New Tritium Levels Highest Yet

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(Host) Levels of radioactive tritium in two new test wells at Vermont Yankee are the highest yet found near the Vernon reactor.

VPR’s John Dillon reports:

(Dillon) The two new wells that turned up tritium are south of the test well where radioactive water was first found in early January.

Yankee says one of the wells was found to have tritium at around 70,500 picocuries per liter. Another well further south showed levels at around 1,800 picocuries.

Bill Irwin is the radiological health chief at the state Health Department. He says the additional findings should help Yankee technicians pinpoint the source of the leak.

(Irwin) "The next step is to drill additional wells and try to surround the plume of contaminated water on the site there, to find the boundaries, so we can get a sense of how contaminated it is, and more closely, where it is."

(Dillon) Irwin says investigators are focusing on a large ventilation duct as the possible source of the contamination.

He says water builds up in the ventilation system through condensation, and that the water may be leaking into the ground.

Irwin says tritium has not been found in area drinking water supplies or in the Connecticut River.

For VPR News, I’m John Dillon.

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