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Radioactive contamination in shellfish studied

Photos by John Lipscomb
Patrolled with Indian Point Policy Analyst Phillip Musegaas. We gathered clams from the bottom of the east end of Haverstraw Bay in a “practice run” to prepare for eventually having clams and other shellfish analyzed for radioactive contamination that may be a result of the leaks from Indian Point’s spent fuel pools. Radionuclides, particularly strontium-90, concentrate in the bones and shells of fish and shellfish. Several samples of Hudson River fish have already shown slightly elevated levels of strontium-90, but the results are inconclusive because of fish migration patterns. Sampling shellfish would provide a better picture of the leaks’ effects on the Hudson ecosystem. Testing clams for strontium-90 is especially critical because they are a major food source for Atlantic and Shortnose Sturgeon that winter in Haverstraw Bay.

Photo above shows clams and typical (healthy) bottom sediment in lower estuary.
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