A nuclear power plant some 40 miles north of New York City has been leaking radioactive material into the area groundwater. Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered an investigation over the weekend, after three monitoring wells at the Indian Point energy center showed “alarming levels of radioactivity.” Health and environment officials are now charged with determining what, if any, threat the leak poses to local residents.
According to initial reports, the radioactivity levels are quite high and the leaked materials contain tritium, a radioactive hydrogen isotope. At one location, levels shot up 65,000 percent from from 12,300 picocuries per liter to over 8,000,000 picocuries per liter. Despite the size of the leak, Entergy, the company that owns the plant, has argued the radioactive materials only leaked into the groundwater and should not impact drinking water sources. Cuomo has called on Entergy to shut down the Indian Point facility while the full scope of the problem is assessed.
“While elevated tritium in the ground onsite is not in accordance with our standards, there is no health or safety consequence to the public,” Entergy said in a statement late Saturday. “Releases are more than a thousand times below federal permissible limits. The tritium did not affect any source of drinking water onsite or offsite.”
This isn’t the first problem with tritium leaks at Indian Point, which supplies around 30 percent of the electricity used in New York City. The plant had three emergency shutdowns in December, and there have been a number of leaks in recent years.
Via The Guardian