US NRC to check seismic risk of 27 nuke units; Indian Point first
Washington (Platts)--23Mar2011/1033 am EDT/1433 GMT
The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission will conduct a seismic risk
assessment of Entergy's Indian Point plant in New York next year, the first of
27 reviews of nuclear power units at 17 plants, agency spokeswoman Beth Hayden
SepRrately, NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko "has personally committed to
inspect Indian Point," located about 35 miles north of New York City, although
"no date has not been determined" for the visit, Hayden said.
The NRC reported these nuclear units will receive the seismic review next
year: Indian Point 2, Indian Point 3, Limerick 1, Limerick 2, Peach Bottom 2,
Peach Bottom 3, Seabrook, Crystal River 3, Farley 1, Farley 2, North Anna 1,
North Anna 2, Oconee 1, Oconee 2, Oconee 3, St. Lucie 1, St. Lucie 2, Sequoyah
1, Sequoyah 2, Summer, Watts Bar 1, Dresden 2, Dresden 3, Duane Arnold, Perry
1, River Bend and Wolf Creek.
The earthquake risk review is part of a new assessment NRC conducted
based on 2008 revised US Survey data of seismic activity in the
eastern and central US, said Scott Burnell, an NRC spokesman. The review
pre-dated the earthquake and tsunami that wreaked havoc this month on the
Fukushima nuclear stations.
Burnell categorized the findings as a "very broad bush indicator" that is
not sufficient to determine the odds for earthquakes at a given nuclear
The NRC is planning to send letters to plant operators late this year.
"The expectation is this analysis would show where plants could improve
what already is an acceptable response to seismic events," Burnell said. The
27 units selected for review showed the largest increase in seismic risk from
a 1980s-era USGS study, he said.
The Indian Point site was selected as the first to be inspected by NRC
next year because the revised seismic data showed the largest increase in
seismic risk increase from the previous study, Hayden said.
Senator Barbara Boxer, chairman of of the Senate Environment and Public
Works Committee and Senator Dianne Feinstein, both Democrats, on March 16
wrote to Jaczko asking that NRC inspect both the Diablo Canyon and San Onofre
nuclear units, saying they are concerned that the plants "are near earthquake
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, urged NRC to shut Indian
Point during the past decade when he was the state's attorney general. Cuomo
raised concerns about the two-unit plant's proximity to the Ramapo fault and
its discharge of heated water into the Hudson River.
"It is essential that the NRC move quickly to answer the significant and
long-standing safety questions surrounding Indian Point," Cuomo said in a
Entergy said in a statement Tuesday: "All citizens of New York need to
have access to the pertinent facts regarding Indian Point. We strongly believe
that knowing the facts will answer the public's questions and will also
clearly demonstrate that this facility is safe -- designed with a margin of
safety beyond the strongest earthquake anticipated in the area. Accordingly,
Entergy welcomes Governor Cuomo's call for a review of Indian Point by the
federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission and stands ready to assist."
--Jim Ostroff, email@example.com
Similar stories appear in Inside NRC.
See more information at http://bit.ly/InsideNRC