The recent train disaster in Ohio was followed by a number of other incidents endangering health and the environment. But before the chemical disaster of Ohio, 400 thousand gallons of radioactive leak from a Minnesota nuclear power plant was reported last year. However, state officials kept the news from the public until now.
The Nature of Radioactive Water Leak
As reported in media over the weekend, at least 400, 000 gallons of radioactive water leaked from Xcel Energy’s Monticello nuclear plant in Minnesota in November last year. Xcel Energy had reported the leak to both state and federal officials back then. However, officials kept the information from the public and revealed it the past Thursday (March 16, 2019).
According to Xcel Energy, the leak came from a pipe between two buildings. The leaked water contained tritium, the radioactive isotope of Hydrogen. Tritium water emits beta radiation and in very small amounts exists in nature. Beta radiation from naturally occurring amount of tritium water is not considered a health risk to humans unless large-scale exposure is involved.
The Officials Knew
The four-month delay in informing the public of the leak, however, has led to questions over transparency on behalf of the officials responsible for regulating the safety of the power plant. The Omaha World-Herald reported that industry experts insist that the leak from the nuclear plant has not posed any public health threat. Minnesota Pollution Control Agency spokesperson Michael Rafferty was cited as he tried to explain the reason for the delay in making the information of the leak public.
“We knew there was a presence of tritium in one monitoring well, however Xcel had not yet identified the source of the leak and its location.”
Video reports show that the citizens of the affected area expressed concern over the leak and the fact that they were kept in the dark about the incident.
The media reports stated that the radioactive water is slowly flowing toward the Mississippi River. But readers were skeptical of these claims too.
I don’t care how slow it’s supposedly flowing if it’s been flowing since November towards the Mississippi River: IT IS IN the Mississippi River.
— Billy Chaput (@BillyChaput) March 17, 2023
Cleanup Still in Progress
Meanwhile, Xcel stated that it has recovered about 25% of the tritium water so far.