VY cannot be ruled out as the source of radioactive contamination of fish

Why did Bill Irwin, the radiological and toxicological
sciences program chief for the Vermont Department of
Health, say in Field and Stream, 2/8/12, “What we
thought, that that plant has not yet leaked any kind
of radioactive materials of this nature into the
environment where it could harm public health, is
currently true”?

Concurring with Bill Irwin, Larry Smith, spokesman for
the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in Vernon,said
in the Burlington Free Press 2/8/12 the results, (of
the fish in Lake Carmi testing positive for Strontium
90) backs up the company’s argument that “Vermont
Yankee poses no threat to the public health of the
Connecticut River.” Smith says in an August 4, 2011 AP
article by David Gram “Entergy remains firm in its
conclusion that Vermont Yankee operations cannot be
linked to the recent identification of (SR 90) in fish
tissue from a fish sample obtained by the state” and
again in the same article, Smith states there was
“absolutely no evidence to suggest that Vermont Yankee
is the source for the SR90.”

Irwin and Smith contend that SR90 found in fish in
both Lake Carmi and the Connecticut River proves that
radioactive materials in both fish populations come
from above ground weapons testing or the Chernobyl
nuclear disaster and not from Vermont Yankee.

The problem with Smith and Irwin’s reasoning comes to
light with Gram’s investigation of SR 90 releases from
Vermont Yankee. Gram found in the Nuclear Regulatory
Commission’s files that the plant itself reported
releases of SR 90 into the environment in at least one
of the quarters each year from 2002 to 2005. An
investigation by David Lochbaum, director, Nuclear
Safety Project of the Union of Concerned Scientists
found that the NRC was informed by Entergy on
5/11/2011 that Vermont Yankee released measurable
amounts of SR90 during 2010. Lochbaum states that,in
fact, past reports show that Entergy routinely
released SR90 into the environment.

Lochbaum concludes that, despite what Irwin and Smith
say, VY cannot be ruled out as the source of
radioactive contamination of fish in the Connecticut

On Vermont Public Radio news, 2/7/12, Dr. Harry Chen,
Vermont State health commissioner says that, although
the Lake Carmi results indicate that those fish may
have absorbed background radiation levels of
radioactivity from global sources, he cannot rule out
Vermont Yankee as the source of contamination in the
Connecticut River.

I cannot square Dr. Irwin’s nonsensical assertions
about radiation in the Connecticut River fish with
Lochbaum and Chen’s separate analyses.

Why does this matter? Simply stated, SR90 is the worst
of the radioisotopes found to have leaked from Vermont
Yankee. It is bone seeking and water soluble and poses
a significant public health hazard. It is linked to
both cancer and leukemia. There is no threshold below
which it can be considered safe.

Vermont Yankee has leaked significant levels of SR90
into the groundwater, river and air, which is now
being discovered in fish in close proximity to Vermont
Yankee. Thus a public health hazard now exists for not
only the fish, but individuals, particularly pregnant
women and young children who eat the fish.

We cannot continue to tolerate being poisoned by
Vermont Yankee. It must be shut down now.
Hattie Nestel