In St.Paul, Minnesota, Xcel Energy’s Monticello nuclear power plant leaked 400,000 gallons of radioactive water back in November. The public was only made aware of this spill on Thursday, March 16th. Xcel Energy was quick to act in containing this spill and said no one in the local communities should be affected. If there is no need to worry, then why did they hide the spill for months? This was the state official’s decision, as they wanted to get more information on what happened before going public. Xcel knew they had a leak but did not know where it was coming from or where it was going.
Apparently, this toxic water was leaking into the ground, contaminating the surrounding groundwater. Xcel holds firm in its belief that no surrounding areas were affected by this leak, and that is why they were not in a rush to tell the public. While this plant is only 35 miles northwest of Minneapolis, the toxin released into the groundwater is not known to travel, Tritium is a radioactive isotope of hydrogen that occurs naturally in the environment and is a common by-product of nuclear plant operations.
In the past few months, Xcel has been able to salvage around 25% of the Tritium that leaked out. Xcel is committed to fixing this problem and will continue to treat the affected areas. They are also considering building above-ground storage tanks to store the contaminated water it recovers and is considering options for the treatment, reuse, or final disposal of the collected tritium and water. They do not want to see this mistake cause waste and harm and are doing their best to correct the mistake. However, with the word “radioactive” involved, it is still skeptical that they hid the leak from the public for months.