U.S. Senators Patrick Leahy and Jim Jeffords issued the following statement today in response to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s decision to approve a power uprate at Vermont Yankee: "Today the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has approved Entergy’s request to boost power at its Vermont Yankee plant by 20 percent. We expect the NRC to closely monitor this uprate to ensure the plant’s increased power generation does not result in safety or reliability problems. The NRC should ensure that all required safety-related changes to the plant’s license are made expeditiously. The NRC should also ensure that the power boost at Vermont Yankee is implemented slowly, so the effects on the plant’s operations can be fully monitored. As a delegation, we intend to continue to use our oversight authority to ensure the NRC follows through in these areas. As we have said from the start, safety must be our first priority.” “In addition, as the public and the State of Vermont have requested, the NRC has agreed to hold formal hearings on the Yankee Power uprate. The NRC’s Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (ASLB) granted those requests in November 2004. We remain concerned that the ASLB has not set a hearing schedule yet, and we urge the NRC to do so immediately. The outcome of the hearings has the potential to affect the terms and conditions of the uprate, and Vermonters have a right to the due process they deserve."