NH DHHS Announces Latest Test Results of Connecticut River in Response to VY Tritium Leak

Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) today announces the latest test results of water samples taken from the Connecticut River near the Vermont Yankee (VY) Nuclear Power Plant in Vernon, Vermont. The DHHS’ Emergency Services Unit collected the samples and the DHHS Public Health Lab processed the results. This is the fifth round of sampling. These samples again showed no tritium in excess of the lower limit of detection for the laboratory equipment. These results are the same as the other rounds of testing.

“These latest test results continue to assure us that tritium is not posing a public health threat in the Connecticut River,” said Dr. José Montero, DHHS Director of Public Health. “At this point we will not be announcing any further results if they continue to be below the limit of detection for our lab equipment. However, as part of our mission is to ensure the health of New Hampshire residents, we will continue to test for other radionuclides, including cesium, as we have been doing for years. To date that testing has not revealed any results indicating there is a health risk to our citizens.”

Tritium is one of the least dangerous radionuclides because it emits very weak radiation. It does not pose any hazard externally, but it can pose an internal hazard if large quantities are ingested or inhaled. It is present naturally in low levels in the environment.

DHHS will continue to monitor the situation at Vermont Yankee, including attending upcoming meetings with representatives from Vermont Department of Health, Vermont Yankee and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

DHHS’ Division of Public Health Services routinely collects and analyzes hundreds of environmental samples each year around the 10-mile emergency planning zones of both VY and Seabrook Station nuclear power plants to monitor air, soil, ground and surface water, and plants. No radiation levels above what occurs naturally in the environment have been found. For more information, please visit the Vermont Department of Health website at http://healthvermont.gov/enviro/rad/yankee/tritium.aspx.