4 lakh gallons of radioactive water leaked from nuclear plant in US
A Minnesota nuclear power plant released at least 400,000 gallons of radioactive water in November, but the leak was finally made public on Thursday. Regulators in Minnesota informed the public about the development and said they were monitoring the Monticello nuclear facility cleanup, according to a BBC report.
Tritium, a typical byproduct of nuclear reactor activities, is present in the water. According to the Federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission, tritium is a naturally occurring radioactive isotope of hydrogen that emits a weak type of beta radiation that does not penetrate human skin and does not travel very far in the air (NRC) . Tritium spills sometimes occur at nuclear power facilities, according to the NRC, although they are usually localized and endanger public safety or health. Xcel Energy first noticed a leak on November 21 from a conduit between the two structures.
The outlet, citing the Minnesota Department of Health, said that Minneapolis, the state’s largest city, is located approximately 35 miles (56 km) upstream along the Mississippi River from the plan and that the Mississippi River was not affected by the leak.
“Xcel Energy took swift action to contain the leak at the plant site, which poses no health and safety risk to the local community or environment,” the Minnesota-based utility said in a statement Thursday.
“Although the Xcel plant is within our community, the City of Monticello does not have the authority to regulate the nuclear plant. If state or federal inspection agencies determine that there is a potential or actual impact on the city’s drinking water supply or infrastructure If so, the City will immediately notify the public with the assistance of these agencies,” Mayor Lloyd Hilgart said in a statement.
Crews checked the plant at all possible leak points and a lab will look at the leaking pipe, according to Xcel Energy. So far, about 25 percent of the spilled tritium has been recovered, and the company has indicated it may build above-ground storage tanks to hold the toxic water.