High radiation reading taken near Vermont Yankee

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(Host) State officials want Entergy Vermont Yankee to explain by April 1, why a radiation monitor near the plant showed unusually high levels. A monitor on the plant fence line indicated levels above state standards sometime during the last three months of 2004.

But state nuclear engineer William Sherman says officials are questioning the data.

(Sherman) “We asked for a review and analysis of the data and the methodologies, and we also indicated that there should be close coordination. So we’ve had data sharing that’s occurred after we sent the letter where we provided our data to them, they provided a lot of data to us.”

(Host) To calculate radiation exposure from the plant officials have to subtract background levels from natural sources. Sherman says there are questions about the background levels that were recorded.

He says the state is not aware of any unusual radiation release from Vermont Yankee.

(Sherman) “Not that we know of. From our readings, the measurements at the fence were roughly consistent for all of the four quarters. And that’s what you’d expect because a nuclear plant operated at about 100 percent throughout the whole period. But the background readings had this anomaly where one quarter had this very low background reading and the other quarters had background readings close to what was expected. And we’re trying to understand why that might be.”

(Host) State Health Commissioner Paul Jarris says officials do not believe the elevated reading poses any immediate threat.

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