Trace amount of tritium found in water sample in Connecticut River near Vermont Yankee plant

639 Loyola Ave.
New Orleans, LA 70113


December 21, 2011

For Release: Immediately

Contact: Larry Smith
[email protected]

Small Amount of Tritium Identified in Water Sample from Connecticut River near Vermont Yankee

No Threat to Public Health or Safety

Vernon, Vt. – As part of its ongoing tritium sampling program, Vermont Yankee learned yesterday that a small amount of tritium, 1230 picocuries per liter, was found in a water sample taken from the Connecticut River adjacent to the plant site on November 3rd. This reading is significantly below the EPA drinking water limit of 20,000 picocuries per liter and has no impact on drinking water supplies.

Follow-up samples taken on November 7 and 10 showed no signs of tritium.

The sampling result is not unexpected given the location of the sampling point and is consistent with the directional flow of groundwater below the plant site. The tritium finding poses no risk to public health and safety.

The State of Vermont Dept. of Health identified a similar reading from their portion of a split sample taken from the November 3rd sample. Split samples are routinely provided to the State Department of Health by Vermont Yankee.

The sample results confirm the Conceptual Site Model that indicates small amounts of tritium would eventually reach the river. Bi-weekly sampling of the river will continue in accordance with the Vermont Yankee sampling plan.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the departments of health in Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts have been notified of the information by Vermont Yankee.

Entergy Corporation is an integrated energy company engaged primarily in electric power production and retail distribution operations. Entergy owns and operates power plants with approximately 30,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity, and it is the second-largest nuclear generator in the United States. Entergy delivers electricity to 2.7 million utility customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Entergy has annual revenues of more than $11 billion and approximately 15,000 employees.

Press Release


  1. Bob Stannard :

    Read the Orwelliian words of Larry Smith carefully and you’ll feel the soothing tone he’s trying to convey.

    “The sampling result is not unexpected…” “Not unexpected” are two words he has used in the past to convey the feeling of “it’s all right”, but the fact is that it was all unexpected.

    The radiation that is now in the ground under and around the plant came from pipes that Entergy officials testified, under oath, did not exit. If the pipes did not exist then every action and test is unexpected.

    Also note that immediately after the opener of this press release come the words “No threat to Public or Safety”. You are not too worry as everything at this leaking, aged plant is just fine.

    We can only wonder what Mr. Smith would have said if he were the spokesperson for TEPCO. “Plant Explodes – No Threat to Public or Safety. Exploding plant was not unexpected”.

  2. Frank Esslin :

    How much is 1,230 picocuries of something anyway? The article said that the limit for drinking water is 20,000 picocuries/liter, so it is less than 7% of what is allowed to come out of your faucet. There are just about 1,600 picocuries of potassium-40 in a pound of bananas, or about 25,000,000 picocuries of tritium in you wristwatch with a glow-in-the-dark face.

    So, it’s fair and reasonable to compare this to one of the largest disasters (and not just the nuclear part) the world has seen. We should close VY and build a coal plant. Or replace it with a biomass plant like Vermont’s only other power plant, J.C. McNeil, which burns 30 cords of wood an hour… to make 50 MWe. VY makes 650 MWe, so, we should burn 390 cord of wood an hour to replace VY. How about a solar plant? SEGS in California’s Mojave Desert makes about 75 MWe and covers 1,600 acres. So clear out 13,800 acres to replace VY with solar (it will have to be someplace that rarely has overcast). Wind power sounds good. The Roscoe wind farm in the Texas Panhandle, the largest in the US, makes a little less than 300 MWe. And, it’s only 627 wind turbines and only covers about 100,000 acres. Natural gas isn’t as bad as coal, right? But, it still make about 65% of the green house gases that a coal plant does for the same amount of energy produced.

    Nuclear power may not be perfect, but what is? I think it’s one of the best sources of power available to us today, with a very large domestic fuel source. With the growing energy demand, it could be one way we prevent greenhouse gases for being pumped into the atmosphere. I’m not saying that solar, wind, and natural gas are bad, I’m just saying that they also have their drawbacks. Just because Greenpeace wants you to part ways with your hard earned dollars so they can make money, doesn’t mean you should always listen to their scare tactics.

  3. Bob Stannard :

    Ah, the return of the banana argument.

    We should be asking what’s so good about radiation unknowingly being released into our groundwater and our air. Perhaps Mr. Esslin can answer what’s so good about 37 out of 104 nuclear plants leaking radiation into our groundwater. Why is this a good thing for unwitting people? Why is it a good thing to trivialize?

  4. Bob,
    An adult human body contains nuclides equivalent of about 7,000 Bq x 27 pCi/Bq = 189,000 pCi
    Tritium is the least radioactive of all nuclides; tissue paper or human skin stops the radiation.
    – A luminous EXIT sign (1970s) contains about 1,000,000 million Bq (1 TBq), or 27 Curies of tritium. They often end up in landfills causing the leacheate to contain up to 250,000 pCi/liter, which may be similar to some nuclear plant tritium leaks.
    – NRC limit for a wristwatch = 25 mCi of tritium/watch = 25,000,000 pCi of tritium/watch = 925,000 Bq

    Trivial people take up trivial issues. They are people who purposely make mountains out of mole hills.

  5. John Greenberg :

    So Willem, how many exit signs or wrist watches have you eaten lately?

  6. John,

    How much water “contaminated” with tritium have you been drinking from the Connecticut River?

    Scare-mongering is going on.




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