Vermont nuclear plant design flaw helped cause radioactive water leak
Officials for the company that owns Indian Point say a design flaw that kept engineers from inspecting underground pipes helped cause a leak of radioactive water into the ground at Vermont Yankee, the state’s only nuclear plant.
The issue of what condition underground piping is in and how well it will hold up should a nuclear plant be relicensed has become a big issue with most of the nation’s plants – including Indian Point – trying to extend their operating licenses.
In a report released Tuesday, Entergy Vermont Yankee says a pipe tunnel was blocked with construction material left over from the plant’s construction in 1972 and prevented water contaminated with tritium from passing through the drain line and into a tank.
A separate pipe installed in 1978 created a pathway that allowed the contaminated water to reach the soil on the plant’s grounds.
The leak was reported Jan. 7. Plant officials say there’s no evidence of drinking water contamination.
Last month, plant officials announced that radioactive strontium-90 had been found in soil at the plant. Both those radioactive isotopes have leaked at Indian Point.