Entergy returns Indian Point 2 nuclear unit to service after $120m refueling

Entergy (NYSE:ETR) reported June 17 that it has returned the Indian Point 2 nuclear facility to service following its scheduled $120m refueling outage and upgrade of plant equipment and systems.

Control room operators returned Unit 2 to operation Thursday night, June 16, sending electricity to the grid after a planned shutdown that began March 7.

Among the items included in previously scheduled inspections were bolts on a removable liner inside the reactor. Engineers replaced 278 bolts. Inspections confirmed that the plates secured by these bolts were not damaged and remained structurally sound and capable of performing their safety function while Unit 2 was in operation, Entergy said.

The Friends of the Earth (FOE) had filed papers with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on June 16 asking the D.C. Circuit to compel the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to prevent restart of Indian Point 2.

The Friends of the Earth had cited concerns surrounding the bolts in asking the court to block the restart. FOE claimed the NRC had allowed Entergy “free rein to decide whether and to what extent it should analyze the cause of the failure, and to determine when, in Entergy’s opinion, Unit 2 is safe to restart.”

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), a vocal opponent of continued operation of the two Indian Point reactors near New York City, has also voiced concern about the bolt problems at Indian Point 2.

It is rare, however, for federal courts to override NRC on restart decisions. Entergy has restarted the unit NRC data listed Indian Point 2 at 13% power generation early June 13. Indian Point 3 was listed at 100% power generation.

Both the inspection and replacement of bolts were successful, and the NRC has said there are no safety concerns, Entergy said in a news release. Entergy will do a separate bolt inspection program at Unit 3 early next year.

“We will make the significant investments required to meet our commitment to ensuring safe and reliable generation of clean electricity,” said Larry Coyle, site vice president and Entergy’s top official at Indian Point.

“Nearly 2,000 professionals, including 1,000 specialist contractors, performed hundreds of activities that can only occur while the unit was shut down,” Coyle said.

Indian Point Energy Center, in Buchanan, N.Y., is home to two operating pressurized water reactors (PWRs), Units 2 and 3, which generate approximately 2,000 MW of electricity.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.