TVA Claims Recent Tritium Spikes At Sequoyah Nuclear From Leak in 80s – No Active Leaks

Paul Simmons, plant manager of Sequoyah, addressed the media this week in part of a TVA pr campaign to ‘demystify nuclear power’.  When asked about the recent Tritium spikes found he claimed that TVA will “keep the people informed”.

“We here at TVA at Sequoyah we are learning from the things that happened over in Japan and we will put the appropriate changes in place both in the operation of our facility and how we train our workers here to be able to protect our Chattanooga area,” says Simmons.

The highest level found in the sampling on Dec. 16 was about 23,000 picocuries per liter in the new well drilled within about 25 yards of Sequoyah’s cooling water discharge channel leading to the Tennessee River.

He said regulations didn’t require TVA to examine where the tritium came from, but the utility had some of the substance analyzed by independent experts who found with dating and tests that it “aligns with a spill that we had in the 1980s.”

He said TVA investigated further and determined that there is no active leak now.  Simmons pledged continued monitoring.

“The newly installed groundwater monitoring wells were placed in an area known to have contained tritium that was previously reported,” He said in a prepared statement. “The health and safety of the public are our primary concern, which is why providing additional monitoring capability to the plant’s groundwater wells is an important measure for protecting the community and the environment.”

 

TVA spokesman Ray Golden said there is no indication the radioactive material has migrated in groundwater beyond the Soddy-Daisy plant’s property, which borders the Tennessee River.

Golden and Sequoyah Plant Manager Paul Simmons said the elevated level of tritium, found in one of two new onsite monitoring wells at Sequoyah, poses no threat to the health and safety of the public.

Golden said in December that the tritium may be left over from a spill in 2003 when an underground pipe leaked. That leak was found and fixed, he said.

 

On Friday, John Carlin, vice president at Sequoyah, also addressed the tritium found at spiked levels in a new monitoring well at the plant.

“That doesn’t mean we’ve stopped looking,” Carlin said. “And we’ll keep people informed.”  He said experts believe the tritium plume is stable and isn’t going to move to the river.

In 2003, TVA discovered a significant leak in underground piping carrying tritium-laced water. That underground piping was abandoned and TVA installed new underground pipe to fix the problem

 

Under normal operating circumstances, the tritium contaminated water is held in holding tanks and gradually mixed with clean water until it is low enough in radiation to be safety released to the river. Those releases are permitted by the state and federal authorities, Golden said.

 

 

Source: Times Free Press

Source: Times Free Press

 

December 20th, 2011 NRC Event Notification

Power ReactorEvent Number: 47534
Facility: SEQUOYAH
Region: 2 State: TN
Unit: [1] [2] [ ]
RX Type: [1] W-4-LP,[2] W-4-LP
NRC Notified By: TIM RIEGER
HQ OPS Officer: JOHN KNOKE
Notification Date: 12/19/2011
Notification Time: 17:25 [ET]
Event Date: 12/19/2011
Event Time: 16:44 [EST]
Last Update Date: 12/19/2011
Emergency Class: NON EMERGENCY
10 CFR Section:
50.72(b)(2)(xi) – OFFSITE NOTIFICATION
Person (Organization):
SCOTT FREEMAN (R2DO)
UnitSCRAM CodeRX CRITInitial PWRInitial RX ModeCurrent PWRCurrent RX Mode
1NY100Power Operation100Power Operation
2NY100Power Operation100Power Operation
OFFSITE NOTIFICATION DUE TO TRITIUM LEVELS EXCEEDING THRESHOLD FOR DRINKING WATER

“At 1644 EST, on 12/19/11, TVA’s Sequoyah Nuclear Plant made voluntary offsite notifications to the Tennessee Radiological Health Department Director and the Tennessee Department of Environmental Conservation – Senior Director Water Programs, to inform them of the following:

“On October 31, 2011, Sequoyah proactively installed two new groundwater monitoring wells in an area known to have contained previously reported releases of tritium in an effort to further characterize and validate the scope of the plume. These releases were reported in 2006 as part of NEI’s [Nuclear Energy Institute] groundwater initiative. On December 16, 2011, elevated levels of tritium were identified in water samples taken from one new onsite monitoring well. The tritium levels were confirmed to be greater than 20,000 pCi/L which is the threshold for drinking water. No groundwater monitoring wells are used for drinking or irrigation purposes onsite. The highest level sampled was 22,760 pCi/L.

