CHICAGO – Years of radioactive waste water spills from Illinois nuclear power plants have fueled suspicions the industry covers up safety problems and sparked debate about the risks from exposure to low-level radiation. The recent, belated disclosures of leaks of the fission byproduct tritium from Exelon Corp.’s Braidwood, Dresden, and Byron twin-reactor nuclear plants € one as long ago as 1996 €triggered worries among neighbors about whether it was safe to drink their water, or even stay. “How’d you like to live next to that plant and every time you turn on the tap to take a drink you have to think about whether it’s safe? asked Joe Cosgrove, the head of parks in Godley, a town adjacent to Braidwood. Cosgrove and some scientists and anti-nuclear activists who monitor health issues related to nuclear power say the delay in reporting the spills is indicative of industry and regulatory obfuscation bordering on cover-up. “We don’t know what else has been leaked from that site. When they close ranks, you can’t believe them, Cosgrove said, referring to the plant owner and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which oversees safety at the nation’s 103 commercial reactors, including 11 in Illinois. […]

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