A whistleblower has highlighted troubling new information about irradiated wastewater evaporating into our atmosphere.
An anonymous person has come forward with accusations that Holtec International, a company responsible for decommissioning the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Massachusetts, has been intentionally evaporating contaminated water into the environment, according to The Enterprise.
Why is this concerning?
The whistleblower said the radiation from this practice is much more dangerous for those who are exposed to the evaporated form than if the waste had been dumped in liquid form, as was originally planned.
“The radiation exposure to the general public … would be many times greater than the radiation exposure … had the tritium contaminated water been discharged to Cape Cod Bay,” the whistleblower said.
Tritium is a source of beta radiation that can increase risk of cancer if it is consumed in large enough quantities, according to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.
What is being done about irradiated wastewater?
Activists have been vocally critical of the evaporation tactic and are hoping to ensure that environmental regulators in Massachusetts do not continue to allow Holtec to release hazardous waste into the atmosphere.
Holtec’s previous plan was to release the water as a liquid — more than 1 million gallons of it — into the Cape Cod Bay, but regulators rejected the company’s request, according to the Associated Press. This gives a hopeful precedent that regulators can step in to halt the practice to protect the environment.
Additionally, U.S. Senator Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts has issued a statement indicating that he is aware of the dangerous practice. “Senator Markey remains committed to protecting public health, and holding Holtec accountable to a transparent process,” a spokesperson for the senator said. “Our office is reaching out to Holtec and relevant state and federal agencies to better understand the potential impacts of evaporation.”
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