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U.S. NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION

Office of Public Affairs, Region I
475 Allendale Road, King of Prussia, Pa. 19406
www.nrc.gov


No. I-05-055   October 31, 2005
CONTACT: Diane Screnci (610) 337-5330
Neil A. Sheehan (610) 337-5331
E-mail: opa1@nrc.gov

NRC ANNOUNCES ENHANCED OVERSIGHT OF INDIAN POINT
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The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will conduct additional inspections at Indian Point Energy Center in Buchanan, N.Y. Through enhanced specialized inspections the NRC will oversee Entergy's efforts to address leakage from the Unit 2 spent fuel pool and reliability issues with the site's alert and notification system (sirens).

The two-unit site is operated by Entergy Nuclear.

In late September, the NRC began a special inspection at Indian Point into apparent leakage from the spent fuel pool area at the Indian Point 2 nuclear power plant. The leakage is minimal and does not pose any immediate health or safety concern for members of the public or plant workers. Earlier this month, tritium was detected in six of nine on-site locations. No tritium has been detected off-site. The Special Inspection is expected to continue for several additional weeks as the NRC is monitoring and evaluating Entergy’s ongoing characterization and mitigation activities.

The NRC also has been overseeing Entergy's actions to address recent siren issues and improve overall system reliability. The Indian Point siren system has experienced performance problems in the recent past including: primary and back-up actuation system problems, siren monitoring system failures, and some actual siren failures. Additionally, Entergy has indicated that it plans to replace the entire siren system in response to the new requirement for backup power that was included in the Energy Policy Act of 2005.

Under the NRC's reactor oversight program, a plant's performance determines the level of inspection conducted at the site. To provide additional oversight, the agency can decide to deviate from the process and conduct further inspections, etc., when warranted by the given situation. Any such plans are proposed in a memo from the Regional Administrator for approval by the Executive Director for Operations. The memo, called a "deviation memo," was approved earlier today and provides a formal vehicle to document the NRC’s additional inspection plans to assess Entergy's tritium characterization and remediation efforts, as well as the company's efforts to improve the reliability of the siren system in the communities surrounding Indian Point.

NRC Region I Administrator Samuel J. Collins, said, "In the case of Indian Point, the staff considers it prudent to apply additional inspection focus to specific areas, even though licensee performance in these areas has not crossed any specific thresholds mandating additional regulatory oversight."

The deviation memo will be posted on the NRC web site at http://www.nrc.gov/reactors/plant-specific-items/indian-point-issues.html.


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