The Vermont Department of Health Radiological Health Program evaluates and manages the actual and potential public health impacts on Vermonters due to operations at the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station, located in the town of Vernon, Windham County.
- Environmental Surveillance
- Emergency Preparedness
- Radiological Health Rule
- Monitoring Reports
- Contact information
On January 7, 2010, the Department of Health was notified by Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station that samples taken from a groundwater monitoring well on site at the plant contained tritium, a radioactive form of hydrogen.
Regular sampling is done around the power station to test for radioactive contamination. Samples are taken from:
- surface water
In addition, local farms provide milk samples every month for testing, to verify there are no radiological contaminants in the milk.
Analysis of samples is done at the Health Department laboratory.
The Department of Health continuously measures the radiation dose around Vermont Yankee, both at the site boundary as well as locations throughout Windham County.
Environmental surveillance has been in effect since before Vermont Yankee began commercial operation in 1973. The Health Department publishes an annual report of its surveillance findings.
The Department of Health partners with the following agencies and departments to help ensure Vermonters are provided adequate warning and emergency response in the event of a radiological release at Vermont Yankee:
- Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets
- Agency of Natural Resources
- Department of Public Safety
- Homeland Security
- Vermont Emergency Management
Health Department staff train emergency responders throughout the state in the essential skills required in emergency events, and to staff critical positions in local and state emergency operations centers.
In addition to meeting classroom and field training requirements, Health Department staff participate in annual drills to test their ability to use learned skills. Vermont's Radiological Emergency Response Plan is evaluated annually by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to ensure it meets standards for effective response.
- An Evaluation of Direct Gamma Dose at the Site Boundary of the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station (188 pages, 2.3 MB)
- Vermont Department of Public Safety
Emergency public information for Vermont Yankee
- Vermont Department of Public Service
The Vermont Department of Public Service represents the public interest in utilities such as power, water, and telecommunications.
- Windham Regional Commission
The Windham Regional Commission reports to the Public Service Board on Vermont Yankee issues such as the license extension. The WRC also provides planning assistance to the towns in Windham County, including those in the EPZ.
- Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency
Massachusetts oversees planning and training for towns in the EPZ’s of Vermont Yankee, Pilgrim Station in Plymouth, MA, and Seabrook Station in Seabrook, NH.
- New Hampshire Homeland Security & Emergency Management
New Hampshire has five towns in the Vermont Yankee EPZ as well as 17 towns in the EPZ around Seabrook Station in Seabrook, NH.
- Federal Emergency Management Agency
FEMA is the lead Federal agency for response to a disaster. For Radiological, they provide the oversight of off site response to the local and state responders.
- Nuclear Regulatory Commission
The NRC is the federal agency responsible for monitoring all nuclear power plants in the country. They also provide technical assistance and resources in an emergency.
For more information about the Radiological Health Program contact:
William E. Irwin, Sc.D., CHP
Radiological Health Chief
Vermont Department of Health
108 Cherry Street
Burlington, VT 05402