Nuclear Power Plant Leaking In New York: Radioactive Levels Spark Alarm At Indian Point

A power plant leaking radioactive water in New York is sparking nuclear disaster concerns. The Indian Point nuclear plant leaked contaminated water into the groundwater at three monitoring wells. The radioactivity levels at one of the plant’s wells have increased by about 65,000 percent.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said that Entergy, the operator of the Indian Point nuclear facility, reported the substantial increase in radioactivity and leaking overflow water on Friday, the New York Daily News reports. According to officials, the radioactivity contamination has remained an onsite problem and does not pose a threat to the public. The state environmental and conservation agency and the health department has been called in to investigate the nuclear plant leak.

Governor Cuomo had this to say about the Indian Point nuclear facility leak and the level of radioactivity contamination.

“Our first concern is for the health and safety of the residents close to the facility and ensuring the groundwater leak does not pose a threat. We need to identify whether this incident could have been avoided by exercising reasonable care.”

The New York governor wants the investigation into the nuclear plant leak to determine not only the extent of the accident but the duration of the leak. Although the state leader was informed about the leak before the start of the weekend, the problem might have occurred before Friday and permitted the radiation levels to increase to a higher degree before the potentially tragic mistake was caught.

The power plant leaking incident currently under investigation is not the first problem at the Indian Point nuclear facility, the New York Times reports. In December, Governor Cuomo also launched an investigation into the plant, which is located about 40 miles from New York City. The previous review of operations was ordered after a series of unscheduled shutdowns occurred that the governor felt could pose a risk to residents in surrounding municipalities. The governor called the developing situation at the facility the “latest failure at Indian Point is unacceptable.”

The Indian Point nuclear plant leak happened after a drain overflowed when maintenance workers were transferring water with “high levels of radioactive contamination,” according to Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) representative Neil Sheehan. Typically, a sump pump would be used to filter the contaminated water into a different treatment system, but it was “out of service.” Either the New York nuclear plant only had one sump pump or the workers did not take steps to locate and use another one.

A statement about the radioactive leak at the Indian Point plant issued by the Entergy corporation said that the elevated tritium levels found in the three monitoring wells were not in “accordance” with company standards. The public release also noted that the radioactivity levels revealed after the leaks were “more than a thousand times” below the levels permitted by federal law.

Ellen Jaffee, a Democrat assemblywoman from New York, also voiced concerns about the operations of the Indian Point nuclear plant. Jaffee said that she was not only worried about safety in communities surrounding the Buchanan nuclear facility but also about the impact the radioactive water could have on the environment.

The Indian Point plant currently operates two nuclear reactors and boasts 40 monitoring wells. The facility provides roughly 30 percent of the power needed to keep New York City running.

What do you think about the Indian Point power plant leak?

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