If you have an ACS member number, please enter it here so we can link this account to your membership. (optional)

ACS values your privacy. By submitting your information, you are gaining access to C&EN and subscribing to our weekly newsletter. We use the information you provide to make your reading experience better, and we will never sell your data to third party members.



NRC urges more tritium monitoring

October 9, 2006 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 84, Issue 41

Better monitoring was among 26 recommendations urged by a Nuclear Regulatory Commission task force that examined leaks of radioactive tritium into soil and groundwater at nuclear power plants. The task force was formed last March following discovery of tritium leaks at several Illinois and New York power plants. A subsequent industry-led survey found leaks at some 18 commercial nuclear power plants in 12 states. In one case, on-site contamination far exceeded government standards (C&EN, Aug. 28, page 24). Among its findings, the task force identified inadequate construction of components carrying radioactive fluids; a lack of adequate surveillance, maintenance, and inspections for potential leaks; no NRC requirement for on-site groundwater monitoring; and an off-site monitoring system that could allow contaminated groundwater to migrate off-site unnoticed. However, NRC stresses that the task force did not identify any case in which the health of the public had been affected since higher levels of contamination had remained on-site. NRC notes that tritium leaks have been found at all decommissioned reactor sites and estimates that this will increase cleanup time and costs by "tens of millions of dollars." The report is available at


This article has been sent to the following recipient:

Chemistry matters. Join us to get the news you need.