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Have any third party companies tested the water in outflow canal of the Brunswick Nuclear Plant?

Eva Ellenburg
StarNews

The water in the outflow canal of Duke Energy’s Brunswick County Nuclear Plant is regularly tested for any potentially hazardous material, but the tests aren’t conducted by third party companies.

Karen Williams, the senior communications consultant of Duke Energy, said the nuclear plant conducts its own tests with federal oversight.

“We test in accord with our state and federal licenses and permits on a regular basis (i.e., weekly, monthly, quarterly, annually; in accord with all requirements),” she said via email. “Samples are sent to our own labs for analysis and the results are sent to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. In addition, samples are sent to the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, who conducts their own tests.

“The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) provides oversight of our operations, including inspections and audits of our sampling and testing of the water in the outflow canal. The NRC publishes an annual report for environmental activities at our site.”

According to the 2017 Environmental Report for the nuclear plant published on the NRC’s website, the results of the water samples were normal. The only radioactive material found in the discharge canal was small amounts of tritium. NRC’s website explains that tritium is a naturally-occurring radioactive form of hydrogen, but it can also be released into the environment by man-made sources like nuclear plants. The health risks to the average person from tritium are minimal since global levels from both natural and man-made sources are low, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Tritium was only found in a small number of water samples collected by the nuclear plant, and the average concentration in these samples was nearly 90 times below the maximum limit set by the NRC and nearly 60 times below the recommended limit set by the EPA. The report also noted that the concentration of tritium in the discharge canal was “expected due to plant operations at the time of sampling.”

RELATED LINKS:

What is in the water that comes from the Brunswick Nuclear Plant at Southport?

Does Duke Energy have plans to replace the Brunswick Nuclear Plant?

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Ann Hulen

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