June 25, 2011
This Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2007 file picture shows a cooling tower at the Salem nuclear power plant owned by the Public Service Energy Group and a building on a small farm in Lower Alloways Creek Township, N.J., in rural Salem County. One of the highest known tritium readings was discovered in 2002 at the Salem facility. Tritium leaks from the reactor's spent fuel pool contaminated groundwater under the facility - located on an island in Delaware Bay - at a concentration of 15 million picocuries per liter. That's 750 times the EPA drinking water limit. According to NRC records, the tritium readings last year still exceeded EPA drinking-water standards. And tritium found separately in an onsite storm drain system measured 1 million picocuries per liter in April 2010.
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Radioactive tritium has leaked from three-quarters of U.S. commercial nuclear power sites, often into groundwater from corroded, buried piping, an Associated Press investigation shows. The number and severity of the leaks has been escalating, even as federal regulators extend the licenses of more and more reactors across the nation.