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Minneapolis developing precautionary plans following Monticello plant's radioactive leak

Extended: Xcel Energy official says no cause for concern over additional leakage
Extended: Xcel Energy official says no cause for concern over additional leakage 06:27

MONTICELLO, Minn. -- The City of Minneapolis announced that it is developing a precautionary plan to ensure that the water the city delivers to residents is not impacted if contamination from the Monticello nuclear plant leak does ultimately reach the Mississippi River.

City officials said the Minneapolis Water Treatment and Distribution Services would be partnering with the Minnesota Department of Health to assess the situation.

As of right now, officials and Xcel Energy say that there is no evidence that any tritium-contaminated water had reached the Mississippi, which serves as the source for Minneapolis's drinking water supply.

Late November, 400,000 gallons of radioactive water leaked from the Monticello plant, though the public wasn't informed until last week. A decision to shut the plant down was made this week when the plant's monitoring equipment detected hundreds of gallons worth of radioactive water since the crews made temporary repairs. That radioactive water had, officials report, reached the groundwater, but not the river, which runs next to the plant.

"State agencies have no evidence at this point to indicate a current or imminent risk to the public and will continue to monitor groundwater samples. Should an imminent risk arise, we will inform the public promptly," the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency reported Thursday.

Xcel Energy says they'll bring the facility offline to make repairs and conduct a series of inspections. The leak poses no safety concerns for the public, according to the company.

Valerie Myers, a health physicist with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, told WCCO last week that the amount of tritium that's in the Monticello plant water is negligible.

"If we look at the dose impact of something like this, it would be a fraction of a milligram. I'm talking 0.00-something milligrams. The average person will get 300 milligram in a year just from the sun, the ground, everything," Myers said.

According to the NRC, tritium does not travel far, and cannot penetrate the skin.

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