Radioactive Leak Results in Property Buy-out

January 25, 2006


A nuclear power plant 60 miles from Chicago is offering to compensate its neighbors due to high tritium levels in the groundwater around the plant.

Tritium is a radioactive element that increases the risk of cancer, though the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says tritium emits weak radiation and leaves the body quickly.

Exelon spokesman Craig Nesbitt says a pipe carrying tritiated water from the plant to the Kankakee River leaked.

He says the company wants to help neighbors that may suffer as a result.

"We have gone to them and said listen, if in the future, if any of you suffer any loss of value of your property because of this tritium leak that we're responsible for, we will make up the difference, we will make you whole," he says.

Nesbit says Exelon has purchased the property of one neighbor, and is in preliminary discussions with another.

He says the plant has a permit to release tritium into the river, and adds the tritium levels found in the groundwater near the leak are still below EPA standards.