Feds Allowing Tritium Radiation Catastrophe Cover Up At North Anna VA Nuclear Plant?

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Nuclear industry watchdogs warn the North Anna nuclear plant may be leaking radioactive tritium due to damage in underground pipes from the Virginia earthquake.

On August 24th, a 5.8 earthquake struck Mineral Virginia which sent shock waves all over the eastern seaboard being felt from Colorado to Massachusetts, from South Carolina to Ontario Canada, after which the media was silent on the fate of the North Anna nuclear plant which is located at the epicenter of the quake.

The quake caused damage over hundred miles away, most notably cracking the Washington Monument, and took both of the reactors at the North Anna plant offline due to the earthquake cutting off the electricity needed to cool the nuclear reactors. The loss of electricity due to the earthquake caused the Fukushima nuclear meltdown which raised fears the North Anna plant could suffer a similar fate.

However officials quoted the plant owner as saying the plant was operating normally on backup generators. We then learned that one of the four generators at the plant failed within minutes of being activated.

That was followed by assurances that no radiation was leaked from the plant even as the plant operator admitted the next day they were forced to vent steam from the reactor to prevent a Fukushima style “hydrogen” explosion at the reactor. While officials still asserted the plant was operating safely it begged the question of why the reactor needed to vent steam if the reactor was indeed being properly cooled.

The operator then admitted that radiation had in fact been leaked from the plant, but downplayed the leakage by saying the amount was miniscule and was inline with normal operations, even though the plant was shut down and was not be ran under “normal operation” procedures.

The dam at the nuclear plant has also been classified as a high-hazard by engineers and a local CBS affiliate in fact found over 2o inches of water was lost from the dam following the quake.

Complicating matters even further is officials gave conflicting statements about what triggered the shutdown at the nuclear plant. Some officials were quoted as saying the plant was manually shut down, claims which other officials said were untrue saying the quake triggered an automatic shutdown.

Adding to the concerns, there are now fears that pipes under the facility may be leaking radioactive tritium into the ground. In the past, nuclear plants have gone years and even decades without admitting to tritium radiation leaks.

We have learned that several crucial parts of the North Anna plant were not built to withstand earthquakes.

In fact, the NRC found several crucial parts of the power plant were not protected from earthquakes.

After Fukushima, but before the recent East Coast quake, the NRC began a review of U.S. nuclear plants and found a few “discrepancies” at North Anna including:

Portions of the water and gaseous suppression systems and hose stations are not seismically designed.
A fire-pump storage area is non-seismic.
Seismically designed floodwalls are located in the non-seismic turbine building.

Source: Energy News

Now, nuclear industry watchdogs are raising the alarm that the North Anna plant is likely leaking radiation from underground pipes following the earthquake.

To make matters worse, even given the known history of the nuclear industry covering up leaks, the government is refusing to do an independent inspection into the plants pipes.

Instead, as The Hook reports, the government will allow the plant operator to do their own inspection of the plant.

Tritium trouble? Nuke fears rise with quake, self-policing
After the nuclear catastrophe that followed the earthquake and tsunami in Japan last spring, some Central Virginia activists cautioned that a similar nightmare could unfold right here at the Dominion-operated North Anna nuclear generating plant in Louisa County. Despite Dominion’s assurances that the plant made it through the August 23 earthquake unscathed, activists contend that the quake, which measured 5.8 on the Richter Scale and had an epicenter just eleven miles from the plant, may have been more catastrophic than anyone is admitting. New information bolsters their fears.

On Monday, August 29, the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced that the quake may, in fact, have produced force that exceeded the North Anna plant’s specifications and that the Commission is sending a special Augmented Inspection Team to assess the damage.

“Initial reviews determined the plant may have exceeded the ground motion for which it was designed,” says the release, which also assures that “no significant damage to safety systems has been identified.”

That’s small consolation to one prominent nuclear watchdog, who says it’s not what’s above ground that gives him the greatest concern.

“Central to the issue is miles of buried pipe under the plant that carry radioactive water,” says Paul Gunter, director of a nonprofit group called Beyond Nuclear.

Gunter cites recent problems with underground pipes at nuclear plants in Illinois and Vermont, where millions of gallons of water contaminated with the radioactive hydrogen isotope tritium seeped into groundwater, even as the power companies that owned the plants denied for years that it was happening.

The result of those leaks and their public concealment by the Exelon and Intergy power companies– at the Braidwood Station plant in Illionis and at the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant– was not additional government oversight as one might expect, says Gunter, but merely the creation of two voluntary programs that allow the power companies to inspect their own pipes and groundwater and then report the findings to the Commission.

“Here’s an industry that has hidden these leaks that is now self-reporting and overseeing itself to the NRC,” says a disgusted Gunter.

Indeed, at North Anna, newly arrived government inspectors won’t be conducting their own tests of the miles of underground pipes. And the assumption that those pipes didn’t sustain damage during the earthquake, which knocked two Louisa County schools out of commission and caused cracks in the Washington Monument some 90 miles away, might be laughable to Gunter if he weren’t convinced of potentially grave public danger.

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Source: The Hook

Categories: NUCLEAR NEWS

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