MONTICELLO (WJON News) - Monitoring wells near the Monticello Nuclear Generating Plant indicate tritium-tainted groundwater may be present near the Mississippi River.

Officials with Xcel Energy say low levels of tritium have been detected in wells about 30 feet from the Mississippi River, but no tritium has been detected in the river itself.

Tritium is commonly created in nuclear power plants but also occurs naturally in the environment. Last fall, officials found a water leak at the plant that released 400,000 gallons of tritium-infused water into the groundwater.

The leak has been fixed, and Xcel Energy reports they’ve recovered 75 percent of the tritium that was released.

Chris Clark is the president of Xcel Energy–Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota.

Since the day we first confirmed a leak of tritiated water was present at the plant, we have worked around the clock to isolate and recover the affected groundwater. We take our responsibility for providing safe, reliable, and clean energy to the community seriously, and will continue to work closely with state and federal regulators to ensure a thorough cleanup.

The latest tests show about 1,000 pico-curies of tritium per liter in groundwater tests, well below the 20,000 pico-curies per liter allowed in the Safe Drinking Water Standard.

Officials say if any water is released into the Mississippi, it would likely be at levels below what naturally occurs in the environment.


LOOK: Biggest Tornadoes in Minnesota of the Past Decade

Stacker compiled a list of the biggest tornadoes in Minnesota over the past decade using data from NOAA.