Nuclear foes renew push to shut plant near Manhattan

Nuclear foes have long sought to shut Indian Point, which is about 45 miles (72 kilometers) north of Times Square in Manhattan
Nuclear foes have long sought to shut Indian Point, which is about 45 miles (72 kilometers) north of Times Square in Manhattan

Environmentalists urged US nuclear regulators Tuesday to shut down a nuclear plant near New York after inspections showed an unusually high number of degraded bolts in a reactor.

The problem—uncovered during a maintenance inspection of the Unit 2 reactor at Indian Point in March—showed that 227 of 832 stainless steel bolts in the were degraded, according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Environmentalists said the complications with the bolts, which hold together metal plates used in power production, could have catastrophic consequences.

"Failure of (the bolts) could cause coolant to leak through gaps between adjacent baffle plates, providing pathways for coolant to bypass the , potentially leading to a core meltdown," they said in their petition to the NRC.

Environmentalists said Unit 2 should be kept off line until regulators fully investigate the cause and remedies of the bolt problem, and that the sister Unit 3 should be shut until potential problems there can be assessed.

Nuclear foes have long sought to shut Indian Point, which is about 45 miles (72 kilometers) north of Times Square in Manhattan.

"The purpose of the petition is to prevent a hasty restart of Indian Point until the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is sure it's safe to operate," said environmental attorney Richard Ayres.

"In the case of Indian Point, located within 50 miles of tens of millions of people, there is no room for error."

Plant operator Entergy said it replaced degraded bolts in Unit 2 and installed additional bolts there. It also moved up the inspection of Unit 3 from 2019 to 2017 "out of an abundance of caution."

Entergy has said it plans to bring Unit 2 back online by the end of June in time for the peak summer cooling season.

"Rigorous technical analysis conducted by Entergy and outside engineering experts demonstrates Unit 2 and Unit 3 can continue to operate safely," it said.

"Entergy is proceeding according to NRC process and under the watchful eye of this regulator."

Neil Sheehan, a spokesman for the NRC, said the agency would not permit Unit 2 to return to service until its safety was assured.

The NRC is reviewing the latest submission from Entergy, and plans to set up a group to review the petition from .

Sheehan said the findings were that Indian Point's bolts were "degraded," meaning some sign of cracking.

"It doesn't mean failure," he said.

"The worst-case scenario is they get a significant failure of bolts and it could impact the flow of coolant through the core," Sheehan added.

"We've seen no indication that that's a likely scenario. But we will continue to look at the company's analysis and they're going to have to address this."

Sheehan declined to comment on a possible timetable for returning Unit 2 to service.

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© 2016 AFP

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May 24, 2016
Anyone who advocates the closure of a non-polluting nuclear power plant (with the result being its replacement with far more harmful fossil generation) is NOT an "environmentalist"! Please stop calling them (nuclear opponents) that!

May 24, 2016
Important question here:

How long since the last time they inspected these bolts?

May 24, 2016
Did some research. Turns out two of the bolts have missing heads, which are somewhere in the containment.

Still no answer on when the last inspection of the bolts was; I'm thinking it was maybe like 40 years ago when it was built. If this is so, then it's not surprising they've degraded, and replacing *all* the bolts-- not just the degraded ones-- is probably the right thing to do, and inspecting the other reactor should be done pronto. The article says they've moved up the inspection of the other one to next year, which is wise.

I'm in favor of nuclear power, but it needs to be heavily regulated because the potential for a catastrophe is high if anything fails. When a problem of this potential magnitude is found, it needs to be addressed aggressively. Arguments that the power is needed are not very convincing, since the ISO in the area apparently has plenty of power.

May 25, 2016
We do not need nuclear powerplants.

We have less dangerous and more benign methods for producing power, sources which are not dangerous, and produce no intensely-radioactive waste which we still cannot even store safely.

Indian Point is a disaster in slow motion. It can change to deadly at any time.

May 25, 2016
Send Willie! He will save us.

But that will not save the other nukes, now scheduled to close because they cannot compete with wind and gas, even though they are already paid off.


May 25, 2016
they cannot compete with wind and gas
in the real world: coal, fracking and natural gas, not renewables, is replacing carbon-free nuclear power. Coal and Oil Barons are very happy and ever wealthier; they are loving pro-renewable/pro-bird-choppers/landscape-destroyers movements promoted by pseudo-environmentalists.

May 26, 2016
You are correct about coal and oil being relegated to backup status by the more efficient and much cleaner alternative sources. But we will not be going back to them. They will be relegated more and more to last use, until they are gone.

Meanwhile, many nuclear plants are not staying open because they are not sufficiently economic, even when completely paid off. How many references do you want?

May 26, 2016
"Coal and Oil Barons are very happy and ever wealthier;"

No delusion there, . . . huh?

Ask Don Blankenship about that.

May 26, 2016
No delusion there
So more fracking to sustain eco-friendly bird-choppers/landscape-destroyers.
"A woeful lack of progress building a new nuclear power station underlines the need for fracking"
"power reliably available regardless of the weather, unlike so-called "renewables" ".

May 26, 2016
"Coal and Oil Barons are very happy and ever wealthier;"

What just happened to the biggest coal company in the nation?

See how even the Arabs are getting off the Petroleum Teat?

