The Oyster Creek Generating Station in Lacey Township mailed a letter to about 16,000 residents who live near the plant Friday to allay any fears that a tritium spill last year might harm public drinking water.
“First, let me be clear about this: all tritium leaks were stopped last year and extensive monitoring, sampling and testing has shown that no detectable level of tritium has left the plant property, nor do we expect it to,” Mike Massaro, site vice president for Exelon Nuclear, wrote in the letter Friday.
The state Department of Environmental Protection this month invoked the state Spill Act to oversee the cleanup of the tritium spill in April 2009 after on-site well tests revealed at least some of the 180,000 gallons of radioactive water had seeped into the Cohansey Aquifer, an underground reservoir that provides drinking water for about 1 million residents in southern New Jersey.
The letter then presented “the rest of the facts” it deemed pertinent to the spill.
The plant is replacing underground pipes that carry tritium at a cost of more than $12 million.
Well-monitoring and surface-water testing off site have detected no unusual or hazardous levels of tritium, which occurs in tiny amounts in nature.
There is no evidence of a threat to public drinking water supplies.
“These are the facts, and the facts are very important, especially when it comes to public health and safety,” Massaro said in the letter.
Well tests on site did find high levels of tritium in the portion of the Cohansey Aquifer beneath the plant. The tests found tritium in concentrations 50 times higher than the safe-drinking-water standard of 20,000 picocuries per liter.
The plant scheduled a public meeting 4 to 8 p.m. June 10 at its Oyster Creek education center off Route 9 on Intake View Lane in Forked River to answer any questions about the spill.
Tritium, a byproduct of nuclear fission, binds with water in the reactor core or spent-fuel pools.
It has been found in leaks at 33 of the nation’s 104 nuclear plants, including PSEG’s Salem 1 and Salem 2 plants in Salem County.