Radioactive Strontium and Cesium have again turned up in fish taken from a Vermont water body. But this time the fish were from a lake far north of a spot in the Connecticut river near the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power plant, where a similar finding was made last year. The state's chief of radiological health, William Irwin says the finding indicates that radioactivity in both samples was caused by the Chernobyl accident in 1986, and widespread nuclear arms testing in earlier years.
"Sadly the contributions of radioactivity into the environment from nuclear weapons testing that occurred in thee early 1960s was immense."
The recent finding in small mouth bass taken from lake Carmi in far northern Vermont, Irwin says, is evidence that the finding of similar levels of strontium and cesium in fish taken just upstream from the nuclear plant were NOT caused by the plant itself. Irwin adds that slightly elevated levels of a radioactive form of iodine found in environmental samples taken soon after last year's nuclear accident in Fukushima Japan have now dropped substantially.
"The information that I've been reading indicates that as bad as that collection of reactor accidents was in Japan, the amount of radioactivity that was released still was much less than was released by Chernobyl., And that which was released in 1986 by Chernobyl still was dwarfed by the amount that was released by the nuclear tests of the 1940s, 50s and 60s."
Irwin says that he and colleagues from Massachusetts, New Hampshire and federal agencies have embarked on a wide-ranging sampling program that aims to paint a clearer picture of radioactivity in this region's environment.