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NYC's Nuclear Power Plant Leaking 'Uncontrollable Radioactive Flow' Into River (inhabitat.com) 138

MikeChino writes: New samples taken from groundwater near New York's Indian Point nuclear plant show that contamination levels are 80% higher than previous samples, and experts say the leak is "a disaster waiting to happen." The Indian Point nuclear power plant is located just 25 miles north of New York City, and it is a crucial source of power for the greater metropolitan region.
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NYC's Nuclear Power Plant Leaking 'Uncontrollable Radioactive Flow' Into River

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  • Solution (Score:5, Funny)

    by BarbaraHudson ( 3785311 ) <barbarahudsononline AT gmail DOT com> on Friday February 26, 2016 @06:25PM (#51595051) Journal
    They can always import water from Flint ... at least the lead will block a bit of the radiation .
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 26, 2016 @06:34PM (#51595147)

      Bravo, BRAVO!!! And the 2016 Insult to Injury Award goes to...

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      They can always import water from Flint ... at least the lead will block a bit of the radiation .

      This is nothing. You know how Chernobyl blew up? Well my father and his geologist buddies while drunk needed something to go with Vodka. So they opened a can of pickled mushrooms collected from Pripyat' area years before the explosion and (surprisingly) decided to apply a geiger counter. Apparently Chernobyl reactor blew up so hard it sent disturbing levels of radiation back in time.

    • Brillant!
  • Hudson (Score:5, Funny)

    by tekrat ( 242117 ) on Friday February 26, 2016 @06:29PM (#51595089) Homepage Journal

    Don't worry -- it's leaking into the Hudson, which is already so polluted, nothing can live there and it it does, it's already got three heads....

    Hey, New Yorkers are tough -- what's a little radioactive water?

  • 80% of what? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Alypius ( 3606369 ) on Friday February 26, 2016 @06:31PM (#51595119)
    Didn't we already have a story from this ridiculous website? The hysterical cry of "80%" never addresses the actual numbers nor discusses the conservative limits set by the NRC. Yet another "ZOMG nuclear!" hit piece.
    • I bailed from rtfa after the first expert quoted was from a treehugger club.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Yep, Envirowacko publication talking about "new samples" without providing a source. Then, throwing around "80%" higher with providing any context.

      Textbook scaremongering.

    • Good thing the initial readings weren't zero! Then it would be an infinity percent increase!

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by sycodon ( 149926 )

        I found a penny on the ground yesterday.

        I found two today.

        There has been a 100% increase in the amount of money lying on the ground!

        • I found a dollar today... so now it's a 10,000% increase on the first day! At this rate we will all be millionaires within a month!

          • by unrtst ( 777550 )

            At that rate, you will be a millionaire in less than a week!
            day 1 $0.01
            day 2 $1.01
            day 3 $101.01
            day 4 $10,101.01
            day 5 $1,010,101.01

        • by Jeremi ( 14640 )

          Disco Stu: Did you know that disco record sales were up 400% for the year ending 1976? If these trends continue --- A-y-y-y!

          (puts his feet up on his desk wearing see-through platform shoes with water and fish inside)

          Homer: Uh, your fish are dead.

          Disco Stu: Yeah, I know. I... can't get them out of there.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          And if those two pennies had been minted in Denver, they would probably be more radioactive than we're talking about here.

        • What the heck is a penny?

          • A penny is a British coin that ceased being minted in 1967.

            They're big and round and copper. Big enough to cover up a dead man's eyes.

    • Poorly written article. Bogus "experts".

    • Re:80% of what? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by hey! ( 33014 ) on Friday February 26, 2016 @08:00PM (#51595659) Homepage Journal

      The word people are using is "alarming"; not "catastrophe" or "disaster". That's because the facts warrant alarm (n. a sudden fear or distressing suspense caused by an awareness of danger; apprehension; fright.), but not panic. There is at yet no data which shows an imminent serious threat to human or environmental health, but the alarming thing is that the tritium levels found in the groundwater shouldn't be that high. If they are that high then something is not working the way it's supposed to be working, and we don't know why.

