- Associated Press - Friday, September 12, 2014

OAK RIDGE, Tenn. (AP) — A cleanup contractor at Oak Ridge National Laboratory says an old research reactor pool has a small leak, but that there’s no radiation threat.

The leak was discovered Wednesday led to an urgent response by the U.S. Department of Energy and its contractor.

Allen Schubert, communications chief for URS-CH2M Oak Ridge, told the Knoxville News Sentinel (http://bit.ly/1CZRN2i) that the water leaking from the reactor pool is only slightly radioactive. According to records, the leak has been measured at about 100 drops per minute. It is being contained in a basin.

The entire reactor pool holds about 125,000 gallons of water, which provides shielding for the radioactive materials.

“Obviously, this thing shouldn’t be leaking, and we’re going after it pretty hard to find out why it’s doing that,” Schubert said. “That’s why we’re treating this pretty seriously. But it absolutely does not pose a threat to anybody.”

The research reactor has been shut down for more than 25 years, but the pool currently houses “miscellaneous tools and equipment, including irradiated reactor components.”

Officials noted that the reactor pool no longer has any highly radioactive spent fuel.

UCOR, which is DOE’s environmental manager in Oak Ridge, said its highest priority is the situation with the reactor and that crews would work as necessary to “progress toward resolution.”

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Information from: Knoxville News Sentinel, http://www.knoxnews.com

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