No matter where you live, “uncontrollable radioactive flow” is not a phrase that you want to hear in relation to your local water source. Unfortunately for some towns located on the Hudson River, the Huffington Post reports that radioactive elements from the Indian Point nuclear power plant are most likely seeping right into the waterway and potentially contaminating the drinking water systems of several towns located along the river route.
According to the Huffington Post’s report, for more than a decade, the Indian Point plant has been unable to prevent its highly radioactive reactor and spent fuel pool coolant from leaking into groundwater routes that eventually lead into the Hudson River. Entergy, the operator of the plant, seems to zero in solely on tritium, a radioactive form of water and contaminant that leaks from the plant’s cooling system. The most recent leak, however, according to an assessment by the New York Department of State as part of its Coastal Zone Management Assessment, contains a variety of radioactive elements such as strontium-90, cesium-137, cobalt-60, and nickel-63 in addition to tritium.
“Tritium,” explained David Lochbaum, nuclear safety expert at the Union of Concerned Scientists, “is just the first item reported. It tends to be the leading edge of any spill since it is the lightest and most mobile of the radioactive contaminants. The other isotopes slow down as they go through the soil. That other stuff is on its way, however. Tritium just wins the race.”
Radioactive leaks from Indian Point 2 are being investigated by federal and state officials and a radiation specialist has been dispatched to work with resident inspectors to investigate the cause of the leak. Continuous monitoring by the NY State Department of Health has found a variety of radioactive isotopes around the Indian Point discharge site, approximately 69 feet above the Hudson River. At that location, there is no system installed at to remove the isotopes from the groundwater flow. Further complicating the issue, there are more than three miles of inaccessible piping under the plant that cannot be checked for corrosion.
Although the Indian Point investigation is ongoing, a statement from Entergy insists that the issue is under control: “While elevated tritium in the ground onsite is not in accordance with our standards, there is no health or safety consequence to the public, and releases are more than a thousand times below federal permissible limits. The tritium did not affect any source of drinking water onsite or offsite.”
Via Huffington Post