'Small' radiation leak at Salaspils

Officials confirmed Tuesday that a small amount of radioactive tritium had leaked from an outdated research reactor under the care of the University of Latvia (LU). 

A small leak was discovered in a water tank, resulting in slightly increased levels of tritium in the immediate vicinity, LU's Vice-Rector for Science Indrikis Muižnieks told the BNS newswire.

Radioactive water had percolated through a stainless steel tank, Muižnieks said. The tank has been inserted into a concrete cask, and a small amount of water entered the environment, he said.

"Thanks to God and the wisdom of professionals that work was initiated in a timely manner and has not reached dangerous levels of radioactive contamination," he said.

A longer delay in inspections could have led to a larger leak, Muižnieks said, explaining that the tank would be welded shut again.

In 2008 spent fuel from the Salaspils nuclear reactor was exported to Russia, but work on dismantling the Soviet-era facility continues and is due to be completed in 2015.

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