Radioactive leak of unknown size at Georgia nuke plant — Raised water table in wells “about five feet” — Tritium over 200 times EPA limit

Published: October 2nd, 2011 at 12:25 pm ET


SOURCE: Civilengtiger

Radioactive water found beneath Georgia nuclear Plant Hatch, Associated Press, September 30, 2011:

[Emphasis added]

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


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35 comments to Radioactive leak of unknown size at Georgia nuke plant — Raised water table in wells “about five feet” — Tritium over 200 times EPA limit

  • Darth

    This reminds me of the assurances of no leaks detected at North Anna in Virgina.

    These lying criminals. Why do we put up with them?

  • fuckyoushima

    ahh christ.

    that t-word.

  • James Tekton James Tekton

    One wonders if they are getting readings like the ones we are here in the Durango, CO area.

    One also wonders if anyone cares any more.

    After waiting to post last night for three hours because enenews was down, I was pretty tired and forgot to put up the link to the new video.

    Please check it out and pass it on.

    Links to pictures:


    Freaks Section:

    You can see my readings exceed in my garden here. Readings of over .300 mili-sieverts were noted.

    Ranges for normal background radiation are 5-60 CPM and .040-.080 Milli-Sieverts. As you can plainly see, in this area, the radiation counts are high. 🙁

    Thanks for all your good input brothers and sisters.

    • BreadAndButter BreadAndButter

      Hi James,
      I’m sorry to say, but your sunflowers look scary. I’m a gardener myself, so I can imagine how you feel. Did you talk to folks in your area? Do they also have “retardocorn”? (sorry, but lol)
      Any information from officials to compare your data to?

      I feel very sorry. It’s such a shame. One can tell from the pics how much work you put into your garden to have yummy and healthy food….

  • James Tekton James Tekton

    Thank you.

    Yes, it is sad to see.

    We normally sell our goodies at the local farmers market, but did not have the heart to sell this food to anyone knowing it is contaminated with something.

    Yes, there is radon here, and yes, we are at high altitudes, and the closest uranium tailings are twenty miles away, but these reading are still to high for us to feel comfortable about it all. Where else can one go?

    No doubt this may be the last year for our gardening outdoors. Even after trying to build small greenhouses to keep the rain off, that did not really keep the radiation out, or the contamination down any lower.

    Thank you again for feeling our pain. It is sad indeed and like I said on the other post, no one seems to care anymore.

    Bless you and yours.

    Peace in the jungle…

    • Terranigma1 Terranigma1

      Kudos to you and BandB for being so thoughtful and compassionate. People at this forum keep mentioning the west coast and the Rocky Mountain area. I’ve lived in the midwest, Ohio, my entire life and after charting the distance of my location from Fukushima and yours in Colorado, I’m only about 600 miles farther away as the crow flies, which really isn’t that much. Unbelievably, Burlington, Vermont is about the same distance as my location in Ohio from Fukushima as the crow flies, yet on a map Vermont seems so much farther away. After plotting distances it is easier to imagine the radiation affecting what appears to be far away locations as Vermont, Boston, Mass., Iceland, Norway and Finland!

    • pg

      Can you elaborate on exactly how you erected your greenhouses? Can you also explain how you think they failed, and how radiation got in anyway? Millions of people are doing the same thing right now and this knowledge would be very useful. ty

    • desert_lady desert_lady

      Thank you James. It’s good to know you are monitoring things up at the four corners. Love your YouTube channel. Colo. is a rockin’ place for gardens… so sorry about your produce. I’m in southeastern AZ at 4,000 ft. quit my job so I could plant food, gave up gardening 10 years ago too hard here. Well, it was a flop but it could be due to other things like using old seeds, underwatering, late planting, I dunno. Soon I will be putting up a hoophouse and hope to at least get green beans, peas, salad stuff. My tomato plants are healthy but have very few flowers, just a few green tomatoes. I’m keeping an ear to the ground about abnormalities, nothing yet. I can’t afford a radiation detector but friends in Phoenix may go together for one they can use across the state. Nobody’s monitoring here that I know of except the EPA.

      This link goes to a US map with all the cities with EPA monitors. The one closest to me Tucson, I bookmarked and check daily. Page is slow-loading.

      We have summer rains just ending, this year brought at least 10″ (normal). The monsoon systems come north from Mexico so not the direct hits of Fukushima jet stream like the west coast /midwest gets. (that will change as the jet stream dips south) Someone needs to check the river bottoms here, if we had any Fuku rains it would show up in the muds.

  • arclight arclight

    “Exposure to tritium increases the risk of developing cancer. But it emits low-level radiation and leaves the body fast, making it one of the least-dangerous radioactive elements.
    Madison and state environmental officials say it is unlikely plant workers or residents will be exposed to the radiation because it is confined to an area within the facility and was not headed toward any drinking water supplies.”

