Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Radioactive Tritium Leaks from Nuclear Plant

Those who argue for constructing great numbers of nuclear power plants as the safest and most environmentally benign form of power for the world's future should read this and reflect upon it.

Near Chicago, Illinois, Exelon's Dresden Nuclear Plant was found to have leaked radioactive tritium into local monitoring wells. Exelon apparently has a history of leaking tritium-laced water into the biosphere but covering it up.

A bit of research on health effects of tritium shows that tritium's radioactivity is rather weak when external exposure occurs, but can have devastating ill health effects when ingested, as through drinking contaminated water.

From the article in the Chicago Tribune: "Exelon officials said leaked tritium has not entered the public water supply. But the company hasn't found the cause or source of the leak."

This is yet another instance of the nearly constant radioactive leaks from nuclear power plants that nuclear nuts would like to ignore in their quest to poison the planet with radioactivity. Such reports occur frequently from news sources around the globe, and this is with only 400 or so nuclear power plants operating. More leaks will surely occur as more plants are constructed and operated, and as time passes.

As a chemical engineer I know only too well the effects of corrosion on steel and other metal pieces such as the pipes and parts in a nuclear power plant. The costs to a plant are high to detect and prevent leaks by shutting down and replacing pipes before a leak occurs, and the adverse publicity adds to the pressure to keep generating.

As an attorney, I also know the liability incurred by nuclear plant owners who bear full responsibility for any radioactive exposure to people or property under the ultrahazardous tort laws. Essentially, the nuclear plant owner is at fault no matter how the injury from radioactivity occurs. There are numerous fine points to this legal standard, which I will not get into here.

Is nuclear power safe, when the plants leak radioactive water into the ground? Would you drink water with tritium in it? Or allow your family and friends to drink water with radioactive tritium in it?

Natural gas power plants yield no tritium. They also yield no plutonium, which is used for making nuclear bombs.

It is time to stop the insanity of calling for ever more nuclear power plants.

Roger E. Sowell, Esq.

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