Radioactive Waste Leaks at Nuke

Tuesday, July 12, 2011 @ 05:07 PM gHale

An estimated 100 gallons of liquid radioactive waste spilled at SCE&G’s atomic power plant in Fairfield County, SC.

State, federal and SCE&G officials say they have found no signs the material left the nuclear plant or posed any threat to the public, but they are continuing to investigate.

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The spill appears to have been linked to a failing pipe that led to a discharge point at the facility, said Roger Hannah, a spokesman for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

“It’s something we’re looking at,’’ Hannah said. “Anytime you have a leaking pipe, it’s something you don’t want.’’

“At this point, there is no danger to the public and nothing significant to the environment that we found,’’ said Mary Nguyen Bright, a spokeswoman for the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control.

Bright said initial reports show the leaked material pooled on a concrete pad at the site.

Officials discovered the leak during a routine inspection of a low-level waste processing system. A NRC report said the spill occurred in a line where officials are preparing processed radioactive waste for release.

SCE&G officials said repairs are under way. SCE&G said the spill, which they identified Thursday and reported to federal regulators Friday, didn’t threaten anyone. The power company described the leak as “slightly contaminated’’ water in a low-level waste processing system.

“Initial investigations by DHEC and SCE&G found the situation to have no adverse effect to public safety, site personnel or plant equipment,’’ the company said in a statement. “SCE&G will continue to work with DHEC and the NRC on this matter.

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