Saturday, May 02, 2009

Yet Another Reason To Close Indian Point

Environmental groups have been trying to shut down the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant for years and really, even before it was built. It was a bad idea then, it is still a bad idea now. The fact that a nuclear reactor sits only twenty-five miles from the largest city in the United States is scary to say the least. The history of the plant should have been enough to close all the reactors at the site, yet it continues to be a silent plague upon the tri-state area. And now we have another moment to add to that history.

From The NY Times:

A one-and-a-half-inch hole caused by corrosion allowed about 100,000 gallons of water to escape from the main system that keeps the reactor cool immediately after any shutdown, according to nuclear experts. The leak was discovered on Feb. 16, according to the plant’s owner, Entergy Nuclear Northeast, a subsidiary of the Entergy Corporation.

Entergy and the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission emphasized that the Indian Point reactor could still have been shut down safely with either of two other backup systems, although operators generally avoid using both.

They also stressed that the supply pipe was quickly repaired after the leak was found and that the water itself, which is cleaner than tap water, posed no environmental threat. Yet the leak’s discovery has prompted Entergy and the regulatory commission to begin studying how the chief system for cooling during shutdowns, so important that the Indian Point 2 has three pumps in place to do the same job, could be endangered by the failure of a single part.
Of course Entergy is going to say that this is no big deal. Power is expensive and when you are the one selling it, it is obvious you'll do anything to keep that sale going. That is especially so when you have morality that keeps a nuclear reactor running so close to a major population center like New York City.

What needs to happen here is one thing, and one thing only. Just shut it down. The state can do it if they have the spine to stand up to Entergy.