Alert ends after bleach leak at nuclear power plant

An alert ended January 5 at the 1,076 MW Prairie Island Nuclear Generating Plant in Minnesota after a plant worker found industrial bleach leaking from a pipe. The plant is owned by Northern States Power Co., a unit of Xcel Energy (NYSE: XEL).

The alert was declared early in the morning on January 5 after a worker reported a break in a 2-inch pipe going to a tank containing 500 gallons of liquid sodium hypochlorite, also known as chlorine bleach. The bleach is used to treat water from the river used to cool plant equipment. Officials said the bleach leaked into a catch basin around the tank and none of the chemical was released into the river.

There was no release of radioactive material and no injuries reported. Both units continued to operate at full power during the incident.

Two resident inspectors from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission responded to the site.

An alert is the second-lowest emergency level in the NRC’s emergency classification system.

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