      That's a very reasonable grounds for apprehension, and the appropriate response is an investigation, which we all hope turns up some minor and readily corrected problem. Otherwise there'd be no point checking the groundwater for tritium in the first place.

      If you don't like TFA you can simply google "indian point tritium groundwater" and pick up a more trusted news source. Most of the major news sources are taking the position I just outlined: no need for panic, but this needs a good looking-into.

      • contamination levels are 80% higher than previous samples

        So let me get this straight - the initial readings were well below any dangerous threshold, now the readings have increased and are now 80% higher than the initial readings, and are now 0.1% of the dangerous threshold... That's the alarming problem? No, that's a contrived problem being used to further an emotional argument against nukes because the facts don't support it.

        • by hey! ( 33014 )

          So let me get this straight - the initial readings were well below any dangerous threshold, now the readings have increased and are now 80% higher than the initial readings, and are now 0.1% of the dangerous threshold... That's the alarming problem?

          Imagine you had a bag full of balls and they're all supposed to be white. You want to check whether there are any black ones, but you don't want to go through every ball in the bag; so you randomly sample the bag until you've reached whatever confidence interval you wanted. That's pretty much how all environmental monitoring schemes work. You can't measure the entire volume of space around something like this, so you sample discrete points in space, which is just like drawing balls from the bag.

          Now imag

    • Re:80% of what? (Score:5, Informative)

      by BarbaraHudson ( 3785311 ) <barbarahudsononline AT gmail DOT com> on Friday February 26, 2016 @08:11PM (#51595733) Journal

      New York Times [nytimes.com] from February 6th (~3 weeks ago):

      New York State will investigate high levels of radioactive contamination found in the groundwater at the Indian Point nuclear plant, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said on Saturday.

      The governor said water contaminated with tritium had leaked into the groundwater at the plant, causing “alarming levels” of radioactivity to be found at three out of the 40 monitoring wells on the site.

      One of the wells reported a 65,000 percent increase in the water’s level of radioactivity, Mr. Cuomo said, citing a report by Entergy Corporation, which owns the plant.

      At the same time, it's reported as being 0.1% of acceptable levels ... but it's not clear from the article if they're talking about that well, all the detection wells combined, or the property.

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        The issue is that there is a leak of something that isn't supposed to leak, and they can't seem to fix it. If it isn't fixed it will eventually become dangerous. It doesn't inspire much confidence in their ability to run their plant safely either.

        • by MrKaos ( 858439 )

          The issue is that there is a leak of something that isn't supposed to leak, and they can't seem to fix it. If it isn't fixed it will eventually become dangerous. It doesn't inspire much confidence in their ability to run their plant safely either.

          Davis Besse was another reactor with "unexplained' issues during operation. As it turns out a leak was spraying borated water onto the underside of the reactor head and corroded a football size hole into it. It bore most of the way through six inches of steel with less than an inch remaining.

          Any unexplained behaviour of a Nuclear reactor's cooling systems introduces the risk of a Loss Of Cooling Accident and that is the point here. At Davis Besse increased frequency of water filter changes should have aler

        • I apologize for not doing more research before posting. Another report put the leak at something like 1/4 the maximum recommended maximum dose, which is a heck of a lot more than 0.1%.

          The discrepancy, in and of itself, is scary.

    • Following the articles first link [inhabitat.com]: "According to initial reports, the radioactivity levels are quite high and the leaked materials contain tritium, a radioactive hydrogen isotope. At one location, levels shot up 65,000 percent from from 12,300 picocuries per liter to over 8,000,000 picocuries per liter". The article doesn't seem to state any other measurements of radioactivity. We're left with this miscellaneous instance. Feels like fear mongering.
      • link [inhabitat.com] "up 65,000 percent"

        Agreed. Who talks like this?

