Radioactive water found beneath Georgia nuclear Plant Hatch, Associated Press, September 30, 2011:
Radioactive water has been found underneath [Hatch nuclear power plant] in southeast Georgia [...]
[The operator] identified radioactive tritium in two test wells about 25 feet below the ground, said Dennis Madison, a utility vice president who oversees the plant. [...]
How much is leaking?
- While the size of the leak was unknown, it was enough to raise the water table in the wells about five feet.
- “We really don’t know what the rate is,” Madison said. “We know it’s more than a drip.”
How concentrated is the leakage?
The maximum concentrations of tritium reported inside the wells was more than 200 times the limit set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for drinking water [...]
Where is the radioactive tritium headed?
- So far, testing by the utility shows no signs that tritium from this leak has gotten into aquifers that supply drinking water or into the nearby Altamaha River, which provides cooling water for the nuclear plant.
- The contours of the ground would tend to move the tritium [...] toward the river, said Jim Hardeman, manager of the state’s environmental radiation program.
- “At least as of right now, it’s not making its way off the site, either to the Altamaha River or toward anyone’s drinking water,” Hardeman said.
Why is tritium a problem?
Exposure to tritium increases the risk of developing cancer.
Previous problems with tritium leaks
- Southern Co. hired a consultant in the late 1970s and early 1980s to investigate earlier leaks
- In 2006, the company replaced piping and made other repairs to fix or prevent tritium leaks near where the problem was discovered this week
h/t Anonymous tips
Published: October 2nd, 2011 at 12:25 pm ET