    “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. “The odds of this getting into anyone’s drinking water are minuscule.” Miniscule = not?
    And what is tritium?

    “Like hydrogen, tritium is difficult to confine. Rubber, plastic, and some kinds of steel are all somewhat permeable. This has raised concerns that if tritium were used in large quantities, in particular for fusion reactors, it may contribute to radioactive contamination, although its short half-life should prevent significant long-term accumulation in the atmosphere.”

    “Tritium is widely used in multi-stage hydrogen bombs for boosting the fission primary explosion of a thermonuclear weapon (it can be similarly used for fission bombs), as well as in external neutron initiators.”

    “As for the mass flux of tritium through the main stem of the Mississippi River into the Gulf of Mexico, data indicated that approximately 780 grams of tritium has flowed out of the River and into the Gulf between 1961 and 1997.[24] And current fluxes through the Mississippi River are about 1 to 2 grams per year as opposed to the pre-bomb period fluxes of roughly 0.4 grams per year.”

    from the epa

    “As with all ionizing radiation, exposure to tritium increases the risk of developing cancer. However, because it emits very low energy radiation and leaves the body relatively quickly, for a given amount of activity ingested, tritium is one of the least dangerous radionuclides. Since tritium is almost always found as water, it goes directly into soft tissues and organs. The associated dose to these tissues are generally uniform and dependent on the tissues’ water content.”

    and finlly this

    “In the last report posted by the Vermont Department of Health, one well still shows 1.2 million picocuries per liter, while the EPA Safe Water Drinking standard is 20,000 picocuries per liter; the NRC reporting standard is higher, at 30,000 picocuries per liter.

    Despite the contamination of groundwater, no tritium has been measured in any drinking water sources.
    Lochbaum painted a grim picture of the federal regulator, in fact the title of his talk was “Nuclear Cop on the Beat or Beaten Nuclear Cop: Groundwater Non-Protection Inertia.””

    “Lochbaum credited citizen action groups, such as the New England Coalition, for raising the public awareness and putting pressure on government and…

    • arclight arclight

      …..Lochbaum credited citizen action groups, such as the New England Coalition, for raising the public awareness and putting pressure on government and federal regulators to pay attention to the radioactive tritium leak at Yankee, and other problems.

      He said that in the south, similar tritium leaks at other reactors go on with virtually no attention from either the public or the NRC.”

    • pg

      I hear people repeatedly shoot down potassium iodide saying, “it only stops thyroid cancer”. This couldn’t be further from the truth. When the thyroid is flooded with iodine, it reduces ones chance of getting all cancers by up to 30%. Radiation present or not. I take 85mg per day, every day, as a supplement. Taking 85mg means 50mg are actually making it into my system. Been doing so for nearly a year. This is for many reasons, one being that Americans are iodine deficient, thanks to the FDA adding boron or boride to all dairy products sold in the USA. Yeah, I know, milk bursting into flames has been a problem for a long time…anyway, boride has been banned by every nation except the USA. I say lets start by taking a trip to the FDA and ask when the big pharmacy cartel started to pay them to add boride to all our dairy products. That way there we know how many years we need to go back for the ARRESTS.

      Take potassium iodide every day. Don’t be fooled by “sea kelp” with .mcg of iodine. They placed that into pharmacies so as to fool people. Take 85mg per day to reduce the chances of hundreds of diseases…including radiation sickness.

      dont be sheep

      • Irritated Kalifornian

        @pg, Good morning pg! I am concerned that you keep make saying “take potassium iodide every day.” Fine. If you want to do it go ahead but to keep recommending it to people with out also explaining the side effects is irresponsible. It may be harmful to some & they don’t know it. I will also point out again that some of the side effects are similar to those of radiation poisoning.

        Where did you get the information “it reduces chance of all cancers by 30%”?
        Just because a person chooses not to follow your health guide lines does not make them a sheep. Stop spreading medical mis information. Cordially, IK

      • theypoisonus

        I won’t say anything about your recommendation of meds to others, but I tend to agree with IC..

        I take iodine, in liquid form daily, as I have used sea salt for over 20 yrs, and iodine in our diet these days is scarce. I take it because I remember seeing goiters as a child in Indiana before they Iodized salt.

        I will make a statement about your “trip to the FDA’ . Save your gas money pg.. the FDA is funded ( as of about 6 yrs ago, it could be even higher now) then it was 49% funded by Bigg Pharma. Don’t think they are going to listen to us.

        Blame Wallstreet. They are the greed behind all the evil we see daily in this country. Take a trip to the Exchange and maybe they will have some sympathy for our health problems, but I doubt it. 🙁

  • BreadAndButter BreadAndButter

    The nuke specialist I talked to a while ago spoke about tritium. As tritium replaces one hydrogen atom in water (it turns H2O to HTO) it’s almost impossible to filter it out – you’d have to separate water from water!

