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.

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6 Comments on "Trace amount of tritium found in water sample in Connecticut River near Vermont Yankee plant"


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Bob Stannard
5 years 1 month ago
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… Read more »
Frank Esslin
5 years 30 days ago
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… Read more »
Bob Stannard
5 years 29 days ago

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?

5 years 27 days ago
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. EXIT SIGNS AND WRISTWATCHES – 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… Read more »
John Greenberg
5 years 26 days ago

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

5 years 26 days ago


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

Scare-mongering is going on.


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