        I think they mean 650x but all those extra zeroes look so sp00ky!
        Yea verily, it has increased by four gross, three score and a fortnight.
        When I was going to St. Ives I met a man with thirteen eyes.
        Each eye had five anime-glints.
        How many anime-glints were traveling away from St. Ives?

        8,000,000 picocuries/L ~ 1,500 mrem ~ about one full body CT scan per liter drunk.
        Seriously high, but if every liter the water in this 'most contaminated' well was diluted with 399 liters of non-triti

    • Uncontrolled leaks and a clueless Entergy led to an atmosphere where Vermont Yankee had to shut down.
    • Agree with Alypius: Ban Inhabitat from /.. I actually like Inhabitat and visit it frequently to see cool green architectural and design ideas, but the journalistic standards are utter crap.

      In the good old days they just showed green design and living ideas, and it was great. But they are NOT journalists, and recently, I wish they'd stop trying to do "news". It diminishes what they're good at: sexy photos of cool ideas.
  • Woot! (Score:4, Funny)

    by msauve ( 701917 ) on Friday February 26, 2016 @06:34PM (#51595137)
    Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in real life!

    (or maybe Godzilla, I'm not sure which)
  • 90% chance after investigation money was skimmed during maintenance or construction.... which is causing the issue. No one will be going to jail and it will cost the tax payer more money...
  • If shutting the plant down stops the flow doesn't that by definition mean that it's controllable?
    • Too big to fail - if they shutdown the plant and Manhattan has to institute rolling blackouts, lots of people will be very unhappy.

      • by SeaFox ( 739806 )

        Too big to fail - if they shutdown the plant and Manhattan has to institute rolling blackouts, lots of people will be very unhappy.

        If this keeps up they wont need electric lights to see in the dark.

      • Maybe they should evacuate Martha's Vineyard and cover the whole land mass with windmills.

  • Clickbait (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 26, 2016 @06:42PM (#51595223)

    Bad article, clickbait title. Quotation in title is unattributed until you click through two more references, at which point you find out it came from a Huffington Post blogger. The only person quoted in the article with a relevant degree is "John J. Kelly, former director of licensing for Indian Point and a certified healthy physicist, said that tritium is a radioactive form of hydrogen that is found naturally. 'It’s more of a regulatory problem than an environmental problem,'".

    Another article referenced by this one gives a very similar quotation from an actual relevant source:
    "'An uncontrolled, unmonitored pathway to the environment — in this case the Hudson River — is unacceptable' an NRC spokesman said".
    http://www.lohud.com/story/tech/science/environment/2016/02/15/indian-point-what-happens-next/80288826/
    But that doesn't sound nearly as sensational.

  • by MountainLogic ( 92466 ) on Friday February 26, 2016 @06:49PM (#51595267) Homepage
    Why does it seem that the HR department at nuc plants uses Matt Groaning to screen applicants?

    "And thank you most of all for nuclear power, which is yet to cause a single proven fatality, at least in this country."
    "Well you know boys, a nuclear reactor is a lot like women. You just have to read the manual and press the right button."
    "And Lord, we are especially thankful for nuclear power, the cleanest, safest energy source there is. Except for solar, which is just a pipe dream."
    "Yeah, you know, boys, a nuclear reactor is a lot like a woman. You just have to read the manual and press the right buttons."
    --Homer Simpson

    Bart: Dad, wake up. [Homer was sleeping at nuclear plant.]
    Homer: I'm awake. I'm awake. I'm protected member of the team. You can't fire me, I quit! Please, I have a family.

    [One lazy afternoon at Springfield Nuclear Power Plant, Homer is asleep at his workstation and a dog is sleeping on the floor next to his chair. In his sleep, Homer slumps over, falling onto a button labeled "Plant Destruct" and triggering an alarm.]
    Computer Voice: "Core meltdown in ten seconds ... nine ... eight ..."
    [The dog wakes up, walks to the console, and pulls a lever. The alarm and the countdown stop.]
    Computer Voice: "Meltdown averted. Good boy!"
    [Later that same lazy afternoon, inspectors from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission arrive at the power plant in their van. A woman inspector presses the buzzer at the front door.]
    Mr. Burns [on intercom]: "What? How dare you disturb me during nap time!"
    Woman Inspector: "We're from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. This is a surprise test of worker competence."
    Mr. Burns: "There must be some mistake. We, uhh, we make cookies here. Mr. BurnsOld-Fashioned Good-Time Extra-Chewy-" Man Inspector: [cutting Burns off] "Get the axe."

