MONTPELIER, Vt. – Two highly radioactive fuel rods from a Vermont nuclear plant are missing, plant officials said Wednesday. Engineers were searching the spent fuel pool at the Vermont Yankee plant for the small rods, which were removed from the reactor in 1979.
“We do not think there is a threat to the public at this point. The great probability is this material is still somewhere in the pool,” said Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokesman Neil Sheehan.
One of the missing rods is about the size of a pencil. The other is about the thickness of a pencil and 17 inches long.
Gov. James Douglas, after speaking Wednesday afternoon with the head of the NRC, said he was “very concerned” about the missing fuel at the plant, run by Entergy Nuclear.
“This situation is intolerable,” he said in a statement.
In 2002 a Connecticut nuclear plant was fined $288,000 after a similar loss. That fuel was never accounted for.
Vermont Yankee is located in the southeastern town of Vernon, on the border with Massachusetts and New Hampshire.