“Your Jan. 17 article, “State regulators: Radiation found in Hudson River fish for decades,” reported that strontium-90 was found in fish taken near Indian Point and 15 miles upriver near Newburgh. Entergy’s attempt to blame strontium levels entirely on global fallout from Cold War weapons testing is premature and misleading, since there is no scientific consensus on what “normal background levels” of strontium-90 in Hudson River fish are. If reported levels are only from weapons testing, why don’t all the fish sampled show detectable levels of strontium exposure? It stands to reason there are likely several contributors to strontium-90 in the Hudson, and Indian Point is the only facility currently leaking this toxic pollutant into the river.
Because Entergy’s sampling of 12 fish from two locations is too small to generate any meaningful data, we don’t yet know the extent to which the Hudson’s many fish species are contaminated with radiation or whether this can be traced to Indian Point. And we won’t know until Entergy, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation significantly increase both the size and composition of their sampling. A rigorous analysis to trace the source of the radiation requires sampling the food chain down to its primary aquatic plant base and even the sediment that nourishes those plants.
While it is too soon to draw clear conclusions, the potential implications of Entergy’s initial findings are worrisome. We will only know whether or not there is true cause for alarm with more extensive testing.
The writer is staff attorney at Riverkeeper Inc.”
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