The owner of Indian Point Energy Center is investigating what caused a sharp increase of radioactive bits in the groundwater near its nuclear reactors in Buchanan.
Samples taken from monitoring wells in April showed a spike in the presence of tritium, a weak radioactive form of hydrogen. Samples are taken regularly and the levels have since dropped, though they haven’t returned to previous levels, according to Entergy Corp., which owns the power plant.
Entergy spokesman Jerry Nappi said the company hadn’t ruled out any possible causes for the increased level but that officials did not believe there was a continuous leak in any of its storage tanks.
“We believe this was a one-time event,” he told the Business Journal. There are no health or worker safety risks from the increase, according to Nappi, who said recent levels are estimated at less than one-tenth of a percent of permissible levels by nuclear regulatory standards.
A trend of increased tritium levels can mean a leak of water from spent fuel pools, where rods are stored after being used in a nuclear reaction. Indian Point, under a previous owner, saw a leak in its spent fuel pool for Indian Point 1, a reactor that was retired in 1974. That leak has since been fixed and is a separate issue, Entergy said.