Feb 06

Indian Point_0

65,000% Spike In Reported Radioactivity After Tritium Leaks At Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant:

Two years after being fined for falsifying safety records, nine months after a transformer exploded at the Indian Point Nuclear Reactor just 37 miles from midtown Manhattan, and two months after Entergy – the plant’s operator – shut down the Unit 2 reactor after a major power outage cut power to several control rods (when the company assured that no radioactivity was released into the environment), this afternoon NY Governor Andrew Cuomo said he learned that “radioactive tritium-contaminated water” had leaked into the groundwater at the nuclear facility in Westchester County.

Cuomo, in a letter Saturday to the state Health Department and the Department of Environmental Conservation, called for the probe into the Indian Point NPP after he said Entergy, the plant’s owner, reported “alarming levels of radioactivity” at three monitoring wells, with one well’s radioactivity increasing nearly 65,000 percent.

It is unclear if the facility was taking a page out of the Fukushima “crisis response” book, or was being honest when it said that the contamination has not migrated off site “and as such does not pose an immediate threat to public health.” For the sake of millions of downriver New Yorkers, we hope it was the latter.

From Cuomo’s statement:

“Yesterday I learned that radioactive tritium-contaminated water leaked into the groundwater at the Indian Point Nuclear facility.  The company reported alarming levels of radioactivity at three monitoring wells, with one well’s radioactivity increasing nearly 65,000 percent. The facility reports that the contamination has not migrated off site and as such does not pose an immediate threat to public health.

“Our first concern is for the health and safety of the residents close to the facility and ensuring the groundwater leak ‎does not pose a threat.

“This latest failure at Indian Point is unacceptable and I have directed Department of Environmental Conservation Acting Commissioner Basil Seggos and Department of Health Commissioner Howard Zucker to fully investigate this incident and employ all available measures, including working with Nuclear Regulatory Commission, to determine the extent of the release, its likely duration, cause and potential impacts to the environment and public health.”

The Governor’s letter directing Acting Commissioner Seggos and Commissioner Zucker to their begin investigation can be viewed here. The text of that letter is also available below:

Despite Indian Point’s denial that the contamination has migrated off site, Cuomo said that the incident requires a full investigation.

There was no immediate comment from Indian Point on the situation, Lohud reported.

The plant, located in Buchanan, NY which supplies about 30 percent of the energy to New York City, has been under increased scrutiny from Cuomo’s office, and the Democratic governor supports closing the plant, even as he supports keeping open two other upstate nuclear facilities.

In December, Cuomo ordered an investigation into Indian Point after a series of unplanned shutdowns, citing its risks being just outside the city and in the populated suburbs.

Cuomo said the “latest failure at Indian Point is unacceptable” adding that the DEC and health department should “employ all available measures, including working with Nuclear Regulatory Commission, to determine the extent of the release, its likely duration, cause and potential impacts to the environment and public health.”

In other words, nothing will change.

Which is probably why such failure escalations, which lead to a lot of verbal jawboning and shuffling of papers and nothing else, will continue until one day the failure leads to tragic consequences and everyone will say how nobody could have possibly seen this coming.

* * *

Cuomo’s full letter directing Acting Commissioner Seggos and Commissioner Zucker to their begin investigation can be viewed here. The text of that letter is also available below:

Dear Commissioners Zucker and Seggos:

I am deeply concerned to have learned that radioactive tritium-contaminated water has recently leaked from operations at the Entergy Indian Point Energy Center (Indian Point) into groundwater at the site.  This is not the first such release of radioactive water at Indian Point, nor is this the first time that Indian Point has experienced significant failure in its operation and maintenance. This failure continues to demonstrate that Indian Point cannot continue to operate in a manner that is protective of public health and the environment.

The levels of radioactivity reported this week are significantly higher than in past incidents.  Three of forty monitoring wells registered alarming increases.  In fact, one of the monitoring well increased nearly 65,000 percent from 12,300 picocuries per liter to over 8,000,000 picocuries per liter.

Our first concern is for the health and safety of the residents close to the facility and ensuring the groundwater leak does not pose a threat. As such, I am directing you to fully investigate this incident and employ all available measures, including working with Nuclear Regulatory Commission, to determine the extent of the release, its likely duration, its causes, its potential impacts to the environment and public health, and how the release can be contained.  We need to identify whether this incident could have been avoided by exercising reasonable care.  We also need to know how a recurrence of this episode can be avoided by specific steps that Entergy should be taking.

Please report back at the completion of the investigation.

Sincerely,

ANDREW M. CUOMO

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Leave a Reply