is the difference between tritium and hydrogen?

dear market place fundamentalists and libertarians (2, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#31247776)

the market does not take care of itself

repeat: the market does NOT take care of itself

with things like energy utilities, you do NOT privatize. you heavily involve the government and you heavily regulate

no, it is not red tape that interferes with the normal functioning of the marketplace, it is the only way things fucking work right

for examples like this, for the example of the economic meltdown in 2008, for the example of healthcare, and for examples like enron

no, it does make you a fucking communist to admit that the market does not solve ALL problems. it simply makes you wise and intelligent for simply recognizing that THE. MARKET. DOES. NOT. SOLVE. ALL. PROBLEMS. full stop

for most sectors of society, indeed, a market free of most regulations IS the ideal. but even then, in something like food, for example, you still want the government running around, and you still want to spend tax money on all those pesky government employees and their horrid, horrid bureaucracy, to fucking make sure you're not eating melamine or toxic e coli. yes, you want to pay fuckign taxes for that, asshole

if you had no inspectors, the manufacturers would likely suffer business wise. true. BUT THEY WOULD ALSO KILL PEOPLE. get it? in other words, some failures that market players can suffer are so severe, a simple market correction is not the only way they should be punished. furthermore, some "failures", such as leaking tritium, or overindulging on bad mortgage loans, are so horribly disruptive as to kill people or destroy an entire economy

then you need government bailouts. after which some of you assholes will still blame the government for that, as fucking blind as you are, when it was YOUR FUCKING THINKING THAT LED TO THE DISMANTLING OF THE GOVERNMENT REGULATIONS THAT CREATED THE MELTDOWN

please adjust your idiotic simplistic worship of market forces: they are not the fucking answer to everything. really. welcome to reality assholes

Re:dear market place fundamentalists and libertari (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 3 years ago | (#31247902)

with things like energy utilities, you do NOT privatize. you heavily involve the government and you heavily regulate

Right, because government officials are both benevolent and competent. As with Chernobyl, as with China's pollution.

Illegal, Immoral or Fattening (1)

Virtucon (127420) | more than 3 years ago | (#31247940)

Everything is Illegal, Immoral or Fattening as the saying goes. There's nothing on this planet that doesn't have risks associated with it and while I don't condone covering something up with lies, this is another example of something that's blown out of proportion.

Is air travel safe? Yes, but wait, those folks who died a year ago on the "regional" Continental flight would disagree.
Is the TSA doing their job? Yes, but wait, that guy who shoved explosives in his pants was from another country and we can't enforce our policies overseas. In the meantime your name doesn't match your boarding pass Tom, it needs to say Thomas.
Is the air we breathe save? Yes, but not in the summer in LA or Houston or any major Metropolitan area. If you're old, young or have Asthma, just stay inside.
Is driving safe? Yes, but if you own a Toyota don't expect to be able to steer or stop.
Is climbing mountains safe? Yes, but just don't get too close to the edges of those volcanoes and watch out for: bears, cougars, bobcats, snakes and falling rocks.
Is taking a shower safe? Yes, but more people die in the home than in the highway, a lot of those die in the bathtub.
Is Nuclear Power safe? Yes, but aging plants and huge projects are always problematic.
Will corporate America ever learn to tell the truth? Yes, under subpoena and after advice from their attorneys.
Is being a "Tree Hugger" safe? Yes unless you count the STDs from all those "Rainbow Reunions."

Slow Down (2, Insightful)

Aldhibah (834863) | more than 3 years ago | (#31248016)

Before we talk about nailing the company to the wall perhaps we should look into the reporting requirements a little closer. The linked article itself states, "The NRC is investigating why it took Entergy five years to report the leak, but for it to have been reportable, it has to meet certain off site dose limits. It is also investigating how Entergy responded to the problem." So we don't even know if the leak met reporting requirements. Also, there is much hay made over Entergy lying about the existence of the pipes. The company apparently did not deny the existence of underground pipes but some company representative stated before a public service commission that he/she was unaware of any underground pipes carrying radioactive particles. I don't know the context of the original statement but a close reading would seem to imply the steam pipe in question was not intended to carry radioactive particles and only the failure of several check valves allowed the particles to get into the pipe. I would guess that the steam leak was found because of the trace radiation.

And this is the argument against nuclear (2, Insightful)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 3 years ago | (#31248064)

Sure, it can be done safely. But, when you've got Corporate American running things with CEOs who'd sell their own mothers to bury one quarter of lackluster PR, you get these kinds of results. Toyota tried to bury a potentially life threatening flaw in order to postpone a little bad press resulting in a major scandal years later. This is the fundamental flaw in Free Market thinking. Companies aren't going to do the Right Thing because profitability dictates it. They'll lie about it then leave the train wreck for next guy.

If Toyota is willing to lie about a little brake problem that's probably killed people, you trust a company not to lie or cut corners when it comes to expensive waste disposal?

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