Fed. analysts: Holes in regulation of nuke piping

By the Associated Press | June 21, 2011 | 3:15 PM EDT

Government analysts are reporting that operators of US nuclear reactors can't be sure they're quickly detecting leaks of radioactive water from corroded underground pipes that snake beneath the plants.

The independent Government Accountability Office says that while a voluntary industry program is supposed to detect leaks from the piping, federal nuclear regulators don't know how fast problems are detected.

A congressman released the report Tuesday in response to an investigation by The Associated Press which documented that radioactive tritium has leaked from three-quarters of the nation's 65 commercial nuclear power sites.

While most leaks have stayed on site, some have migrated into underground water. None is known to have reached public water supplies.