    [Now in college, Homer interrupts the Nuclear Physics Professor's lecture.]
    Homer: "Uhh, excuse me, Professor Brainiac, but I worked in a nuclear power plant for ten years and I think I know how a proton accelerator works."
    Professor: "Well, please come down and show us."
    Homer: "All right, I will."
    [The scene shifts to students screaming and fleeing the building while a green radiation glow fills the windows. Homer casually walks out just as two technicians in radiation suits are walking in.]
    Homer: [gesturing over shoulder] "In there, guys."
    Technicians: "Thanks, Homer."
  • by Mostly a lurker ( 634878 ) on Friday February 26, 2016 @06:49PM (#51595269)

    It is true that a careful reading of TFA suggests there is probably not much to worry about. However, it is wise to be cautious. We know older nuclear plants often have design flaws. We certainly would not want major nuclear contamination this close to a major metropolitan area.

    • Except that the article is mostly alarmist FUD simply shouting contamination 80% higher than previous, or 65,000% increase in another case. You know what, there is an INFINITE % increase in people in a room when a single person walks into the empty room....
    • by mspohr ( 589790 ) on Friday February 26, 2016 @07:04PM (#51595355)

      From a linked article... some actual numbers:
      According to initial reports, the radioactivity levels are quite high and the leaked materials contain tritium, a radioactive hydrogen isotope. At one location, levels shot up 65,000 percent from from 12,300 picocuries per liter to over 8,000,000 picocuries per liter.

      The usual denial from the power plant operator (nothing to worry about here...):
      Despite the size of the leak, Entergy, the company that owns the plant, has argued the radioactive materials only leaked into the groundwater and should not impact drinking water sources.
      (Not sure how radioactivity leaking into groundwater is not a concern for drinking water.)

      The Governor seems to be concerned and has called for an investigation:
      Cuomo has called on Entergy to shut down the Indian Point facility while the full scope of the problem is assessed.

      Further denials... yes, it's leaking but "no problem":
      “While elevated tritium in the ground onsite is not in accordance with our standards, there is no health or safety consequence to the public,” Entergy said in a statement late Saturday.

      Old nuclear plant has had problems before:
      This isn’t the first problem with tritium leaks at Indian Point, which supplies around 30 percent of the electricity used in New York City. The plant had three emergency shutdowns in December, and there have been a number of leaks in recent years.

      • by khallow ( 566160 )
        There are two obvious questions to ask here. First, does anyone drink directly out of that well? Second, does shutting down the plant stop the leak? The answer to both is NO. The point of these wells is to find problems before they hurt other people. Let's give them a chance to fix this.
        • by mspohr ( 589790 ) on Friday February 26, 2016 @07:43PM (#51595567)

          I don't expect that anyone drinks out of the monitoring wells... they are for, well, monitoring.
          However, groundwater is mobile. It flows through different layers of the, well, ground and eventually ends up downhill somewhere (i.e. NYC metropolitan area).
          (Interesting fact is that surface water flows such as rivers are only about 10% of fresh water flows. The rest are underground.) It's pretty obvious that the water will move to a place where someone has drilled a drinking water well... it's only a matter of time.
          Best to take care of this at the source.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by khallow ( 566160 )

            However, groundwater is mobile. It flows through different layers of the, well, ground and eventually ends up downhill somewhere (i.e. NYC metropolitan area). (Interesting fact is that surface water flows such as rivers are only about 10% of fresh water flows. The rest are underground.) It's pretty obvious that the water will move to a place where someone has drilled a drinking water well... it's only a matter of time.

