Evan Brandt, Ace Reporter over at the Mercury did it again! He went hunting for information and surprisingly he got it! It was about Limerick and it’s cooling towers. It seems that during one of their “routine” cleanings some of the flow of water entering the SCHUYKILL was possibly contaminated with minute amounts of nuclear waste. As a matter of fact, it’s also possible that the force of the flow blew out a manhole cover?
I’m having a bit of trouble digesting this information because every time I start reading about it I find I have to pry my eyes open because they are stuck shut in a wincing rictus.
I have a teenage daughter playing about in the Schuykill River. But of course this nuclear release was normal and it wasn’t an EPPI. I don’t need to know that there are possibly higher levels of tritium, or cobalt, or any other nuclear waste in the river.
I can’t comment on this. It is beyond my ability at this moment to comprehend it. Luckily there are other folks who aren’t willing to walk around with their eyes shut- like Evan! And like this guy over at Counterpunch who’s followed up on Evan’s work-
As Neil Sheehan, a spokesman for the NRC’s Southeast Pennsylvania Regional Office, explains, “Periodically, to clean their cooling tower water pipes, the operator will have a ‘blow-down’ where they pump a lot of clean water through the system to push out collected sediment. When they do that, whey are allowed to add some reactor water to it. This is an acceptable method, well within federal safety levels” for radio isotopes. Sheehan explained that while the concentration of Tritium and other radioactive elements in the 15,000-gallon reactor waste-water tank would have exceeded federal safety levels for release into the environment, by first diluting it with all the water being used for the cooling tower “blowdown” process, and then dumping the resulting water into the large river, it would all be diluted to below federal safety levels.
“It’s nothing we would try to disguise,” said Sheehan.
Maybe, but then why was this dumping process being done by Exelon at the peculiar time of 3 a.m., and why was Exelon so anxious to avoid having to report it?
Lewis Cuthbert, a retired schools superintendent who lives with his wife Donna in the shadow of the Limerick cooling towers, has been a critic of the plant and its owners for 15 years. He says, “I don’t believe the NRC or Exelon have ever before said that the plant ‘routinely’ releases nuclear waste into the environment.”