...six safety violations inc., NY

NRC finds 6 violations at reactor

Greg Clary
The Journal News

BUCHANAN -An in-depth inspection of Indian Point 3 released yesterday found
six safety violations, though none rose above the Nuclear Regulatory
Commission's green rating of "very low safety significance."

"The inspection involved four weeks of on-site review by a team of five NRC
inspectors and three contractors," said Neil Sheehan, an agency spokesman.
"This was a large inspection. It included a review of selected
risk-significant plant components to determine if they are capable of
performing their intended safety functions."

The inspection also evaluated how the plant's staff responded in higher-risk
operations, he said.

The review started in Buchanan on Oct. 1 and - counting document reviews at
the NRC's regional headquarters in Pennsylvania - finished in mid-December,
according to the 54-page report.

A similar study on Indian Point 2 done last year turned up eight green
findings, including incorrect pressure calculations on motor-operated valves
as well as electrical problems, such as inadequate response to batteries
that failed repeatedly. Those violations were added to the corrective action
plan for Entergy Nuclear Northeast, the company that owns and operates
Indian Point.

Among Indian Point 3's violations were calculations on emergency generator
loads that weren't conservative enough and inadequate evaluation of whether
a pump would fail under pressure.

Anthony Sutton, Westchester's commissioner of emergency services, had just
received copy of the report and had time only to read through it quickly,
said ensuring that generators would work in the event of an emergency was

Robyn Bentley, an Indian Point spokeswoman, said none of the violations
affected plant operation.

"They've all been added to our corrective action program," Bentley said.

Sheehan said the NRC would follow up on the violations, including visual
inspections of each.

David Lochbaum, director of nuclear safety for the watchdog group Union of
Concerned Scientists, said the NRC's inspection program has found a range of
zero to 12 green findings in the 22 plants it had inspected since updating
the program in 2006. No findings of a more significant level have been
found, he said.

"What troubles us more than the color of the violations is that in some
cases the problems have been there for years," Lochbaum said, adding that he
hadn't yet reviewed Indian Point's latest inspection. "We wondered why then
hadn't the plant owner found them."

Lochbaum said that if the NRC finds a problem, it's been missed by a few
levels of review at the plant itself: the worker, the supervisor and the
internal auditor.

Sheehan agreed with Lochbaum's assessment but said the violations at Indian
Point 3 were of low safety concern. The idea is to keep everyone working to
spot problems and keep them from getting bigger, he said.

"We just want to keep reinforcing to them that they need to get after
everything, not just the significant safety issues," Sheehan said.

Plant worker sends alert by accident

An Indian Point worker inadvertently sent an emergency warning during a
drill yesterday that would have started alerting county officials, but it
was caught before pager telephone numbers were dialed automatically.
Between 8:30 and 9 a.m., during training at Indian Point 3, the worker
pushed a button that alerted plant responders in surrounding counties - as
if a real emergency were happening - when he should have notified them it
was merely a drill.
Putnam County emergency official Adam Stiebeling was at the plant to observe
the drill, so he knew that any beep he received could be disregarded.
Entergy Nuclear Northeast officials said the employee would get additional
Entergy seeks talks on security costs

Entergy Nuclear Northeast officials said yesterday that they expected to
talk with state officials about Gov. Eliot Spitzer's demand that the state's
nuclear plants pay for military personnel and equipment put in place to
bolster security.
Spitzer would charge nuclear plants in New York nearly $12 million for
security; Indian Point owner Entergy's portion of that would exceed $7
million. He was following up a similar action that went nowhere in the state
Legislature last year, when he wanted $13 million to help the state budget,
$6.7 million of which would have come from Entergy.


Lisa Rainwater, PhD
Policy Director
Riverkeeper, Inc.