A leak, containing radioactive material, at the Perry Nuclear Power Plant has been reported to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; however, officials say there is no threat to the public’s safety.
The leak was discovered Monday afternoon on a feed water Venturi meter. Samples were taken and elevated levels of tritium, a radioactive isotope of hydrogen, were detected in a groundwater monitoring station adjacent to the auxiliary building where the leak occurred, said Jennifer Young, a FirstEnergy spokesperson.
“The tritium detected was above the EPA’s level for groundwater,” she said.
The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency’s limit for tritium in groundwater is 20,000 picocuries per liter. According to the NRC’s report, the positive sample obtained at the Perry Nuclear Power Plant indicated a level of 46,000 picocuries per liter.
Young said steps have been taken to stop the leak and officials are actively working on repairing it.
“We are stopping the leak by applying a clamp,” she said.
Young said samples were taken from multiple locations on the plant grounds and no other positive readings were obtained.
Officials set up a collection basin and the water is being contained on site, she said.
None of the water has left the site.
“There is no threat to the public what-so-ever,” Young said. “There was no threat to our workers either.”
Young said tritium is naturally occurring and poses no harm unless it is ingested in large quantities.
“Tritium is around us all the time,” she said.
Most commonly, tritium can be found in self-illuminescent items such as exit signs and wristwatches, she said.
The site will continue to be monitored until the leak is repaired, Young said.
By Stacy Millberg - Star Beacon, Ashtabula, Ohio (MCT)
©2014 the Star Beacon (Ashtabula, Ohio)
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