Tritium Leaks at Browns Ferry, January 15, 2015 Chattanooga Times Free Press article - http://www.timesfreepress.com/…/tvreports-tritium-l…/282080/
Recent Tritium Leak History
September 2013: http://legacy.decaturdaily.com/decaturd…/…/060903/leak.shtml
April 2010: http://www.timesfreepress.com/…/tva-reports-tritium-…/12541/
June 2010 Report, this report covers other radionuclide releases including tritium into the environment: http://pbadupws.nrc.gov/docs/ML1100/ML110050287.pdf
September 2014 TVA-OIG Report 15056, TVA's Ground Water Protection Program: http://oig.tva.gov/reports/PDF/14rpts/2014-15056.pdf
What the OIG found - 1) TVA does monitor groundwater and actions were taken to correct the leaks or spills; 2) the Office of the Inspector General could not verify that "Standard Programs and Processes were followed." 3) Weaknesses of the past 5 years were not corrected. 4) "...External assessments of the program were downgraded or excluded when the NPG, Nuclear Power Group, performed its' fleet assessments." 5) When external assessments were provided to the TVA (e.g. INPO, WANO, EPRI) it was discovered there is no process in place to implement recommendations and action items brought forth by the external consultants.
TVA Claims - (current Times Free Press article) "But TVA officials said radiation occurs naturally in the environment and its own sampling has not shown levels above EPA standards." TVA's comment is contradicted by the NRC Event Report as indicated below.
NRC Event Report - The tritium leaked was in excess of 20,000 pCu/l. Quote from NRC Event report 50725 dated 01/08/2015 - http://www.nrc.gov/…/event-stat…/event/2015/20150109en.html… : "On January 7, 2015, at approximately 0700 CST, a leak to the environment was identified. Tritium was present at a concentration of 7.52E-3 uCi/mL, which is above the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) drinking water standard of 20,000 picocuries per liter. No other radioactive isotopes were identified. The leak rate was estimated at approximately 0.5 gpm and determined to be from the condensate head tank. Water was accumulating on the concrete-lined reactor/refuel air zone air intake plenum with some accumulation of water on the ground in the area. The intake plenum contains three floor drains. Actions were immediately taken to terminate the leak once the flowpath was identified. The flowpath was terminated two hours and 45 minutes after identification. Based on system review and analysis, any tritiated water that would have made it to the floor drains would then be mixed with incoming raw water at two million gallons per minute. This mixed volume of water would then be circulated through the plant and discharged to the river with a resultant tritium concentration that is much less than detectable levels and well below US EPA drinking water standards. The station has established increased monitoring of groundwater at designated sample wells."
My Comments in Today's Times Free Press Article:
"But a representative of an anti-nuclear group said any radiation release is potentially dangerous.
Garry Morgan, a retired U.S. Army medical officer who has monitored radiation around Browns Ferry for Mothers Against Tennessee River Radiation, said the release was similar to one reported at Browns Ferry in April 2010. Other tritium leaks have occurred at the Sequoyah and Watts Bar plants in Tennessee."
"Any leak of a radionuclide contaminant into the environment indicates a failure of oversight and/or attention to detail, maybe both, on the part of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Tennessee Valley Authority," Morgan said Saturday."
"He said health surveys by his group show that the increase in cancer mortality rates in the Tennessee River valley grew to 20 percent above the U.S. average since Browns Ferry began generating power in 1974. Morgan has sampled radiation levels around TVA nuclear plants for six years and claims the elevated cancer rate in the region "is attributable to chemical and radionuclide contamination." Again, the link: http://www.timesfreepress.com/…/tvreports-tritium-l…/282080/
This is a continuation of an old story - TVA leadership failing to identify problems and following through with corrective actions. Unfortunately, the NRC is failing to protect the people by not requiring strict adherence to Nuclear Regulations regarding the operations of nuclear power facilities. Strict attention to detail, identification of all problems and the resolution of those problems must be accomplished to insure the safety of citizens surrounding nuclear power and nuclear fuel facilities.
GARRY MORGAN, U.S. Army Medical Department, Retired