Oconee reactors release tritium into SC waterways

GREENVILLE, S.C. (AP) - Duke Energy officials say tritium releases from its Oconee nuclear power plants into South Carolina waterways pose no health threat.

The Greenville News reported Sunday that the Oconee Nuclear Station routinely discharges water contaminated with radioactive tritium into the Keowee River that flows into Lake Hartwell.

Duke Energy spokeswoman Sandra Magee says the releases are safe, well below federally mandated limits and are reported to nuclear regulators. Duke monitors and tests waterways around its nuclear plants as well as groundwater.

But Columbia environmental attorney Bob Guild says there are so many different ways to get radiation exposure and no additional doses are good for anyone. Although naturally occurring, tritium is also a byproduct of nuclear power operations. Long-term exposure to high amounts can increase a person's cancer risk.

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