Tritium leak…. oops.

Exelon says tritium leak not a health concern

MORRIS, Ill. (STNG)  — Exelon officials are saying not to worry about the latest tritium leak at the Dresden Nuclear Power plant because it stayed in the middle of their property.

Routine monitoring late last week at the plant near Morris revealed 3.2 million picocuries per liter of water in one monitoring well and in nearby storm drains, as well as a concrete vault located near an outside water storage tank.

Tritium is a radioactive hydrogen isotope that is a by product of nuclear reactors producing electricity. Elevated levels of tritium are believed to cause cancer. The Illinois EPA has deemed 20,000 picocuries per liter of water as safe. A picocurie is one-trillionth of a curie, a measurement of radiological doses.

“While this is not a public or employee safety issue, we are committed to being forthright, clear and concise with our neighbors about the status of our plant operations,” said Tim Hanley, Dresden site vice president.

Station experts are sworking to determine the source and are performing additional sampling to verify the tritium is contained to the areas where it was found and to take steps no minimize the impact.

The plant has a monitoring system in place which includes 71 on-site wells that never contained a high amount of tritium until last week.

“Our monitoring program functioned as designed alerting us to the presence of tritium early so that we can address this issue quickly and effectively,” Hanley said.

Exelon officials said state and federal authorities were notified of the leak over the weekend. Notification is now mandatory in the wake of learning that millions of gallons of tritiated water had leaked out of the Braidwood Nuclear Power Plant for more than 10 years.

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