Indian Point 2 Nuclear Spent Fuel Pools Cracked – Uncontrolled Leaks of Radioactive Liquid Have Reached The Hudson River
Indian Point 2 Nuclear Spent Fuel Pools Cracked – Uncontrolled Leaks of Radioactive Liquids Have Reached The Hudson River
Indian Point Radioactive Leak — An uncontrollable radioactive leak from the Indian Point nuclear power plant continues seeping into groundwater around the nuclear facility which is located on the Hudson River and is approximately 25 miles North of NYC. Last month, workers found the radioactive isotope tritium in several of their groundwater monitoring wells, with one well’s radioactivity increasing by as much as 65,000 percent. “There is no impact to public health or safety,” an Entergy spokesperson said.
While Entergy focuses public attention on tritium, a radioactive form of water and the predominant contaminant leaking from the plant’s cooling system, the actual leak contains a mixture of deadly radioactive elements, including Strontium-90, Cesium-137, Cobalt-60, and Nickel-63 according to an assessment by the New York Department of State as part of its Coastal Zone Management Assessment. The tritium leak is the ninth in just the past year, four of which were serious enough to shut down the reactors.
The Indian Point nuclear power plant has a long history of accidental radioactive leaks and spills: spent fuel pools at the plant housing toxic nuclear waste have been leaking since the 1990s; corroded buried pipes have radioactive leaks; holding tanks have spilled hundreds of gallons radioactively contaminated water; and malfunctioning valves and pumps have leaked radionuclide-laden water. [Indian Point Radioactive Leaks Timeline] As Indian Point continues to age and degrade, more radioactive leaks are inevitable.
Entergy “Spent Fuel Pools Leaked and the Waste Plume Has Reached the Hudson River”
The Coastal Zone Management report states, “radioactive releases have been detected at the Indian Point facility from cracks in two different spent fuel pools. Leaks of radioactive liquids from the Indian Point 2 spent fuel pools have reached the Hudson River and have been detected in the groundwater beneath the Indian Point facility.”
The Indian Point nuclear facility has associated spent nuclear fuel pools that already contain 40 years of nuclear waste. This long~term storage regime was neither contemplated nor reviewed in the original licensing. Moreover, in submissions to the ASLB, Entergy has acknowledged that the spent fuel pools leaked and the waste plume has reached the Hudson River. Were Entergy to be successful in its license renewal efforts, the storage of an additional 20 years of spent fuel will require substantial and significant changes in petitioners’ waste storage practices, if only to safely accommodate the additional waste. Entergy’s license renewal application does not address the long term (or even permanent) on-site storage of spent fuel at Indian Point, or attendant environmental and public health risks.
“While elevated tritium in the ground onsite is not in accordance with our standards, there is no health or safety consequence to the public, and releases are more than a thousand times below federal permissible limits,” the company statement said.” The tritium did not affect any source of drinking water onsite or offsite.”
Tritium does not affect drinking water? When one really thinks about that statement you wonder if the person saying this stuff is really thinking about what they are saying. Take the Fukushima nuclear disaster for example and what it’s done to our environment, our oceans and our health. They’ve found Fukushima radiation in milk from San Franciso and Pheonix, Cesium in the rainwater in Idaho, Washington and Canada and to really get the point across officials have found Fukushima radiation in San Francisco, CA tap water .
Indian Point Radioactive Plumes from Plant Leaks
Decades of accidental radiological releases at Indian Point plant have resulted in two extensive plumes of contamination in the groundwater beneath the plant, which leach to the Hudson River. Given Entergy’s plan to let the contamination sit and attenuate instead of extracting it, the radioactive plumes will continue to pollute critical nearby ecosystems of the Hudson River for decades if not centuries.
Indian Point Radioactive Leak in Public Water Supply?
As of 2007, more than 17 million people live or work within 10 to 50 miles of the Indian Point nuclear reactor leak. In its Generic Environmental Impact Statement for License Renewal of Nuclear Plants, the NRC conﬁrmed that substantially more people live within 50 miles of the Indian Point reactors, spent fuel pools, and waste storage facilities than at any other operating power reactor in the nation.
