“WASHINGTON, March 21 – Two more radioactive contaminants have shown up in the groundwater under the Indian Point nuclear reactor complex in Westchester County, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said on Tuesday. But the agency and the plant owner, Entergy Nuclear Northeast, said they did not pose a hazard.
For the last few months, plant technicians have been trying to find the flaw that is allowing water with tritium in it to seep out of the spent fuel pool for the Indian Point 2 reactor, but one of the radioactive materials discovered on Tuesday, nickel-63, is more likely to have come from the pool at Indian Point 1, a plant official said. Unit 1’s pool has been leaking for years, and Entergy has a pumping system in place to return the water to the pool. “We’re capturing most of it, but we don’t know for sure we’re getting all of it,” said Jim Steets, a plant spokesman.
The other material announced on Tuesday is strontium, in concentrations about three times above the drinking water standard, in a sample taken from a well inside a building at Indian Point.
But Diane Screnci, a spokeswoman for the commission, said, “It’s not a drinking water source, and it doesn’t lead to a drinking water source.” The contaminated water is presumed to go into the Hudson River, which plant officials say dilutes the contaminants to extremely small levels and is not used for drinking.
Indian Point 1 used fuel clad in stainless steel, an alloy that includes nickel. In the reactor, the nickel can become radioactive. While the reactor has not run in 30 years, the half-life of nickel-63, the period in which it loses half its radioactivity, is 96 years.”
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