440K Gallons of Radioactive Water Leaks from Minn. Nuclear Plant

    440K Gallons of Radioactive Water Leaks from Minn. Nuclear Plant
    Last updated Mar 17, 2023
    Image credit: Getty Images [via BBC]


    • Xcel Energy is cleaning up a leak of 400K gallons of water contaminated with radioactive tritium from the Monticello Nuclear Generating Plant in Minnesota after a leak occurred.[1]
    • According to a statement from the utility company, the leaked water "is fully contained on-site" and has not been detected in any local drinking water supplies.[1]
    • Xycel has said that its findings came after monitoring more than two dozen on-site monitoring wells.[2]
    • The leak was first discovered in November 2022, but state officials did not notify the public until Thursday. State officials have said that they waited to notify the public until they had more information, and confirmed that the leak is contained to Xycel property and does not pose an immediate health risk.[3]
    • Xycel said that it notified the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission and state authorities on Nov. 22, which was the day after the leak was verified. Since the leak, Xycel has been pumping groundwater and storing and processing the contaminated water.[4]
    • The water contains tritium, a common by-product of nuclear plant operations. Around a quarter of the leaked tritium has been recovered, and Xcel has said it may build above-ground storage tanks to store the contaminated water.[3]


    Pro-establishment narrative

    While the leak does not pose a risk to the public or the environment, authorities are still taking this situation seriously and working very hard to address the situation. This incident — including its health and environmental consequences — is being carefully monitored and all potential risks are being evaluated.

    Establishment-critical narrative

    Although this leak is not dangerous, and tritium spills happen from time to time, any nuclear leak is still worrying. The nuclear plant is not far from a major city and it could have been a lot worse. Any time a nuclear leak occurs, there is cause for concern — and it took authorities a while to make this information public.

    Establishment split



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