VERNON — NorthStar Holding Co. is exploring what the company says is a more efficient way of getting rid of the hundreds of gallons slightly tainted water that seep into the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant's turbine building on a daily basis.
A lone rail car currently sitting on a siding adjacent to the Vermont Yankee will be used to transport the water that has been leaking into the nuclear plant's turbine building, ever since the plant shut down in late 2014.
A NorthStar spokesman said the waste water, which in the past has been trucked to a Tennessee disposal site, could now be sent there via rail.
According to a report made to the Vermont Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel in December, Entergy Nuclear had so far sent 853,000 gallons of the slightly tainted water to Energy Solutions of Tennessee.
The last shipment to Energy Solutions was in October, according to the report.
NorthStar, which completed the purchase of Vermont Yankee from Entergy Nuclear in early January, has rebuilt and upgraded the rail spur that serves Vermont Yankee, and plans on shipping a lot of the low-level radioactive waste from the demolition of Vermont Yankee by rail, and keeping a lot of truck traffic off local roads.
"In an effort to more efficiently transport groundwater that intrudes into the Vermont Yankee turbine building offsite, NorthStar is exploring a transition from the tanker trucks used by Entergy to railway cars," NorthStar said in a prepared statement.
During the past four years, Entergy tried to lessen the seepage into the turbine building, but the company was not able to eliminate it entirely. The company said the heated turbine building helped to evaporate much of the water during the years Vermont Yankee was operating.
Anthony Iarrapino, a Montpelier lawyer who is handling press contact for NorthStar, said the company would not be releasing additional information about the change until the May 20 meeting of the Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel and NorthStar's "ongoing efforts to manage legacy groundwater intrusion issues on the site."
NorthStar, an industrial demolition company, purchased Vermont Yankee from Entergy Nuclear in January, in exchange for the plant's decommissioning trust fund and a symbolic $1,000 payment. The company believes it can demolish and decontaminate the Yankee structures for less than the $506 million still in the trust fund as of October 2018.
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