Radioactive Material Found in Groundwater Below Indian Point

February 6, 2016 Updated: February 10, 2016

BUCHANAN, N.Y.—A radioactive material has been detected in the groundwater below Indian Point nuclear power plant.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Feb. 6 that water contaminated by tritium leaked into the groundwater at the Indian Point Energy Center in Buchanan, right on the Hudson river just a few miles south of Peeskill in Westchester County.

Officials say the contamination has remained contained to the site and there’s no risk to the public.

Cuomo has ordered the state’s environmental conservation and health departments to investigate.

On Feb. 10, the Daily News reported new samples from groundwater monitoring wells had higher concentrations, some as much as 80 percent, of tritium than when the leak was first reported.

“These values remain less than one-tenth of 1% of federal reporting guidelines,” the company said in a statement.

A Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokesman told the Journal News the agency is sending a radiation specialist to investigate on Feb. 11.

The specialist will perform visual checks and review the circumstances surrounding the detection. The specialist will also monitor the plant’s investigation and have 45 days to record any findings following the review.

An Entergy Corp. spokesman said the contamination was most likely caused by a leak in a filtration system as crews were preparing for a refueling.

Elevated levels of tritium were found in two monitoring wells at the plant in 2014. Officials said then the contamination likely stemmed from an earlier maintenance shutdown.