The Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power plant in Vernon, Vermont, has sprung another radioactive leak. The plant was forced to shut down last night after workers discovered a pipe carrying water laced with tritium and other isotopes dripping at the rate of a drop per second, according to a report in the Burlington Free Press.

Nothing to worry about!

Spokesmen from both the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the plant were on the job last night assuring everyone that this poses no danger to the public. This is akin to crew members of the Titanic assuring passengers that there’s nothing to worry about even as the ship was going down.

And even as they scramble to plug this most recent leak, the owners of the plant, Entergy Corp. of New Orleans, announced this week that they’ve put the plant up for sale. They say they’re optimistic they’ll find a buyer!

The plant has only 17 months of operation left before its license expires, and there’s not a lot of interest in extending it. It’s more a question of whether to shut it down for good now or in a few months. De-commissioning the plant is estimated to cost between $500 million and $1 billion (not quite an exact estimate but what’s a few hundred million between friends?).

Earlier this year Entergy tried to slide out from under the financial obligation to pay for closing it down by trying to spin-off a new corporation to manage Vt. Yankee and its other nuclear plants. The idea seemed to be to let the plants shut down, then declare bankruptcy and let the taxpayers pay the bill. Luckily regulators in New York saw through the ploy, and shot down the idea.

This sounds like the 21st century equivalent of selling the Brooklyn Bridge.

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