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Published: Friday, 10/24/2008

Radioactive material leaking from Davis-Besse


OAK HARBOR, Ohio Radioactive tritium has been found leaking from a drainage pipe at FirstEnergy Corp. s Davis-Besse nuclear plant north of Oak Harbor, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said Friday. First Energy Corp. personnel discovered the leaking tritium 4 p.m. Wednesday.

Businesses and homeowners in the vicinity of the plant, though, can continue using their water, according to the NRC

Monitoring wells show the radioactive material has not migrated off the Davis-Besse complex, Viktoria Mitlyng, agency spokesman, said.

The agency was notified of the leak by the utility, which is now rerouting the affected on-site pipeline and is in the process of pinpointing the leak. The pipeline in question carries effluent from a condenser sump in the plant s turbine building, she said.

The NRC has its two resident inspectors auditing the plant s on-site activities. The leak will become the focus of an annual on-site environmental assessment of the nuclear complex that is scheduled for November, Ms. Mitlyng said.

Davis-Besse is 30 miles east of Toledo and along State Rt. 2 in Ottawa County, west of Port Clinton. The complex also is along the Lake Erie shoreline. There is no evidence of the leak impairing the lake, she said.

Tritium is radioactive byproduct of plant operations. Leaks at several plants around the country have been identified since one was diagnosed several years ago at the Braidwood nuclear complex near Chicago, prompting attention from the NRC, the Washington-based Nuclear Energy Institute, and the activist community.

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