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Radioactive tritium leaks found at 48 US nuke sites
"You got pipes that have been buried underground for 30 or 40 years, and they've never been inspected,' whistleblower says"
The truth about tritium begins to leak out in a new chapter in this AP series on nuclear reactors. The industry has long claimed that tritium is not a problem. The Pickering reactor in Ontario recently dumped 75,000 litres of tritium into Lake Ontario, saying it was insignificant. But tritium can be absorbed through the skin, is most dangerous when ingested, all things that could quite likely happen in a heavily used lake. In addition, as the article states, tritium is leaking from a majority of U.S. reactors, creating a growing health hazard for reactor communities.
AP l Jeff Donn 21 June, 2011
BRACEVILLE, Ill. — Radioactive tritium has leaked from three-quarters of U.S. commercial nuclear power sites, often into groundwater from corroded, buried piping, an Associated Press investigation shows.
The number and severity of the leaks has been escalating, even as federal regulators extend the licenses of more and more reactors across the nation.
Tritium, which is a radioactive form of hydrogen, has leaked from at least 48 of 65 sites, according to U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission records reviewed as part of the AP's yearlong examination of safety issues at aging nuclear power plants.
Leaks from at least 37 of those facilities contained concentrations exceeding the federal drinking water standard — sometimes at hundreds of times the limit.