The Coastal Zone Assessment, released November, 2015, expressed concern about the periodic leaks into the Hudson River because it serves as a direct water source for Poughkeepsie, Wappingers Falls, Highland, Port Ewen, East Fishkill, Hyde Park, and the Village of Rhinebeck. It is also a backup water source for some 9 million residents of New York City and Westchester County. New York City does not currently ﬁlter its drinking water before it is consumed, and natural watershed protection is the sole practice used to ensure that drinking water quality is maintained. New York City contemplates using water directly from the Hudson River as a backup water supply.
Indian Point schematics provided by the NRC show the site of the leak or leaks is roughly 69 feet above the Hudson River at the beginning of a groundwater flow that widens to about 80 feet as it rushes downward, pools above the bedrock and then flows inexorably into the Hudson River. (Thanks to Roger Witherspoon for providing the Groundwater Contamination Map on his site.) Once the contaminants enter that groundwater flow there is no system at Indian Point to remove them. Entergy representatives declined to comment on planned and unplanned radioactive discharges into the environment.
It’s been confirmed, ongoing monitoring by the NY State Department of Health has found detectable deposits of a broad variety of radioactive isotopes above and below the Indian Point discharge site into the fast-moving Hudson River tidal estuary. You can see the radiation testing results at Environmental Radiation Surveillance Indian Point Readings: Beginning 2009
The sequence of events leading to leaks of radioactive liquids from Indian Point 2 is the subject of an intense investigation by federal and state officials. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission dispatched a radiation specialist to Indian Point to work with the three, on-site, resident inspectors to determine how the leak occurred and whether or not it can be stopped. There are more than three miles of inaccessible piping under the 239-acre site, and the inability of Entergy to properly assess possible corrosion within the pipes has been a key part of the ongoing challenge to the plants’ licenses by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. And Gov. Andrew Cuomo has ordered the state Departments of Health, Environmental Conservation, and Public Service to coordinate investigations into maintenance issues at Indian Point.
Partial List of Indian Point Radioactive Leaks During Its 40 Years of Operation:
Indian Point 2 Radioactive Leaks and Accidents:
- In 1980, 100,000 gallons of Hudson River water leaked into the containment building from the fan cooling unit.
- On October 25, 1997, Indian Point Unit 2 was shut down for an unscheduled maintenance outage.
- On August 5, 1998 Unit 2 restarted operation after being in cold shutdown condition for 304 days.
- On February 3, 2000, the main steam line radiation monitors registered leakage from steam generator number 24. Later, on February 6, 2000, the leakage monitor alarms indicated a 1.5 gallons per day (gpd) leak rate from steam generator number 24. On February 10, 2000, the leak rate trend showed leakage had increased to 3.5 gpd.
- On February 15, 2000, Indian Point Unit 2 experienced an “Alert”after a steam generator tube ruptured which allowed an estimated 19,197 gallons of radioactive water to mix with nonradioactive water in the steam generator, resulting in a huge release of radioactive steam to the atmosphere. In addition, approximately 200 gallons of treated radioactive water was released into the Hudson River one week after the accident. Unit 2 was closed for nearly 11 months that year.
- In September 2005 Entergy discovered that a crack in the spent fuel pool wall was leaking tritium and strontium- 90 into groundwater which migrated by the groundwater ﬂow path to the Hudson River. Nickel- 63, and cesium- 137 were later discovered in the ﬂow path to the Hudson River. ”
- On January 7, 2010, NRC inspectors reported that an estimated 600,000 gallons of radioactive water turrbed into radioactive steam and was vented to the atmosphere after an automatic shutdown of Unit 2.
- On November 7, 2010, an explosion occurred in a main transformer for Unit 2 spilling approximately 50- 100 gallons of oil from the transformer into the Hudson River. The incident was classiﬁed as an “Alert” Entergy later agreed to pay a $1. 2 million civil penalty for the transformer explosion Indian Point
Indian Point 3 Radioactive Leaks and Accidents:
- On March 25, 1982, Indian Point Unit 3 experienced an “Unusual Event” when its steam generator tubes ruptured. Further inspection revealed girth weld problems. Unit 3 was shutdown for more than a year.
- On June 18 1983, the main electrical generator for Unit 3 experienced a massive failure, resulting in a seven month unscheduled outage.
