2005 Leak / Editorials

Tritium unsafe in any amount

In “Indian Point 2 still leaking water” (Oct. 19 article), it would have been helpful to include some of the well-documented dangers of radioactive tritium so that we would be informed as to the risk we may be facing:

  • Tritiated water passes through the human body in 12 days. However, when it unites with carbon in the human body, it can remain in the body for 450 to 650 days. One study found traces of tritium in the body 10 years after exposure.

  • When and where tritium deposits its radioactivity, it creates at least one lesion in the cell. This lesion must be repaired within 24 hours or the cell becomes carcinogenic when it eventually divides. There may be a threshold below which the repair mechanism is not activated in the body; therefore, low levels of chronic radiation exposure can accumulate in the body without the repair system being activated. Indeed, this is consistent with the recent National Academy of Sciences report affirming that even extremely low doses of ionizing radiation (such as tritium) pose a health and cancer risk.

  • In addition, radiological research has found a correlation between tritium and cumulative genetic injury. There was found in successive generations a reduction in relative brain weight, increased re-absorption of embryos, and correlations with Down syndrome.

While Entergy scrambles to figure out the cause and extent of the tritium leak, problems at Indian Point continue to increase. Remember, after Indian Point has closed, we will no longer have to face headlines such as “Nuke leak tainted wells.”

  Mark Jacobs

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