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Entergy finds faulty, missing bolts inside Indian Point nuclear unit


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Entergy finds faulty, missing bolts inside Indian Point nuclear unit

Thediscovery of faulty and missing bolts inside Entergy Corp.'s Indian Point 2 nuclear reactor has spurred New York Gov.Andrew Cuomo to call on the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to deny therelicensing of the nuclear plant.

Scheduledinspections during a planned outage of Indian Point unit 2 found about 220faulty bolts inside the reactor, Entergy announced March 29. But the company stressedthey do not pose a danger to public safety. The nuclear plant, which is inWestchester County, N.Y., north of New York City along the Hudson River, hasbeen at the center of a number of investigations following recent incidents,including a low-level radioactive leak in February.

The20-year relicensing of the plant's two reactors is being by environmentalists and theCuomo administration, which believe the plant poses a threat to New York Cityand other communities downriver.

Entergysaid in a news releasethat the inspections found problems with about 11% of more than 2,000,two-inch, stainless steel bolts in the reactor's removable insert liner thathold plates together.

"Issueswere identified on bolts on the face of the removable liner, not on bolts alongthe liner's edges," Entergy said. "Engineers identified missingbolts, and bars meant to hold them in place, and other degradation requiringreplacement of the bolts." The faulty bolts will be replaced andmaintenance performed before the reactor is restarted. Entergysaid the work will extend the duration and costs of the maintenance andrefueling outage.

Inaddition, inspections were performed outside of the containment area andequipment, such as control rods, pipes, heat exchangers, steam condensers, andreactor coolant pump motors, were replaced. The inspections are part of IndianPoint's "aging management program" as the plant seeks relicensing ofits reactors.

"Thisis the latest in a long series of incidents that raise deep concerns about themanagement, maintenance and equipment standards at this plant," Cuomo saidin a statement. "While there is no immediate danger to public health andsafety, this troubling news further validates the State's ongoing investigationinto the operations of this aging power plant and our position that it shouldnot be relicensed."

Cuomosaid New York will continue to investigate "every facet of the plant'soperations and safety preparedness" while ensuring detected defects areaddressed immediately.

Entergyspokeswoman Patricia Kakridas rejected Cuomo's criticisms. "We will notoperate the plants nor would the NRC allow us to continue operating, if wecouldn't do so safely," she said in a statement.

IndianPoint's "aging management program" worked as intended to identifyissues, Kakridas said. "Engineers were able to identify the bolt issues asa result of a specialized, robust inspection of the unit 2 reactor vesselimplemented in accordance with the plant's license renewal application, goingbeyond normal inspections performed during each refueling outage," shesaid.