Grand Gulf Nuclear Plant. Image Source: New Energy and Fuel.
Some reports are circulating that during storms last week, workers at Grand Gulf Nuclear Plant in Mississippi released an unknown amount of tritium-laced water into the Mississippi River. From the Natural News (Hat tip: @Khephra Maley):
Reuters Africa reports that authorities are not out of the woods yet, because they expect nuclear facilities along the Mississippi River, including the Grand Gulf Plant, to be hit by flooding through the month of May. See a section of that report below the jump.Workers at the Grand Gulf Nuclear Plant in Port Gibson, Miss., last Thursday [28 April] released a large amount of radioactive tritium directly into the Mississippi River, according to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), and experts are currently trying to sort out the situation. An investigation is currently underway to determine why the tritium was even present in standing water found in an abandoned unit of the plant, as well as how much of this dangerous nuclear byproduct ended up getting dumped into the river. Many also want to know why workers released the toxic tritium before conducting proper tests.
The Mississippi Natchez Democrat reports that crews first discovered the radioactive water in the plant's Unit 2 turbine building after heavy rains began hitting the area last week. Unit 2 was a partially-constructed, abandoned structure that should not have contained any radioactive materials, let alone tritium, which is commonly used to manufacture nuclear weapons and test atomic bombs ... .
According to reports, alarms began to go off as workers were releasing the radioactive storm water into the river, which engaged the stop flow on the release pump. Neither NRC nor plant officials know how much tritium was released into the river during this release.
"Although concentrations of tritium exceeded EPA drinking water limits, the release should not represent a hazard to public health because of its dilution in the river," insisted Lara Uselding, public affairs officer at NRC Region IV, to reporters.
Nuclear power-plant operators are monitoring forecasts for the rising waters of the Mississippi River and preparing to shut plants later in the month if flooding threatens access to sites or operation of plant safety systems, a regulator said on Friday.See all my posts on nuclear themes.
High water is not expected to disrupt operations at nuclear plants located along rivers in the Midwest, but Entergy Corp ... officials are preparing for high water at three reactor sites along the Mississippi River from near Vicksburg, Mississippi, to New Orleans, a company spokesman said. Entergy's 1,268-megawatt Grand Gulf nuclear station in Claiborne County, Mississippi, may be the most vulnerable, officials said, based on government forecasts for the river to reach a high of 57.5 feet (17.5 meters) on May 20, some 14 feet above flood stage.
"We do not expect the plant to shut down if the flooding is not above current projections," said Victor Dricks, a spokesman for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission's regional office near Dallas. However, high water could cut off access on the main road to the plant, forcing emergency vehicles to take a longer route, he said. If river conditions are forecast to worsen, reactors will be shut ahead of time, Dricks said. Operators are making plans to shut the plants, if necessary, and preparing back-up diesel generators and batteries used to keep emergency cooling systems running in the event of a loss of off-site power.
The Mississippi River is forecast to crest near Entergy's 978-MW River Bend nuclear plant in West Feliciana Parish, Louisiana, on May 23, the National Weather Service says. Entergy's 1,176-MW Waterford nuclear plant in St. Charles Parish, Louisiana, is expected to complete a month-long refueling outage in the next week or so, before Mississippi River floodwaters peak on May 24. Waterford is located behind a 29-foot seawall.
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