- On February 27, 1993, Unit 3 was shut down after ATWS Mitigating System Actuation Circuitry system was found out of compliance Plant workers and NRC inspectors identiﬁed numerous surveillance testing deﬁciencies, ﬁre protection program deﬁciencies, and design errors. Unit 3 was shut down for two years, until its restart on July 2, 1995.
- On April 6, 2007, an automatic reactor trip occurred in Unit 3 due to a turbine-generator trip as a result of a fault 011 the 31 main transformer. Notiﬁed of a visible explosion and ﬁre at the main transformer, the control room operators declared a Notice of “Unusual Event.” The plant ﬁre brigade responded to the ﬁre and applied foam. Signiﬁcant corrective actions included replacement of 31 main transformer, and repair and replacement of damaged components as required associated with the 32 main transformer.
- On April 23, 2007, the NRC ﬁned Entergy $130, 000 for failing to meet a deadline for a new emergency siren plan. The 150 sirens at the plant meant to alert residents within 10 miles to a plant emergency.
- On October 29, 2012, Unit 3 automatically shut down 111 response to electrical grid disturbances caused by Hurricane Sandy. The disturbances resulted in a turbine load reject, turbine trip and reactor trip.
- On May 9, 2015, Unit 3 experienced a ﬁre on the Main Transformer, causing the automated shutdown of the reactor. The failed transformer contained about 24,000 gallons of dielectric ﬂuid, which is used as an insulator and coolant when the transformer is energized. The US. Coast Guard estimates that about 3,000 gallons of dielectric ﬂuid entered the Hudson River following the failure.
And that’s not including Earthquakes that could easily turn the Indian Point radiation leaks in to a full blown Fukushima.
Indian Point Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage and Radioactive Leaks
Indian Point creates large quantities of hazardous nuclear waste (spent fuel) in the process of generating nuclear energy. Following its use in a nuclear reactor, the spent fuel is transferred from the reactor to a nearby facility that houses the spent fuel pool, where it is stored temporarily until it is cooled. After cooling, the nuclear waste is then transferred to dry cask storage and stored on a concrete pad onsite. DEC has observed that “The pools of spent fuel at Indian Point, which store signiﬁcant volumes of radioactive material — far more than inside the active nuclear reactors — have no containment structure.”
Entergy’s current practice for managing Indian Point’s spent nuclear fuel waste onsite is to pack the existing spent fuel pools to their maximum capacity and to remove older, cooler spent fuel to dry cask storage that will remain onsite indeﬁnitely because the federal government has not yet established a permanent repository. Editors Note: The fact that they don’t have a long-term storage solution demonstrates that nuclear is not safe, it’s deadly toxic, lasts forever and therefore should be phased out.
The storage facilities were initially designed and constructed in the 1960’s to prevent leakage of radioactive materials. At that time, the storage facilities were considered “temporary” and, therefore, were not designed to accommodate indeﬁnite on—site storage of nuclear waste. When the federal government ﬁrst licensed the operation of Indian Point Unit 2 and Indian Point Unit 3 it authorized each unit’s single spent fuel pool to hold 241 spent fuel assemblies. NRC subsequently authorized the pools to hold ﬁve times (5x) the original limit.
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Indian Point Radiation Leaks Threaten Hudson River Ecosystem
For over 40 years, Entergy’s Indian Point nuclear facilities have been damaging the coastal resources of the Hudson River estuary. As the State’s largest industrial water user, Indian Point Units 2 and 3 together withdraw up to 2.5 billion gallons of water every day from the Hudson River through its cooling water intake structures. In the process of extracting such a large volume of water from this biologically important estuary, at least a billion ﬁsh, juvenile ﬁsh, ﬁsh eggs, ﬁsh larvae, and other organisms are sucked into the plant’s intake pipes or against its screens and are killed each year. Included among the ﬁsh deaths are the endangered Atlantic and shortnose sturgeon, which use that ecologically important segment of the Hudson River as spawning and juvenile nursery areas.
As one of the most biologically diverse estuaries in North America, the Hudson River estuary has been recognized and designated as a valuable national, state, and local resource. In 1998, the Hudson was designated an American Heritage River by the US. Environmental Protection Agency. The Hudson River Valley and estuary are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Federal, state, and local governments and taxpayers have invested millions of dollars in protecting, restoring and revitalizing the Hudson River estuary. It just makes sense to decommission Indian Point and the only thing keeping it operating
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