LEAK FIRST, FIX LATER
Uncontrolled and Unmonitored Radioactive Releases from Nuclear Power Plants
A Beyond Nuclear Report
By Paul Gunter, Director, Reactor Oversight Project
Revised Edition: March 2015
“Leak First, Fix Later” was first published in April 2010. Now nearly five years later, Beyond Nuclear takes another look at the problem of aging and deteriorating piping systems carrying
radioactive liquids that still run under every nuclear power plant.
Nuclear power plants have an extensive network of piping systems dozens of which transport liquids that contain radioactive isotopes including tritium — a radioactive form of hydrogen — and long-lived strontium-90. These piping systems are not adequately inspected or maintained due to their inaccessibility.
U.S. reactors continue to experience leaks and spills of radioactive material into groundwater the unmonitored pathways from unknown and unanticipated sources.
Now, five years after our initial 2010 report, Beyond Nuclear has determined that the NRC has failed to mandate any corrective action programs that focus on inspection and maintenance programs aimed at groundwater protection by preventing ongoing radioactive leaks and contamination of water resources.