Monticello nuclear leak: Worries, questions within a mile of power plant

Xcel Energy hosted its second public meeting in Monticello, Minnesota Monday, offering energy executives and Minnesota health officials to answer questions about a radioactive leak.

Officials announced a tritium leak at the nuclear reactor on March 16. According to Xcel Energy, the leak occurred in November 2022 but because there was no immediate risk to the public they did not announce it.

"I don’t want to harm anybody’s livelihood - especially the people that work there - but if it means long-term impact, then maybe we need to choose to do the right thing rather than what’s for profit," said Melissa Larsen, who lives in the Monticello area. 

Larsen attended the meeting hoping to get more details on the timeline of the leak and clean-up plans. She believes the plant should have been shut down when the leak was first detected. The plant wasn’t shut down until the end of last week in order to make repairs.

"It hasn’t left the property boundaries. It hasn’t even reached all the wells on our site," said Xcel Energy president of Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota Chris Clark. "We know where it is, we know where it's moving and we know it hasn’t gotten into the wells." 

Jerry Kosel worries about his well water. He lives within a mile of the plant.

"You wonder if they’re telling the truth because they didn’t reveal it until now," Kosel said of the delayed notification.