US nuclear plant reports leak of water contaminated with radioactive material

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Xcel Energy found and contained a leak of water laced with the radioactive isotope tritium at its Monticello Nuclear Generating Plant near Minneapolis, saying the spill posed no threat to the environment.

The leak was confirmed on November 22 and immediately reported to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and state officials, according to a press release.

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The company and state officials did not make the incident public until Thursday.

The water’s tritium levels are below the commission’s safety thresholds, the company said, and monitoring wells have confirmed the leaked water has been contained to the plant site.

Xcel has been pumping and processing the water and estimates it has recovered about 25 percent of the tritium released.

Minnesota officials said in a press release the leak did not reach the Mississippi River or contaminate drinking water sources.

Tritium is an isotope of hydrogen that produces low levels of radiation. It is present in small amounts in the environment and is also a byproduct of nuclear plant operations.

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