In the past month, three groundwater monitoring wells that previously tested negative for tritium have now been shown to be contaminated. All three wells ‘ GZ-23S, GZ-6 and GZ-24S ‘ are north of the underground plume of tritium-contaminated groundwater that the Health Department has been monitoring for the past 13 months. GZ-23S is much closer to the plume, as it is currently defined, compared to GZ-6 and GZ-24S. GZ-23S is approximately on a line between GZ-12 and GZ-13, two sites that have both yielded samples positive for tritium over the last several months. ( Vermont Yankee Groundwater Well Map )These newest results could be evidence that the original plume is broadening from north to south along the river, or that there are other sources responsible for tritium contamination. Vermont Yankee is investigating nearby plant structures, systems and components to determine the source. Northstar Vermont Yankee,The Vermont Department of Health received laboratory data late last week from Entergy Vermont Yankee that indicates samples from groundwater monitoring well GZ-23S tested positive for low levels of tritium. Vermont Yankee’s lower limit of detection (LLD) for tritium is in the range of 670 to 700 picocuries per liter (pCi/L). The test results for the samples collected from GZ-23S during the week of January 24 were 714 and 721 pCi/L. The only sample from GZ-23S that the Health Department Laboratory has received and analyzed so far was taken on December 6 ‘ tritium was not detected in that sample. Vermont Yankee officials also noted that they are plotting all of the underground utilities that run through the plume from the Advanced Off-Gas (AOG) building area. This will help in evaluating whether these structures and components could act as conduits of tritium from the AOG plume into the area sampled by wells GZ-24S and GZ-6. Vermont Yankee officials have verified that they have made provisions to keep the river’s edge site free from winter ice that could prevent testing, and that they plan to sample the COB well again in February. Groundwater ExtractionAccording to Vermont Yankee, as of February 3 approximately 317,000 gallons of tritium-contaminated groundwater has been pumped out of the ground to date, with approximately 9,700 of those gallons extracted since the re-start of that process on December 30, 2010. Sampling ProvisionsThe Health Department has been urging Vermont Yankee to sample river water at the river’s edge near the centerline of the AOG plume. Groundwater Monitoring Well ResultsThe results that follow are as reported by Vermont Yankee for tritium on February 3, 2011. In addition, Vermont Yankee has been reporting sample results every day to the Health Department since February 1, 2011.As of this report, 11 of the 31 groundwater monitoring wells are testing positive for tritium. With the exception of wells GZ-23S, GZ-6 and GZ-24S, the trend over the past several months has been that tritium concentrations in groundwater near plant structures, systems and components are decreasing. Trends for wells GZ-14 and GZ-22D, the two extraction sites, are trending downward as expected. Trends for GZ-23S, GZ-6 and GZ-24S, as described above, have remained relatively stable over the past two weeks. For this week, only GZ-15 had an increased tritium concentration compared to the last sample date.To date, gamma spectroscopy and special analyses for hard-to-detect radionuclides have not identified any other nuclear power plant-related radioactive materials in groundwater, drinking water or river water.GZ-1: GZ-2: GZ-3: 108,000 on 1/31/11, down from 121,275 on 1/24/11GZ-4: 70,000 on 1/31/11, down from 78,555 on 1/24/11GZ-5: GZ-6: GZ-7: 3,117 on 1/31/11, down from 3,474 on 1/4/11GZ-8: No sample; dry wellGZ-9: GZ-10: GZ-11: GZ-12S: 1,877 on 1/31/11, down from 3,268 on 1/17/11GZ-12D: 114,962 on 1/31/11, down from 130,857 on 1/17/11GZ-13S: GZ-13D: 880 on 1/31/11, down from 1,095 on 1/4/11GZ-14S: 334,136 on 1/31/11, down from 442,149 on 1/10/11GZ-14D: GZ-15: 144,700 on 1/26/11, up from 141,585 on 1/4/11GZ-16: GZ-17: GZ-18S: GZ-18D: GZ-19S: GZ-19D: GZ-20: GZ-21: 6,853 on 1/31/11, down from 8,673 on 1/17/11GZ-22D: 354,906 on 1/31/11, down from 398,557 on 1/17/11GZ-23S: GZ-24S: 4,857 on 2/3/11, down from 8,139 on 1/26/11GZ-25S: GZ-26S: GZ-27S: Source: Vermont Department of Health 2.7.2011 Vermont Yankee officials noted that the soils near GZ-24S and GZ-6 are of very low permeability. This means groundwater moves slowly through the soils. State officials will get further hydrogeological information at a technical briefing scheduled for February 10. The Departments of Health and Environmental Conservation have recommended for some time that samples be frequently obtained from the Construction Office Building (COB) well. Regular sampling will help determine the tritium concentration in this former drinking water well, which is 360 feet deep into bedrock, and help to better understand if other deep water sources could become contaminated. Groundwater Source InvestigationIn a teleconference on February 3, Vermont Yankee noted that it had completed pressure testing of two piping runs suspected as possible sources of new leaks. These are two of five piping runs that are high on the list of possible sources near GZ-24S. In fact, the well was sited at this location to monitor these particular piping runs. Pressure testing indicated that these two piping runs do not appear to be leaking. Preparations are underway to pressure test the other three piping runs. All of these five piping runs are drain lines for systems that normally carry gases. This means that less liquid travels through them. It also means that the concentration of other radioactive materials like cobalt-60, cesium-137 and strontium-90 (Co-60, Cs-137 and Sr-90) should be lower as compared to liquid processing lines. Vermont Yankee officials noted, however, that the concentration of tritium in these drain lines is similar to that of systems that process predominantly liquids with concentrations of about 3 million pCi/L. The Health Department Laboratory will continue to perform additional analyses on well samples from this new investigation area.
