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SC nuke leak reported

Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013 10:45 AM
Last updated 6:52 PM
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LAKE WYLIE, S.C. — Water with traces of a radioactive hydrogen isotope has again leaked at a South Carolina nuclear power plant, but the spill hasn’t made nearby drinking water unsafe, according to federal regulators.

According to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, more than 100 gallons of water containing tritium leaked over the weekend during maintenance at the Catawba Nuclear Station in York County. Water was being pumped from the main condenser to a site collection pump, and the water in the pond overflowed, officials said.

The level of tritium in the water is well below limits that would make it dangerous to drink, the NRC said.

Federal officials classified the leak as a “non emergency event.” According to Duke Energy, which runs the plant, the contaminated water was contained at the Catawba site and wasn’t near drinking water wells.

In May, a leak in a fiberglass discharge pipe resulted in a spill of more than 100 gallons of water. In both reported leaks, NRC officials said that the levels of tritium in the water were less than half the federal limit for safe drinking water

Tritium is a byproduct of atomic fission. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says that drinking water containing tritium can increase the risk of developing cancer.


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