400,000 Gallons Of Radioactive Water Leaked In US, Revealed Months Later

By Jason Hall

March 17, 2023

Fire broke out inside at Xcel Energy coal-fired power plant Monday March 16, 2015 in Burnsville, Minnesota. ]  Jerry Holt/ Jerry.Holt@Startribune.com
Photo: Getty Images

Regulators in Minnesota said they're monitoring the cleanup of 400,000 gallons of radioactive water that leaked from the Xcel Energy nuclear power plant in Monticello in November, but claimed the incident posed no danger after announcing it publicly several months later on Thursday (March 16).

“Xcel Energy took swift action to contain the leak to the plant site, which poses no health and safety risk to the local community or the environment,” Xcel Energy said in a statement obtained by the Associated Press.

The utility company said it had initially reported the leak of water, which contained tritium, to state and federal authorities on November 22, 2022, however, the public was only made aware of the issue on Thursday as state officials delayed the announcement until more information was gathered.

“We knew there was a presence of tritium in one monitoring well, however Xcel had not yet identified the source of the leak and its location,” Minnesota Pollution Control Agency spokesman Michael Rafferty said via the AP.

“Now that we have all the information about where the leak occurred, how much was released into groundwater, and that contaminated groundwater had moved beyond the original location, we are sharing this information,” Rafferty added, claiming the water remains contained on Xcel’s property and posed zero immediate public health risk.

Xcel Energy said it notified the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission of the incident the the day after a pipe between two buildings initially leaked and has been pumping groundwater ever since, which includes storing and processing the contaminated water that it claimed had tritium levels under the federal limit.

“Ongoing monitoring from over two dozen on-site monitoring wells confirms that the leaked water is fully contained on-site and has not been detected beyond the facility or in any local drinking water,” the statement said via the AP.

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