NH testing fish for radiation levels

CONCORD, N.H. -- New Hampshire health officials are testing fish in various parts of the state to see if there are elevated levels of radiation following a 2010 tritium leak at Entergy Corp.'s Vermont Yankee nuclear plant.

The first tests done in May at Hermit Lake in Sanbornton found all 17 samples of largemouth bass were well below the FDA level of concern for consumption. The department's Division of Public Health Services' public health lab said edible and non-edible parts of the fish _ bones, head, scales and guts _ were tested.

Additional samples were taken last month from fishing derbies where fish were collected at weigh stations from the following lakes: Winnipesaukee, Squam, Pleasant, Pawtuckaway, Opechee, and Northwood. The Connecticut and Nashua rivers also were sampled. Those results are pending.

A final sampling is expected to be completed in May 2013. Testing is done in partnership with the Food and Drug Administration's Winchester Engineering and Analytical Center laboratory.

The testing is to address concerns about Strontium-90 in fish following the tritium leak at plant in January 2010. That year, the state of Vermont collected and tested a fish eight miles upstream from the plant that was found to have a slightly elevated level of the radioactive isotope. However, the level was below the Food and Drug Administration's safe limit for fish consumption.

Vermont and Massachusetts also have joined in the testing.