Vermont Yankee's search locates missing spent fuel

15 July 2004

Engineers at Entergy's Vermont Yankee plant breathed a sigh of relief on 14 July when two pieces of spent fuel were finally found – in the place they were meant to be.

On 21 April, Entergy informed the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) that the fragments, one 18cm long, one 43cm long and both the thickness of a pencil, were not in their documented location and began an exhaustive robotic search of the spent fuel pool. The search was unsuccessful, but a review of records at General Electric revealed that a special container capable of holding the fragments was manufactured and dispatched to Vermont Yankee. There was no record of the shipment in the plant’s records.




Vermont Yankee


A subsequent review of video shot inside the pool enabled the search team to pinpoint the container, which had previously been thought to be an integral working part of the pool. A special tool was designed and made to open the container and view its contents.

The discovery brought the 9000-hour search to a satisfactory end, with Vermont Yankee’s inventory finally complete. However, the NRC are quite interested in how the plant’s paper-trail broke down: NRC spokesman Neil Sheehan said that a special investigation would begin in August, and for several weeks NRC staff would work at the plant and at Entergy’s offices in Battleboro.



Any state determined enough will acquire the technology it is seeking
Any state determined enough will acquire the technology it is seeking



Of course, military facilities of nuclear weapons states are exempt from inspections
Of course, military facilities of nuclear weapons states are exempt from inspections





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