  • lam335 lam335

    “The contours of the ground would tend to move the tritium away from the nearest private well, which is roughly a mile from the site, and toward the river . . .”

    And it’s not a problem if it eventually gets into the river?

    • BreadAndButter BreadAndButter

      Not if anyone wants to eat the fish or drink the water /sarc

      I’d check the “nearest private well” asap. A mile is nothing.

  • BreadAndButter BreadAndButter

    I’m really curious to see how they’ll fix this mess, as the leak is obviously not easily accessible. Amateurs.

  • BreadAndButter BreadAndButter

    Now that’s a relief!

    “The NRC holds nuclear power plants to the highest security standards of any American industry.
    And of the 17 infrastructure categories currently under evaluation by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the agency has said the nuclear reactor sector is by far the best protected. Furthermore, the nuclear
    reactor sector is used by Homeland Security as its security standard.”

    As the units 1 and 2 recently received 20 years more operational time, they won’t be decommissioned before 2034 (resp. 2038).

    • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

      @Homeland Security…..petitions will go to Homeland…simple as that…

    • lam335 lam335

      re: “The NRC holds nuclear power plants to the highest security standards of any American industry.”

      But it also holds human life at the lowest value of any government agency.

      . . . Not so reassuring . . .

  • Fall out man!

    Raising a water table by 5 feet (assuming that’s the truth) sounds huge. They must notice if they lose that much water. Presumably that was why they bothered to test the height of the water table. We are only getting a small portion of the story out of those guys. If I had a drinking well a mile from there, or lived down river from the plant, I’d be very worried. Sadly, without independent testing, no one will ever know for sure how far the contamination has spread.

  • americancommntr

    YEAH, American nuclear plants will sure stand up to an earthquake!!

    Chances are pretty high there are some pipes with serious cavitation and corrosion holes at this plant.

    One of these days, one of these ‘safe’ plants, is going to make a couple states uninhabitable, and THAT will be the end of nuclear power in the US.

    • BreadAndButter BreadAndButter

      “…and THAT will be the end of nuclear power in the US.”

      Will it? Are you sure?

      It might also be “the end of the US”.

  • It is amazing that with these developments solar energy stocks are being traded down to zero in the last couple of months. A war is being waged. Can we do something?

    Can you imagine a future where all the existing political arguments no longer exist? In a future when people and businesses are relying on the sun for its energy the human population will no longer be arguing over resource access. Threats to sea life and plant life and human life from wars and from accessing hard to get fossil fuels resulting in environmental degradation will be a concern of the past. Our nation instead will turn to new urgent concerns such as health and education with plenty more financial resources from the dramatic savings in energy expenditures to pay for them. Relationships between countries and our fellow countrymen will transform dramatically more positive.
    Solar technology and other clean energy technology is here and ready for explosive growth. With the full backing of our political leaders we can quickly move forward towards a better existence. Please join me in petitioning our leaders in Washington to devote more investment spending in the area of clean energy. Thank you.

  • lam335 lam335

    This very same Southern Company is just about ready to begin building to more reactors at another one of its plants. They’ve already been given almost all the required approvals:

    “Southern Company In ‘Final Stages’ For New Nuke Construction”

    They should be required to make sure that the ones they already operate are in good repair and not leaking before they are allowed to start building any more.

    • midwestern midwestern

      lam, same should hold true in Japan. Until the fissioning material that is constantly going into states of recriticality is contained and abated–they should not be allowed to restart any of the other nuke plants that have gone off-line. They need to demonstrate the ability to address and resolve the ongoing problems before putting themselves in the position of adding more fuel to the fire, so to speak.

      • lam335 lam335

        ‘They need to demonstrate the ability to address and resolve the ongoing problems before putting themselves in the position of adding more fuel to the fire . . .”

        And I have to add–they should really have to find a lasting solution to the major and ever growing problem of nuclear waste before they should be allowed to build any more.

  • Irritated Kalifornian

    @midwestern good evening Mw. If you are interested check the following link
    to learn about recriticality. Cheers, IK

  • so sorry to jump the thread but I’m worried about this and want all your input

    Did you see this video posted Sep 20 by Potrblog?

    Does he stand by it?

    Do you believe it?

    This is really serious stuff.

    The cesium report publicized here and by Fukushima Diary might also substantiate…

    • DaughterProduct

      I am very unhappy to say I believe him. And the news on Fukushima Diary seems unbelievable, but sadly, I know it is all true.

      I wish more people on the planet would face these horrible realities; at this point, however, believers or not- what can be done about widely dispersed Plutonium rain, especially if it just keeps coming? Maybe potrblog’s China Syndrome explosion solution is the best idea- for the Fukushima reactors, at least.

      Having a battle with nihilism today; tomorrow my war with pointlessness contiunues. It does wear on a person…pfew.