Radioactive Materials Environmental Monitoring - EH: Minnesota Department of Health

Environmental Monitoring

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) maintains an environmental monitoring program for radioactivity around the two nuclear generating power plants in the state. The program is designed to assess the impact of the nuclear generating plants to the environment and the public over a period time.

Monitoring for radioactivity began in Minnesota in 1953 in response to nuclear weapons testing. Long-term trends established for certain radionuclides continue to be confirmed by current environmental monitoring.

The major components of the MDH environmental monitoring program are sample collection, data analysis, and interception. Around the Monticello Nuclear Generating Power Plant and the Prairie Island Nuclear Generating Power Plant samples that are collected include: air, surface water and milk. Ambient gamma radiation doses are monitored through the use of thermoluminescent dosimeters. Well water samples are also collected only near the Prairie Island plant.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) requires licensees to report results of their Radiological Environmental Monitoring Program (REMP) to ensure that potential impacts are detected and reviewed. In annual reports, licensees must report environmental radioactivity levels around their plants. These reports, available to the public, cover sampling from themoluminescent dosimeters; airborne radioiodine and particulate samplers; samples of surface, groundwater, and drinking water and downstream shoreline sediment from existing or potential recreational facilities; and samples of ingestion sources. Links to Xcel Energy's reports for the Monticello and Prairie Island Nuclear Power Generating Plants are provided below.

Updated Tuesday, 14-Dec-2021 13:12:22 CST