When a radiation leak happens in Japan the whole world hears about it, but when not one but two radiation leaks happen in the United States no one does. There are radiation leak reports in Miami and New York, why is no one talking about it?
The University of Miami has found that the Turkey Point Nuclear Power Plant, located just South of Miami, has caused levels of tritium, a radioactive isotope produced by nuclear reactors, in Biscayne Bay to spike to 200-times higher than normal levels. This would confirm suspicions that Turkey Point’s aging canals are leaking into the nearby national park. The site’s cooling canals, which are the part of the facility that appears to be leaking the radiation, are currently permitted to operate at 104 degrees, the hottest in the nation.
“This is one of several things we were very worried about,” South Miami Mayor Philip Stoddard, who is also a biological sciences professor at Florida International University, told the Miami New Times. “You would have to work hard to find a worse place to put a nuclear plant, right between two national parks and subject to hurricanes and storm surge.”
Samples of the water at various depths and sites around the power plant showed elevated levels of salt, ammonia, phosphorous and tritium.
“We now know exactly where the pollution is coming from, and we have a tracer that shows it is in the national park,” said Laura Reynolds, an environmental consultant who is working with the Tropical Audubon Society and the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, which intended to file the lawsuit. “We are worried about the marine life there and the future of Biscayne Bay.”
While all of this should sound alarms, nobody especially people who could do something about seems to care.
“What is happening at Turkey Point is a real danger to us, to our water supply,” said Jose’ Javier Rodriguez. “The fact that there is salt being dumped into the aquifer and the fact that there are contaminants in Biscayne Bay really should have sounded an alarm. But as of yet, we’re still waiting for state regulators to step up.”
But do not let us make you think this is the only leak in the United States. Last month, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo acknowledged that the state’s Indian Point Nuclear facility was leaking tritium into groundwater.
New York governor Andrew Cuomo recently called for an investigation after Indian Point, a nuclear power plant on the Hudson River reported a leak of radioactive material flowing into the groundwater. Samples taken from the local groundwater show that contamination levels are 80% higher than previous samples, prompting experts to claim this leak is spreading in “a disaster waiting to happen” and calling for the plant to be shut down completely.
Cuomo has encouraged Entergy to shut down Indian Point, but to keep its other plants further upstate open.
Entergy responded with, “While elevated tritium in the ground onsite is not in accordance with our standards, there is no health or safety consequence to the public, Releases are more than a thousand times below federal permissible limits. The tritium did not affect any source of drinking water onsite or offsite.”
The Indian Point nuclear plant is located on the Hudson River, approximately 25 miles North of NYC, and serves the electrical needs of an estimated 2 million people. In January while preparing a reactor for refueling, workers accidentally spilled some of the contaminated water, containing the radioactive hydrogen isotope tritium, causing a massive radiation spike in groundwater monitoring wells, with one well’s radioactivity increasing by as much as 65,000 percent.
And according to an assessment by the New York Department of State as part of its Coastal Zone Management Assessment contains a variety of radioactive elements such as strontium-90, cesium-137, cobalt-60, and nickel-63, and isn’t limited to tritium contamination.
Some even say this leak is likely worse than Fukushima.
According to both companies, the leaks haven’t contaminated drinking water and do not pose a threat to human health. Tritium, while less potent than other substances like cesium or strontium or radium, can be harmful in high enough concentrations, even lethal. The New York Incident made headlines across the region, anti-nuclear groups warned the state was “flirting with catastrophe,” and Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered an investigation into the matter.
The United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission has repeatedly weakened federal regulations to allow plants to keep operating, despite thousands of problems ranging from corroded pipes to cracked concrete and radioactive leaks.
People continuously ignore problems like this to avoid public panic, but things like this cannot be ignored forever. If people keep ignoring the news that is right in front of their faces the world is going to begin going downhill faster than it already is.