(Host) The State of Vermont has asked the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission to hold a formal hearing concerning a plan by the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power plant to increase its power capacity at the Vernon reactor by roughly 20 percent.
Public Service Department Commissioner David O’Brien says the state wants a comprehensive hearing that will include public testimony and a time period for full discovery and cross examination of witnesses. O’Brien says the formal hearing is needed to address some of the state’s concerns surrounding pressure on the plant’s containment system:
(O’Brien) “We’re trying to verify that in fact the NRC has followed their own rules and process in terms of enacting this protocol on containment overpressure. From what we seen so far it just doesn’t seem as though they went through the same sort of process, in terms of having this noticed and made permanent.”
(Host) O’Brien says the state is also requesting the right to amend its position in this case based on the results of an independent assessment of Vermont Yankee’s proposal:
(O’Brien) “Just from a common sense standpoint that you would want to have the outcome of that analysis. In fact, if in case something material came out of it so that we would be able include it in the hearing before it’s completed. Because this is a very important hearing if in fact it’s held to determine what will come of the uprate request before the NRC.”
(Host) The NRC is expected to issue a ruling on the state’s request for a formal hearing by mid November.