Minnesota regulators said Thursday that they are overseeing the cleanup of a 400,000-gallon radioactive water leak from Xcel Energy’s Monticello nuclear power plant, which the company said poses no danger to the public. He was last November when the leak was first discovered.
“Excel Energy took prompt action to contain the leak on the plant site, but it does not pose a health and safety risk to the community or the environment,” said the Minneapolis-based company. The power company said in a statement.
Xcel reported the tritium-laden water leak to state and federal officials in late November, but the spill wasn’t made public until Thursday.
Chris Clark, president of Excel Energy in North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota, said, “If there were public safety concerns, of course we would have provided more information sooner.”on thursday. “But I also wanted to fully understand what was going on before I voiced my concerns to those around me.”
State officials said they are waiting to get more information before making it public.
“We knew tritium was present in one of the watch wells, but Excel hadn’t identified the source of the leak or its location,” said Michael Rafferty, a spokesman for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.
“Now that we have all the information about where the leak occurred, how much was released into the groundwater, and how the contaminated groundwater moved beyond its original location, we are sharing this information,” he said. , added that the water remains in the property of Excel. There is no direct public health risk.
Minnesota Department of Health also said On its website that the leak did not reach the Mississippi River.
“Groundwater beneath the facility has been observed to be slowly moving in the direction of the Mississippi River, which is the direction it flows or moves underground,” said the director of industry at the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. One Doug Wetzstein told CBS Minnesota.
Tritium is a radioactive isotope of hydrogen that occurs naturally in the environment and is a common byproduct of nuclear power plant operation. According to the NRC, it emits a weak form of beta radiation that doesn’t travel very far and can’t penetrate human skin. According to the NRC, people who drink spilled water receive only low doses.
The NRC states that tritium spills occur occasionally at nuclear power plants, but tritium leaks remain confined to the nuclear plant premises or at levels off-site that do not affect public health or safety. Xcel reported a small tritium leak in 2009 at Monticello.
Xcel said it has recovered about 25% of the tritium spilled so far, and said it plans to continue recovery efforts and introduce a permanent solution this spring.
The company said it notified the Federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the state on Nov. 22, the day after it identified a leak from a pipe between the two buildings. Since then, it has pumped groundwater and stored and treated contaminated water containing tritium below federal limits.
A statement from Excel Energy said, “With continuous monitoring from over 20 monitoring wells on site, the leaked water is fully contained on site and has not been detected outside the facility or in local drinking water. has been confirmed.
When asked why Excel Energy did not notify the public earlier, the company said: The company said it was focused on investigating the situation by containing the affected water and figuring out next steps.
The Monticello plant is located approximately 35 miles northwest of Minneapolis on the upper Mississippi River.
Excel Energy is considering the construction of above-ground storage tanks to store the collected contaminated water and is exploring options for treatment, reuse or final disposal of the collected tritium and water. State regulators will review the options the company chose, according to the MPCA.
Japan is preparing to release large amounts of treated radioactive wastewater into the ocean from the meltdown of three reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant 12 years ago. Water contains tritium and other radioactive contaminants.
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/400000-gallons-radioactive-water-tritium-leak-minnesota-nuclear-plant-xcel-energy/ 400,000 gallons of radioactive water leaks from Minnesota nuclear power plant