On February 6, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that a nuclear power plant about 40 miles from Manhattan had leaked one of the most potent radioactive carcinogens into the groundwater. The groundwater in that area flows to the Hudson River just 25 miles north of New York City. “Yesterday I learned that radioactive tritium-contaminated water leaked,” the governor said in an official statement. “The company reported alarming levels of radioactivity at three monitoring wells, with one well’s radioactivity increasing nearly 65,000 percent.” Alarmingly, the leak is not the first for this plant in recent years. In fact, such leaks are relatively common among U.S. nuclear power plants.
The leak took place at the Indian Point nuclear power plant, which supplies about 30 percent of New York City’s electricity. Jerry Nappi, spokesperson for plant operator Entergy, said the leak probably came from a “spillage of water as a result of a mechanical issue during pumping of water” during January. Neil Sheehan, a spokesman for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), said that an out-of-service sump pump caused water to build up and overflow from a containment drain. This then produced a leak from the building, and eventually the radioactive water made its way into the ground. There was no word on why the leak went undetected for so long. READ MORE