SOUTHPORT, NC (WWAY) -- Progress Energy once again says tritium has leaked from it's Brunswick Nuclear Plant in Southport, N.C.
A spokesman for Progress Energy says the leak did not pose any threat to employees or neighboring residents in Brunswick County, but some residents say they have their concerns about living so close to the plant.
Many people in Brunswick County worry about tax hikes or budget shortfalls but for some they have bigger concerns. They face the health risks of living near Progress Energy's Nuclear Plant every day.
"I think they got everything under control," said Charlotte Brown, who lives down the road from the plant. "I've been happy with them, but I know anytime you live around a nuclear plant it's just a risk."
Brown has been living in Southport for more than 50 years. She lives just a few miles from the nuclear plant and is well aware of the risks. When Brown heard about last week's leak in an underground pipe she looked for the bright side.
"It doesn't make me feel too good about the situation but what can we do other than just get up and move?" asked Brown. "That plant out there provides jobs for millions and millions of people in the area."
The water that was identified as having elevated levels of tritium was leaked into the basement area of one of the buildings on the plant site. The spokesman said there was no indication that it affected groundwater. Tritium is a radioactive isotope of hydrogen that's been linked to cancer when ingested in large amounts. Tritium is produced naturally in the upper atmosphere when cosmic rays strike air molecules and is a byproduct in reactors producing electricity. Neighbors say they've had their share of concerns about the plant being so close to their homes.
"Well I guess it just blowing up or being sabotaged or a leak that gets in the water or something like that," said Karen Muncy.
In 2008, Progress Energy created a plan to keep tritium out of ground water. The plant is still finishing up the project to place borders around retention ponds to keep the tritium from escaping. Last Thursday's leak has nothing to do with the retention ponds because the leak was in an underground pipe. When it comes down to it some folks keep their worries in the backs of their minds.
"It's just there," said Muncy. "I go about my business and I'm not concerned at all."
Progress Energy says it will continue to monitor the wells to make sure the leak was properly fixed. The leak did not extend past the plant boundary lines.
SOUTHPORT, NC (AP) -- Progress Energy Inc. is watching monitoring wells at its Brunswick Nuclear Plant after finding a leak that caused elevated levels of a radioactive isotope in groundwater.
Progress Energy spokesman Mike Hughes said Monday there's no sign of elevated levels of tritium beyond the site near Southport. Hughes says the leak was first noticed last week and has been stopped. Crews are working to find the specific source and the company says it will continue to assess its more than 100 monitoring wells around the plant.
Tritium is a radioactive isotope of hydrogen that has been linked to cancer when ingested in large amounts.
Tritium leaks have occurred at more than a quarter of the nation's 104 commercial reactors. Many of those leaks have come from corroding underground pipes.
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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Progress Energy makes report to NRC
SOUTHPORT, N.C. (December 13, 2010) – On December 9, Progress Energy employees discovered a leak in the basement of one of the plant’s buildings. Water from the leak contained elevated levels of tritium. The water with elevated tritium is contained on the plant site. There is no implication for public health and safety. Progress Energy immediately notified the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and state and local officials.
An investigation of the leak determined that the source of the tritiated water is a buried pipe located near that building, within plant boundaries. The company has stopped the leak, and repair plans for the isolated pipe are being developed. Groundwater monitoring wells surrounding the plant’s boundary continue to be analyzed.
“We are committed to safe operations,” said Mike Annacone, vice president of the Brunswick Plant. “Plant personnel quickly identified and isolated the leak and continued monitoring groundwater wells near the leak location and in wells surrounding the plant’s boundary to ensure there was no concern to public or employee health and safety. The leak has not affected plant reliability or the operation of any safety-related equipment.”
Tritium is a radioactive isotope of the element hydrogen. Tritium is produced naturally in the upper atmosphere when cosmic rays strike air molecules, and is a byproduct in reactors producing electricity.
The Brunswick Nuclear Plant has two boiling-water reactors that generate 1,875 megawatts of electricity, and is a vital part of the mix of resources Progress Energy uses to meet the needs of 1.5 million customers in the Carolinas.
Progress Energy (NYSE: PGN), headquartered in Raleigh, N.C., is a Fortune 500 energy company with more than 22,000 megawatts of generation capacity and approximately $10 billion in annual revenues. Progress Energy includes two major electric utilities that serve about 3.1 million customers in the Carolinas and Florida. The company has earned the Edison Electric Institute's Edison Award, the industry's highest honor, in recognition of its operational excellence, and was the first utility to receive the prestigious J.D. Power and Associates Founder's Award for customer service. The company is pursuing a balanced strategy for a secure energy future, which includes aggressive energy-efficiency programs, investments in renewable energy technologies and a state-of-the-art electricity system. Progress Energy celebrated a century of service in 2008. Visit the company’s website at www.progress-energy.com.