Xcel Energy Cleans Monticello Factory
A power company announced Thursday that one of its Minnesota factories leaked 400,000 gallons of radioactive water last year.
Leakage of tritium-containing water from Xcel Energy’s Monticello nuclear power plant “does not pose a health and safety risk to communities or the environment,” the Minneapolis-based utility said. said in a statement. According to Excel Energy, monitoring efforts have confirmed that the leaked water is “fully contained on-site” and has not been detected in local drinking water.
The leak originated from a pipe between two buildings and was detected by the Monticello nuclear power plant’s routine groundwater monitoring system in late November. The plant is on the Mississippi River about 35 miles northwest of Minneapolis.
Since then, Excel Energy has pumped groundwater and stored and treated the contaminated water, which the company said contained levels of tritium below federal thresholds. Excel Energy said it had recovered about 25% of the tritium spilled so far.
Chris Clark, president of Excel Energy, North Dakota, South Dakota, North Dakota, said: “Although this leak does not pose a danger to the public or the environment, we take it very seriously and We are working to handle this situation safely.” statement.
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Why wasn’t the leak made public sooner?
Xcel Energy said it notified the Federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the state on November 20. On the 22nd, the day after the leak was confirmed. But it didn’t go public until Thursday.
In a statement, Excel Energy said, “If the situation poses an imminent threat to health and safety, we understand the importance of promptly notifying the communities we serve.” There was no such threat.”
State officials also said they were waiting to get more information about the leak before making it public.
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“We knew tritium was present in one of the watch wells, but Excel hadn’t identified the source of the leak or its location,” said Michael Rafferty, spokesman for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.
“Now that we have all the information about where the leak occurred, how much was released into the groundwater, and how the contaminated groundwater moved beyond its original location, we are sharing this information,” he said. I got
what happens next?
Excel Energy said it is diverting water to its in-plant water treatment system to prevent additional leaks.The company said it plans to install a permanent solution in the spring of 2023. .
The crew inspected the plumbing at all potential leak locations to ensure the same problem was not occurring in other parts of the facility. They also examine leaky pipes in the lab to help understand why the leak occurred.
Excel Energy is also considering building an above-ground storage tank to store the recovered contaminated water.
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What is Tritium?
Tritium, a radioactive isotope of hydrogen, occurs naturally in the environment and is a common byproduct of nuclear power plant operation. According to the NRC. It emits a weak form of radiation that does not travel very far in the air and cannot penetrate human skin.
“Everyone is exposed to small amounts of tritium on a daily basis because tritium occurs naturally in the environment and from the foods we eat.
Nuclear power plants occasionally release tritium, but according to the NRC, leaks are usually confined to plant premises or involve low-level off-site incidents that do not affect public health or safety. That is.
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Contributed by Associated Press
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