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FirstEnergy: Leak at Perry Nuclear Power Plant Contained

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NORTH PERRY, Ohio–FirstEnergy Corporation said a leak of radioactive water at the Perry Nuclear Power Plant in Lake County has been contained.

According to FirstEnergy spokesperson Jennifer Young, “Yesterday afternoon, plant personnel identified a steam leak on a section of piping that provides water to the reactor vessel. This pipe is located in a building on site and when that water sprayed out and then condensed because it was coming out in a steam form, it leached through the concrete and into the ground water immediately adjacent to this building. We currently have folks in there, who are working to install a clamp to stop the leak. Meanwhile, we’ve also a collection system to collect any water that’s coming from that area.”

Young said testing of ground water in an area adjacent to the building revealed elevated levels of the radioactive element tritium, which she said is a byproduct of the nuclear fission process at the plant.

She told FOX 8 that, “We have reported to the State of Ohio and county agencies and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission the discovery of this elevated level, and we’ve taken additional samples to confirm that none of this tritium has left plant boundaries, that it’s all confined on site and we’ve have not found any other areas in all of our monitoring stations where tritium is detectable. It’s just in this one area that’s right by the building where the leak occurred.”

When asked why FirstEnergy is convinced that the leak is not a threat to public safety, Young said, “We’re doing active monitoring to insure that the tritium is isolated to the site, which so far all of our indications are that it is. We have the underdrain system, which collects ground water, which we monitor and process before it leaves the plant, and at this point, there’s no reason to be concerned that this is in any drinking water or other water sources around the plant. There’s no cause for public concern at this point; there’s no reason for evacuation. This is something that is monitored very closely. The levels that are there, while they are elevated, are not of a harmful level for somebody who is standing in the area or around it.”

Viktoria Mitlyng with the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission released the following statement: “The current leak at Perry did not exceed NRC limits. Based on the current information, the agency does not have a public safety concern. It was reported to the State of Ohio as a courtesy notification by Perry in accordance wit the Nuclear Energy Institute’s groundwater monitoring initiative. Such notifications are then provided to the NRC. NRC inspectors at the plant and the specialist inspectors in the NRC’s Midwestern office are aware of the leak and making sure we understand the situation.

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