Nuclear Power Plant Has Another Leak After Initially Spilling 400K Gallons of Radioactive Water
One week after officials revealed that a Minnesota nuclear power plant had leaked 400,000 gallons of radioactive water in November, officials said a second, smaller leak had been discovered.
As a result, Xcel Energy is taking the Monticello plant temporarily offline, NBC News reported.
“While the leak continues to pose no risk to the public or the environment, we determined the best course of action is to power down the plant and perform the permanent repairs immediately,” Chris Clark, president of Xcel Energy–Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota, said in a Thursday statement, according to ABC News.
Clark said there was “no drinking water concern, no safety concern, no concern to the environment,” according to CBS News.
Despite that assurance, Monticello Mayor Lloyd Hilgart said the city will test its water supply.
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency issued a statement downplaying the significance of the leak.
“State agencies have no evidence at this point to indicate a current or imminent risk to the public and will continue to monitor groundwater samples,” the statement said.
Xcel Energy told the Nuclear Regulatory Commission about the Nov. 22 spill on the day it happened, saying it had “no impact on the health and safety of the public or plant personnel.”
City officials did not learn of the leak until late February, and local residents were in the dark until the state and company made it public on March 16.
“I think the general public needs to be informed more about this,” said Megan Sanborn, who lives six miles upstream from the plant.
“My children go to school two miles downstream from the power plant. If the water levels were safe the entire time like they were saying, then where was the transparency?”
Cole Hendry was irked that the November leak was not made public until recently.
“A four-month gap is a little strange when you have a nuclear leak or some radioactive activity in your own backyard,” he said.
“After the company told the state, it was a hush-hush situation,” Sanborn said. “No one from the state let residents know we had a nuclear leak. … That’s a big concern for residents.”
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