WCAX interviewed Bill Irwin, head of the Radiological Health area of the Vermont Department of Health. The heading for this interview was: Expert: Vermont Yankee May Have Other Vulnerable Areas.
The content was:
- We found the source of the leak
- It has stopped leaking.
But the tone was quite negative. More could go wrong! Yes. More could always go wrong.
It reminds me of getting a test result from a yearly mammo. I get a letter that says something like: your mammogram is clear. However, there could be cancer somewhere else in your body, and some cancers are not detected by mammos, etc etc etc. In other words, a long warning that translates:
Your test is okay. But something else could go wrong. We're not making any promises.
Life is always uncertain. Still, these warnings generally mean: We are doing some serious CYA here. (CYA is shorthand for "Cover Your Donkey")
Let's take the main result instead, okay guys?
VY found this tritium leak. They fixed it. Cause for celebration!
Also, Rod Adams has an excellent post on the total amount of tritium that leaked, top to bottom, all the tritium in the famous plume of tritiated water under the plant. Spoiling the suspense of reading his post: less than half a curie of tritium leaked, total, at Vermont Yankee. In contrast, a well-operated CanDu reactor in Ontario releases 5,000 curies of tritium a year into the environment, or 14 curies per day. These releases are well within the legal limits in Canada, limits designed to expose the public to far less radiation from tritium than they receive from background.