May 29, 2016
Meanwhile, many nuclear plants are not staying open because they are not sufficiently economic, even when completely paid off.

Powerplants are like cars - after a number of years in service, they start to wear down and become expensive to maintain. The actual capital cost of a nuclear plant isn't actually but a fraction of the final cost.

Take for example the Areva OL3 reactor that they've completely botched up. It was supposed to cost 3 billion, but now it's pushing 9 billion Euros. How much does that mean in the cost of energy from the plant?

Well, divide the cost by 40 years of operation: 9 billion by 40 = 225 milion a year for a yearly output of 14,000,000 MWh of electricity, which results in 16 euros per MWh or 1.6 cents per kWh. That's just peanuts.

What actually costs money is the continuous upkeep and maintenance. The up-front cost of a nuclear powerplant is actually very small - it just looks big because people don't understand how much they get from it.

May 29, 2016
That's also the problem why old nuclear powerplants are such a risk presently. The operators try to skimp on the upkeep to maintain profits - especially when pushed by renewable subsidies which cause the average market prices on the grid to fall.

As a result the reactors go years without maintenance, and identified probems and risks don't get managed, and eventually they start breaking down and the downtimes stretch to months and years, and they turn unprofitable and are shut down.

If instead you want to see how to run a nuclear powerplant properly, take a look at the Finns. They get 95-96% availability factors on all their reactors because they simply don't get any major breakdowns despite the fact that the plants are soon pushing 40 years old. The number 96% comes from the fact that they are each taken offline for two weeks every year without fail for routine maintenance and checkup. Preventive maintenance in the end turns out cheaper than letting the machinery fail.

May 29, 2016
We do not need these monsters. Now is the time to start taking them down and replacing them with energy efficiency and renewables. There are more actions we can take than most folk realize.

In the US, we can catch up on building efficiency, which is much lower than in Europe. Our energy prices were just too low for better construction at the time.

May 29, 2016
Eikka has some good points there, but Neutron Embrittlement can get the reactors in time. Who wants to take that chance?

May 29, 2016
World total U3O8 reserves 5,902,900 tonnes
So in 2013 70,015 tonnes = 92% of demand
76,103 tonnes = 100% current demand
Est Lifetime of uranium reserves based on current demand is 77.565 years
Nuclear power currently supplies 11% of the worlds power and the industry estimates that it is feasible for it to supply up to 30% by 2050.
If the the figure of 11% is doubled to 22% the est lifetime of reserves is 38.783 years. If the supply is tripled to to 33% the est lifetime of reserves is 25.855 years. If by some miracle 50% of our power is provided by nuclear the est lifetimes of reserves is 16.624 years.
Once again this ignores the not inconsiderable costs, nuclear waste and proliferation issues.

May 29, 2016
Oh, no, Mik, . . . they will invent another magic and deadly machine to use this stuff as fuel, and turn it to candy, just like they made nuke electricity "too cheap to meter".

May 30, 2016
but Neutron Embrittlement can get the reactors in time. Who wants to take that chance?

Neutron embrittlement is caused by atomic scale dislocations in the metal, which cause defects in the grains and make it less ductile. It's the same effect as work-hardening under a blacksmith's hammer on a very tiny scale.

The dislocations are more problematic in welds which are weaker than the bulk metal to start with and a source of internal tensions which result in cracking, and some reactor designs are more vulnerable because they have critical welds right in the way of high neutron flux. In the bulk material the dislocations are rarely an issue.

Fortunately, you can reverse the dislocations by heating up the spot until it glows and letting it cool slowly in a process called annealing, which is part of routine maintenance for nuclear reactors, often during the refueling break.

Ironically, many Russian/Soviet made reactors are easier to anneal than US made reactors.

May 30, 2016
That's another reason why smaller modular nuclear reactors would be preferrable. When you can manufacture and transport the entire reactor pressure vessel in one go, it doesn't have the problematic welds that would create tensions and grow cracks. They're also easier to contain and cool in an accident.

But that again is a political issue, because reactor permits are so hard to get and time consuming that it's just not worthwhile to make a small reactor.

May 30, 2016
It is political because it is dangerous and we still have no way to store the nasty, nasty waste.

It is also uneconomic.

May 30, 2016
Still no answer on when the last inspection of the bolts was; I'm thinking it was maybe like 40 years ago when it was built
Question: how would they have known that these bolts had degraded over time if the last inspection was shortly after construction?

I think you are a little confused.
We do not need these monsters
Well psychopaths are monsters and we certainly do not need them.

What do you suggest we do with lying cheating psychopaths george? You know, the kind who would want us to believe that Pu is currently raining down on idaho?

Surely people (like george kamburoff) who are willing to make up outrageous lies like that are a danger to worthwhile causes. Because when they are involved nobody knows what is true and what is lies.

Isn't that right george?

May 31, 2016
HEY OTTO (the disciple of the WWII Nazi, Otto Skorzeny)

So now you're pretending to know science by copy & paste? LMAO
Like I said before, your excerpts are invalid. They are not proof of what you claimed about me.
So prove your innocence, Otto. Try to be like a real human.
Everyone knows by now that you hate humanity, Otto. So keep lying and pretending that you're concerned about the future of the Earth. Liar.

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