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article imageTritium leak detected at Massachusetts nuclear plant

By Martin Laine     Jul 12, 2010 in Environment
Plymouth - Traces of radioactive tritium have been found in groundwater near the Pilgrim Nuclear Power plant. The levels are still within federal safety limits, and a spokesman says there is no threat to the public.
The plant is owned by New Orleans-based Entergy Corp., a company that also owns Vermont Yankee. That facility has seen a succession of problems ever since a tritium leak there was discovered in January.
Those leaks prompted Massachusetts officials and critics of the Pilgrim plant to call for stepped up monitoring of the Plymouth, Mass., facility. Six new monitoring wells were dug, and last week the first results were made public.
Those results show a gradually increasing level of radioactive tritium in the monitoring test wells, though the level of contaminated water is still below the level the Environmental Protection Agency regards as safe.
The groundwater from the monitoring wells registered 11,072 picocuries per liter while the EPA’s safe limit is set at 20,000 picocuries per liter.
“This does not in any way affect public health or safety,” said David Tarantino, a company spokesman. “But we certainly want to discover the cause.”
The company has assembled a team of experts to solve the problem, Tarantino said.
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