Matthew Wald’s article regarding the ongoing leak of radioactive water from the Indian Point nuclear plant (March 5) omits several facts and issues that are relevant. The article mentions that some radioactive contaminants can be stripped from water, but that tritium cannot because it is “incorporated into the water molecule.” Since our bodies are largely made up of salt water, any ingestion of the element will be incorporated in our bodies. The EPA says that “tritium is carcinogenic” and that “especially sensitive to the effects of tritium are rapidly growing cells such as fetal tissue, genetic materials and blood forming organs.” The article barely refers to the Strontium-90 leakage that has also been found The Center for Disease Control says, “Once in the body, Sr-90 acts like calcium and is readily incorporated into bones and teeth, where it can cause cancers of the bone, bone marrow, and soft tissues around the bone.” The article refers to the amounts found as small, but ignores that the National Academy of Sciences has said that “even low doses of ionizing radiation are likely to pose some risk of adverse health effects” and that “such radiation can cause DNA damage that could eventually lead to cancers.”
Importantly, the article neglects to inform the public that Entergy has unsuccessfully searched for the source of the leak or leaks for months without finding that source. This suggests that we may have a long-term problem with no apparent solution. All these issues should be considered when 20-year license extensions are sought for these plants.