            First, it's going to be heavily diluted before it ends up anywhere that someone can drink it. Second, that matter of time is important. If it takes a few centuries to get anywhere, then in addition to the dilution, you have several halvings from radioactive decay.

            Best to take care of this at the source.

            I think this is the point of testing. Shutting down the plant doesn't serve that purpose.

          • I don't have the numbers at hand for the region of new york, but in the region I was (with underground mostly chalky and silimars) it takes a hundred year and more to percolate as rain water down to the aquifer and back to the pumps, even more if the soil is dense and more water proof with high clay content. It is not an instant process and there is no underground river or such like it is all percolation into a gigantic sponge. So for one the possible tritium would be diluted in the process, and since its h
            • by kriston ( 7886 )

              The water table is not used for human consumption anywhere in New York City's boroughs and most of its suburbs. The North River (Hudson), East River, the Harbor and ground wells have not been used for water consumption for over 120 years in the city and most nearby suburbs.

              Every nuclear plant leaks Tritium, and it's harmless. This one just emits more. This water will never encounter a human in its entire half-life (or even double that time).

              This is yet another non-story.

      • According to initial reports, the radioactivity levels are quite high and the leaked materials contain tritium, a radioactive hydrogen isotope. At one location, levels shot up 65,000 percent from from 12,300 picocuries per liter to over 8,000,000 picocuries per liter.

        Ok, finally some numbers. So in other words, it went from 0.0123 microcuries per liter to 8 microcurie per liter. So it went from under safe drinking water limits to about 400 times the safe drinking water limit in a monitoring well.

        Is there a problem? Yes. The monitoring wells detected that there is a leak. Is the sky falling? NO. We don't drink from the MONITORING wells, especially the one well that is the closest to the leak, and thus has the highest concentration of the contaminant. You mix that water

        • by Anonymous Coward

          It would be good to remember the amount of tritium found in self illuminating emergency exit signs. I have seen signs that contain something like 0.7 TBq of tritium per sign. This is equal to 18 Ci or 18000000 microcuries of tritium. This is enough for contaminating more than two million litres or 2000 cubic meters of water with a level of 8 Ci per litre.
          In one floor of the building there were something like 30 of the signs. This was not a site for storing tritium waste but a normal European office building

      • by Xyrus ( 755017 )

        From a linked article... some actual numbers:
        According to initial reports, the radioactivity levels are quite high and the leaked materials contain tritium, a radioactive hydrogen isotope. At one location, levels shot up 65,000 percent from from 12,300 picocuries per liter to over 8,000,000 picocuries per liter.

        OMG! That's 7 times more than...the fire detector you have in your house! You'd get radiation sickness after drinking only a few...hundred thousand liters over the course of...a few days...wait, what was the panic about?

        You can buy tritium glow rods, sticks, rings, watches, keychains, exit signs, etc. that contain anywhere from .5 to 2+ Curies of tritium at several places online. That's only a few orders of magnitude more than this inspection well water but whose counting?

        Tritium is a low energy beta emitte

      • by J4 ( 449 )

        a number of leaks in recent years.

        My father and his colleagues worked on leaks at Indian Point in 1973, so if recent means longer than the median /. demographic has lived, then yeah.

    • Oh, please. And I wouldn't want major nuclear contamination 10 minutes away from my house, either. Which is where Indian Point happens to be. We get ill-informed fear-mongering agenda-driven Luddite "just want to be cautious" elbow-patched knuckleheads like you getting bused up here from NYC all the time to join in one noisy ignorant picket-mob or another. Take a course, or at least read a real newspaper once in a while.

      "Careful and expeditious investigation is prudent" Christ, who even talks like that...?

  • by Chris Mattern ( 191822 ) on Friday February 26, 2016 @06:55PM (#51595303)

    This is from the same yahoos who though LA's methane leak was a disaster on a par with thousands of people dead, so I'd take it with a pretty big chunk of salt.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I was quite surprised that the article wasn't a mdsolar submission.

