Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Should The NRC Close Indian Point Reactors Ahead of Hurricane Irene?

Two words...STORM SURGE.

If you are tracking Hurricane Irene, it could make landfall almost anywhere from South Carolina northward, with New York currently one of the potentials for landfall of this Category Three (perhaps a category four) Hurricane. There is a very good chance that New York could take a direct hit, and if we do, the storm surge has the potential to be could be even worse if the power goes out to Indian Point, and their back up generators get flooded in a very similar flooding to that in Japan in the Fukushima disaster that has created at least three nuclear reactor meltdowns. A look at the NOAA website under the search term Storm Surge, you find the following quote:

Along the coast, storm surge is often the greatest threat to life and property from a hurricane.

Which begs the an ounce of prevention worth a pound of cure? Right now, NOAA does not have storm surge maps for this storm, was told today that it is much too early to create those kinds of maps with any accuracy as they are not sure yet what track this storm is going to take as it takes its run up the East Coast. Would it make more sense for the NRC, our state government to order the SAFE SHUTDOWN and COOLING of Indian Points reactors until after this potentially catastrophic storm has passed? We look at Eliot Brenner's, NRC's Public Affairs Officer, own words spoken when trying to convince people that Earthquakes were not a serious issue for Indian Point (though it sits ATOP a fault line):

"For example, at nuclear plants along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts, the greatest water threat is hurricane storm surge, not a tsunami."

Look at yesterday's earthquake...the strongest earthquake in our area in the last one hundred years. Yesterday's earthquake took out two nuclear reactors at the North Anna Power Station, and Twelve other nuclear power plants in New Jersey, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Maryland also declared unusual events Tuesday but did not shut down.

Hurricane Irene presents some potentially GREAT RISKS to the problem plagued Indian Point reactors owned by Entergy should New York take a direct hit by a Cat 3 or 4 Hurricane. The NRC's own staff have stated publicly that the storm surge from a Hurricane present the greatest risk to Indian Point. The storm surge holds the potential to flood the building housing the back up generators, the storm surge also holds the potential to CLOG UP the intakes that supply these two reactors with their 2.5 Billion gallons of daily water supply needed to cool the reactor core. So the question is posed, should these two reactors sitting along the edge of the Hudson River be shut down now as a precaution?

"BUCHANAN — To respond effectively to a Fukushima-like event, the Indian Point nuclear plant must fix several problems, including the potential buildup of explosive hydrogen gas and poorly placed firefighting and flood-protection equipment."


• At Indian Point 2, hydrogen containment devices, which are supposed to be tested every other year, haven't been tested for five years.

• Fire protection equipment in locations that are not "seismically designed," or protected from a quake.

• Inspectors identified potential vulnerabilities associated with seismic events.

• At Indian Point 3, not enough firefighting equipment if severe events included both reactors simultaneously.

• In on-site availability of submersible pumps and sandbags needed at certain flood levels.

• Carbon-dioxide tanks used for firefighting are not seismically qualified.

Shouldn't we do a SAFE SHUT DOWN and cooling of the reactor cores now, rather than risk what could happen? Have we not learned our lesson from the TEPCO nuclear station disaster in Japan? Have we not learned that, contrary to NRC's false assurances, these reactors are not built to withstand all of Mother Natures onslaughts?