Scientists detect increased radiation near Vermont Yankee plant

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(Host) Scientists have detected increased radiation near Vermont Yankee since the nuclear power plant boosted its power level by 20%.

That’s according to a report released this morning by the Vermont Department of Health.

But the Health Department says the higher radiation levels were expected, and are still below state safety limits.

Doctor Bill Irwin is the radiological health chief at the Department of Health.

(Irwin) "The level that we measure and the doses that we calculate are not only unlikely to have any measurable increased risk for the general population for whom we are responsible, but they are really estimates that are quite conservative.”

(Host) The surveillance report uses data from 71 devices that measure radiation at the boundary of the plant, including at the nearby Vernon Elementary School.

Vermont Yankee got approval in 2006 to increase power production by 20%. Officials had expected that power increase to result in a 26% increase in gamma radiation at the plant boundary.

After monitoring for a full year, it was determined that the actual increase for 2007 was around 30%.

But the Health Department says the levels are still below the state’s regulatory limit of 20 millirems a year. The highest level recorded in 2007 was less than 18 millirems.


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