Saturday, March 24, 2007

Westchester County One Nuclear Fire Away From Indian Point Holocaust?

Indian Point Nuclear Plant Fire Violations ?
Too Dangerous to Allow Endless Delay
A FACT SHEET BY Green Nuclear Butterfly-reprint allowed with source credit.

The Indian Point Nuclear Plant that is mismanaged and poorly run by Entergy has a increased risk of a radiation disaster by potentially/probably being in violation of federal fire safety regulations for decades.

1. Fire is a leading risk factor for meltdown at US nuclear plants (according to federal studies)

Fire or electrical shorts can cause operators to lose control of the reactor or safety systems.
The Indian Point reactors have a large number of faulty fire barriers and inadequate distances between vital electric cables.
Fire could cause overheating of the reactor fuel, with a resultant major release of radioactivity that could KILL THOUSANDS.
2. Are Indian Point and Entergy relying on “compensatory” measures that were rejected by NRC.

The “compensatory” measures require operators to quickly enter plant and perform complex procedures required to manually operate safety systems during emergencies.
Does Indian Point “compensate” with fire patrols intended to be used only for weeks, not years.
3. Compensatory measures have never been approved – or tested for feasibility.

The nuclear industry is now fighting NRC over how to test the operator manual actions: more delay.
4. Potential Indian Point fire violations are heightened by new ruling on plant security.
The NRC ruled that instead of defending against aircraft or substantial teams of ground attackers, US nuclear plant owners can rely on measures that control fires and explosions. Yet we wonder why we stakeholders are not allowed to know the real risks we face in playing hosts to failing reactors like Indian Point.
Numerous federal studies show us that “allegedly robust nuclear plant structures are extremely vulnerable to fires from within,” (Lochbaum 2/1/07) and that fires fed by thousands of gallons of jet fuel could lead to catastrophic releases. Some of the studies indicate a high likelihood of meltdown.
5. Serious Fires have occurred at Harris and other nuclear plants, so what makes Indian Point immune?

There have been four “emergency declared” alerts at US plants since October due to electrical fires.
A major electrical fire at Harris in 1989 required 30 firefighters and led to a weeks-long plant outage.
A 1975 severe fire and near-meltdown at Browns Ferry led to the rules that many nuclear reactors are now disobeying with the NRC's full blessings.
6. The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission is allowing Entergy and other reactor licensees to violate fire regulations under the agency’s “Enforcement Discretion” authority.
NRC plans to let its reactor licensees study fire vulnerabilities for many more years.
Yet rules allowing Enforcement Discretion for fire protection are set to expire within weeks.“Entergy's Indian Point and Vermont Yankee nuclear reactors are not safe today. A fire tomorrow or the next day would be like a nuclear Katrina times 100:
People in New York and Vermont would pay a high price, some the ultimate price if there is a fire, but the rest of the U.S. would benefit if Congress forces the NRC to enforce its own fire protection rules.”
“Since the NRC and industry cannot agree on how to test whether operators could run through the plant and manually operate multiple safety systems to prevent a meltdown, how can we the public bank on those measures as a substitute for compliance?

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