For Immediate Release: August 7, 2009
Media Contact: Communication Office
Vermont Department of Health
BURLINGTON – The Vermont Department of Health today published its most recent report on public health surveillance of the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station. The report concluded that Vermont Yankee operated within the limits of the state’s radiological health rule in 2008, and that direct gamma radiation measurements did not increase during the first year of dry cask spent fuel storage at Vermont Yankee.
The report presents the direct gamma radiation results in both the measured exposure levels and in the calculated dose. It includes nearly 1,300 separate measurements of the air, water, milk, soil, vegetation, sediment and fish samples taken at the site boundary, and in the six Vermont towns surrounding the plant.
Compared to 2007, radiation measurements at the site boundary were generally the same or slightly lower in 2008.
“Each year, we’ve refined and improved our comprehensive surveillance,” said Health Commissioner Wendy Davis, MD, “and we’ll continue to watch closely to verify that Vermont Yankee does not pose a risk to public health.”
The Health Department also analyzed health statistics for people who live in the towns surrounding Vermont Yankee and found that cancer incidence and mortality rates in the communities around Vermont Yankee do not differ significantly from those in the rest of Windham County, elsewhere in Vermont, or in the U.S. as a whole.
The report marks the second year that the Health Department applied a 0.6 millirem per milliroentgen dose conversion factor recommended in an independent 2007 report by Oak Ridge Associated Universities. The Health Department regulatory limit is 20 millirem per year at the site boundary, a limit that is more protective than any other state or federal agency. None of the calculated doses using the dose conversion factor exceeded the department’s quarterly or annual dose limits in 2008. In addition, none of the direct gamma radiation exposure measurements obtained with Health Department dosimeters at the site boundary exceeded 10 milliroentgen in any quarter or 20 milliroentgen for the year in 2008.
The Health Department has been monitoring and reporting on radiation emissions from the Vermont Yankee Power station since 1971.
The full report is available at the Vermont Department of Health’s website at healthvermont.gov, then select Health Reports — or go directly to: http://healthvermont.gov/enviro/rad/yankee/2008_surveillance.aspx