Nuclear Regulatory Commission Investigates Radioactive Water Dump into Flooded Mississippi River

Edited by Tony Rutherford from Multiple Reports
File Photo Grand Gulf
File Photo Grand Gulf

PORT GIBSON, MS. (HNN) - Workers at the Grand Gulf Nuclear Plant in Mississippi accidentally released water from an abandoned unit into the river, but a sensor triggered altering them to the presence of Tritum, a cancer causing radionuclide.

Although the material has uses in thermonuclear weapons systems, it is commonly used to make phosphor material to create permanent illumination (wristwatch dials, firearms night-sights).

Lisa Uselding, public affairs officer with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Region IV, told reporters, “although the concentration of tritium exceeded EPA drinking water limits, the release should not represent a hazard to public health because of its dilution in the river.”

According to an Emergency & Disaster Information website, Nuclear Regulatory Commission investigators have a preliminary determination that workers went to check for standing water following heavy rains. They found water at Unit Two which partially constructed and abandoned While pumping it out into the swollen river, they decided to test a sample. No data has been released on how much Tritum went into the river.

Although Tritum has been called one of the least dangerous radionuclides, the beta radioactive substance bombards cells and damages DNA when inhaled or swallowed, and can persist in the body for more than ten years upon exposure. Its perpetual effect on cells can lead to all sorts of serious diseases, including, but not limited to, gene mutations, birth defects, and cancer.

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