Xcel Energy said on Thursday that it had detected a second leak of tritium, a radioactive form of hydrogen, from the Monticello Nuclear Generating Plant, which sits on the Mississippi River upstream from the state capital of Minneapolis, Minnesota, APA reports citing Sputnik.
The plant will be powered down in order to perform the necessary repair work.
"While the leak continues to pose no risk to the public or the environment, we determined the best course of action is to power down the plant and perform the permanent repairs immediately," Xcel Energy President Chris Clark said in the news release. “We are continuing to work with and inform our state, federal, city and county leaders in the process.”
The release said the new leak was "anticipated to be in the hundreds of gallons" and "does not pose any risk to health or the environment." However, a prior leak detected in November 2022 but not disclosed to the public until this month saw some 400,000 gallons of radioactive water leaked from a water pipe running between two buildings at the facility into the Mississippi River.
According to the release, only 25% of the tritium has been recovered thus far.
Roughly 30 miles downstream from the Monticello plant are the "Twin Cities" of Minneapolis-St. Paul, which have a combined population of more than 800,000 people.