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This is a Test, This is Only a Test


Published May 6, 2009 at 8:32 a.m.

Vermont’s media dutifully trumpeted the fact that Vermont Yankee was going to test its emergency siren system yesterday. But, just as all those press releases were cut and pasted and printed on Monday, Entergy called off the drill.


According to plant spokesman Rob Williams, the test was put on hold for a day due to “forecasted rain during the test period. [American National Standards Institute] test standard prefers no precip for consistent field measurements of sound data.”

So, for anyone driving through the region today, here's what you can expect to hear: Sometime between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., the emergency sirens in Vermont Yankee’s emergency planning zone (a radius of 10 miles around the plant, which includes towns in Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts), will sound for three minutes. The test will sound 37 sirens, including 16 sirens recently added to the system.

It should be noted that the delay in testing had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that Entergy bused 200 employees to Montpelier on Monday so workers could lobby lawmakers.

The bill in question? A measure that would force Entergy to put more money into the decommissioning fund so taxpayers aren’t stuck with the bill if the plant shuts down and there isn’t enough money in the fund to dismantle it.

Are 200 employees that unnecessary? Shouldn't they be looking for leaks and cracks and rotting scaffolding around the cooling tower or something? Having doughnuts and coffee with inspectors from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission?

And, Gov. Jim Douglas likes to complain about a bloated state government. Sheesh.

Makes you wonder what would have happened if a real emergency occurred at Vermont Yankee while company officials had a third of the staff off on a lobbying field trip.

Safety first, eh?