For Immediate Release
Londonderry Twp., PA- (July 25, 2012) Chemistry technicians at Three Mile Island Nuclear Generating Station have found a slightly elevated level of tritium in one monitoring well on the site near the plant structure. This level is contained onsite, poses no health or safety risks, and is located in an area where groundwater is re-circulated back into the plant.
The monitoring well is one of 55 on the island that samples groundwater. All groundwater in the area of the monitoring well is captured by industrial wells that pump the water back into the plant where it is used for non-potable purposes throughout the facility.
The slightly elevated level was identified in a monitoring well sample and confirmed by an independent laboratory. Subsequent samples show declining concentrations. Tritiated water at Three Mile Island is stored in tanks and carried by pipes. A team of technical and environmental experts is working to track down the source.
“TMI’s groundwater monitoring program is very comprehensive and it worked exactly as intended,” said Rick Libra, TMI Site Vice President. “We identified this one sample quickly and we’re working hard to find the source and keep our stakeholders informed.”
Three Mile Island has a comprehensive radiological monitoring program that includes 55 wells and five additional sampling stations. No unusual levels of tritium have been found in the other wells or stations.
Local and state officials and the NRC have been notified.
Tritium occurs naturally in the environment, can be found at very low levels in nearly all water sources and is among the weakest of all radionuclides. It is produced in greater concentrations in commercial nuclear reactors and is monitored carefully under industry- wide programs. Tritium eventually breaks down into helium, the same gas used to fill balloons.
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