Vermont Yankee must improve performance or risk no license renewal

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A lack of thorough inspections beforehand contributed to two mishaps at the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant in recent years: a 2004 transformer fire and a 2007 collapse of a cooling tower, according to a state report issued Tuesday.

The Public Oversight Panel found that in both instances Vermont Yankee and its owner, Jackson, Miss.-based Entergy Nuclear, should have relied more on industry experience with similar problems. It also found that inspections were hampered by the physical difficulty of reaching parts of the plant where trouble later started.

The report recommends that Vermont Yankee improve its performance if it wants to operate reliably after 2012. Its current license expires in March of that year and state and federal officials are reviewing whether it should get the 20-year license extension it is seeking.

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