Radioactive water leaked by a nuclear power plant in Minnesota in November is “perfectly safe” for the local community, according to regulators who chose not to announce news of the leak to the public for five months.
On Thursday, Minnesota regulators announced that the leak took place in November and they have been monitoring the cleanup of a 400,000-gallon radioactive water spill from Xcel Energy’s Monticello nuclear power plant, according to AP.
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Xcel Energy reported the leak to state and federal authorities in November, but it was only made public this week. Officials from the state explained that they chose to keep the public uninformed about the spill until they had “more information.”
According to Michael Rafferty, a spokesperson for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, they knew there was tritium in one monitoring well, but Xcel had not yet identified the source or location of the leak. Now that they have the information, they are sharing it. However, Rafferty emphasized that the contaminated water remains contained on Xcel’s property and poses no “immediate threat” to public health.
The nuclear power plant leak is the latest environmental disaster in the US and comes after an unprecedented series of train derailments and chemical factory fires leading many to believe there is an orchestrated plot to contaminate the air and water in rural communities.
Xcel notified the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the state on November 22, the day after confirming the leak. The leak originated from a pipe between two buildings, and since then, Xcel Energy has been pumping groundwater and processing the contaminated water, which contains tritium levels that are below federal thresholds.
Xcel Energy stated that ongoing monitoring from more than two dozen on-site monitoring wells confirms that the leaked water is entirely contained on-site and has not been detected beyond the facility or in any local drinking water.
When asked why they didn’t inform the public sooner, Xcel Energy stated that they understood the importance of informing the communities they serve quickly in case of an immediate threat to health and safety. However, since the hundreds of thousands of gallons of highly radioactive water was “no threat”, the company focused on investigating the situation, containing the affected water, and deciding on the next steps.