Minnesota agencies revealed they are closely monitoring the cleanup of about 400,000 gallons of radioactive water that leaked from a nuclear-generating plant near Minneapolis in the fall of 2022.
Xcel Energy, the Minneapolis-based utility company responsible for the plant, stated that the leak was not disclosed to the public at the time as it posed no risk to the local community or environment. The company’s president, Chris Clark, assured that the situation has been addressed comprehensively, and they are working to resolve it safely.
The leak was discovered through routine groundwater monitoring systems and was confirmed by Xcel Energy on November 22, 2022. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, the Minnesota Department of Health, and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is monitoring the cleanup process. Xcel Energy has been pumping, storing, and processing the leaked water for reuse, and they have recovered approximately 25% of the tritium released.
The leaked water contains low levels of tritium, a byproduct of electricity production by nuclear power plants that emit low levels of radiation. Xcel Energy claims that these levels are below the safety thresholds set by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The company has confirmed that the leaked water has not reached the Mississippi River or contaminated any drinking water sources.
State agencies are reviewing the data, including well-sampling results while monitoring the cleanup process. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency stated that their top priority is to protect residents and the environment and ensure the cleanup is conducted thoroughly with minimal or no risk to drinking water supplies. Throughout the remediation effort, Xcel Energy has closely cooperated with state and federal regulators, local groundwater specialists, and the local community.