Thermal pollution still a problem at VY

PUTNEY — After the intense heat wave in July, we are again faced with another year of elevated water temperatures in the Connecticut River at our state's only nuclear power station.

Power plants use huge amounts of water for cooling, and when already warmed water enters the cooling system, that same water is far too hot to support a healthy ecosystem when it is discharged into the river.

About 50 to 60 percent of energy generated by nuclear reactors is waste heat. If it is not converted into electricity, that wasted heat will be absorbed by cooling water and dumped into the river.

Vermont Yankee discharges 500 million gallons of heated water daily into the river. The water at discharge can be as high as 105 degrees, shocking aquatic life. Since the 1990s, American shad have declined by 99 percent at the site of discharge.

There is no reason for this destructive thermal pollution of the river. Entergy already possesses the technology to use a closed-loop cooling system, recirculating and cooling the water by using the existing fans and cooling towers. However, it is more costly to use this type of system. Entergy does not want to spend the money to ensure a healthy future for the Connecticut River.

We are speaking out for the life of our river, saying that a healthy environment is more important than the profits of Entergy's shareholders. On Saturday, Aug. 10, the SAGE Alliance will hold a land and water demonstration, a Flotilla to Protect our River.

Join us in Hinsdale, N.H., on the Fort Hill Rail Trail, or in kayaks and canoes on the water. Launch begins at 9:30 a.m. from the Prospect Street Boat Launch off Route 119. The rally takes place at 11 a.m. The rain day is Sunday, Aug. 11. Learn more at SAGEAlliance.net.

The fact that we already live with 530 tons of highly radioactive waste, spent fuel sitting on the banks of the river, is an outrageous risk. Heating the river and killing its aquatic life is an avoidable outrage.

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