BY: Citizens Count
This summer, the New Hampshire Health and Human Services Committee will consider SB 181, a bill that would require the Department of Health and Human Services to develop a network of stations to monitor radioactive airborne material on the seacoast.
The focus of SB 181 is the Seabrook Nuclear Plant.
Monitoring nuclear radiation in MA and NH
Seabrook Nuclear Plant has a meteorological tower on site that monitors levels of radiation. The plant has detected radiation as far away as Japan during the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
The nearby Portsmouth Naval Shipyard also monitors nuclear pollution on the seacoast.
However, Massachusetts funds a much more extensive network of monitoring stations in the Bay State towns next to Seabrook. Those stations are operated by the nonprofit C-10.
A need for more monitoring?
Supporters of SB 181 note that the Governor’s Task Force on the Seacoast Cancer Cluster Investigation seriously considered the role of Seabrook Nuclear Plant in pediatric cancer. The Task Force recommended further investigation of nuclear radiation on the seacoast.
With rising sea levels and cracks in the concrete at the plant, supporters argue there are many other reasons to increase monitoring.
Supporters have already raised private money to add monitoring stations in New Hampshire.
Or an unnecessary expense?
In March, the New Hampshire Senate voted to send SB 181 back to the Health and Human Services Committee due to concerns over how to fund monitoring. At that point, fundraisers had gathered $30,000, but SB 181 has a price tag over $100,000 a year.
In 2018, the House killed a similar bill after the majority of the Science, Technology, and Energy Committee concluded there was already enough monitoring in New Hampshire.