Skip to main content
We may receive compensation from affiliate partners for some links on this site. Read our full Disclosure here.

UPDATE: Nuclear Power Plant Shuts Down After Second Radioactive Leak Discovered


Xcel Energy recently disclosed to the public that its Monticello nuclear power plant leaked 400,000 gallons of radioactive water last November.

Nuclear Power Plant Leaked 400,000 Gallons of Radioactive Water Near Mississippi River…Months Ago

The Monticello plant is approximately 35 miles northwest of Minneapolis, Minnesota, upstream from the city along the Mississippi River.

“Xcel Energy took swift action to contain the leak to the plant site, which poses no health and safety risk to the local community or the environment,” the company said in a statement.

According to reports, the company notified federal and state authorities of the leak November 22nd.

However, the public wasn’t made aware of the radioactive leak until last week.


On Friday, Xcel Energy began shutting down the Monticello plant after discovering a leak containing radioactive material for the second time.

The New York Post reported:

A Minnesota utility began shutting down a nuclear power plant near Minneapolis on Friday after discovering water containing a low level of radioactive material was leaking from a pipe for the second time.

While the utility and health officials say it is not dangerous, the issue has prompted concerns among nearby residents and raised questions about aging pipelines.

Xcel Energy discovered in November that about 400,000 gallons (1.5 million liters) of water containing tritium had leaked.

The utility made a temporary fix but learned this week that hundreds more gallons of tritium-laced water leaked, leading to the shutdown decision.

After the plant cools over the next few days, workers will cut out the leaking pipe, which is over 50 years old, said Chris Clark, Xcel Energy’s president.

CBS Minnesota added further details:

On Wednesday, the plant's monitoring equipment detected hundreds of gallons worth of radioactive water since the crews made temporary repairs, and that it had reached groundwater. Officials say the contaminated water, containing the radioactive isotope tritium, has not yet reached the Mississippi River, which runs next to the plant.

When the leak was first detected back in November, Xcel used a catchment and a pumping strategy to recovered the water containing tritium. They say they've recovered about 30% of that water so far. But over the past couple days, some of that radioactive water was spilling over the catchment, creating a new leak.

At a press conference Friday morning, Xcel Energy's Chris Clark said there was "no drinking water concern, no safety concern, no concern to the environment."

"We are capturing the water from the leak, we were able to take that water and process it in our plant," he said. "We are bringing the plant offline over the next, couple of days here. We'll let the plant cool, we'll cut that pipe out, we'll send that pipe out to a lab and do a full root cause analysis of why that pipe failed."



Join the conversation!

Please share your thoughts about this article below. We value your opinions, and would love to see you add to the discussion!

Hey, Noah here!

Wondering where we went?

Read this and bookmark our new site!

See you over there!

Thanks for sharing!