  • by DRJlaw ( 946416 ) on Friday February 26, 2016 @07:02PM (#51595333)

    Semi-paywalled source of more accurate information here [lohud.com]

    From back on the 15th:

    On Wednesday Entergy, the company that owns Indian Point, said the highest concentration of elevated tritium levels had increased by about 80 percent from the first test to the second, "fluctuations that can be expected as the material migrates."

    Entergy spokesperson Jerry Nappi said on Saturday, though, that the groundwater monitoring well that had increased by 80 percent was back down to its initial elevated level from the first sample, which was expected.

    and

    "[An inspector] saw leakage that supports the theory that the water came from [a] water storage tank," Neil Sheehan, Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokesperson, said Friday.
    * * *
    The NRC inspector saw boron crystals in the pipe tunnel where the suspected leak occurred.

    No current absolute numbers, but the article reports:

    The NRC investigated a similar leak at the plant almost two years ago. In April 2014 Indian Point Unit 2 reported a leak of 687,000 picocuries per liter, Sheehan said.

    "To put that into perspective, the EPA safe drinking water limit for tritium is 20,000 picocuries per liter," he said. "However, groundwater at Indian Point is not used for drinking-water purposes."

    33 times the drinking water limit? Not scary. Find the leak, fix the problem, make a rational decision whether the maintenance risks are beginning to exceed the benefits of the plant to begin a plan for refurbishment or retirement.

  • by Crashmarik ( 635988 ) on Friday February 26, 2016 @07:08PM (#51595381)

    “These values remain less than one-tenth of 1% of federal reporting guidelines,” the company said in a statement, adding the higher levels are “fluctuations that can be expected as the material migrates.

    http://www.nydailynews.com/new... [nydailynews.com]

    And it's Tritium being leaked. Aka Relatively harmless

    http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/... [nrc.gov]

  • Both the tragedy in Flint and the horrors that took place in New Orleans could have been stopped or moderated if really sudden responses had taken place. A nuclear power plant under suspicion of defect should be instantly shut down. If tat means evacuating New York City then so be it.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Live near Flint, personally. Not so much a tragedy as a comedy of errors, caused primarily by bureaucrats who lied about their qualifications, such as the recently resigned personnel who had forged not just their college degrees, but their high school diploma. The people in charge were following sanitation procedures for a small water supply initially (1/10th or less than Flint's size), and then stopped doing so because it was more work than they wanted to do. There is little that a sudden response could

    • A nuclear power plant under suspicion of defect should be instantly shut down

      If you have a way to instantly shut down a nuclear reactor, then why didn't you speak up 5 years ago?

    • by khallow ( 566160 )

      Both the tragedy in Flint and the horrors that took place in New Orleans could have been stopped or moderated if really sudden responses had taken place.

      And they were. What is ignored here is that the key actions that mattered happened before these incidents or disasters. In Flint, the managers in question ignored the problems that came from changing water sources.

      In the Katrina disaster, the local government dallied for a full day before ordering an evacuation and even then, failed to use hundreds of ready buses to evacuate people who didn't have means of transportation.

      At the federal level, they attempted to do a significant shuffle of the responsib

  • by Daniel Matthews ( 4112743 ) on Friday February 26, 2016 @07:35PM (#51595547)
    http://www.amazon.com/Glow-Fob... [amazon.com]

    Why is it that when you apply a Kalman filter to http://inhabitat.com/ [inhabitat.com] all the content vanished?
  • 80% higher than a tiny amount is still tiny. And radiation is a lot safer than you would think.
    • 80% higher than a tiny amount is still tiny.

      It's not even twice as big as the tiny amount...

    • by HiThere ( 15173 )

      Well, the summary didn't give any time frame, but I tend to find an 80% increase worrying. Presumably it is currently far below dangerous levels, but radiation doesn't naturally increase by many mechanisms, so the most likely source would be a leak at the nuclear plant, and there are several reports of nuclear plants that are being allowed to operate not only far beyond their design life, but at higher pressures than their designers intended. Since this one is located upstream of NYC it would appear to be

  • This could make one great energy drink if you have a bottling plant- 5 eon energy! Warmer and more energetic than normal water! Hey- it worked in the 1910s-20s, so why not the 2010s-20s?
  • Parts of this story were puzzling to me, so off to Wikipedia...