“Samples taken in the discharge channel located 30 yards from this groundwater monitoring well confirmed no detectable tritium. Refueling Water Storage Tank levels are being monitored and no active leak is in progress. Samples of adjacent wells have been taken and confirmed no unexpected changes in tritium levels of these wells. Additionally, Sequoyah has sampled at the station discharge to the Tennessee River and confirmed no detectable levels in any sample.

“In a conservative decision making process and in accordance with the groundwater protection initiative established by the nuclear industry, Sequoyah is voluntarily communicating sample results likely attributed to a previously reported tritium spill. The plant is continuing to review the sample results to confirm this is related to the historical tritium plume. The plant will take appropriate actions as outlined in the Groundwater Tritium Action Plan, which has been initiated to address this issue. Sequoyah Nuclear Plant has had an extensive groundwater monitoring program in place since 2008. The environmental sampling program consists of sixteen groundwater wells which are periodically sampled in accordance with industry standards.

“The NRC Resident Inspector has been notified. The following agencies have been, or will be updated: Hamilton County, State of Tennessee, Nuclear Energy Institute and American Nuclear Insurers. Tennessee Valley Authority plans a media notification for this issue.”

About author
Enformable is focused on providing critical information about energy related topics for readers around the world.The functional goal of the project is to provide a user-friendly public resource, complete with database of supporting research materials and data.Facebook Twitter
Read More About
4 total comments on this postSubmit yours
  1. richardperrycolumbia@shaw.ca'

    Finally proper things are done and related to the public, it is amazing keep it up.

  2. k150@yahoo.com'

    Do they think we are idiots? Tritium has a 12 year half-life.

    It’s been more than 24 years since the “80s” — no fucking way this is “from the 80s” you motherfuckers!!

    Lying bastards at Tennessee Valley Authority, lying to “dumb Southerners.” Pull down your daisy nukes!!

  3. k150@yahoo.com'

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/43475479/ns/us_news-environment/

    48 leaking NPPs out of 68 total NPPs in the US…

    ‘You got pipes that have been buried underground for 30 or 40 years, and they’ve never been inspected,’ whistleblower says…

    Thar she blows….

  4. info@pathwaytohomecare.com'

    I guess the spill he speaks of aligns with a certain spill that took place in “back in the 80’s – yet these spills have taken place 26 more times since, and the NRC required no action by the utility? So Mr. Calvin since you want to go public, then what is the status on the thousands of gallons that made it too the river during the 26 spills and releases that have taken place every year since? The effect of Tritium is cumulative is it not?

    Here are just a few of these spills 20100407 Browns Ferry Unit 3 Approximately 1,000 gallons of radioactively contaminated water leaked from Condensate Storage Tank No. 5 as workers were transferring water between condensate storage tanks. A worker conducting routine rounds observed water leaking from an open test valve near the top of CST No. 5.
    20080105 Browns Ferry Unit 3 The condensate storage tank overflowed due to failed tank levelinstrumentation. The spilled water flowed into the sump in the
    condensate piping tunnel, triggering a high level alarm that prompted
    workers to initiate the search that discovered the overflow condition.
    Some of the spilled water may have permeated through the pipe tunnel
    into the ground.
    20060700 Sequoyah Unit 1 An investigation to identify sources of tritium in groundwater found detectable levels of tritium in the Unit 1 and Unit 2 refueling water
    storage tank moat water.

    20060700 Sequoyah Unit 2 An investigation to identify sources of tritium in groundwater found detectable levels of tritium in the storage tank moat water.
    20060200 Browns Ferry Unit 3 A soil sample taken from underneath the radwaste ball joint vault (located outside the radwaste doors) indicated trace levels of cobalt-60
    and cesium-137.

Submit your comment

Please enter your name

Your name is required

Please enter a valid email address

An email address is required

Please enter your message

*

Enformable © 2014 All Rights Reserved

More in Featured
TEPCO2
TEPCO to get approval for rate increase from Japanese Government

Tokyo Electric Power Co. will seek permission from the government to raise household rates in March or later after discussing the matter with the government-backed entity providing financial support to the beleaguered utility,...

Close