March 17, 2023
A broken pipe at Xcel Energy's Monticello Nuclear Generating Plant leaked about 400,000 gallons of water containing radioactive tritium, and the utility is working to clean up the contaminated plume, state regulators said Thursday.
Both Xcel and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency said there was no risk to drinking water from the spill, which was traced to a pipe connecting two buildings across just a half-inch space. The spill was first reported to state and federal regulators on Nov. 22, 2022. The source was found Dec. 19 and patched soon after, according to the MPCA.
Xcel and the state are actively managing the site to make sure an underground plume of tritium doesn't begin to drift beyond the property, including to the nearby Mississippi River, said Kirk Koudelka, an assistant commissioner at MPCA. Water is being pumped out of wells on site both to remove the contamination and control its underground flow. Xcel is paying for sampling, pumping and temporary treatment, Koudelka said.