OAN Geraldyn Berry
UPDATED 11:59 AM – Friday, March 17, 2023
A Minnesota-based electric utility company has disclosed on Thursday that one of its units last year had spilled over 400,000 gallons of radioactive water.
The Minneapolis-based utility stated that the Monticello Nuclear Generating Plant’s leak of tritium-containing water “pose[d] no health and safety concern to the local people or the environment.” According to Xcel Energy, monitoring showed that the leaking water was “completely confined on-site” and had not been found in any nearby drinking water.
President of Xcel Energy-Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota released a statement.
“While this leak does not pose a risk to the public or the environment, we take this very seriously and are working to safely address the situation,” Clark said.
The Monticello power plant’s routine groundwater monitoring systems discovered the leak in late November. It had originated from a conduit that connected two buildings. Since that time, it has been draining contaminated groundwater that has tritium levels below legal limits, storing it, and treating it.
Xcel notified state and federal officials of the tritium water leak in late November, but the spill was not made public until Thursday.
“If at any point there had been concern for the public safety, we would of course, immediately have provided more information,” Chris Clark, president of Xcel Energy-Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota said. “But we also wanted to make sure we fully understood what was going on before we started raising any concerns with the public around us.”
The Minnesota Department of Health’s website stated that the Mississippi River was not affected by the spill. In addition, Xcel has said that it has recovered about 25% of the spilled tritium so far, that recovery efforts will continue and that it will install a permanent solution this spring.
This comes as Japan is getting ready to discharge a sizable volume of cleaned radioactive effluent into the sea. Tritium and other radioactive pollutants are present in the water, following the triple reactor meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant twelve years ago.
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