A radioactive form of hydrogen that leaked from a Vermont nuclear plant into soil and groundwater has reached the nearby Connecticut River, state health officials said.
Water samples from the shoreline near the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant last month tested positive for small amounts of tritium, a radioactive isotope of hydrogen that’s been linked to cancer when ingested in large amounts, said State Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Harry Chen.
The samples were taken July 18 and 25 at the shoreline, about 100 feet from the nearest extraction well, which has been withdrawing contaminated water from the ground for several months.
The level of tritium in the samples was measured at 534 and 611 picocuries per liter, just above the lower limit of detection.
Gov. Peter Shumlin said he wants more wells to pull contaminated water from the ground on the Vermont Yankee site.
Tritium has leaked from nuclear plants around the country. It’s particularly problematic for Vermont Yankee as it seeks to renew its license.
New Orleans-based plant owner Entergy Corp. is suing Vermont in federal court over the state’s efforts to shut the plant down.