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Indian Point Nuclear facility radioactivity increased nearly 65,000%

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Staff writer ▼ | February 7, 2016
Indian Point Energy Center in Buchanan, New York, a three-unit reactor power plant, reported that radioactive tritium has been detected in groundwater near the facility.
Indian Point Energy Center
New York   Radioactive tritium has been detected in groundwater
The levels of radioactivity reported are significantly higher than in past incidents.
Three groundwater monitoring wells surrounding the plant have reported radioactive samples but fortunately the discovery is far removed from drinking water systems. Tritiated water is often diluted and routinely released from nuclear power plants.

Tritium emits a weak form of radiation, a low-energy beta particle similar to an electron and the tritium radiation does not travel very far in air and cannot penetrate the skin.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's office released a statement that said that the leak didn't post a threat to the public: "Yesterday I learned that radioactive tritium-contaminated water leaked into the groundwater at the Indian Point Nuclear facility.

"The company reported alarming levels of radioactivity at three monitoring wells, with one well's radioactivity increasing nearly 65,000 percent. The facility reports that the contamination has not migrated off site and as such does not pose an immediate threat to public health.

"Our first concern is for the health and safety of the residents close to the facility and ensuring the groundwater leak ‎does not pose a threat."

Entergy also issued a statement, downplaying any risk to the public: "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.

"While the effect of these elevated values is less than one-tenth of one percent of federal reporting guidelines, Entergy made voluntary notification to the NRC, state agencies and key stakeholders."

The Governor’s letter directed Acting Commissioner Seggos and Commissioner Zucker to their begin investigation .

"The levels of radioactivity reported this week are significantly higher than in past incidents. Three of forty monitoring wells registered alarming increases."

In fact, one of the monitoring well increased nearly 65,000 percent from 12,300 picocuries per liter to over 8,000,000 picocuries per liter," the letter says.