Last week the  Indian Point nuclear power plant in New York reported alarming levels of radioactivity at three monitoring wells, with one well’s radioactivity increasing nearly 65,000%.  Governor Andrew Cuomo had already ordered the state health and environmental conservation commissioners to investigate the incident. Entergy, the company that runs the plant, insisted there is no threat to public health or safety.  Entergy spokesman Jerry Nappi said the contaminated water was not going into the nearby Hudson River or sources of drinking water.

On Wednesday, after updates that the leak was increasing, Cuomo ordered a more sweeping investigation that also includes the Department of Public Service.  Investigators from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission are scheduled to visit the plant on Thursday to look into the incident.

The amount of radioactive tritium leaking from the Indian Point nuclear power plant is growing.  New samples from groundwater monitoring wells show 80% higher concentrations of tritium compared with when the leak was first reported Saturday.

Officials believe the leak occurred after a drain overflowed during a maintenance exercise while workers were transferring water containing high levels of radioactive contamination.  In a statement from the company they said the values detected remain less than one-tenth of 1% of federal reporting guidelines and that the higher levels are fluctuations that can be expected as the material migrates.

But environmentalists, who have called for the plant to shut down during the probe, said there have been too many leaks and other problems at the plant over the years.  The leak of radioactive material into the groundwater below the nuclear power station in New York City’s suburbs highlights a chronic problem with the nation’s atomic plants.

Entergy Corp., which operates the plant at the eastern shore of the Hudson River in Buchanon, NY- about  24 miles north of the New York City boundary, said Wednesday that the latest samples from monitoring wells found tritium at a level of 14.8 million picocuries per liter. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has set a limit of no more than 20,000 picocuries per liter in drinking water.

Buchanan gets its public water supply from reservoirs in the Catskill mountains, not from local wells, so the danger to humans from the spill was likely to be negligible.

Advertisements