Entergy, the company that owns Indian Point, must submit a full, rigorous seismic hazard analysis plan by December 31 for its two Indian Point reactors Units 2 and 3, according to recent orders from the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). Previously Entergy tried to avoid doing the most rigorous risk assessment for both Indian Point reactors. But the NRC denied their request.
Indian Point Units 2 and 3 are among 10 plants – comprising 18 reactors – in the eastern two-thirds of the country that the NRC, earlier this year, asked to submit plans for a full seismic hazard analysis. After the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Fukushima, Japan, the NRC adopted new rules, including re-evaluating whether the plants can withstand a major eathquake.
After the plans are submitted, Entergy will have until June 30, 2017 to complete the actual analysis. But environmental groups believe the plant should be closed during this period, until the questions regarding earthquakes and related risks are resolved.
According to the nonprofit, Westchester-based, watchdog group, Riverkeeper: “If a nuclear meltdown on the same scale of Japan’s March 11, 2011, disaster at Fukushima Daiichi happened at Entergy’s Indian Point nuclear power plant, much of the Hudson Valley, New York City and surrounding areas could be affected, requiring evacuations far outside the 10-mile zone for which the Nuclear Regulatory Commission requires emergency plans.
For Indian Point, even those inadequate evacuation plans have been called “unworkable” after months of study by safety experts.”
Entergy re-assessed the earthquake risks for its Unit 3 in July 2013. At that time, the company found that if the region experienced the strongest earthquake that could be expected, it still would be protected.
Map graphic courtesy Natural Resources Defense Council and Riverkeeper.