Illinois first in tritium leaks

April 5, 2006

Illinois reportedly has more sites at which radioactive tritium have leaked than any other state where such spills have been reported.

There have been at least 10 tritium leaks in the United States during the past decade, The Chicago Tribune reported Wednesday, with four occurring in Illinois.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission created a task force last month to investigate tritium spills that have occurred since 1996.

NRC Chairman Nils Diaz says he is concerned that despite minimal public health impact, the releases were uncontrolled and identified only after the fact.

Tritium occurs naturally at low levels, as well as being a byproduct of nuclear generation. The chemical is harmless if it does not enter the body and is used to make glowing exit signs and watch dials, the newspaper said.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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