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Xcel Energy is cleaning up a leak of 400,000 gallons of radioactive water from its nuclear power plant in Monticello, Minnesota, and there is no danger or health risk to the public.
The leak occurred months ago but is only now being made public.
“Xcel Energy took swift action to contain the leak to the plant site, which poses no health and safety risk to the local community or the environment,” the utility said in a statement carried by The Associated Press.
Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is monitoring the clean-up activities, the regulator said.
“Ongoing monitoring from over two dozen on-site monitoring wells confirms that the leaked water is fully contained on-site and has not been detected beyond the facility or in any local drinking water,” Xcel Energy said in the statement.
Xcel Energy reported the leak to the authorities at the end of November 2022, but the radioactive water leak was first made public this week. The company reported to state and federal authorities that there was a leak of water containing tritium. But the tritium levels are below federal thresholds.
According to Minnesota state officials, the authorities waited to receive further information about the November leak before going public about the incident.
“Now that we have all the information about where the leak occurred, how much was released into groundwater, and that contaminated groundwater had moved beyond the original location, we are sharing this information,” Michael Rafferty, spokesman for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, said, as carried by the AP.
The water leak is contained to Xcel Energy’s property and doesn’t pose an immediate risk to public health and safety, the spokesman added.
The leak came from a pipe between two buildings, Xcel Energy said when it notified the state authorities and the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission on November 22. Asked this week by the AP why the public was not notified earlier, the company said, “We understand the importance of quickly informing the communities we serve if a situation poses an immediate threat to health and safety. In this case, there was no such threat.”
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com