Approximately 400,000 gallons of radioactive water has been inadvertently released from a nuclear energy plant in Minnesota, according to a recent report.
The incident occurred at the Prairie Island Nuclear Generating Plant in Red Wing, Minnesota, which is operated by Xcel Energy. The utility released a statement on Friday, indicating that the release of the contaminated water had been detected on Thursday.
The incident, which is being characterized as a “significant event” by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), is believed to have originated in a pump seal on a water storage tank at the facility. While the exact composition of the leaked material is not yet known, it is likely to contain radioactive materials, such as tritium, which is a byproduct of nuclear energy production.
The NRC has indicated that the leak does not pose a public safety risk, but the agency is still launching an investigation into the incident. The NRC will also be evaluating the utility’s response to the event and assessing any potential impacts on the environment.
The release of the radioactive water comes at a time when the NRC is under pressure from some groups to increase safety standards for nuclear energy plants. The agency is considering a number of proposed changes to the regulations, including a new requirement that nuclear power plants install additional safety equipment.
Xcel Energy has said that it will cooperate fully with the NRC’s investigation into the incident. The utility is also working with local officials to ensure that any contaminated water is properly contained and disposed of.
The incident at the Prairie Island Nuclear Generating Plant is the latest in a series of safety-related issues to hit the nuclear industry in recent months. The NRC is expected to play a key role in ensuring that such incidents are avoided in the future.