Report: Radioactive Fish Found in VT Linked to Weapons Testing, Not Nuclear Plant

Two years ago the discovery of radioactive fish near the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant caused an uproar (and some “Simpsons” jokes. Sorry, Vermont…)

At the time there was speculation that proximity to the power plant was the cause, but in a nod to the old saw that “correlation does not necessarily mean causation” a new batch of radioactive Vermont fish have been discovered – 150 miles away from the power plant.

From this story on

_A new report finds fish in the northern part of Vermont are radioactive like the fish living in the waters near the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant. The significance of this finding is not just that these fish have radioactive elements in their bones, it’s that the ones found up north have no physical connection to those in the Connecticut River by Vermont Yankee.

In this case, scientists said they have found traces of radioactive materials in Lake Carmi’s fish. “Strontium-90 and Cesium-137,” said Bill Irwin, the radiological and toxicological sciences program chief for the Vermont Department of Health.

The results are eyebrow-raising he said, but not because they makes these fish inedible. “If fish were healthy to eat two days ago before anybody heard about this, it’s still the same,” Irwin said. But because the amounts found were similar to those in fish tested down by Vermont Yankee, two years ago. Lake Carmi and Yankee are on opposite ends of the state, more than 150 miles apart. “What we thought, that that plant has not yet leaked any kind of radioactive materials of this nature into the environment where it could harm public health, is currently true,” said Irwin. Instead, the radiological expert said his team believes the source is from before Vermont Yankee’s time. “Most of it came from weapons testing in the Atomic era — the 1940s, ’50, and ’60s,” said Irwin.

So we’re still dealing with the fallout (literally, apparently) from the “Golden Age” of the nuclear arms race. Nuclear technology: it’s truly the gift that keeps on giving…