[ RadSafe ] RE: Mangano: US Beta Levels Up 40% Since 1980

goldinem at songs.sce.com goldinem at songs.sce.com
Fri Dec 23 12:09:54 CST 2005

Regarding the Mangano claim that Vermont rainwater gross beta levels have
increased over the years (due presumably to the operation of Vermont
Yankee), Health Physics just published a paper on the analysis of 22 years
of air samples in New York State (Health Phys. 90 (1): 31-37; 2006.  Kitto,
et al, Long-Term Monitoring of Radioactivity in Surface Air and Deposition
in  New York State).  Great stuff, all kinds of conclusions about how
weather patterns affect gross beta and airborne cosmogenic radioactivity.
Note the sample locations were selected in part because of proximity to
three New York nuclear power plant sites.  However, the only anthropogenic
(wow, what a word) radionuclides were correlated with sewage sludge
incineration and a tritium-processing facility.  Also noteworthy, some
analyses were conducted specifically for Sr-90 and/or Sr-89.  Nothing was
ever detected in any samples so "they will not be discussed further."  So
much for increasing trends in environmental strontium and baby teeth.

By the way, the final argument by Mangano about "increased generation" by
these "aging" power plants is actually quite wrong.  When plants run well,
as indicated by a 95% capacity factor, airborne releases are typically
reduced.  Startups and shutdowns are usually responsible for greater
effluent releases.  So the "increased" Sr-90 in rainwater (if true, which I
doubt) is negatively correlated with Vermont Yankee's operation.  Plus I'm
quite sure that VY's Radiological Environmental Monitoring Program confirms
no radiological impact from plant operation on the local environs.

Eric M. Goldin, CHP
<goldinem at songs.sce.com>

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