• Entergy reports small tritium leak
    By
     | April 30,2014
     

    BRATTLEBORO — Entergy Nuclear said Tuesday there was a small radioactive steam leak this month while workers were doing maintenance work.

    “Air sampling operating during the time confirmed the radioactivity was extremely low, well within the plant’s operating license, and that there was no impact on public health and safety,” said Robert Williams, spokesman for Entergy Nuclear.

    Williams said the amount of tritium released was “one 10-millionth of what the average person receives in a year from natural background sources.”

    Williams said the state Department of Public Service was notified and that the radioactive release will be included in Entergy’s annual report to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on its “radioactive effluent/release report.”

    Neil Sheehan, a spokesman for the NRC, said the problem occurred April 17, when staff were repairing a steam leak in the auxiliary off-gas drain pit, when the leak worsened. Because it was a confined space, additional ventilation was in place.

    But after the leak worsened, NRC resident inspectors identified a small amount of water vapor “wisping out” of the ventilation enclosure, as well as condensation dripping onto the ground.

    “Entergy had previously taken an air sample that verified there was no airborne contamination other than tritium,” Sheehan said. “The amount of tritium was very small.”

    He said Entergy repaired the steam leak the next day after workers had set up “more powerful” ventilation equipment that prevented any steam from leaking out.

    In all, he said, probably less than a few gallons of condensed liquid was involved.

    “By the time the effluent would leave the site it would be well below the reportable concentration and would have a negligible impact on the dose to the most affected individual,” he said.

    Christopher Recchia, Department of Public Service commissioner, couldn’t be reached for comment Tuesday.

    @Tagline:susan.smallheer@rutlandherald.com[/URL]">susan.smallheer@rutlandherald.com

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