From ENE News
CNN, Feb 6, 2016 (emphasis added): A leak at the Indian Point nuclear facility in New York has sent contaminant into the area groundwater, causing radioactivity levels 65,000% higher than normal, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Saturday… The groundwater beneath the nuclear plant… flows into the Hudson River at a point about 25 miles north of New York City… [T]he NRC plans to send an expert in health physics and radiation protection to the site…
NY Daily News, Feb 6, 2016: Gov. Cuomo said the plant’s operator, Entergy, reported “alarming levels” of radioactivity at three monitoring wells, with one well’s radioactivity increasing nearly 65,000%… Other state officials also blasted the controversial nuclear facility’s most recent mishap. Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee (D-Suffern) said she was concerned not only for the surrounding community but also for the “impact this radioactive water may have on public health and our environment,” Jaffee added.
News 12 transcript, Feb 6, 2016: “Tonight on News 12 — a radioactive leak at Indian Point sparking a full investigation by the State over concerns of contamination… Officials discover alarming levels of radioactivity at several monitoring wells… with one’s radioactivity increasing by nearly 65,000%… Officials say… there is no immediate threat to the public.”
AP, Feb 6, 2016: It was unclear how much water spilled, but samples showed the water had a radioactivity level of more than 8 million picocuries per liter… The levels are the highest regulators have seen at Indian Point… Contaminated groundwater would likely slowly make its way to the Hudson River, [an NRC spokesman] said… Tritium [is] a radioactive form of hydrogen that poses the greatest risk of causing cancer when it ends up in drinking water.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Feb 6, 2016: “Yesterday I learned that radioactive tritium-contaminated water leaked… The company reported alarming levels of radioactivity at three monitoring wells, with one well’s radioactivity increasing nearly 65,000 percent.”
Gov. Cuomo’s letter to Commissioner Zucker (Dept. of Health) & Acting Commissioner Seggos (Dept. of Environmental Conservation), Feb 6, 2016: “I am deeply concerned… Indian Point has experienced significant failure in its operation and maintenance… levels of radioactivity reported this week are significantly higher than in past incidents… Our first concern is for the health and safety of the residents… I am directing you to fully investigate this incident… to determine the extent of the release, its likely duration, its causes, its potential impacts to the environment and public health, and how the release can be contained.”
Ellen Jaffee, New York Assemblymember, Feb 6, 2016: “I am concerned about the alarming increase in radioactive water leaking… My primary concern is the potential impact this… may have on public health and our environment.”
CBS 6 Albany transcript, Feb 6, 2016: “[The NRC] says that exposure to high levels of tritium may cause cancer in humans or genetic defects.”
From Beyond Nuclear
February 20, 2016
Mum’s the word as radioactive leak at Indian Point gets worse
Entergy’s Indian Point nuclear power plant at Buchanan, NY is leaking more radioactive tritium at higher concentrations into groundwater draining into the Hudson River. Failure of a sump pump needed for filtering radioactivity in contaminated water accumulated from a refueling outage is believed to be the cause of this latest spill picked up in three onsite monitoring wells next to Unit 2.
The depth, breadth and flow rate of the underground contaminated plume remains unknown. One monitoring well (MW-32), which is 57 feet deep, first tested positive for high levels of tritium, radioactive hydrogen, at 8 million picoCuries per liter (pCi/L). In a press release, Entergy “voluntarily” admitted that a more recent follow-up test for tritium has now increased by 80%. Beyond Nuclear badgered the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for more transparency to find that tritium levels in three monitoring wells have soared. Tritium concentrations have risen in MW-30 from 1.5 million pCi/L to 2.7 million pCi/L, MW-31 from 38,100 pCi/L to 9.5 million pCi/L and MW-32 is now 14.8 million pCi/L.
But “voluntary” compliance automatically ducks reliable reporting, federal regulations and enforcement action.
Beyond Nuclear repeatedly called NRC for two days. Entergy publicly posted a dismissive, detail-less Event Notification to the NRC website that they “voluntarily” neglected to post when the tritium leak was first detected nearly a week earlier. Entergy’s account is more evidence of the inconsistency and non-transparency to be expected of voluntary reporting of corporate pollution. Contaminated groundwater is flowing offsite into the Hudson River where according to the NRC and the nuclear power company dilution is the solution to pollution. Actually, its more a cheap substitute for compliance with the federal licensing agreement to control and monitor all radioactive effluent pathways to the environment.
Uncontrolled releases of radioactive effluent through unmonitored pathways into the environment are violations, albeit unenforced, of NRC’s “minimum requirements” and performance criteria (GDC 60 & 64) stipulated in Entergy’s operating licensing agreement. This most recent radioactive leak is more evidence of deteriorating systems where Entergy has lost control of the radioactive effluent coursing through reactor buildings and migrating offsite into the river. Of equal concern, the NRC has abdicated its regulatory authority to nuclear industry’s “voluntary initiative” (aka the Groundwater Protection Initiative). Once again, Indian Point’s leaks are just the latest demonstration of an erosion in public health oversight and the control and monitoring of radioactive water to “Nuclear Regulatory Capture.”