Irrelevant tritium readings a Vt Yankee
posted at 8/17/2011 10:49 PM EDTSo a very sensitive detector sees some thing at the very limit of detection. I have used similar tools in the past. It is an issue of credibility that these would be reported at all unless the person stateing these results was not a scientist but a party to a political issue.
These readings are meaningless. Not to mention so close to background as to be uncertain as to origin. The claim is that these readings were in the proximity of the groundwater from the VT nuke. However they did not describe other readings that are natural source from other points in the river. These come from natural uranium in the rock here. At the same time saying that the instrument was at its extreme limit of measurement. That usually means a larger degree of error than normal.
Potential problems besides tritium
posted at 8/18/2011 8:33 PM EDT
The Globe and other New England news sources sometimes carry brief articles from Dave Gram, an AP reporter who lives in the Burlington, VT, area. Mr. Gram seems attracted to news about radioactive emissions, particularly from the Vermont Yankee nuclear power-plant, about 150 miles south of his home. Because of the distance, maybe, he rarely has first-hand contacts. He never describes amounts, and if he knows something about measurement methods or regulatory limits, that information never makes it into his articles, as they are distributed.
Another AP reporter, Jeff Donn, who is considerably more diligent, recently disclosed federal data showing that three-quarters of the nuclear reactor sites in the U.S. have found tritium at least once in a monitoring well within the reactor sites. [ Tritium leaks found at 75 percent of US nuclear sites, MSNBC, June 21, 2011, at www.msnbc.msn.com/id/43475479/ns/us_news-environment/t/radioactive-tritium-leaks-found-us-nuke-sites/ ] Mr. Donn went on, however, to see whether tritium had migrated beyond plant boundaries, and he found four examples. In none of them, he reported, did concentrations exceed EPA drinking water limits.
In January through March, 2010, Vermont Yankee had a substantial problem, finding tritium in a monitoring well at a concentration several hundred times the EPA limit for drinking water. It took plant personnel about two months to track the source to buried steam pipes that had corroded. Plant managers had about 150 tons of soil dug up around the leaks and taken to a waste disposal site in Utah.
While that operation was in progress, the Vermont Health Department collected soil samples. It found a whole portfolio of radioactive contaminants, including barium-140, cesium-137, chromium-51, cobalt-58, cobalt-60, lanthanum-140, manganese-54, niobium-95, rhodium-105, strontium-90, xenon-131, zinc-65 and zinc-69. Some of the isotopes come from nuclear fuels, while others are most likely corrosion products from reactor vessels and their internal components, after receiving nuclear irradiation.
Strontium-90 has been found in fish taken from the Connecticut River near the plant, suggesting radioactive contaminants did migrate off-site. The public outside Vermont probably saw only a Dave Gram story, with no amounts or regulatory limits. The Vermont Department of Health distributes a fairly thorough collection of information on the topics. [ at http://healthvermont.gov/enviro/rad/yankee/laboratory_testing.aspx ]
Sr-90 in edible tissue of Vermont fish was at a maximum concentration of about 70 pCi/kg. The U.S. EPA does not have a limit for Sr-90 in edible fish, but its limit for drinking water is 8 pCi/kg. The maximum concentration found in Vermont fish was about 9 times that limit. While tritium does not appear have reached hazard levels outside the Vermont Yankee plant, other radioactive contaminants may be of more concern.
Re: Irrelevant tritium readings a Vt Yankee
posted at 8/18/2011 10:31 PM EDTYou just select info. The issue I was raiseing was the detector limit. The detectors are affected by other sources of radiation. The news story quoted an official saying that it was at the limits of the detector. All of the bs you quote is consistent with readings else where that have nothing to do with vermont yankee at all. VT public health did themselves no favors by publishing this data as it makes them look stupid. If it was published in context with other data the pattern might be clear. This was just a partisan attack with no solid science behind it. There are many other sources of radio isotopes my friend. Most of the bs you put up is in the ball park. Also did you ever look at the volume of medical isotopes that are flushed into the enviornment? I have. Most of the isotopes you mention have other sources including natural sources. When in nature we do not call these contaminants. Further these items would not be seen in a steam line as a source. Even if there was a melt in the core and an uncontained breech. Which has not happened here. Most of these would not migrate to water. You want to believe your statement and I understand that, but it is not fact that these are from the plant. You give no stats on surrounding area soils. Also fail to mention that the VT department of health had no significant concern over these other supposed "contaminants". The fish was not sampled at the Yankee site, but miles away to the north(the river flows south). Sample wells that were done at the plant showed no serious issues with sr90. No comparison levels in other areas were given so it is useless to speculate as to the source.
Re: Irrelevant tritium readings a Vt Yankee
posted at 8/19/2011 11:17 AM EDTYesterday NH public health said that their readings in the same area were not detectable. So it seems that the readings are in fact irrelevant. Like I said.