11.08.2010

Simultaneous Nuclear Emergencies a "Coincidence"

The Entergy Indian Point Energy Center is seen from across the Hudson River September 24, 2002. (Photo by Monika Graff/Getty Images)
Two nuclear power plants operated by Entergy Corp. have been shut down due to near-simultaneous incidents the company has described as coincidental. The Vermont Yankee plant in Vermont shut down one of its two reactors Sunday evening after a leak of radioactive water was detected. This is not the first such problem at Vermont Yankee:
In January, officials announced that tritium, a radioactive isotope of hydrogen that has been linked to cancer when ingested in large amounts, had turned up in a test well on Vermont Yankee's property on the banks of the Connecticut River in Vernon. Later, other radioactive substances were found to have leaked into groundwater and soil surrounding the plant.
Also in January, legislators learned that Vermont Yankee personnel had misled them and state regulators by saying Vermont Yankee did not have the type of underground piping that would leak tritium.
In February, the state Senate voted to kill a bill to allow regulators to issue a new state license for Vermont Yankee to operate after 2012, when the plant's current state and federal licenses expire. Lawmakers could revisit the issue in their session next year.
Entergy has been trying to find a buyer for the thirty-eight year-old plant after the Vermont Senate voted not to allow it to seek relicensing in 2012.

The second shutdown occurred at Indian Point, twenty-five miles north of New York City, after a transformer exploded at the plant.
The explosion happened after 6:30 p.m. and triggered an alert at one of the plant's two main electrical transformers, said officials with Entergy Corp., the plant's owner. An alert is the second-lowest of four classification levels for emergency events.
The alert ended at around 10:20 p.m., but workers would continue to monitor the transformer, Entergy spokesman Jim Steets said.
The affected reactor, Indian Point 2, would remain offline until investigators determined the cause of the explosion, Steets said. The reactor began operating in 1973 and generates about 1,000 megawatts of electricity.
The plant's other main reactor, Indian Point 3, was operating normally, he said. Indian Point 1 was shut down in 1974 because the emergency core cooling system failed to meet regulatory requirements.
Also recently in the news, the predictable consequences of operating aging nuclear power plants for, and past, their life expectancy have been plaguing the Oyster Creek facility in New Jersey.

2 comments:

Jose Almanzar said...

I heard about this on the news today. Seems a little sketchy for sure...

hannahfaddis said...

All of the failures of aging nuclear infrastructure in the U.S. are 100% predictable and will only get worse the longer we run these plants without some serious changes at the NRC.