2011-05-02 "Radioactive Water Pumped Into Mississippi River" by WJTV-12 television news
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is investigating a radioactive release into the Mississippi River from the Grand Gulf Nuclear Plant in Port Gibson.
A spokesperson from Grand Gulf tells News Channel 12 that they found standing water in an abandoned unit.
In an effort to remove the standing water, Entergy began pumping the water out and into a drain that emptyed into the Mississippi River.
A censor went off detecting the chemical "tritium" in the standing water.
NRC officials say the River has diluted the radioactive material and is not causing harm to the people.
Right now the incident is under investigation by the NRC.
Entergy officials tell News Channel 12 they are not sure of the source of the tritium.
There's no word on how much Tritum was pumped into the river.
2011-05-04 "Radioactive water released into river at Grand Gulf" by Kevin Cooper from "Natchez Democrat" daily newspaper
PORT GIBSON — An unknown amount of radioactive water was released accidentally into the Mississippi River late last week at the Grand Gulf Nuclear Station.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is investigating the incident, but suggests the release poses no public health hazard.
Entergy Nuclear, which operates Grand Gulf, filed a report with the NRC explaining that crews located standing water at the plant last week after the area experienced heavy rains.
Water was found Thursday at the Unit 2 turbine building — which is an abandoned, partially constructed building — and began pumping the water into the river.
An alarm apparently alerted workers to the presence of tritium, a byproduct of the nuclear reactor processes. The pumps were turned off stopping the flow. Investigators are not certain why tritium was in the storm water or how it got there.
“Although the concentrations of tritium exceeded EPA drinking water limits, the release should not represent a hazard to public health because of its dilution in the river,” said Lara Uselding, public affairs officer with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Region IV.
Tritium has several uses, including being a component in triggering mechanisms on thermonuclear weapons systems. The substance is often used in conjunction with phosphor material to create permanent illumination for items such as wristwatch dials and night-sights for firearms.
Information from the United States Environmental Protection Agency suggests exposure to tritium increases the risk of developing cancer, because tritium emits low-energy radiation and is processed through the human body quickly, it is considered one of the least dangerous radionuclides.
2011-05-06 "Nuclear plant workers release unknown amount of radioactive tritium into Mississippi River" by Ethan A. Huff
(NaturalNews) Workers at the Grand Gulf Nuclear Plant in Port Gibson, Miss., last Thursday released a large amount of radioactive tritium directly into the Mississippi River, according to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), and experts are currently trying to sort out the situation. An investigation is currently underway to determine why the tritium was even present in standing water found in an abandoned unit of the plant, as well as how much of this dangerous nuclear byproduct ended up getting dumped into the river. Many also want to know why workers released the toxic tritium before conducting proper tests.
The Mississippi Natchez Democrat reports that crews first discovered the radioactive water in the plant's Unit 2 turbine building after heavy rains began hitting the area last week. Unit 2 was a partially-constructed, abandoned structure that should not have contained any radioactive materials, let alone tritium, which is commonly used to manufacture nuclear weapons and test atomic bombs (http://www.nirs.org/radiation/tritium/tritiumhome.htm).
According to reports, alarms began to go off as workers were releasing the radioactive storm water into the river, which engaged the stop flow on the release pump. Neither NRC nor plant officials know how much tritium was released into the river during this release.
"Although concentrations of tritium exceeded EPA drinking water limits, the release should not represent a hazard to public health because of its dilution in the river," insisted Lara Uselding, public affairs officer at NRC Region IV, to reporters.
Such a statement, of course, is a health concern because precise levels of released tritium are unknown. Just because the radioactive substance has been diluted does not necessarily mean it is harmless, nor does it verify the substance's source or whether or not it is still being unknowingly released. Without this crucial information, there is no telling where else tritium might be lurking around the plant and river.
A beta radioactive substance, tritium bombards cells and damages DNA when inhaled or swallowed, and can persist in the body for more than ten years upon exposure. Its perpetual effect on cells can lead to all sorts of serious diseases, including, but not limited to, gene mutations, birth defects, and cancer.