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Petition to NRC on Containment Sump Problem at Indian Point

Note: This is an excerpt from the petition submitted by UCS to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

September 8, 2003

William D. Travers, Executive Director for Operations
United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Washington, DC 20555-0001

SUBJECT: INDIAN POINT ENERGY CENTER—PETITION PURSUANT TO 10 CFR 2.206—PWR CONTAINMENT SUMP FAILURE

Dear Dr. Travers:

Pursuant to §2.206 of Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Riverkeeper, Inc. and the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) petition the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to take the following enforcement action against Entergy Nuclear Northeast (Entergy):

Issuance of an Order requiring Entergy to immediately shut down Indian Point Units 2 and 3 and maintain the reactors shutdown until such time that the containment sumps are modified to resolve the Generic Safety Issue 191 (GSI-191) problem.

This action is warranted based on the current public health hazard posed by the continued operation of the Indian Point reactors without reasonable assurance against containment sump failure and consequential impairment of the reactor core and containment cooling functions. This action is entirely consistent with actions taken by the NRC for the Donald C. Cook and Davis-Besse nuclear plants.

The petitioners cannot fathom a sound reason why an agency chartered to protect public health and safety would not readily grant this warranted request. But if the NRC will not do this necessary and right thing, the petitioners reluctantly ask the NRC to at least do the least-wrong thing by taking the following alternative enforcement action:

Issuance of an Order requiring Entergy to prevent restart of Indian Point Units 2 and 3 from their next scheduled refueling outages until such time that the containment sumps are modified to resolve the GSI-191 problem,

and

Inclusion within that Order of a requirement for Entergy to (a) maintain all equipment needed for monitoring leak-before-break (LBB) of reactor coolant pressure boundary components within containment fully functional and immediately shutdown the affected reactor upon any functional impairment to said monitoring equipment, and (b) refrain from any activity under 10 CFR 50.59, 10 CFR 50.90, Section VII.C of the NRC's Enforcement Policy, or Generic Letter 91-18 Revision 1 that increases or could increase the probability that a loss of coolant accident occurs.

People living around Indian Point would be subjected to unnecessarily high risk, but only until the next scheduled refueling outages. If people living around Indian Point must endure—even temporarily—the reactors operating with impaired safety systems, they at least must be protected from Entergy taking any steps that might increase the likelihood of these safety systems being challenged.

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