BUCHANAN, N.Y. (AP/WCBS 880) – The Indian Point nuclear power station was entirely off the grid Friday after a non-radioactive leak forced operators to close the only reactor that was running.
However, with mild weather and a weekend starting, the industry agency that manages the power network predicted there would be no strain on the region’s energy supply even without one of its largest sources.
“When we have generator outages, the system is designed to get the needed megawatts from other resources within and outside the state,” said Ken Klapp, spokesman for the New York Independent System Operator. “It’s less of an issue when loads are reduced as they are this time of year.”
Jerry Nappi, a spokesman for plant owner Entergy Nuclear, said Indian Point 3 was shut down Thursday night by operators who saw a leak of the water that is used to help cool the air inside a generator.
He said there was no release of radioactivity and no danger to workers or the public. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission confirmed that the leaked water was non-radioactive. The plant had been operating continuously for more than a year.
The other reactor, Indian Point 2, was closed for repairs Sept. 3. Indian Point 1 was mothballed in the 1970s. The Indian Point station is in Buchanan, about 35 miles north of Manhattan.
The plant is applying for new 20-year licenses for its reactors, prompting widespread opposition. Hearings are expected after November, when the NRC’s decision on an environmental impact statement is due.
The last time both reactors were offline was in April 2009, when a pump failed at Indian Point 2 while Indian Point 3 was closed for refueling, Nappi said. Indian Point 2 returned to service a day later.
Nappi said Friday he could not predict when either plant would be back online.
Indian Point 2 and Indian Point 3 generate about 2,000 megawatts, which is about 18 percent of what New York City and Westchester County use at peak demand.
Demand through Monday would be only about two-thirds of what it was at this summer’s peak, Klapp said.
“If it was a much higher load, this would be more of an issue,” he said.
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)