According to a report the high level of tritium detected at Plant Hatch, 5.34 million picocuries per liter, is far above the EPA’s drinking water standard of 20,000 picocuries per liter. The source of the leaking tritium, an issue which has plagued many other plants, must be determined. Tritium acts as radioactive water and it can’t be removed, thus the source(s) of the leak needed to be determined and stopped.
According to the news release, on September 28 results from routine monitoring of groundwater at Plant Hatch indicated tritium was detected above historical background levels at two sample points on site. Additional samples were taken from the same points and analysis confirmed that tritium was present at elevated levels in both samples and that tritium had not migrated out of the general area of initial discovery. Tritium concentrations up to 5.34 million picocuries per liter were observed. Immediate actions were taken to locate the source of the leak and actions are in progress to stop the leak. The tritium is confined to a small area on the plant site in the vicinity of the Unit 1 condensate storage tank, and there is no significant potential for off-site impact. Additionally, there is no impact to on-site personnel. No tritium levels above background have been detected or migrated outside the area where the two sample points are located.
Southern Nuclear will continue to sample strategic locations in the ground water monitoring network to determine if there are changes in the impacted area and beyond. SNC is confident that these levels are of low safety significance and do not pose any issues to the public health and safety.
In accordance with Southern Nuclear’s groundwater protection procedures and the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI)/Industry Groundwater Protection Initiative, Southern Nuclear contacted the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Region II Resident Inspector and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources to inform them of this matter.