KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) - Congressman Fred Upton spoke to 24 Hour News 8 Friday about the situation at Palisades Nuclear Power Plant at the same time officials gave some perspective about the amount of radiation released into Lake Michigan.
The plant operators say they took the plant off line Sunday morning for inspections and repairs to the safety injection/refueling water tank. Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokeswoman Viktoria Mitlyng told The Associated Press on Monday that investigators determined that 79 gallons of "very slightly radioactive water" from the leaky tank spilled into Lake Michigan. Officials say the radioactive water was diluted when it entered a basin holding thousands of gallons of non-radioactive water before entering the lake. Mitlyng said there's no human health risk.
On Friday, the US NRC stated that the 79 gallons that was released was .002% of the federal limit. They also stated that last week's unplanned release was actually less than amounts when nuclear power plants make planned radioactive releases.
However, Congressman Fred Upton (R-St. Joseph) is keeping an eye on the situation and is calling for the plant to stay shut down until they find a permanent fix for the leak.
Rep. Upton is the chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee which oversees the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Plus, Upton's district includes the Palisades plant and he says he is staying in touch with company representatives and federal regulators.
"It's my understanding that the [water] tank itself is now drained and the inspectors are there and will be working through the weekend," Rep. Upton said.
The leak is from the same 300,000 gallon cooling water tank that flooded the plant's control room in 2012. Plant workers couldn't plug the leak then and continued operating with some leakage, but it increased dramatically last week. Congressman Upton has called the situation unacceptable.
"The leak has to be permanently fixed. We do not want to see this happen again...let alone again and again," Rep. Upton said.
Congressman Upton plans to visit Palisades with a member of the Nuclear Reglatory Commission on Monday.
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