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Indian Point reactor shuts down unexpectedly, NRC investigating
Thomas C. Zambito, firstname.lastname@example.org Published 1:32 p.m. ET Nov. 6, 2017 | Updated 3:57 p.m. ET Nov. 6, 2017
What will happen to Indian Point spent nuclear fuel rods? Thomas Zambito for lohud reports.
Last week, the NRC cited Indian Point for not doing more to resolve water leaks in reactors
No safety concerns were identified after the Friday night shutdown
BUCHANAN – One of Indian Point’s two nuclear reactors shut down unexpectedly Friday night and remains down while workers try to assess what went wrong.
Indian Point officials notified the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission around 8:30 p.m. Friday that Unit 3 automatically shut down after a loss of power in a generator.
An NRC investigator arrived at the site shortly afterward to observe shutdown efforts.
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“No immediate safety concerns were identified,” said NRC spokesman Neil Sheehan. “NRC staff will continue to follow any repair activities at the plant, as well as planning for restart of the unit.”
This aerial view of the Indian Point nuclear power station, taken from about 1000 feet above the ground, looks east from the Hudson River.
This aerial view of the Indian Point nuclear power station, taken from about 1000 feet above the ground, looks east from the Hudson River. (Photo: Spencer Ainsley)
Jerry Nappi, a spokesman for Indian Point owner Entergy, said the shutdown went safely and that no radiation was released.
“All equipment operated as expected following the shutdown,” Nappi said. “Engineers are troubleshooting an issue with the electrical generator system to determine the exact cause of the shutdown.”
It was unclear when Unit 3 will be up and running. The plant’s second reactor, Unit 2, remains at 100 percent power.
The NRC’s latest inspection report for Indian Point, released last week, identified a recurring issue with o-rings used to seal off the plant’s reactors.
The NRC says the o-ring issue has been the cause of eight water leaks since 2003 and urged Entergy to do more to prevent leaks in the future.
“Corrective actions to address the causal factors over the years have not been completely effective at preventing recurrence of the issue,” the NRC report says.
The o-rings secure the lid of the reactor to the body of the reactor vessel, where nuclear fission occurs. The most recent leak occurred in June during a scheduled maintenance of Unit 3.
The NRC said that, when the leaks have occurred, Entergy has been quick to shut down the plant and make repairs. But, the report noted, the company needs to evaluate its installation procedure for the o-rings to prevent leaks of water determined to be slightly radioactive.
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Each of the leaks have been contained inside the reactor building and have not been released into the environment, the NRC says.
Indian Point is slated to shut down in 2021.