Radioactive Leak at Indian Point Nuclear Plant


Radioactivity at one of the groundwater monitoring wells increased nearly 65,000 percent

Indian Point

Indian Point nuclear power plant sits on the bank of the Hudson River, just 25 miles north of New York City in Buchanan. (Photo by Stephen Chernin/Getty Images)

New York – Governor Cuomo has released a statement saying that radioactive tritium-contaminated water has leaked into the groundwater of the Indian Point Nuclear Facility.

Entergy Corp., the Buchanan plant’s owner, reported “alarming levels of radioactivity” at three monitoring wells at the Indian Point site that sits on the bank of the Hudson River, just 40 miles north of Manhattan.

In his statement, Governor Cuomo said “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 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 wells increased nearly 65,000 percent from 12,300 picocuries per liter to over 8,000,000 picocuries per liter.

While the facility reports that the contamination has not migrated off-site and as such does not pose an immediate threat to public health. Governor Cuomo has directed the Department of Environmental Conservation to fully investigate the incident and employ all available measures, including working with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, to determine the extent of the release, its likely duration, cause and potential impacts to the environment and public health.

In Governor Cuomo’s letter to the Department of Environmental Conservation he states: “This is not the first such release of radioactive water at Indian Point, nor is this the first time that Indian Point has experienced significant failure in its operation and maintenance. This failure continues to demonstrate that Indian Point cannot continue to operate in a manner that is protective of public health and the environment.”

According to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, like normal hydrogen, tritium can bond with oxygen to form water. When this happens, the resulting water (called “tritiated water”) is radioactive. Tritiated water is chemically identical to normal water and the tritium cannot be filtered out of the water.


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