Source - Nuclear Regulatory Commission (CC BY 2.0)

Nuclear Toxicity? US Plant Leaks 400k Gallons of Toxic Water

A US nuclear plant in Minnesota has leaked 400,000 gallons of radioactive water through a leak in a broken pipe. Xcel Energy admitted that its Monticello facility was struggling with a leak of water containing tritium last November.

However, the company did not explain why it waited more than three months to publicly acknowledge the incident. Xcel Energy stated that it notified state officials and the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission once it knew about the leak.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency mentioned that the leaked water didn’t reach the Mississippi River or contaminate any drinking water sources. Xcel Energy has managed to recover about 25% of the leaked tritium and will continue recovery process over the course of the year. The leak occurred in a water pipe connecting two buildings at the Monticello facility. Tritium is a radioactive isotope of hydrogen and a by-product made while producing electricity at nuclear plants.

The US had faced one major nuclear accident during the meltdown of the Three Mile Island reactor in Pennsylvania on March 28, 1979. Xcel Energy claimed it contained the leak by diverting water to an in-plant treatment facility. The company will require large storage tanks to store recovered water until it can be treated and reused. The US has 92 nuclear plants that supply power to tens of millions of American homes.

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