The company Xcel Energy announced this Thursday that in November it detected and treated a tritium-contaminated water leak at a nuclear power plant in the northern United States, and indicated that it did not represent "no risk" for the inhabitants and the environment.
The escape was limited "to the place of the plant" in Monticello, near Minneapolis, and the contaminated water "not detected off-site or in local drinking water"Xcel Energy said in a statement.
The situation "does not represent a risk to the safety and health of the local population or to the environment"the company added.
Tritium is a radioactive isotope of hydrogen.
The leak was confirmed on November 22, Xcel Energy said, and immediately reported to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and the state of Minnesota, where the plant is located.
In a separate statement, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) said its officials are "overseeing Xcel Energy’s efforts to clean up" the water leak.
"Leak stopped and did not reach the Mississippi River or drinking water sources"he added.
Chris Clark, an official with Xcel Energy, said the company continues to "collecting and treating potentially affected water, while regularly monitoring nearby groundwater sources".
Xcel Energy estimates that it has so far recovered approximately 25% of the released tritium.