After doing inspections during a planned outage at Unit 2 of the Indian Point nuclear complex in Buchanan, New York, Entergy (NYSE:ETR) said March 29 that certain maintenance is required before the reactor can be restarted.
This work is expected to add cost and several weeks’ duration to the refueling and maintenance outage, Entergy said in a news release. The outage started March 7.
Inspections of more than 2,000 bolts in the reactor’s removable insert liner revealed issues with approximately 11% that require further analysis, Issues were identified on bolts on the face of the removable liner, not on bolts along the liner’s edges. Engineers identified missing bolts, and bars meant to hold them in place, and other degradation requiring replacement of the bolts. Each bolt, about two inches long and made of stainless steel, holds plate inserts together inside the reactor, Entergy said.
“Safety is always our first priority, and the hundreds of inspections performed over the last few weeks demonstrate these programs work as designed,” said Larry Coyle, site vice president and Entergy’s top official at Indian Point. “Safeguards and automatic detection equipment are in place to alert plant operators of impacts on safe operations.”
Indian Point Unit 2’s “Aging Management Program” — implemented in connection with license renewal — calls for an in-depth inspection of the reactor vessel every ten years. The first such inspection took place during a scheduled refueling and maintenance outage that began March 7, and used visual and where possible, ultrasonic inspections.
The issues identified with the reactor vessel insert liner bolts did not have an impact on public health or safety and will be corrected prior to returning Indian Point Unit 2 to operation, Entergy said.
With comprehensive inspections on the entire reactor vessel finished, once a full engineering assessment of the issue is also completed and corrective actions taken, the unit can safely operate in the period of extended operation, Entergy said.
Entergy has informed the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and other appropriate regulatory authorities of the issues with the bolts, in accordance with applicable regulatory requirements.
The inspections are part of Indian Point’s comprehensive and expanded inspection program implemented in accordance with the plant’s license renewal application, going beyond normal inspections performed during each refueling outage, Entergy said.
Indian Point Energy Center, in Buchanan, N.Y., is home to two operating nuclear power reactors, Units 2 and 3, which generate approximately 2,000 MW of electricity.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) and organizations such as Riverkeeper have opposed 20-year license renewals for the Indian Point units. A few weeks ago New York agencies acting on behalf of Cuomo asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to immediately suspend construction of a natural gas pipeline near the Indian Point complex.