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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

☢ Vermont - fish containing radioactive material in the Connecticut River ☢

Tue Aug 2, 2011 4:37pm EDT

* Vermont Yankee could close by March 2012
* Entergy fighting for reactor survival

NEW YORK, Aug 2 (Reuters) - Vermont health regulators said on Tuesday they found a fish containing radioactive material in the Connecticut River near Entergy's (ETR.N) Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant which could be another setback for Entergy to keep it running.

The state said it needs to do more testing to determine the source of the Strontium-90, which can cause bone cancer and leukemia.
Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin wants the 620 megawatts reactor shut in March 2012 when its original operating license was to expire.
"Today's troubling news from the Vermont Department of Health is another example of Entergy Louisiana putting their shareholders' profits above the welfare of Vermonters," Shumlin said in a statement.
"I am asking my Health Department to keep a close eye on test results moving forward to determine the extent of any contamination that has reached the environment."
New Orleans-based Entergy, the second biggest nuclear power operator in the United States, however wants to keep the reactor running for another 20 years under a new license.
Entergy filed a complaint in federal court to block the state from shutting the reactor next year.
Officials at Entergy were not immediately available for comment.
"One finding of (Strontium-90) just above the lower limit of detection in one fish sample is notable because it is the first time Strontium-90 has been detected in the edible portion of any of our fish samples," the Vermont Department of Health said on its website.
The Health Department said it did not know how the Strontium-90, which is both naturally occurring in the environment and a byproduct of nuclear power production and nuclear weapons testing, got into the fish.
"We cannot associate low levels of Strontium-90 in fish in the Connecticut River with Vermont Yankee-related radioactive materials without other supporting evidence," the report said.
MORE ANALYSIS NEEDED
The Health Department asked for additional analysis on the fish obtained on June 9, 2010 that contained the strontium-90 and also on other fish samples.
These analyses will take weeks to complete, the Health Department said, noting it is working to obtain additional fish for testing much farther upstream in the Connecticut River.
The Connecticut River divides Vermont and New Hampshire before running through Massachusetts and Connecticut. Vermont Yankee is located in Vernon, Vermont, near the border between Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts about 110 miles northwest of Boston.
Strontium-90 and other human made radioactive materials come from the fairly constant release of very low quantities from medical and industrial users of radioactive materials, and from infrequent releases such as above-ground nuclear weapons testing in the 1950s, and the nuclear reactor accidents at Chernobyl in 1986 and Fukushima in 2011.
Radioactive materials are nothing new for Vermont Yankee. In January 2010, Entergy said it discovered a radioactive tritium leak at the plant. The company stopped that leak in March 2010 but not before the state Senate, which was then led by now Governor Shumlin, voted to block the state from allowing the plant to run beyond March 2012.
Vermont is the only state in the nation with a say on whether a nuclear plant within its borders can operate. The state gained that right, which Entergy is now challenging in federal court, when it agreed to allow Entergy to buy the plant in 2002. 

(Reporting by Scott DiSavino;editing by Sofina Mirza-Reid)

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Geiger Counters - Radiation Detection Meters - Handheld Radiation Detector



When it comes to radiation detection meters you really have a wide field of gadgets to choose from, however radiation detectors are the most common to use. First of all if you need to know what type of radiation you are looking for. There are Alpha, Beta and Gamma radiation detectors. And also there is neutron emission of nuclear radiation. And all these different types of emissions have radiation detectors for a specific type of radiation that you can buy radiation detector for. Some also measure both Alpha and Beta. Others detect Alpha, Beta and Gamma. While others let you measure Beta and Gamma radiation.



What most people have use for though are Dosimeters you can buy a handheld radiation detector pretty cheap that are good addition to a survival kit. There are different kinds that you can use that will detect radiation. There are radiation badges that will tell you when radiation become high. Workers at nuclear power plants use these to inform them of how much radiation they have been exposed to. Now also children in the Fukushima prefecture have each been given a radiation badge so they know if they are exposed to radiation. Some come in the shape of a pen that you can carry in your pocket while other are made more compact so that you can attach them to your keychain. And then you have what is called a personal radiation monitor. These are also called Dosimeters and also normally called Geiger counters. Although not all use the Geiger-Muller Tube for the radiation detection some use a semiconductor instead. These and mostly the older geiger counters seen are pretty big to carry around, so they might not be best suited for a survival situation where you only need to carry the most important things. However if you have land and want to check radiation around the property and drinking water then these are the geiger counters to get because they are very well built units.

These are the once that you normally see people use. They have different units of radiation detection, because when it comes to radiation there are many standards used. some give the measurements in Rads, while other use Sieverts. Some have the maximum radiation value for the measured radioactivity quite low but they will still give you an idea of the amount of radiation in the area. With the units ranging from between background radiation 0.001 mSv/hr all the way up to 10 Sv/h. Normally a dosimeter will measure radiation in micro siverts per hour. If you were to walk into one of the reactor units at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant you probably would get an error reading from your dosimeter because the radiation levels are so high there.

Note that some places outside the exclusion zone in Fukushima that are too radioactive for people to live in have areas where the radiation levels are above 30 Sv/h. So if you are in a area that have high radiation the radiation detectors would also there go off the scale. However Geiger counters or radiation detectors are still favored as general purpose alpha/beta/gamma portable radiation detectors and radiation detection equipment, due to their low cost and robustness. Most come with an LCD Display that show you the radioactivity in the area. Nowdays you will even get alarm sound and the possibility to connect the device to a computer. Either with a Infrared, Bluetooth or USB connection.

So if you look at the radiation detectors for sale that have this, then these radiation detection meters will allow you to make maps of contaminated areas that show where the radiation is high and low. This also will help you to see which areas are becoming more contaminated over time. With several nuclear reactors in the US and around the world located near fault zones that makes it a danger if a big earthquake would hit the area there is always a good choice to have a radiation dosimeter avaliable. I'm sure many in Fukushima would have been grateful to have dosimeters avaliable at the time of the disaster and I am sure you to would be grateful to have a geiger counter handy when you need one.

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