published Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

Radioactive material discovered in water around Sequoyah Nuclear Plant

Sequoyah Nuclear Plant is located near Soddy-Daisy.
Sequoyah Nuclear Plant is located near Soddy-Daisy.
Photo by Dan Henry.
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Tennessee Valley Authority officials have reported finding elevated levels of tritium in a groundwater sample taken from a monitoring well at the Sequoyah Nuclear Plant.

TVA spokesman Ray Golden and other officials said the elevated level of tritium, found in one of two new onsite monitoring wells, poses no threat to the health and safety of the public.

“The newly installed groundwater monitoring wells were placed in an area known to have contained tritium that was previously reported,” Sequoyah Plant Manager Paul Simmons said in a prepared statement. “The health and safety of the public are our primary concern, which is why providing additional monitoring capability to the plant’s groundwater wells is an important measure for protecting the community and the environment.”

Golden said there are a total of 16 groundwater monitoring wells on the Sequoyah site.

The highest level found in the sampling on Friday, Dec. 16, was about 23,000 picocuries per liter.

Golden said the Environmental Protection Agency’s drinking water standard is 20,000 picocuries per liter. The nuclear industries “voluntary reporting level” also is 20,000 picocuries per liter, he said.

A “curie” is the standard measure for the intensity of radioactivity contained in a sample; a picocurie is one trillionth of a curie.

Golden said the tritium has been detected in groundwater, which is not used for drinking water or irrigation purposes, and no potable water wells are downstream of where the tritium was found.

For complete details, see tomorrow’s Chattanooga Times Free Press.

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about Pam Sohn...

Pam Sohn has been reporting or editing Chattanooga news for 25 years. A Walden’s Ridge native, she began her journalism career with a 10-year stint at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. She came to the Chattanooga Times Free Press in 1999 after working at the Chattanooga Times for 14 years. She has been a city editor, Sunday editor, wire editor, projects team leader and assistant lifestyle editor. As a reporter, she also has covered the police, ...

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Nosense said...

Golden said the tritium has been detected in groundwater, which is not used for drinking water or irrigation purposes, and no potable water wells are downstream of where the tritium was found.

Ummm? What about the lake? Wouldn't eat the fish!

December 20, 2011 at 3:12 p.m.
pokerplayer said...

Don't trust what a TVA spokesperson says about TVA. If it was dangerous, the govenment is too broke to fix it anyway. They would rather blow smoke up our a.. and tell us it is safe and hope for the best.

December 20, 2011 at 5:11 p.m.
chattcitizen said...

I really wish people would get behind cleaning up the TN river. We went from one of the most poluted towns to one of the nicer outdoor towns. Unfortunately, one of our country's dirtiest rivers flows right through the middle of our town and it gets very little attention from everyone, wooks, libs, dems, repubs, right, left, black, white, asian. Why? Why don't we make more of an effort to clean up the river from knoxville to chattanooga, it can't be that hard?

TFP reported while all the flooding was going on that an upstream company can release so much mercury into the tn rive each year. Why? mercury are you kidding me?

Now this with tva, please people come together and lets get this river clean and have more than a pretty city with an ugly river running through.

December 20, 2011 at 5:27 p.m.
328Kwebsite said...

So this sample was slightly more radioactive than two dozen bananas.

23,000 pCi is about 851 Bq. About 32 Bq to a banana in potassium-40. About 26.5 bananas would exhibit about as much radioactivity as the described sample.

A human naturally produces, in our own bodies, as a direct result of the digestion of naturally occurring potassium compounds, about 5,000 Bq's worth of radioactivity in our lifetime. The described sample would be less than 20% of what we make inside ourselves, naturally.

Before we try to scare everybody with claims of "don't eat the fish" and "clean up the river", maybe we should try to find out what these scientists said. They told us, straight up, "23,000 picoCuries per liter".

We probably walked past more radioactivity in the produce section of the grocery store.

December 20, 2011 at 6:31 p.m.
onetinsoldier said...

Here we are with some of the best natural hydro power available in the world and one of the few efficient energy storage systems in the world and still we need toxic towers?? I don't think so. When will mankind learn that you don't poop where you sleep. Even a puppy knows this.

December 20, 2011 at 7:13 p.m.
sage1 said...

OTS - How many more dams do you think we need and where would you put them? Every river in the TVA watershed that can handle it has power producing dams.

As far as energy storage systems, a few years ago, a company attempted to build more pumped storage generation plants like Raccoon Mountain in the mountains surrounding Chattanooga until the public outcry ran them out of the area and they built them in another location.

Nuclear power is far cleaner than the fossil fuel plants that TVA is shutting down. Each nuclear plant produces more than 2 megawatts of electricity. Take 'em away and you'll be "watching TV by candle light." LOL

December 21, 2011 at 7:12 a.m.
bigguy said...

I talked to two TVA guys years ago. They both lied to me. Kinda ruined any respect I had for TVA.

December 22, 2011 at 11:06 p.m.
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