Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Entergy Responds to Rep. Markey on Sr-90 Found in Fish

Beauty shot of Vermont Yankee.Two weeks ago, I blogged about Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) accusing Entergy of not being truthful when it came to Strontium-90 (Sr-90) emissions from the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant. I just found out that Entergy’s Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer Roderick West responded to Rep. Markey’s accusations in a letter to the congressman last week.
Entergy’s overall position remains the same:

While some may speculate as to the source of the Sr-90, the scientific evidence does not support any connection between the operations of Vermont Yankee and the June 2010 fish sample.
In the letter, West quotes an Aug. 2 post written by Bill Irwin, radiological health chief at the Vermont Department of Health, who provides detailed information and data on the types of fish sampling conducted and compares that to previous research. However, without further evidence, Irwin says it is impossible to draw a clear conclusion that the Sr-90 that was found in the fish could be a result of the plant’s operations.
Sr-90 is found throughout our environment and in our diet. All humans have Sr-90 within their bodies. Given that Sr-90 is detected in fish collected from various locations, as well as many other media in the environment, we cannot associate low levels of Sr-90 in fish in the Connecticut River with Vermont Yankee-related radioactive materials without other supporting evidence.
That last part is especially important, he continues, in proving the source of the Sr-90 found in the fish:
Other supporting evidence would include measuring Sr-90 in groundwater samples as well as measuring other nuclear power plant-related radionuclides in both fish and groundwater samples. To date, the Health Department Laboratory has not measured other nuclear power plant-related radionuclides in fish or groundwater samples.
Irwin concurs with the company’s position and said he doesn’t believe the Sr-90 found in the fish was from Vermont Yankee.
We would need to see a pathway between the source and the fish, he said. Such a pathway isn’t apparent.
West outlines very clearly at the end of the letter that “all available evidence suggests that there is no such pathway.”

Given this conclusion, West also points out that Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin, who late this summer accused Entergy of “putting their shareholders’ profits above the welfare of Vermonters” because of the incident, changed his opinion.
We don’t know exactly where [the Strontium-90] came from.
Barring further evidence, I think Gov. Shumlin’s comment sums it up.
The full text of the letter can be downloaded here.
Photo: Vermont Yankee nuclear plant.

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