Concerns About Nukes Aired In Braidwood

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BRAIDWOOD, Ill. (CBS) –- Federal officials on Thursday held a meeting to address concerns residents have over several safety issues and a possible threat to the drinking water.

The questions on the table: Is the local nuclear reactor safe, and can the company operating it be trusted? 2 Investigator Dave Savini reports.

Residents have so much fear that federal regulators overseeing Exelon’s handling of Illinois nuclear plants went to Braidwood for a first-of-its-kind meeting. 

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission doesn’t normally discus a safety investigation before it’s complete, but it is now after an alarm that warns plant workers of possible trouble wasn’t wired properly. Also, a flaw was discovered in the plant’s backup water-supply pipe in March.

“There is room for improvement, in terms of equipment reliability,” Exelon’s Dan Enright says.

Some residents say they are afraid because for years a leaking pipe emitted 6 million gallons of water that had a radioactive substance called tritium into the ground yet residents were not warned.

They’re also concerned about what they said sounded like an explosion last summer, followed by thick white steam blanketing the neighborhood.

Tom and Judy Zimmer were among the residents who wanted to hear what the NRC has now discovered and whether it will cause them further problems.

“I came out here completely perfectly healthy, and now I’m not,” says Judy Zimmer, who has battled kidney cancer.

The Zimmer’s former neighbor, Don Burns, is suffering from multiple illnesses. 

“What’s happening to me is a slow death,” he says.

Burns and the Zimmers blame the Braidwood nuclear plant’s tritium leak and fear their well water was contaminated.

Exelon bought Don Burns’ property, but the Zimmers, who live next door, say the company won’t buy theirs and they can’t sell it. The tritium leak was disclosed just as they laid the last tiles in their new dream home.

“Had I known about that I wouldn’t have built the house that I did and put our life savings in it,” Tom Zimmmer says.

David Kraft heads a nuclear watchdog group, NEIS, in Chicago. He says Illinois has the most reactors and radioactive waste and yet the NRC is not policing them aggressively enough.

Exelon’s Enright says the public health was not at risk.

NRC officials say Exelon fixed the alarm problems and the back-up pipes that appeared to be flawed.  The official investigation is ongoing.

More from 2 Investigators
  • Vicky

    These people are mentally deficient in the first place; who in their right mind would move next to a nuclear power plant….DUH.

    • StupidPeopleFTW

      Thinking is hard for you, huh?

    • Nancy Var


      You need to get all your facts right before making a statement like that.
      Most of these people owned thier land in Braidwood before Exelon.
      Exelon did not disclose a leak in 1973. Also I like to tell you the High School
      is about a block away from Don Burns property.

      I think you need to take your smartass statement back……….

      • lilbit

        sorry it was 1983 not 1973

  • KSM

    I live in Godley and once again my water stinks again. If you dont have to drink it you still have to bath and clean with it.

    • Idiots ftw

      Your multi million dollar water system isn’t good enough,tritium doesn’t stink, that’s from the sulphur in the ground water from the coal mine in the 50’s. Are you going o sue te Peabody coal company next? Get a life, enough free rides.

      • Lol

        Lilbit, I do own one of “them” houses. Though an educated person would say “those” houses. The plant isn’t dangerous nor is the tritium any more hazardous than all the extra chemicals in the ground water from all the abandoned coal mines.

      • lilbit

        If you think you are so smart why dont you buy one of them houses and live there???

  • LaughinG

    They can sell it, they have had offers, the problem is they don’t want the price they have been offered. They moved within a mile of a nuke knowing the risks, they are just whining because they are the type to chase after lawsuits. The water has been tested multiple times and they are within guidelines. If they don’t like it then pack up and sell. Obviously they aren’t too worried about their health, they would rather profit from a sale than be healthy. I live just a few houses down and am not worried one bit. These people are just whiners, even if exelon bought it, they would still complain. Report the facts, the steam didn’t blanket the neighborhood it went straight up as it always does, and the loud boom was just the safeties going off as with any unit trip.

  • Julie

    Tritium into the ground through a leaking pipe? Wow, this is like a fish in the middle of oil. We are praying to almighty God that nothing like Japan will happen here. The water contamination will affect our cats and dogs. Specially thieir liver will be burned and they will not be able to eat. Our groceries too will be contaminated. They can sell it? Who will want to buy a lieaking power plant. It will cost millions if not billions of dollars just to repair it. We certainly are worried about our health and well being of the childdren.
    How long it takes to get cancer in our throats?

  • JR

    CBS should check the facts first, like the test results. There is no Tritium on Zimmer’s land. How about this story: Where would Braidwood be without Exelon? No Tax Base, no new High School, police station, fire station, library. 700 jobs plus 1500 extra during outages. Over $200K donated to United Way and $28K raised for Fishing for A Cure last year!
    Tell that story!

  • seriously?

    ever have any concerns about the banana you just ate? or what about those sunflower seeds? how does that nice watch that glows in the dark look on you? ALL of these have radiation. you injest it everyday. you get more radiation flying in a plane then you would from tritiated water. i live in the area and have all my life. all this is BS. not only that, but i also work at the plant! until they stop telling me what my dose is or my current health then i will always stick up for them. do some studying. and compare braidwood to japan? really? have you seen a tsunami wave strike the plant from the cooling lake? i didnt feel that 9.0 earthquake either. the plant was finished being built in the late 80’s, which tells me that a lot of you moved here. and the lady with the pug, those dogs always have health issues. im sure once it goes blind it will be exelon’s fault too. also, do you smoke? your face sure does show it. i heard that’s bad for your health too.

  • reaper60915

    keep drinking the plants kool-aid they give you

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