Radiation and Groundwater

Recently, Illinois EPA has been made aware of tritium leaking into groundwater from spills at several nuclear power generating plants in the state – at Byron, Dresden and Braidwood. In an effort to keep citizens well informed, the Agency will be posting links to this web page for fact sheets, news releases and other Illinois EPA documents as well as provide links to other sites regarding tritium.

Illinois EPA takes very seriously the contamination of the groundwater of the state by radionuclides from these Exelon generating plants. Violations notices have been issued for the Braidwood facility (December 16, 2005 and February 28, 2006), and the Agency is working closely with Will County and the Illinois Attorney General’s Office to develop an agreed order with Exelon to take the necessary steps to correct the situation. Illinois EPA is also working with Exelon to remedy the tritium plumes at the Dresden and Byron facilities.

Groundwater is a precious resource of the state of Illinois, and the Illinois EPA is charged with protecting the groundwater and the citizens who rely on it for their source of drinking water. The reporting process that has been in place for the nuclear generating station operators to notify the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and Illinois Emergency Management Agency were not adequate to keep Illinois EPA informed of such spills and releases that threaten the state’s groundwater resource. Illinois EPA Director Doug Scott is pursing all available avenues to correct this notification gap so that Illinois EPA can better protect the groundwater and the citizens of the state.