Katie the goat has died from inoperable cancer. She had been grazing in fields nearby the Millstone nuclear power plant in Connecticut since the late ’90s. Her milk has been regularly tested for strontium-89 and strontium-90. The concentrations of these dangerous carcinogenic radionuclides had sometimes exceeded measurements from the era of the atmospheric nuclear tests of the ’60s. She finally succumbed to cancer.
Goats, with their four stomachs and unique digestive systems, concentrate radioactivity in their milk, more than other mammals. They are reliable indicators of the presence of radioactivity in the environment. For that reason, they are feared by the nuclear industry, which downplays its routine radiation releases.
Katie took the bullet from the nuclear industry – by ingesting its invisible radiation into her flesh and unwittingly expelling some of it into her babies’ milk. With her radiation-contaminated milk, Katie’s been a beacon alerting the world about the true and hidden dangers of nuclear power…
In fact, goat milk is such a sensitive and reliable indicator of radioactivity in the environment that Millstone discontinued its onsite station monitoring for strontium-90 and strontium-89 using air particulate filters, citing the greater sensitivity of milk samples collected offsite.
“Over the many years of station operation,” Dominion wrote in its 2000 environmental operating report, “Sr-89 has often been released in comparable quantity to Sr-90.”
Some of the goat farms Dominion sampled were closer, some farther away, than Katie’s goat farm, but in 2001 Katie’s milk tested highest of all for strontium-90, strontium-89 and cesium-137, all deadly carcinogens.
It was Katie’s September 19, 2001 sample, with its super-high Sr-90 concentration – 55.5 picoCuries/liter – as revealed by Dominion in an annual report, that catapulted her to a spot on the Connecticut news media’s A-List.
That concentration was twice the highest level of Sr-90 found in milk sold commercially in Connecticut during the peak of atmospheric nuclear weapons testing in the 1960s, according to a graph Dominion published in its 2001 report and confirmed by radiation physicist Dr. Ernest Sternglass…
Last March 25 and April 26, days after nuclear reactors exploded at Fukushima, one after another, unleashing vast amounts of radiation to the air and the sea, Katie’s milk showed spikes in radioactivity. In fact, her milk concentrations of strontium-89 were the highest ever seen during Katie’s 12-year career as a radiation monitor (4 and 5.49 picocuries/liter, respectively).