Press Association “I might have to take a couple of trips up before it starts next year and have a couple of practice rounds with him.” With a six-shot lead after 54 holes at Royal Liverpool, McIlroy was asked what it would mean for him to lift the Claret Jug and correctly answered with a smile: “A lot of hype going into Augusta next year.” Only Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods have won all four major titles in their careers, an exclusive club McIlroy now has the chance to join. Sarazen was the slowest to win his grand slam, needing 40 events from 1922 to 1935, but he did have the excellent excuse of the Masters not even existing until 1934. Hogan needed 28 events and Player 24, with Nicklaus requiring 18 and Woods just 15. Assuming he plays in next month’s US PGA Championship at Valhalla, McIlroy’s first attempt to complete the grand slam next April will come in his 25th major appearance as a professional. He was joint 42nd in the 2007 Open as an amateur. It is all a far cry from 12 months ago when he experienced the lowest point of a largely miserable 2013 by missing the cut at Muirfield, labelling his own play “brain dead” after an opening 79. Struggles on the course were not helped by problems off it, McIlroy admitting in November he had seen enough lawyers to last him a lifetime as a dispute with his former management company headed for the courts. But the former world number one eventually got to grips with his new equipment and secured a first win of the year in December, while he somehow won the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth in May despite announcing on the eve of the tournament that he had called off his wedding to tennis star Caroline Wozniacki. “I never had doubts,” McIlroy insisted. “You can’t doubt your own ability and all I had to do was look back at some of the great tournaments that I played. The ability was still there. That wasn’t it. It was just trying to find a way to make it come out again. “Missing the cut at Muirfield last year was a very low point. I’d never missed a cut at the Open before and I really missed playing the weekend. I said to myself I’ll try to never make that happen again. “It’s been huge what a difference a year makes, I guess. It’s turned into a great year. “The win at Wentworth was huge and obviously getting my third major is a huge step in the right direction. There’s many more tournaments and many more trophies that I want to win.” The world number two’s only top-10 finish in six appearances at Augusta National came earlier this year, but only after the embarrassment of losing to his non-competing marker in the third round. Rounds of 71 and 77 meant McIlroy made the cut on the mark of four over par and, as the odd man out of the 51 players left in the field, had to play with a marker on Saturday. Augusta member and two-time former Georgia amateur champion Jeff Knox had that enviable role and although McIlroy shot 71, Knox – who holds the course record of 61 from the members’ tees – beat him by a single shot. McIlroy had to birdie three of the last four holes to keep it that close – in match play he would have lost 4&3 – and said at the time: “Jeff is a great player. I thought he was going to be nice and three-putt the last and we would have a half, but he beat me by one. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone putt the greens as well as he does around here. I was thinking of maybe getting him to read a few of my putts out there.” McIlroy was able to laugh it off at the time and a closing 69 gave him a share of eighth place, but he sounded more serious about seeking Knox’s help now that a career grand slam will be on the line when he returns to Augusta in April. “I’ve always been comfortable from tee to green at Augusta and it’s just taken me a few years to figure out the greens and figure out where you need to miss it and some different little shots that you might need that week,” McIlroy said after holding off the challenge of Ryder Cup team-mate Sergio Garcia at Hoylake. “I’ll be going into Augusta next year pretty confident…. if I can just figure out the greens a little bit more. What really helped me last year was playing with Jeff Knox in the third round. He’s the best I’ve ever seen on Augusta’s greens. McIlroy’s hard-fought victory in the Open Championship at Royal Liverpool means he needs to win the Masters to become just the sixth player in history to win all four majors. The 25-year-old famously took a four-shot lead into the final round in 2011 only to collapse to a closing 80 which left him joint 15th, 10 shots behind the winner Charl Schwartzel. An amateur more than twice his age, who has already beaten him once, could hold the key to Rory McIlroy’s bid to complete a career grand slam.