NRC responds to concerns over Entergy strontium statements, Brattleboro Reformer, Nov. 18, 2011 (Emphasis Added):
In early August, the Vermont Department of Health revealed strontium-90 was detected in edible portions of fish taken from the Connecticut River, upstream of the power plant. [...]
The sample was just above the lower limit of detection but was the first time strontium-90 had been detected in the edible portion of any of the fish samples.
Larry Smith, Yankee’s director of communications
“There is absolutely no evidence to suggest that Vermont Yankee is the source for the strontium-90. We have 31 monitoring wells on site that are tested regularly. No groundwater sample from any well at Vermont Yankee has ever indicated the presence of strontium-90, or any other isotope other than tritium.”
NRC’s response to Congressman Ed Markey (D-MA)
“The licensee has reported to the NRC and made public information regarding past gaseous releases of Sr-90 within legal limits, but river water sampling subsequent to these reported releases to the atmosphere has not detected the presence of Sr-90 in the Connecticut River.”
The NRC states the findings presented by DOH “are too close to the level of uncertainty to be considered by themselves a conclusive indication of the presence of Sr-90.”
Because no strontium has been found in the groundwater monitoring wells, wrote the NRC, there is no need for further study of possible Sr-90 contamination from Vermont Yankee at this time.
Does the NRC care if Entergy is lying?
Markey also asked the NRC to look into “whether Entergy was lying in its Aug. 2 (2011) statement to the media or perhaps was lying in its May 2010 report to the NRC.”
In its response, the NRC stated its legal authority to determine the veracity of statements made by nuclear industry representatives “does not extend to regulating all public statements made by companies that hold NRC licenses.”
However, the NRC does require that information presented to it be complete and accurate in all material respects.
“This does not mean that the agency is unconcerned if licensee statements to the public are misleading or untrue. The NRC believes that all stakeholders involved in NRC-regulated activities should act in an open, honest, and transparent way, just as the agency seeks to do in its own action, and any failure by a licensee to do so could call into question the veracity of licensee information provided to the NRC.”
Entergy had no comment on the NRC letter.
Published: November 18th, 2011 at 8:16 am ET