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]
    "Tritium is also produced in heavy water-moderated reactors whenever a deuterium nucleus captures a neutron."
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]
    Indian Point is a Pressurized Water Reactor.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]
    PWRs are light water reactors, not heavy water --- so I'm still puzzled about the origin of the tritium. Is there enough deuterium in ordinary (light) water to produce it? At any rate, it sounds li

    • The source is one section down in the Wikipedia page, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tritium#Fission [wikipedia.org]. Specifically in this case the leak seems to be in the filtration system of one of the storage pools for spent fuel.

      As the spent fuel cools down in the pools, some of the tritium produced in the uranium fission process migrates out of the fuel rods and into the cooling water of the pool. The water in the pool is filtered, presumably to keep it clear enough to see what's going on with the fuel, and the leak i

      • Thanks.

        Neutron irradiation can transform stable nuclei into radioactive ones. Some of those nuclei are pretty benign, others nasty. Pure water doesn't produce any nasties (just isotopes with a few minutes half-life, as I recall). However if you have impurities in the water, those might produce something nasty when bombarded with neutrons. I expect this is why they filter the water so carefully.

        • by HiThere ( 15173 )

          I tend to think of tritium as pretty benign. IIRC it has a half-life of 12 years, so it's a pretty high level radiation while it exists, and it DOES tend to end up in organic molecules, but it also doesn't accumulate easily. But a radiation leak they can't control (well, haven't controlled) is worrying.

          The problem with tritium is that it's an easily bio-available molecule. It can easily end up attached to your DNA, and when it decays it's likely to damage that molecule with unpredictable effects. (Usual

    • PWRs are light water reactors, not heavy water --- so I'm still puzzled about the origin of the tritium.

      There is intentional addition of Boron, in the form of boric acid, to the water in PWRs to act as a moderator for the reaction. Which is how the Boron crystals indicated the slow leak in the pipe in the filtration system for the refueling process which recently occurred, resulting in the tritium in the test well. When exposed to radiation, Boron tends to turn to Tritium.

      It wasn't a big leak, and the company self-reported the leak. For comparison purposes, the amount per liter of water was still in picocu

      • by HiThere ( 15173 )

        Thank you. One of the big things in you notice was "self reported". That implies they are doing things correctly.

        But there needs to be a better way to handle radioactive waste.

        • Thank you. One of the big things in you notice was "self reported". That implies they are doing things correctly.

          But there needs to be a better way to handle radioactive waste.

          There is. Instead of keeping it in pools, do what the French, Russians, and other countries do, including the UK, and reprocess it into additional fuel for breeder reactors, and into medical grade radioactives.

          The recent theft of the medical grade radioactives in Mexico occurred because they were on their way to being shipped to the U.S., mostly because we don't manufacture most medical grade radioactives ourselves (e.g. the pellets used to treat prostate cancer, the pellets used to treat glioblastoma mult

  • I noticed they were very careful not to mention even a hint of what those horrible evil dangerous life-threatening "make NYC glow in the dark" tritium levels.

    Get smart on the laws and numbers before you panic:

    http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/... [nrc.gov]

    I'll bet the levels they're shrieking about are WAY below what's being emitted in the subspace beneath my house.

  • because Trump.
  • Total FUD without numbers.
    80% higher can mean increase from 1 to 1.8 Bequerel or it can mean increase from 100 to 180 Curies. Without real numbers to show scale; nothing but alarmist twaddle.

  • In upstate NY today, there was a massive spill of Solar Radiation. Dermatologists warned of a possible increase in skin cancer, but with the temperature at 20 degrees, risk is minimal.

You know you've landed gear-up when it takes full power to taxi.

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