Vermont nuclear plant says design flaw in underground piping system led to radioactive leak

VERNON, Vt. (AP) — Officials at Vermont's only nuclear power plant say a design flaw that kept engineers from inspecting underground pipes helped cause a leak of radioactive water into the ground.

In a report released Tuesday, Entergy Vermont Yankee says a pipe tunnel was blocked with construction material left over from the plant's construction in 1972 and prevented water contaminated with tritium (TRIHT'-ee-um) from passing through the drain line and into a tank.

A separate pipe installed in 1978 created a pathway that allowed the contaminated water to reach the soil on the plant's grounds.

The leak was reported Jan. 7. Plant officials say there's no evidence of drinking water contamination.

Last month, plant officials announced that radioactive strontium-90 had been found in soil at the plant.